Cuban Outfielder Could Help Yankees Soon
NEW YORK—Adonis Garcia caught the Yankees' eye in the 2012 Caribbean Series, impressing a bevy of Yankees scouts enough that the Cuban refugee was given a $400,000 signing bonus.
Less than a year later, the 27-year-old Garcia has played well enough in three stops that the Yankees believe he will eventually reach the majors.
"We think he has a chance to play in the big leagues," assistant general manager and pro scouting head Billy Eppler said. "He is definitely somebody to keep an eye on."
The Yankees spent November and December looking for a righthanded-hitting outfielder, and Garcia was trying to hit himself into the mix. He has played just 57 games in the United States and didn't play above Double-A Trenton last year.
Garcia overcame a slow start with high Class A Tampa and thrived with Trenton. He played all three outfield spots and batted .263/.311/.424 overall in 224 at-bats.
He kept hitting in the Puerto Rican League, where he was Mayaguez's center fielder. He batted .292/.319/.481 in the regular season, spanning 154 at-bats. His 74 total bases led the league while his six homers ranked second.
"He comes to play every day and has impressed a lot of people, other managers and coaches, who hadn't seen him," said Mayaguez manager Dave Miley, who manages the Yankees' Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre club.
Garcia has shown power but not enough patience, drawing just four winter walks after taking 14 in the regular season. "He chases the high pitch a bit," Miley said.
Defensively, Garcia can play all three outfield positions and, according to Miley, "can run anything down."
Garcia left Cuba in January 2011. In August of that year, Major League Baseball ruled him ineligible to sign for six months for fraudulent residency paperwork. He played for Magallanes in the Venezuelan League last winter, batting .270/.313/.461.
• Righthander Luis Niebla, a 22-year-old who pitched in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2012, went 2-3, 3.44 in 34 innings this winter in the Mexican Pacific League.
• To make room on the 40-man roster for Ichiro Suzuki in late December, the Yankees outrighted righthanded reliever Jim Miller to Triple-A.