Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Welcome Up to the Blue, Onelki Garcia!

Another Cuban has joined the Dodgers in Los Angeles.  Instead of the highly anticipated and recent defector Alexander Guerrero, it is current Dodger minor league reliever and one-time teammate of Yasiel Puig, Onelki Garcia.

As you may know, Garcia left Cuba in January 2011, but had to wait over a year before he was allowed to be drafted by a MLB club.  The Dodgers chose him in the 3rd round of the 2012 amateur draft, and he has quickly gone up the ladder ever since then.

Here's a fun fact, in between him leaving Cuba and his eventually drafting; via Jim Shonerd at Baseball America:
He found a temporary landing spot in Southern California, pitching in a local adult league—or a beer league if you prefer. Despite the obvious downgrade in competition, the Dodgers looked past Garcia’s surroundings and the fact he would be 22 by the time the 2012 draft rolled around. They had been interested in Garcia as a prospective international signee, and they stayed with him throughout the process.

“We just treated him like any other player (in the 2012 draft),” Dodgers scouting director Logan White said, “going out and having our area scouts see him and turn him in. Then our crosscheckers and myself went in to see him and see how he progressed. We just ranked him on the draft board like we would any other guy.”
Onelki Garcia throws a fastball from 90-95 MPH, a slider in the low-80's and a rudimentary changeup.  He also has a good ability to change speeds and manipulate both the fastball and slider.

We should expect to see him get a taste of the big leagues by providing some rest to our key left-handers; JP Howell and Paco Rodriguez.  You shouldn't expect him to be seriously considered for the playoff roster unless there is an injury.  Via Tony Jackson at Dodger Scribe:
“This will give him a little taste of it,” Donnie says. “Hopefully he can take something positive from it and keep moving forward.”

In celebration of Garcia's promotion to the big club I made the above Dodgers fantasy card of him using a 1987 Topps Baseball card design.  This time, I added a couple of pics from (Tim Evearitt), here and here, to create a little collage.  I couldn't help but add the photo of Puig and Garcia together.

Via a Dodgers Press Release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today selected the contract of left-handed pitcher Onelki Garcia (#98) from Triple-A Albuquerque and, in a corresponding move, transferred right-handed reliever Shawn Tolleson to the 60-day disabled list.

Garcia, who turned 24 on Aug. 2, combined to go 2-4 with a 2.90 ERA (20 ER/62.0 IP) in 35 games (six starts) with Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Albuquerque this season. Overall, Garcia combined to limit opposing hitters to a .209 batting average, including a .149 mark (11-for-74) with 30 strikeouts against left-handers. After opening the season as a starter with the Lookouts, the Guantanamo, Cuba native went 2-0 with one save and a 1.39 ERA (5 ER/32.1 IP), while limiting opponents to a .175 batting average (20-for-114) with 36 strikeouts in 19 relief appearances to earn an Aug. 11 promotion to Albuquerque. Garcia, who was originally selected by the Dodgers in the third round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, tossed scoreless relief in seven of 10 outings as an Isotope, limiting opponents to a .176 average (6-for-34) with 14 strikeouts in 9.2 innings.

Tolleson made just one appearance for the Dodgers this season before going on the DL on April 15 with a low back strain and underwent back surgery on April 25 to repair a herniated disc in his low back.
See his career stats below:

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