Prospect Note: Onelki Garcia, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Onelki Garcia - Stephen Dunn

Promoted for the September stretch run, Onelki Garcia has the arm to be a strong pitching asset if his command allows.

Onelki Garcia defected from Cuba early in 2011. Since he was resident in the United States, the powers that be at Major League Baseball initially ruled him eligible for the draft, but eventually decided to wait and study the case for another year. Ultimately he was ruled draft-eligible for 2012, was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the third round and signed for $382,000. He pitched just two innings in the California League after signing.

Assigned to Double-A Chattanooga for 2013, he opened up in the starting rotation but struggled with his control, walking 16 in 22 innings. Moved to the bullpen in June, he was more effective and ultimately finished with a 2.75 ERA and a 53/32 K/BB in 52 innings. Promoted to Triple-A Albuquerque in August, he ran up a 14/3 K/BB in 9.2 innings of relief work, allowing four runs on six hits. He's made two appearances since being promoted to the big league roster but has had control problems, walking four in one total inning of work.

Garcia is a 6-3, 220 pound lefty, born August 2, 1989. He has no problems with arm strength, with a four-seamer clocked as high as 97 on his best days and working consistently at 93-94. Double-A and Triple-A observers were also impressed with the quality of his curveball. He has used a cutter but his change-up is shaky, and he works mainly with the fastball and curve.

Command is the main issue with Garcia, particularly with the fastball; he doesn't always locate it well.  He throws strikes more readily in relief, but as his first two major league games show, he still has some work to do. He's overpowering when he's on and held left-handed hitters to a .149/.281/.149 line this season.

At worst, Garcia can be a fine LOOGY, but more consistent command will be necessary if he's to become a closer or return to starting.


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