Pirates Designate Willy Garcia For Assignment


The Pittsburgh Pirates have finally announced a corresponding move to make room for Ivan Nova on the 40-man roster.

On Saturday morning, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced their move to make room for Ivan Nova on the 40-man roster. In order to make room for Nova, the Pirates have designated outfielder Willy Garcia for assignment. Garcia spent the 2016 season playing for Triple-A Indianapolis.

In 2016 Garcia slashed .245/.293/.366/.659 for Indianapolis. He owned a .298 wOBA, a wRC+ of 87, and his 26.3 percent strikeout rate was alarmingly high. His power numbers regressed as well as he hit just six home runs after hitting at least 15 home runs in each of the previous four seasons.

2016 was Willy Garcia’s second consecutive season at Triple-A. In 2016 his strikeout rate rose. Additionally, his slugging percentage, ISO, wOBA, and wRC+ all dropped. For these reasons, Garcia appears to be a prospect trending in the wrong direction.

Willy Garcia has always been a boom or bust hitter in the Minor Leagues. While Garcia has always flashed good power, he has never been a hitter who gets on base and he strikes out way too much. These holes in his game also work to negate the value that Garcia’s plus defense brings to the table.

Another factor here was, probably, that Willy Garcia does not appear to have much of a future in Pittsburgh. With Andrew McCutchen, Gregory Polanco, and Starling Marte already on the Major League roster the Pirates are set in the outfield. Furthermore, top prospect Austin Meadows has reached Triple-A and has surpassed Garcia on the organizational depth chart.

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Even though Willy Garcia did not appear to have a future in Pittsburgh, I am still surprised that he was the player designated for assignment to make room for Ivan Nova. This is largely due to the Pirates having a logjam of relief pitchers. Personally, I expected one of the team’s relievers to be designated for assignment.