When Anthony Garcia arrives in Mesa as a non-roster invitee to big league camp, he will be riding the momentum of a strong winter in the Venezuelan and Puerto Rican Winter Leagues.
The outfielder, who inked a minor league deal with the Oakland A’s this offseason, is currently playing for the Puerto Rican entry in the Caribbean World Series. Garcia began his winter playing for the Leones del Caracas of the Venezuelan Winter League. The 26-year-old hit .247/.356/.442 in 23 games before heading home to his native Puerto Rico. He then played 17 games for the Gigantes de Carolina, posting a .310/.388/.466 line. That earned him a spot on the Puerto Rican CWS team.
Thus far, Garcia is making an impact for Puerto Rico. Through three games, he has four hits, including a home run and a double on Monday. All four of his hits have gone for extra-bases. Puerto Rico has advanced to the semi-finals with two wins in their first three games.
An 18th-round pick in 2009 of the St. Louis Cardinals, Garcia spent nine seasons in the Cardinals’ chain before signing with the A’s this offseason. He is a career .282 hitter. Garcia hit 16 home runs for Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis last season. It was his highest home run total since 2012, when he hit 19 for Low-A Quad Cities.
Cogswell among prospects retiring this offseason
As happens every offseason, several A’s prospects have elected to explore different professional pursuits rather than report to spring training next month. So far this offseason, Branden Cogswell, Jared Lyons, Mike Martin and Josh Vidales have informed the A’s that they are retiring.
Cogswell was the A’s seventh-round pick in 2014 out of Virginia. He made his professional debut with Low-A Beloit in 2014 and spent his first full professional season with High-A Stockton in 2015. Cogswell had right shoulder surgery and he missed the entire 2016 season. In 2017, he split the year between Stockton and Double-A Midland. With the Ports, the infielder hit .282 and with Midland, he hit .225.
Lyons, the A’s 9th-round pick in 2015 out of Liberty, was the primary left-handed reliever for the Ports for most of the 2017 season. He had a 4.63 ERA in 33 appearances. In 2016, Lyons had a 1.72 ERA in 41 appearances for Beloit before joining the Ports late in the season.
Martin joined the A’s as a 33rd round pick out of Harvard in 2015. The outfielder was effective when he was healthy, but he had trouble staying on the field. In 2016, he was limited to 34 games. In 2017, Martin appeared in 78 games and he hit .296/.356/.377 for Beloit and short-season Vermont. Martin stole 27 bases last season.
Vidales was the A’s 28th-round pick out of Houston in 2016. He won the Arizona Rookie League batting title in 2016 after hitting .345. Vidales began his first full professional season with Stockton, but he was sent back to Beloit mid-season after hitting .206. Vidales hit .256 with a .346 OPS for the Snappers the second half of the year. Vidales was a versatile and sturdy defender, playing primarily second base but also filing in in the outfield.
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