HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Astros have agreed to terms on a contract with Cuban free agent center fielder Alejandro Garcia today. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The announcement was made by Astros Director of International Oz Ocampo.
Garcia, 24, stands at 5-foot-10, 175 pounds and is a right-handed hitter. From 2010-12, Garcia was an up-and-coming prospect in Cuba's Serie Nacional, where he was one of the youngest players in the league. In 2011, Garcia hit .282 (40x142) with three doubles, four triples, 9 stolen bases and a .348 on-base percentage in 68 games for Villa Clara.
"Charlie Gonzalez did a tremendous job in identifying Alejandro early as a true center fielder with hitting ability," said Ocampo. "Offensively, Alejandro shows the ability to center the ball with consistency and hit for some power, with strong hand-eye coordination and very good hands. Alejandro is one of the fastest runners we've seen all year and a strong base-stealing threat. Defensively, Alejandro has a chance to be a plus defender due to his athleticism and plus-plus speed. Alejandro is a focused, determined player whose goal is to be an impact Major League player."
This marks the second major Cuban signing by the Astros in the past few weeks. In June, the Astros signed 21-year-old Cuban right-handed pitcher Yoanys Quiala. The 21-year-old has already appeared in three games for the DSL Astros Blue, striking out nine batters with two walks and four runs allowed in 8.0 innings. In 2012, the 6-foot-3, 235-pound hurler posted a 3-2 record with a 2.22 ERA in 52.2 innings as a 19-year-old for Holguin in the Serie Nacional.
"We are excited about the signings of young Cuban prospects Alejandro Garcia and Yoanys Quiala to the Houston Astros organization," said Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow. "We have scouted the top Cuban market aggressively over the past few years, including the major international tournaments and showcases, and we will continue to identify, evaluate, sign, and develop young Cuban talent capable of making an impact at the Major League Level."
Garcia will report to the Astros complex in the Dominican Republic.