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Willy Camilo García Archivol
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 215 lb.
Outfielder Willy García reached Triple-A for the first time in 2015 and the majors two years later.
He began his professional career in the Pittsburgh Pirates system in 2010 at 17 years old, the same year he was signed by scouts Rene Gayo and Marino Tejada. He hit .250/.333/.333 for the DSL Pirates that summer. He had 11 assists in 51 games outfield games. He came stateside in 2011, appearing for the GCL Pirates (.266/.323/.446) and State College Spikes (2 for 7).
García established himself as a power-hitting prospect in 2012, when he hit 18 home runs with 77 RBI for the West Virginia Power at 19 years old. His batting line was .240/.286/.403. He also had 12 outfield assists. He tied Trevor Story for 5th in the South Atlantic League in homers and was 7th in RBI (between William Beckwith and Harold Riggins). He led Pirates farmhands in homers, two ahead of Jeff Clement, Alen Hanson, Gregory Polanco and José Osuna) and was 4th in RBI (between Matt Curry and Osuna). He made his winter league debut, going 1 for 1 for the Águilas Cibaeñas. Baseball America rated him as having the best outfield arm in the Pirates' farm system.
In 2013, Willy hit .256/.294/.437 with 16 homers for the Bradenton Marauders and had 19 outfield assists (the 2014 Baseball Almanac says 20) but had 154 whiffs to 23 walks. He tied Maikel Franco and Miguel Sano for 8th in the Florida State League in homers, led in outfield assists and double plays (7) and was second in strikeouts (17 behind Nick Ramirez). Among Pittsburgh minor leaguers, he led in outfield assists, 5th in home runs and second in strikeouts (behind Stetson Allie). Baseball America said he had the best outfield arm in the FSL and in the Pirates chain and said he was Pittsburgh's #14 prospect. He was 0 for 1 in winter ball.
He improved his contact in 2014 while moving up to the AA Altoona Curve and maintained his power. He produced at a .271/.311/.478 clip with 18 home runs, though he again had a poor BB/K ratio (24/145). He had 19 assists and 13 errors, setting an Altoona club record for outfield assists (breaking Starling Marte's three-year-old mark by one). He was third in the Eastern League in strikeouts (behind Steven Moya and Brandon Waring), led in outfield assists and outfield errors and missed the top 10 in homers by two. He was third in the Pirates chain in homers (behind JaCoby Jones and Allie), tied Jaff Decker for 4th with 27 doubles and led in strikeouts (10 ahead of Gift Ngoepe). In the 2014 Eastern League All-Star Game, he started in left for the West, hitting 9th. He grounded out against Jon Velasquez in the 3rd and singled off Dustin Antolin in the 5th (scoring on a Moya grand slam) before being replaced by Kevin Keyes in a 5-2 win. Baseball America rated him the EL's #17 prospect (between Kennys Vargas and Moya) amd as having the best outfield arm in the Pirates system and the EL. He was a regular in the winter, batting .269/.314/.462 for the Aguilas with 5 assists in 38 games.
García opened 2015 back with Altoona and was hitting .314/.353/.441 after 53 games, with a 19-game hitting streak (tied for second in team history) when he was promoted to the AAA Indianapolis Indians. He batted .246/.285/.424 with 10 homers in 71 games for the Indians, but also with 76 strikeouts in 276 at-bats to 12 walks. For the year, he had 15 homers and 123 whiffs. He had 18 outfield assists. He tied for third in the 2015 International League in homers post-All-Star break. He was second in the Pittsburgh chain in circuit clouts (two shy of Allie) and tied Jordan Luplow for 6th with 67 RBI. In the winter, he hit .160/.189/.180 with no homers in 18 games and only one assist.
Going into 2016, he was ranked the Pirates #13 prospect and as having their best outfield arm, per Baseball America. He slumped in 2016 with Indianapolis - .245/.293/.366, 6 HR in 129 games. He tied Chris Marrero for 8th in the 2016 IL in doubles (30) and was second on the Pirates farm in two-baggers, 7 behind Osuna. However, the Pirates designated him for assignment on December 31st and on January 6, 2017, he was claimed off waivers by the Chicago White Sox, who assigned him to the AAA Charlotte Knights to start the 2017 season. He was off to a blazing start, hitting .423 with 2 homers in his first 7 games.
Willy made his major league debut for the White Sox against the Minnesota Twins as part of a historic outfield featuring three players named Garcia: Avisail Garcia playing RF and batting fifth; Leury Garcia playing CF and batting 7th, and Willy playing LF and batting 9th. He had been called up that day when Melky Cabrera went on paternity leave and went 1 for 4 with a double in the game. The double came in his first at-bat, off Adalberto Mejia, but he was thrown out trying to make it into a triple. On July 31st, he was injured in a collision in shallow right field with fellow rookie Yoan Moncada. The second baseman's knee hit Willy square in the head. Moncada had to be carted off the field and while Willy got up under his own power, he had to leave the game with a head contusion.