EL notes: Garcia rises to challenge

Erie outfielder doesn't miss a beat after call-up from Lakeland

By David Driver / Special to MLB.com | August 21, 2012 6:00 AM ET

Chris Cron has won more than 1,000 games since becoming a Minor League manager in 1995, but the SeaWolves skipper can still get excited when a new player joins his club.

That was the case when outfielder Avisail Garcia earned a promotion from Class A Advanced Lakeland of the Florida State League on July 4, five years and two days after he signed with the Tigers at age 16.

"I absolutely love this kid. He has a lot of talent," Cron said. "It shows up on a daily basis. For a 6-foot-4 kid, he can run. He can play defense every day."

Cron said Garcia hit a homer at Erie earlier this year that was one of the longest he's seen there.

"He's making an impression," Cron said.

Garcia, the No. 6 prospect in the Detroit system, was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Tigers out of Venezuela in 2007.

He has improved his offensive numbers in nearly every category since making the move to the Eastern League.

In 67 games with Lakeland this season, he had an on-base percentage of .324 and a slugging mark of .447. Over his first 44 Double-A contests, his OBP is .341 and he's slugging .459.

He's hitting .306 with five homers, seven doubles, nine steals and 17 RBIs in 170 at-bats with the SeaWolves, after hitting .289 with eight homers and 36 RBIs in 266 at-bats for the Flying Tigers.

Garcia has worked with hitting coach Jerry Martin since he was promoted from Lakeland.

"He tells me to stand up straight and use my power," said Garica through interpreter and teammate Nick Castellanos.

Castellanos, the top prospect in the Tigers system, has been impressed with Garcia.

"He has raw power," said Castellanos. "He can drive the ball to all fields."

Garcia has noticed a difference in Eastern League pitchers.

"The pitchers are more consistent and smarter in how they attack you," Garcia said. But that doesn't mean they've had much luck keeping him off the bases.

Garcia went 3-for-6 in a doubleheader at Bowie on Aug. 14 and one of his hits in the first game was against top prospect Dylan Bundy, who was making his first start in the Eastern League.

Garcia had two hits Saturday and Sunday against Harrisburg, giving him multi-hit games in five of his last 10 contests.

In brief

On a roll: Bowie has won eight of its last 10 games, improving to 68-59 on the season and moving four games ahead of Richmond in the Western Division Wild Card race. The Baysox, who began a three-game series in Richmond on Monday, have faltered down the stretch in previous seasons and decided to hold off putting playoff tickets on sale.

Seeing double: Hurler Brandon Cumpton has an 11-10 record with Altoona, while Erie's James Avery and Richmond's Michael Kickham are both at 10-10. Last year two Eastern League pitchers had at least 10 wins and 10 losses -- Reading's J.C. Ramirez (11-13) and Akron's Austin Adams (11-10). Kickham has the lowest ERA of this year's group at 3.04.

Strong 'pen: Binghamton reliever Bradley Holt, a first-round pick of the Mets in 2008 out of UNC-Wilmington, has been stingy of late. The 25-year-old right-hander has a 0.84 ERA with six strikeouts in his last 10 appearances. Andrew Carpenter picked up his first save for the B-Mets on Sunday and is yet to yield a run over three appearances with the club after spending most of the year with Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League.

David Driver is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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