Garcia named Tigers' Minor League Player of the Year

Garcia named Tigers' Minor League Player of the Year

CLEVELAND -- Nick Castellanos will end the year as the Tigers' top prospect. His former Double-A Erie teammate, Avisail Garcia, has been recognized as having the best season.

The Tigers announced on Friday that Garcia has been honored as the organization's Minor League Player of the Year, recognizing a season that saw the 21-year-old Venezuelan raise his profile from an athletic outfielder in the lower levels of the farm system to a five-tool contributor in the big leagues.

Garcia had the rare season that statistically improved with a midseason promotion. He batted .289 with eight doubles, five triples, eight home runs, 36 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in 67 games with Class A Lakeland. Once the Tigers bumped him up to Double-A, he hit .312 with nine doubles, three triples, six home runs, 22 RBIs and nine steals for the SeaWolves.

Garcia's performance, combined with the Anibal Sanchez-Omar Infante trade and Drew Smyly's year in the big leagues, bumped him from eighth to fourth on's list of Top 20 Tigers prospects. One of the three he was behind is Bruce Rondon, the hard-throwing reliever and All-Star Futures Game participant who jumped from Lakeland to Triple-A Toledo.

Add up Rondon's stats between his three stops, and the 21-year-old Venezuelan right-hander with the 6-foot-2 frame racked up 29 saves to go with 66 strikeouts over 53 innings. He pitched two-thirds of an inning in the Futures Game, hitting 102 mph on the radar gun at Kauffman Stadium.