Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
A look at former Houston Astros pitcher and Rule 5 draftee Ramon Garcia
Ramon Garcia had an interesting short year. He was signed by the Chicago White Sox as an amateur free agent in 1987. Hailing from Guanare, Venezuela, he made his major league debut with the White Sox May 31, 1991. He started in 15 of the 16 games he would appear in that season posting a 5.40 ERA, 74 ERA+, in 78.1 innings.
He returned to the Minor Leagues for the next couple years and then was out of baseball completely in 1994 and 1995. He actually signed with the Montreal Expos February 11, 1995, but was released three months later right before the season begin. It would be a year later before he signed again with a big league club, this time the Milwaukee Brewers. He appeared in 37 games for the Brewers, making three starts and posting a 6.66 ERA, 78 ERA+, in 75.2 innings. He would be released in October of 1996.
This is where the Houston Astros come into play. On December 6, 1996, the Astros drafted him out of the Brewers system, in the Rule 5 draft. Garcia would start 20 of the 42 games he appeared in for the Astros, posting a 3.69 ERA, 109 ERA+, in 158.2 innings. The biggest reason for his turn around was the improvement in his strikeout rate, which went from 4.8 in 1996 to 6.8 in 1997.
Garcia was injured the next year and never played in the majors again. Garcia's story highlights how sometimes older players that have lost their prospect status can still put things together and find success.