Former Denbigh outfielder John Garcia, who was taken in the 29th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in June, has decided not to sign with the Chicago Cubs and instead play at Louisburg (N.C.) College.
“They didn't offer enough money,” said Garcia, who would not specify the amount. “It wasn't enough money for me to play.”
Garcia said his adviser, Joseph Kohm of Virginia Beach, helped him connect with Louisburg, one of the top junior college programs in the country. Former Menchville pitcher Ethan Carter played there for a season.
The Canes went 34-15 last spring.
“I'm going there in two weeks to visit,” Garcia said. “When I do, I'll talk to the coach (Keith Shumate) and fill out the paperwork and all that. I haven't met him, I've only talked to him.”
Garcia was born in Puerto Rico but moved to Newport News prior to his sophomore year of high school. He played at Denbigh for three seasons. As a senior, he batted .425 with seven home runs and 25 stolen bases.
Garcia said he isn't disappointed that things didn't work out with the Cubs.
“Not really,” he said. “I was happy to be drafted, and now I'll have more chances to make it.”
Denbigh coach Chris Ochsenfeld said Garcia can benefit from a year or two at Louisburg.
“For him, it’s a good opportunity,” he said. “Going down there, he’ll be able to put himself on the map not just with the Cubs but with other teams.”
Ochsenfeld said it will also be a chance for Garcia, talented but still raw, to work on some things.
“He’s a pure hitter and can hit to all fields,” Ochsenfeld said. “But in high school, he was a power No. 3-type of hitter. At the next level, he’s going to be more of a table setter, a guy who gets on base to set the table.”
According to baseball-reference.com, 12 alums of Louisburg have made the Majors. That includes current Houston Astros pitcher Paul Clemens, a seventh-round pick in the 2008 draft.
As a junior college player, Garcia would be eligible for the 2014 draft.