Former Astros prospect Ronny Garcia dead in traffic accident


April 21 (UPI) -- Former baseball pitching prospect Ronny Garcia, 24, and his father, are dead following a traffic accident in the Dominican Republic, the Houston Astros confirmed late Saturday.

Garcia was a former prospect for the Astros, who signed him as a 16-year-old in 2016, a statement said. He pitched with Houston's affiliates in the Florida Gulf Coast League and class A team that summer.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of former Astros prospect, Ronny Garcia," the Astros posted on the social media platform X. "Our condolences go out to his family and friends."

Garcia and his father were reportedly killed in a traffic accident involving two motorcycles on the Las Galeras-Samaná highway in Samaná, Dominican Republic, according to MLB reporter Hector Gomez.

Garcia also pitched for several minor league organizations after signing with the Astros, including the Fayetteville Woodpeckers and the Asheville Tourists, where he played as recently as last year.

"We are saddened to learn of the passing of Ronny Garcia. Ronny spent parts of three seasons with Fayetteville, always carrying a smile around the ballpark," the Woodpeckers wrote on X.

"He was a talented pitcher and a beloved teammate. Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time."

Players are not allowed to sign with professional organizations in the U.S. until they graduate from high school, according to Major league Baseball, but the rules are different for international draftees, and players from Latin American countries routinely sign as young as 16-years-old. They come to the U.S. and live at training academies, then return home in the off-season, or when they are not currently on a team.