Vladimir García Escalante
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 258 lb.
García debuted for Ciego de Ávila in 2005-2006, going 3-5 with 5 saves and a 6.04 ERA at age 17. He played for Cuba in the 2006 World Junior Championship. In 2006-2007, he improved to 4-5, 1.68 with 14 svaes (tied for the Serie Nacional lead) and did not give up a home run in 53 2/3 IP.
Vladimir went 7-5 with 10 saves and a 3.07 ERA in 2007-2008, led the league with 16 intentional walks and almost made Cuba's team for the 2008 Olympics. He had a 0.75 ERA and 10 saves early in the 2008-2009 season and was put on Cuba's roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic. In his national team debut during the Classic, he allowed two runs in 2 2/3 IP. He allowed the only South African run in Cuba's 8-1 win. Called on in the 9th to close off a shutout, he gave up a hit to Anthony Phillips. Martin Gordon hit into a force and took second on a wild pitch. Jonathan Phillips then singled home the run.
García tied Orestes González's Cuban save record in 2008-2009 with 25. He was 4-3 with a 1.63 ERA, giving up only 42 hits in 72 innings while fanning 71. He had six more saves than runner-up Yolexis Ulacia and was named the All-Star relief pitcher.
Vladimir tossed five shutout innings, fanning seven, in the 2009 World Port Tournament; he saved one game.
García became a starter in 2009-2010 and made the transition very well, going 11-4 with a 2.68 ERA and .220 opponent average. He fanned 115 in 114 innings. He led the league in strikeouts (9 ahead of runner-up Odrisamer Despaigne) and wins (tied with Yulieski González, Norberto González and Maikel Folch). He was tied for third in wild pitches (11) and was 4th in ERA behind Angel Peña, Yulieski González and Jonder Martinez.