BILLINGS — Jalen Garcia, a Billings native who starred on the local diamond at three different levels, was selected Monday in the inaugural Baseball United draft.
Baseball United is an upstart professional league located in the Middle East and South Asia that plans to play its first season in Dubai 2023. Garcia was picked in the ninth round (71st overall) by the Karachi Monarchs.
The Monarchs, located in Karachi, Pakistan, are one of four teams set to play in Baseball United's inaugural season. The others are the Mumbai Cobras in India, and the Dubai Wolves and the Abu Dhabi Falcons in the United Arab Emirates.
Baseball United was created in July 2022, with its founding stakeholders announced as hall of famers Barry Larkin and Mariano Rivera. The league's mission, according to its website, is to grow baseball as the next great sport in India, Pakistan and the Middle East, which is "home to some of the most diverse communities and fastest-growing economies on the earth, making it a hotbed for sports growth and innovation."
Garcia, 27, spent the majority of the past three seasons in the independent Pioneer League playing for his hometown Billings Mustangs. He also spent a short stint in 2023 in the Mexican League.
An outfielder, Garcia appeared in 166 games in the 2021 and 2022 seasons with the Mustangs, batting .334 with 36 doubles, 22 triples, 27 home runs and 131 RBIs. He stole 46 bases, and his OPS was .968. He played in just nine games with the Mustangs in 2023.
Garcia, a graduate of Billings Christian School, starred in American Legion baseball with the Billings Scarlets and later in college at NCAA Division II Montana State Billings.
Other notable players selected in the Baseball United draft were ex-big leaguers DiDi Gregorius, Robinson Cano, Andrelton Simmons and Bartolo Colon.