That’s high praise but is he in the best shape of his life? When are they not? So, who is this player that has the potential to help power a team to the World Series? I’m trying to make you move up to the edge of your seat, sweat in anticipation of the big reveal but who am I kidding? Most will just gloss over these words and gravitate to the bolded letters. Ah, such is the life of a fantasy blogger. Just writing words into the vast void of the internet, never to be consumed by 99% of the masses. Hi, mom! So Adolis Garcia has hit two home runs in 29 plate appearances. He’s been batting cleanup at times for the Rangers. Can he be the next Arozarena? Let’s dig in and find out.
Garcia is 28 years old, 6′ 1″, and 205 pounds. He is of Cuban descent and played for the national team. His older brother, Adonis, played for the Braves from 2015-2017. In 2016, Adolis played for the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, defected from Cuba, then signed with the Cardinals in 2017. In 2019, he was traded to the Rangers.
During his time in the Cardinals minor league system, the power/speed combo was always evident. In Double-A, he went 12/12 in 342 plate appearances. In Triple-A during the 2018 season, he went 22/10. In the 2019 Triple-A season, Garcia had 529 plate appearances and put up a massive line: 32 home runs, 14 stolen bases, 96 runs, and 96 RBI while slashing .253/.301/.517. The ISO was .265.
He was never a walker as the walk rate was in the 4% range. Early in his career, the strikeout rate was in the low-20% range and the average was .255-.301. The ISO was above .175. By 2019, though, the strikeout rate was 30.1%. The swinging strike rate was always in the double-digits – 12.3% early in his career then peaking at 18.5% in 2019. Tons of swing and miss to his game.
Throughout Arozarena’s minor league career, the strikeout rate was sub-20% and he walked more than double the rate of Garica so the comparison between the two doesn’t look apt. But, but, but….Last season, during Arozarena’s heater, he had a 28.9% strikeout rate. The swinging strike rate was 14.9%. This season? The swinging strike rate is at 16.3% while the strikeout rate is at 31.3%. Garcia has a 31% strikeout rate and 16.2% swinging-strike rate. Things that make you go hmmmm.
Arozarena hits a ton of groundballs, just like Garcia. Arozarena has a GB/FB of 3.25. That’s extreme so the numbers will normalize but in the prior two seasons, that number was 1.33 and 1.8. Garcia has a 1.83 GB/FB.
The main differences I see between the two players are in the plate discipline numbers. Arozarena is relatively patient and won’t chase, as the O-Swing% has been at 26% the last three seasons. Garcia has been above 30% in each of the last three seasons with a 40% this year. Yuck. But the contact rates are much better for Garcia. In the zone, it’s around 80% while it’s at 70% in general. Arozarena has contact rates of 70% in the zone and 65% in general.
There’s optimism, though, on the chasing pitches front. The Rangers had a plan to shorten his swing and, while the results haven’t completely manifested in the chase rates yet, it’s an ongoing process and has yielded some good things. Here’s what Calliz Crabbe, a Rangers assistant hitting coach told The Athletic:
“So from center of mass, when they get into a negative move (away from the pitcher), it’s a big shift, which causes their head to move off the center, and also it causes them to lose a sense of what’s happening on the ground — how quickly can they return their foot back to the ground so that they can go ahead and make a decision from a good launch spot? So Adolis (had a) big movement laterally. And what happens is the (resulting) forward movement becomes disadvantageous. It tends to have a big positive (toward the pitcher) movement to it.”
The Rangers implemented a toe-tap to replace the way Garcia would pick up his front foot entirely. Crabbe said that this “keeps his hips the same height from the ground and, more importantly, results in less movement of Garcia’s head.” The end game of this is to increase pitch recognition so that Garcia becomes more selective at the plate.
I say this all the time, especially for new hitters – pitchers will keep probing to look for weakness then expose them when found. It’s all about how hitters adjust to the adjustments. It’s a fluid game of cat and mouse. If he can continue to harness the swing improvements and hone the pitch recognition to foster more discipline, then Garcia could be the next Arozarena.
The power is real for Garcia. You can look at the ISO numbers or just watch this:
His other home run was an oppo taco too off Dylan Bundy and he was robbed of another oppo home run as it bounced off the top of the railing in Tampa Bay.
He’s in the 85th percentile for sprint speed so the wheels are 2 legit to quit.
He’s an excellent defender who can play all three outfield positions, so that could provide a semblance of floor to playing time.
Now, Garcia has benefitted from a plethora of injuries. Ronald Guzman went down while Willie Calhoun and Danny Santana have been out. When those two return, Garcia could get sent down. If he keeps mashing, though, and continues to develop, an Arozarena-esque heater is not out of the question.
He’s rostered in 1.6% of ESPN leagues so acquisition cost is minimal. It’s all upside. If he flames out, then whatever. Is it a high probability that he does become the next Arozarena? Probably not. Arozarena turning into THE Arozarena wasn’t a likely outcome either. With that said, it’s within the range of outcomes.