Miggy Jr. Fantasy sleeper. Future stud. Prince Fielder look-alike. These are just some of the terms and phrases that have been used to describe Avisail Garcia over the past few years. Ok, maybe not the last one. I’m pretty sure that was just a poor attempt at making an excuse for certain indiscretions by Fielder’s ex-wife. But the other terms have been thrown around for awhile now. Last season was supposed to be his coming out party, but a left shoulder injury sustained in April kept him out for over four months and derailed those plans. Is this the year that the soon to be 24-year-old Garcia breaks out?
The situation that Garcia finds himself in couldn’t be much better for a young hitter with significant power upside. US Cellular Field has ranked as the 3rd best park for home runs for right-handed hitters in each of the last three seasons. Hitting in the heart of the order behind on-base stalwarts Jose Abreu (.383 OBP in 2014 – 10th highest in MLB) and Adam LaRoche (.362 OBP – tied for 25th best) should provide him with ample RBI opportunities as well.
Of course, a player needs to hit the ball in the air to reach his power potential. This has been an issue for Garcia during his young career. Among players who have made at least 400 plate appearances across the 2013-14 seasons, Garcia’s 56.2% GB% was the 18th highest mark in MLB, above such notable sluggers like Skip Schumaker, Michael Bourn, and Emilio Bonifacio. That number has dropped to 49.4% in 120 PA this season, which places him 45th out of 181 qualifiers. That’s certainly a nice improvement, but still remains higher than players such as Elvis Andrus, Didi Gregorius, and Ben Revere. Not exactly ideal for a middle of the order bat.
When Garcia has managed to elevate the ball, it hasn’t resulted in much power thus far. Entering Wednesday’s play, he’s hit just 2 home runs and managed a measly .096 ISO through 29 games, while his 280.38 ft average fly ball distance ranks 111th among MLB qualifiers.
In terms of plate discipline, Garcia’s 20.8% K% is just about league average and slightly lower than his 22.4% career mark. However, his 4.2% BB% is slightly below his 5.0% career mark and well below the 7.9% MLB average this season.
Sounds like a bunch of doom and gloom, but something must be going right for Garcia to be sporting a .316/.350/.412 triple slash line, right? His 29.2% LD% is 13th best in MLB and has led to that .316 batting average. It’s also come with an unsustainable .391 BABIP, which, paired with his MLB-leading 17.3% SwStr%, is likely to send his batting average crashing down into the .270 range sooner rather than later.