White Sox Garcia and Sanchez Enjoying Winter League Success
Avisail Garcia and Carlos Sanchez are experiencing playoff baseball before the 2015 MLB season even begins. The Venezuelan Winter League regular season came to an end January 2nd, with the league’s round robin playoffs beginning the next day.
Making Up For Lost Time
Garcia is receiving valuable playing time after a shoulder injury limited the young outfielder to 59 major and minor league games in 2014. Playing for the Tigres de Aragua, Garcia appears to be feeling right at home, playing only 286 miles from his birthplace of Anaco, a city in the Anzoategui state of Venezuala. Through 34 winter league game Garcia owns .312/.366/.528 slash line with five home runs, 22 RBI, and .894 OPS, according to MLB.com. Saturday, in the first game of the playoffs, he went 2-4 with a double and a walk.
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If his performance in Venezuela is any indication of things to come on the Southside, White Sox fans should be excited, especially if that production is coming behind Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu in the lineup. Garcia also appears to be showing off his speed, hitting two triples and stealing four bases for El Tigres. That combination of power and speed will bode well for a player attempting to put together his first complete big league season since his debut in 2012. Known during his time in Detroit as “Mini Miggy,” a reference to Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera, Garcia has yet to play more than 72 games in a single season.
The White Sox are counting on Garcia staying on the field this year and fulfilling his potential. His superb winter league production must have them eager to have Garcia back in the states at the end of February when position players report to Glendale, Arizona, for spring training.
Carlos Sanchez, who also hails from Venezuela, is enjoying his second season with the Tiburones de La Guaira, sending out this tweet Friday, expressing his gratitude. The Spanish to English translation is, “I thank my God almighty that I am a Tiburon!”
Sanchez produced a .265/.343/.361 slash line and four stolen bases in 38 regular season winter league games for the Tiburones, according to MLB.com. His .704 OPS is significantly higher than the .569 OPS he produced in 28 games for the White Sox in 2014. Sanchez has worked primarily at second base, readying himself for the spring training competition to be the White Sox starting second baseman.
Carlos was the Venezuelan winter league’s Rookie of the Year last season, parlaying that success into an impressive 2014 with the Charlotte Knights that earned him a call up to the White Sox after Gordon Beckham was traded to the Angels in August. Clearly, this is a comfortable setting for Latin American players to hone their skills and grow as professional baseball players. The White Sox hope that growth will translate to the 2015 campaign, benefiting the organization and its fans.