Chicago White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia has been touted as a potential 5-tool talent since he was acquired in 2013 from the Detroit Tigers in the three-team trade that sent Jake Peavy to the Boston Red Sox.
The hype surrounding the Venezuelan native was palpable to the point that he was being lauded as a franchise changing player, the centerpiece of a White Sox reshaping process that would hopefully pay dividends over an extended period of time.
Garcia’s biggest fan seems to be Executive Vice President Ken Williams, who made a comment to reporters prior to Thursday’s game about the young outfielder sporting a 30/30 ceiling. That is 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a single season.
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Williams made a similar comment regarding Garcia’s speed in February as reported by MLB.com’s Scott Merkin:
"“‘I believe Avi Garcia can be a 30-stolen base guy.'”"
That’s quite a bold statement that Garcia could swipe 30-plus bags and take 30 balls out of the park all in the same season, considering that only 38 players have done so in MLB history and the last 30/30 player was a guy named Mike Trout and even he hasn’t repeated the feat since his 2012 season.
Williams isn’t the only one who’s been touting the 23 year-old outfielder. According to Chicago Sun-Times’ Daryl Van Schouwen, one of Garcia’s now former teammates had his own ceiling scripted for the right-fielder prior to the ’14 season:
"“Captain Paul Konerko described the 6-4, 240-pound Garcia, who hit .304 with five home runs and 21 RBI in 42 games with the White Sox, as “a monster” who looks capable of hitting 40 homers.”"
At least there’s some corroboration to William’s comments by a player who reached the 4o-home run plateau himself.
Sure, we’ve heard the “future superstar” label and I have no doubt that Garcia could in fact be a perennial All-Star but with speed and power at a premium in today’s game, it’s hard to find a player who can be a plus-performer in both categories.
What follows is an attempt to answer the question of whether or not Garcia can add his name to the 30/30 club and if so, how much space is between his current stature and that ceiling?
Next: Garcia: 30 stolen bases