With newly signed outfielder Austin Jackson in the fold, would it make sense for the White Sox to give Avisail Garcia more at bats as a designated hitter? Jackson is the likely starting center fielder for the Sox in 2016, with Eaton and Cabrera flanking him. That leaves Garcia out of a position, however he could end up as the teams designated hitter.
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The one problem with this whole scenario is that the Sox have Adam LaRoche as their designated hitter. But, would it make sense to platoon the two of them? Since LaRoche has much better numbers versus right-handed pitching than left-handed pitching, wouldn’t it make sense to platoon the two of them? Garcia could face the lefties when they start (LaRoche would face RHP), not to mention make spot starts in the outfield along with J.B. Shuck.
There are multiple issues with platooning Garcia. Since he is so young, would it really make sense to just use him against left-handed pitching? I realize he could start in the outfield, however I think it makes sense
for his best long-term development for him to get consistent at-bats. I don’t think Triple-A is going to do much for him, as he has already destroyed that level. If they do use him in the designated hitters role, there are some concerns. First, could he handle it psychologically? It is a big difference to hit four or five times in a game, and spend the rest of it on the bench. When a player is playing defense as well, it takes his mind off of a poor at bat. If he is the designated hitter, he doesn’t have this same luxury. Another issue is that Garcia still has the ability to be a decent right fielder. They may not want him out there late, but I don’t think he is as bad as he has shown so far.
Since the White Sox are in a “win-now” mode, it makes it harder to make this very decision. Garcia may be the fourth best outfielder on their team, not to mention the ideal fit for the White Sox designated hitter role, along with Adam LaRoche. On the flip side, Garcia does have All-Star ability, therefore the Sox should be extremely careful when handling his development process.
Overall, I am still a believer in Avisail Garcia. Are there potentially better options on paper heading into 2016. Sure, but Garcia has all of the talent to be a very good major league player. I am not sure if he will ever be a superstar player, however it is unlikely that he has come close to reaching his potential. Keep in mind the fact that he only has one full season in the majors under his belt. On top of that, the only full season he played (2015) was a year removed from a major shoulder injury. Garcia may never end up becoming Miguel Cabrera, but he is likely to be better than Dayan Viciedo. Be patient Sox fans, you might enjoy the reward.