White Sox veteran outfielder enjoyed career-highs in 2017, but can he have similar success moving forward in the majors?
Heading into the 2017 season, it seemed as though White Sox utility-man Leury Garcia was on his way out of baseball. He was constantly up and down between Charlotte and Chicago, and when he was with the Sox his production was mediocre at best. However, things changed this past year, as Garcia posted career highs in virtually all major offensive categories. Will this continue?
The answer to that question is difficult to answer as he missed a significant chunk of the season with injuries. Regardless, Garcia played all three outfield positions plus both middle infield spots and made a total of three errors in 86 trips to the field when healthy. He posted a 0.1 DWAR at all positions, which showed his defensive versatility and skill set.
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Garcia improved the most this past season at the plate. For a player who never batted above .230 (.229 in 2016) at the big league level prior to 2017, Garcia’s batting average of .270 was surprising, to say the least. Another shocker was his power outburst, and while it didn’t reach double digits (nine) keep in mind Garcia only went deep twice before the ’17 campaign. Anyone who wants to do some simple math will tell you he beat his major league total in one season by seven.
My question with Garcia is simple, does his success correlate with a new manager at the helm? Just by looking at his at-bat totals from 2013-16, Garcia only made 308 trips to the plate in that time span (52 with the Texas Rangers). Meanwhile, this past season he went to the dish an even 300 times, which is only eight times fewer in one year. If you want to look at his average at-bat total from ’13-16, Garcia only took 77 official trips to the plate per season. So, should Rick Renteria be credited with Garcia’s success?
By looking at the way Garcia seemed to play last season, yes. Not only did he succeed, but he also failed. When a player fails on the field, it means he is taking risks with confidence. Will he always be successful? Absolutely not, which can be seen by Garcia’s 61.5 percent stolen base success rate. That is not elite by any stretch of the imagination, but you want to see your players taking chances on the field as long as they are not reckless.
Overall, the main question is will this continue? Referring to what has been mentioned above, two things have to happen. Garcia must remain healthy while playing with relentless aggression. Any player with great speed needs to play that way, especially when they are more of a role player. Will he be here when the club finally contends? Who knows, but this is the kind of option you want coming off the bench in a tight game, Sox fans.