Avisail Garcia had a great 2017. Now he will have high expectations going into next season and beyond.
Welcome to the Avisail Garcia story. Up next, Chapter six. Or more specifically, the sixth year of his career with the Chicago White Sox. The first four years look like a trivial set-up. The story got really exciting at year five, and we are all chomping at the bit to see how it progresses in year six.
What do you get when you take a talented young baseball player with great hand-eye coordination, strength and drive, and combine that with a willingness to change their behavior toward achieving a higher-level outcome? You get a player capable of doing something unexpected.
Up to now, Garcia has been forced to shoulder the pressure of living up to high expectations based on his potential. Now he’ll face a different kind of expectations having played to those previous high expectations, even higher actually.
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I don’t think anyone would fess up and say they believed Garcia would hit .330 in 2017. .330 is what great contact hitters do. Wade Boggs, Rod Carew, Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, George Brett, Jose Altuve – sure. But Garcia? Let’s just say that my expectations were more in the areas of power potential rather than contact potential. But there it is: .330.
Garcia ought to have a bumper sticker that reads, “Hits Happen”.
Most hitters will wait for their pitch and then swing authoritatively when they get it. Conversely, Frank Thomas got into the Hall of Fame with this almost “walk first” approach. I often thought when I watched him he defended the strike zone rather than attacked the pitch, but that speaks to how good he was. A pitcher was not going to force Frank to swing at something not to his advantage. And he rarely did.