White Sox: Avisail Garcia is Channeling Steve Garvey

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 23: Avisail Garcia
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 23: Avisail Garcia /
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Avisail Garcia
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 20: Jose Abreu /

Better approach at the plate

This past season I saw Garcia take a different approach. He sought contact. Early in the count he would look for his pitch to take a hard swing. Late or behind in the count, he shortened his swing and adjusted to the pitch – even if the pitch were out of the strike zone. He simply looked to dial in on what was coming wherever, whatever it was to make contact and make something happen.

You never know what you’re going to get when contact is made.

Oh, what a difference a year makes. One year ago at this time the talk was whether the Sox should move on from the investment they made in this youngster. This offseason his name sits alongside none other than Jose Abreu as the rumored marketable talent other clubs are rumored to be pursuing of the Sox.

So where did this come from?

The biggest difference in Garcia that I’ve observed is a change in philosophy. Last offseason he chose to get in better shape, increasing his strength and flexibility, while dropping some weight to add quickness and increase his energy. The decision to make the change facilitated the change itself.

People will call out the exit velocity of his homeruns, the arm strength and outfield assist totals, and the “mini Miggie” resemblance. I think it’s time to credit his maturity and approach. This is a smart player. If you don’t believe that, stop and consider this kid willfully changed his approach, aspired for more, held himself accountable… and then went out and hit .330. Yikes!

And now for the $64,000 question: what’s next?

Maybe Garicia goes out again and hits for a high average, strokes 20-25 home runs, and drive in 80-100 runs. That would be another great year and a likely follow-up All-Star bid. Or maybe like so many pundits are conveniently predicting, he regresses a bit and still has a good year but doesn’t hit .330. Or maybe – just maybe – he outdoes his 2017 performance and smashes everyone’s expectations including his own.

Anything is possible. Which is precisely the point he made in 2017.