Chicago White Sox: 1 improved player is making a huge impact

(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /

There are few players in this league who could start in right field one night then be starting at second base the next day. Leury Garcia of the Chicago White Sox is one of those players. Over the course of his career, he has also made starts in center field, third base, left field, and shortstop.

He has even made two pitching appearances. Not only can he play multiple positions but he is an above-average defender. On Friday, he flashed the leather snagging a line drive with a diving effort in right field. Garcia’s versatility is one of the reasons he is the longest-tenured player on the White Sox.

Leury Garcia has been making a huge impact on the Chicago White Sox in 2021.

Garcia was acquired in 2013 in exchange for Alex Rios and has been serving as a swiss army knife ever since. He has been an effective player for the White Sox. Since 2017, Garcia has batted .270 or higher every season. Garcia has always been a capable hitter. In 2019, he served as the White Sox primary leadoff hitter. He batted .279 and set career highs in home runs (8), RBI (40), doubles (27), and runs scored (93). His 2020 season was cut short due to a torn ligament in his thumb.

Heading into the 2021 season, he was expected to serve as a utility man off of the bench. On the depth chart, he was the team’s fifth outfielder. However, injuries forced him into an everyday role with the team. Unfortunately, Garcia got off to a painfully slow start. He hit just .207 in April. His batting average rose slightly by the end of May but he still stood at a dreadful .234 mark.

However, when the calendar flipped to June, Garcia began to flip the switch. He has quietly been one of the more impactful players in the White Sox lineup. On June 8th, he hit a huge RBI triple in the eighth inning against the Blue Jays that provided the White Sox two key insurance runs. It was his second hit of the night. The next night he scored a run for the second straight game.

In the White Sox 15-2 blowout win over the Tigers on June 12th, Garcia had a monster game. He had two hits, two runs scored, three RBIs, and drew a pair of walks. He had another multi-hit and game the following day, driving in a run with an RBI double. He later drove home another run by drawing a bases-loaded walk.

Garcia was instrumental in the White Sox series against the Tampa Bay Rays. On June 13th, Garcia hit a double in the third inning, of the first game of the series. Two batters later he scampered home on a wild pitch to manufacture one of only two runs the White Sox would score that evening.

His heads-up baserunning would come into play again the next day. He singled in the fourth inning, one of two hits he would have on the night, and then came around to score on a throwing error, avoiding a tag with a nifty slide into home. He extended his run-scoring streak in the series finale while also adding a hit in the White Sox 8-7 victory over the Rays.

His hot stretch continued on June 22nd in Pittsburgh. With the White Sox trailing by two, Garica kept a rally alive in the seventh inning with a single. This allowed Yasmani Grandal to come up and gave them the lead in the game on the next pitch. The White Sox would go onto lose that game, adding another loss to a five-game losing streak.

With the White Sox desperate for a win on the final day of the road trip Garcia provided the spark. He opened the scoring with a solo shot to right field for his first home run of the season. The White Sox would win 4-3.

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Garcia has been the White Sox’s most improved player since the start of the season. Part of that is because he was playing so poorly in the first month of the season. He has been able to raise his average to .244. In his last 30 games, Luery is hitting .276 with 11 RBIs and 16 runs scored. While most fans wouldn’t pencil Garcia into their dream White Sox starting lineup, he has proved that he is a nice piece you want on your roster.