After being used only sparingly by the Detroit Tigers for a few years, Avisail Garcia was traded to the Chicago White Sox towards the end of the 2013 season. Since he’s been called “Little Miggy” in the past, this is definitely a guy worth looking a little deeper at.
So, let’s start by looking at his numbers, both in the majors and minors.
Avisail Garcia Stats
|2013 (White Sox)||161||49||19||5||21||3||.304|
It’s not hard to get excited by that, especially when we remember that he won’t even be 23 until mid-June.
If we look at only the numbers he achieved with the White Sox last year and extrapolate those paces to a 550 at-bat season this is what we’d get.
Avisail Garcia 2013 Stats Extrapolated
I don’t know that a season like that would remind anyone of Miguel Cabrera. But a viable option in any fantasy league? Absolutely. But the question, of course, is can we realistically expect it?
- The Bad
You should definitely temper your expectations in regards to his power. Garcia has never had more than 14 homers in a single-season. While he’s never had the equivalent of a full MLB season’s worth of at-bats, it’s not terribly likely that 14 homers will translate to 20 or more with the extra swings. At the very least, that kind of jump isn’t likely in 2014, as power tends to come to guys as they get into their mid-late 20’s.
Also, Garcia’s strength as a hitter seems to be his average. The sample size isn’t great, but the .379 MiLB batting average and overall solid average in the majors tells me that he should be trying to hit line drives to get on base and not swing for the fences.
Even the extrapolated 17 HR’s that you see above seems a bit optimistic. In reality, if he’s going to be a strong batting average guy, then you probably shouldn’t rely on Avisail Garcia to hit anything more than 10-15 homers in 2014.
My other big concern comes around Garcia’s potential playing time. Right now, MLB Depth Charts has him as the White Sox lone right fielder. The problem is that Adam Eaton, Alejandro De Aza, and Dayan Viciedo are all good enough players to earn significant playing time. With Jose Abreu playing first and the dream duo of Adam Dunn/Paul Konerko playing DH, there aren’t really any options outside of the outfield.
What does to young players (Garcia and Eaton in this case) is it puts a strong weight on how well they start. Now, I’m not saying that Robin Ventura will bench Garcia if he takes an 0-for-4 on Opening Day or anything like that. But the age potentially works against Garcia here. If he gets off to a consistently slow start, then a possible trip to the minors would loom. We’re obviously getting ahead of ourselves here but if you’re thinking about drafting Garcia, that is something to keep in the back of your head. This risk is largely eliminated if the Sox make any moves to thin the outfield out a little bit.
- The Good
You’ve gotta like the consistently strong batting averages. It’s an awful lot to expect a guy that young with such limited experience in the MLB level to hit .300, but I absolutely believe that he’ll be above .280. As Nash has pointed out, you want your team to come away with something around a .275 average, so he’s above the curve in that department.
Also, if you looked at the lineup linked above, you’ll see that Garcia is projected to be batting fifth in what could be a decent lineup. That’s a great spot to maximize numbers like runs and RBI. Look at a player like Allen Craig. He’s topped 90 RBI in each of the last two seasons, driving in 92 with only 22 homers in 2012, and 97 with only 13 homers in 2013.
The two stats are often intertwined, but you can certainly be good in one without being great in the other. I don’t know that I’m putting Garcia in Craig’s class as a hitter just yet, but if you’re targeting Craig and miss him, you can get something potentially similar with Avisail Garcia.
- 2014 Projections
For the sake of being comprehensive, let’s take a look at a few sets of numbers. We’ll look at projections from Tanner of Bell of Smart Fantasy Baseball, my own projections from last month’s White Sox Preview, as well as the projections of Fangraphs, ESPN and Yahoo. Of course, we’ll also take a look at what I think he’ll do.
Avisail Garcia Projections
|White Sox Preview||500||70||16||68||10||.276|
I’ve changed a bit since the preview. As you can see, I think the other RBI totals and batting average are perhaps a bit light. I like him batting fifth in that lineup and at a great hitter’s park. On the other hand, even in the hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field, much more than about 14 homers is really getting optimistic.
This is definitely a guy who’s a lot more valuable in keeper/dynasty leagues. But even in a one-and-done league, he can absolutely be a starting outfielder on a championship team, especially in a 4-5 outfielder league. He won’t excel anywhere, but Avisail Garcia projects well to give some value everywhere.