Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is a reputation everybody is aware of.
On high of himself as soon as being the high prospect in the sport, his dad, Vladimir Guerrero, is a Hall of Famer. So when Guerrero Jr. is tied for the MLB dwelling run lead, nobody is actually that stunned.
But there’s one other identify up there with him: Adolis Garcia.
Garcia has been a standout rookie for the Rangers this season. Since he was referred to as up in early April, he has been crushing the ball, which has included 5 dwelling runs in his previous 5 video games to tie Guerrero for the MLB dwelling run lead at 16.
But the place did he come from? And is this energy surge for actual? Let’s have a look.
Garcia has at all times been an enormous energy hitter
There are at all times hitters who undergo stretches at the plate after they can do no improper. Every pitch appears to discover the barrel of the bat they usually go on a quick energy run earlier than coming again down to Earth. Is that the case with Garcia?
It actually would not seem like it. Garcia was by no means thought-about a high prospect when he was in the minors with the Cardinals, however energy was at all times his calling card. Fangraphs tagged his 2019 prospect profile with a 55-grade for uncooked energy, which alerts an above-average instrument.
And that energy confirmed up in video games in the minors. In 2017, he clubbed 15 dwelling runs in 124 video games between Double-A and Triple-A and adopted that up with 22 lengthy balls in 2018 at Triple-A earlier than he was referred to as up to the majors for a 21-game stint. He struggled mightily in that stretch, putting out 41.2 p.c of the time and batting simply .118. He returned to Triple-A in 2019 and once more knocked the cowl off the ball to the tune of 32 dwelling runs in 132 video games.
The energy providing wasn’t sufficient, nonetheless, and he was designated for project in December that 12 months and traded to the Rangers for money.
Garcia had a sip of espresso with Texas in 2020 for six at-bats, however he had no hits.
Before he signed with the Cardinals in 2017, Garcia hung out taking part in in the Cuban National Series with Ciego de Ávila and with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league. He confirmed off that energy with the Tigers in Cuba, clubbing 26 dwelling runs in his closing two seasons over 171 video games between 2014 and 2015 earlier than launching 4 dwelling runs in a quick 32-game stint with the Giants in 2016.
Garcia nearly did not have the probability to play this 12 months
Surely, the Rangers had to know this breakout was coming, proper? Well, it actually would not seem that method.
Garcia was acquired by Texas in 2019 and performed briefly for the staff in 2020. But on Feb. 10, 2021, he was designated for project. When he went unclaimed on waivers, he was despatched to the minors, although he did obtain a spring coaching invite. He seemed productive whereas he was there, launching three homers and posting an OPS of 1.170 in simply 32 at-bats.
The efficiency stems from his work with Rangers hitting teacher Luis Ortiz, who labored with Garcia at the Rangers’ minicamp final 12 months after he was acquired from the Cardinals.
“He knew there was work to be done,” Ortiz told the Dallas Morning News. “The talent was there, but we knew and he knew that his skill at making contact and keeping the ball to the middle was something he really had to master. He knew he had to either learn how to hit that pitch out of the zone or take. But anything I told him he was willing to try. He was open to taking risk.”
Garcia’s brother had a productive MLB stint
If Garcia’s identify sounds acquainted, it is as a result of it ought to. Braves followers will acknowledge his brother, Adonis Garcia, who was an impactful bat for the staff again in 2015 and 2016.
Adonis Garcia equally bounced round in the minors earlier than touchdown with Atlanta, however as soon as referred to as up he made a direct affect, ending the 2015 season with 10 homers and a .277 batting common in 191 at-bats to grow to be simply the second Braves participant in historical past to hit 10 dwelling runs in below 200 at-bats.
While Adonis Garcia seemed like a productive piece for the Braves in 2015, his affect was much less so in 2016. He did hit 14 dwelling runs, nevertheless it took him 134 video games to get there. All instructed, Fangraphs listed his WAR at 0.6, falling below the 0.7 mark he posted in 2015 in 76 fewer video games.
Adonis Garcia signed with the LG Twins of the KBO League for a 12 months in 2018 and has since bounced round with a number of Mexican League groups.
Is Garcia’s energy for actual?
Can the Cuban outfielder who was twice designated for project hold this up?
His minor league historical past of hitting for energy would definitely point out that the dwelling runs are for actual. What about behind his present MLB numbers?
All indications are that he’ll proceed to sting the ball. His common exit velocity is in the 96th percentile in the majors and his hard-hit charge is in the ninety fifth percentile, according to Baseball Savant. His barrel charge is in the 99th percentile, and solely Shohei Ohtani is barreling up the ball greater than his 12.9 p.c barrel per plate look charge.
Garcia is batting .288 coming into play Thursday, and that does appear seemingly to go down, no less than a bit of bit. While he is making loads of exhausting contact, Garcia is additionally putting out 28.8 p.c of the time and strolling simply 4.7 p.c of the time. His chase charge of 39.4 p.c is in the third percentile, which is problematic.
Still, Baseball Savant has his anticipated batting common at .273, so whereas the plate self-discipline highlights some potential considerations, he is hitting the ball exhausting sufficient to overcome these points for the second. And primarily based on his batted-ball profile, listed here are the names listed as comparable to Garcia by Baseball Savant: Tyler O’Neill, Ohtani, Fernando Tatis Jr., Rafael Devers and Franmil Reyes. That’s not too shabby.
As for his supervisor, Chris Woodward appears to assume he’ll do exactly nice.
“Adolis is going to have to grow and learn just like every young hitter in the big leagues,” Woodward told Sports Illustrated. “They’re going to figure you out. But I’ve already seen it. I’ve already seen him adjust so many times, even in mid-at-bat. He’ll chase a pitch and kind of nod his head. The next time that guy throws that pitch over the plate, he waffles it into right-center field.”