Skip to content

2002/09/09

You’re not the first to predict stardom for Karim Garcia. John Sickels wrote:

… he remains a great prospect. He has great hitting mechanics, a smooth power swing, and hits the ball exceptionally hard … A cannon arm and good range in the outfield make his defense an asset.

The problem is, he wrote that five years ago when he was still playing in the Dodgers organization. Five teams and 947 major-league plate appearances later, Karim Garcia is finally living up to some of the lofty projections made for him. Consider his numbers with the Indians versus the rest of his major-league career, prorated over 650 PA:

 
AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
SO
AVG
OBP
SLG
OPS
CLE
614
94
203
29
0
58
174
25
116
.331
.358
.663
1.020
Others
609
72
132
17
9
20
70
37
148
.217
.260
.376
.636

Will the real Karim Garcia please stand up?

The simple explanation for Garcia’s sudden emergence is that Garcia has feasted on some of the worst pitching in the AL. Since his call up on August 6, the Tribe has played 19 games against the Devil Rays, Rangers, Tigers and White Sox and 12 against Oakland, Seattle, Anaheim and Boston. Against the first group, Garcia has hit .377/8/30 while managing only .277/3/9 against the second group. Not a shocking revelation, I know; I could probably find similar splits against these teams for most hitters in the American League. But what is true is that Garcia’s numbers are a bit inflated right now by the level of competition he’s faced. Another source of long-term concern is the lack of improvement in his walk rate. The drop in his strikeouts could indicate increased selectivity, but without a corresponding rise in walks I wouldn’t expect this transformation to last.

Mark Shapiro shouldn’t get overly excited about 180 PA and sign him to a long-term deal, but Garcia should fill the bill next year as an inexpensive source of power and production. His age has been questioned since A ball, but he supposedly turned 27 this year and is entering his peak years. He may never develop into a hitter as dangerous as Jim Thome, but he could be a solid regular for the next few seasons.

Advertisements

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: