Monday, August 20, 2012

A Comp for Avisail Garcia?

According to Minor League Central, almost 2 out of every 3 balls in play by Avisail Garcia have been hit on the ground since he’s been in AA.  Garcia has a lot of speed though, so he can beat out a lot of infield hits, and therefore he’s been able to maintain a .300 AVG.  During his time in Lakeland, though, Garcia was only hitting a ground ball about 49.5% of the time.  Has Garcia changed his approach at AA?  And how will this translate to the majors?

I decided to look at ML players to see if I could find one that had similar balls in play percentages as Garcia.  The closest one I could find this year was Ben Revere:

Garcia (AA) – 14.6% LD | 66.4% GB | 16% FB | 3% Unknown | .356 BABIP
Revere (ML) – 20.7% LD | 65.2% GB | 14.1% FB | .342 BABIP (FanGraphs)

There are a lot of similarities here, especially when the walk rates are also compared (Garcia with a 3.4% BB rate and Revere with a 4.3% BB rate) as well as their speed.  This isn’t a perfect comparison, though.  Garcia has a much higher strikeout rate (18.4% compared to Revere’s 8.0%) and also much more power (.153 ISO compared to Revere’s .057).

Comp #2 - Howie Kendrick:

Garcia (AA) - 3.4% BB | 18.4% K | .153 ISO | 66.4% GB | .356 BABIP
Kendrick (ML) - 5.4% BB | 19.5% K | .105 ISO | 58.9% GB | .343 BABIP (FanGraphs)

Again, not perfect.  The underlining theme is that it's very hard to have a lot of power when hitting a lot of ground balls at the ML level.  I'd hate for Garcia to lose his power when he starts to face better pitching, something that looks inevitable if he continues with his approach at AA.

Because Garcia has the ability to hit for power, it makes me wonder if he really is consciously trying to hit more ground balls instead of hitting fly balls.  This could just be the product of facing better pitching, something that is just going to get harder as he moves up in the system.  

Or this is just a product of a small sample size of 44 games and he’ll be able to adjust.  

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