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Ryan Garko

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Ryan Francis Garko

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[edit] Biographical Information

Ryan Garko broke in with the Cleveland Indians for one game in 2005, appeared in 50 games at the major league level in 2006, played more or less regularly in 2007, and was a regular in 2008. In his professional career, he has played catcher, DH, first base and outfield, although most of his major league appearances were at first base.

Garko was born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1981 but grew up in southern California where he was a high school All-American, setting records in five baseball categories, including home runs and RBI, and also getting a 4.2 GPA in his classes. He played in college for Stanford University. In his sophomore year he posted numbers of .368/.448/.562 and was chosen for the 2001 College World Series All-Tournament Team. In his junior year he put up .314/.430/.565. As a senior, his numbers were .402/.482/.703 and he was chosen for the 2003 College World Series All-Tournament Team. He was 0 for 5 with two walks and a sacrifice fly in the 2002 World University Championship.

He was drafted in the third round by the Cleveland Indians in 2003. He was signed by scout Don Lyle and started with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in the NYPL, hitting .273/.337/.406.

In 2004, at Kinston in the Carolina League, he had impressive numbers of .328/.425/.609 and was a Baseball America Second Team Minor League All-Star. Also that same year he was at Akron in the Eastern League, with a good performance of .331/.397/.523, and finished up at Buffalo of the International League, hitting .375 in 6 games.

In 2005, he was again at Buffalo, hitting .303/.384/.498. He came up to the Cleveland Indians for one game, striking out in his only at-bat in his major league debut on September 18th. He played in the 2005 Futures Game. Baseball America picked him as the 6th best prospect in the Cleveland Indians organization after the 2005 season.

In 2006, he did not do as well in Buffalo, with numbers of .248/.353/.421, but coming up to the major league team, he posted a batting average of .292 and a slugging percentage of .470 in 50 major league games. He also led the International League with 19 times hit by a pitch.

At the age of 25, Garko became a regular player for the Indians in 2007. This was not the original plan of manager Eric Wedge, who had Andy Marte playing third base and Casey Blake at first base to start the year. However, Marte failed to hit, so Blake went back to third base, and Garko was given a chance to play first, which he did not waste, hitting .289/.359/.483 with 29 doubles and 21 home runs in 484 at bats for a 119 OPS+. He was hit by 20 pitches, third in the 2007 AL after David DeJesus and Alex Rodriguez. He hit a home run in Game 1 of the ALDS against the New York Yankees.

In 2008, Garko fell to a 101 OPS+, not what one expects from a first baseman, as his line was .273/.346/.404. He hit 14 homers and drove in 90. He was third in the 2008 AL in times plunked, with 15, trailing Jason Giambi and Carlos Quentin. He started 2009 with a .285/.362/.464 line in 78 games for the Indians, looking resurgent. He was dealt to the San Francisco Giants for minor league pitcher Scott Barnes and faded to .235/.307/.330 in 40 games for the Giants.

The Seattle Mariners next signed Ryan, but he failed to make the team and was waived. The Texas Rangers picked him up but he went 3 for 33 with three walks and was long gone by the time the club made it to the 2010 World Series. For the minor league Oklahoma City RedHawks, he did not look much better, at .235/.326/.379.

For 2011, Ryan signed with the Samsung Lions. Hitting 6th on Opening Day, he was 0 for 3 with a walk in a 6-2 win over the KIA Tigers. He came back to the U.S. in 2012, first signing with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League. He hit .450 with an OPS of 1.219 in 16 games, raising the interest of big league teams once again. He signed with the Tampa Bay Rays, who assigned him to the AA Montgomery Biscuits. He hit pretty well again, with a line of .297/.386/.441 in 61 games, predominantly as a DH. The Colorado Rockies then gave him a shot before the 2013 season, but he failed to impress in spring training, and when he was let go in March, he decided to retire.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2007)

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