Avisail Garcia

From BR Bullpen


Avisail Antonio Garcia

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 4", Weight 240 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Oufielder Avisail Garcia reached the majors with the Detroit Tigers in 2012.

Garcia was signed by the Tigers in 2007 (the scouts were Alejandro Rodriguez and Pedro Chavez) and made his pro debut the following year with the VSL Tigers, hitting .298/.342/.449 with 7 home runs and 34 RBI in 63 games. He was among the Venezuelan Summer League leaders in home runs (tied for 4th with Quintin De Cuba, Luis Alvarez and Rogelio Noris), total bases (110, tied for 4th with Marco Yepez), slugging (5th, between Noris and Henry Henry) and hits (73, tied for 5th). He was named the VSL Tigers Player of the Year.

Coming stateside in 2009, he began the year with the Lakeland Flying Tigers, appearing in 3 games before being sent to the West Michigan Whitecaps. He hit .264/.289/.324 in 81 games for the Whitecaps, putting together an 11-game hitting streak in August. He had 13 outfield assists but 10 errors. In winter ball, he went 0 for 3 with a run for the Caribes de Anzoategui. Back with West Michigan the next summer, he improved to .281/.313/.356 while cutting his error total to 6 in 125 games. He stole 20 bases in 24 tries. Strike-zone judgement was an issue, with 20 walks to 113 whiffs in 524 plate appearances. Baseball America still rated him as the #9 prospect in the Detroit chain. With the Caribes in 2010-2011, he was 1 for 13.

Garcia returned to Lakeland in 2011, hitting .264/.297/.389 with 11 homers and 56 RBI. His BB/K rate got even worse with 18 walks to 132 strikeouts. He was third in the Florida State League in strikeouts, trailing only Wade Gaynor and Daniel Fields. Baseball America ranked him as the 10th-best Detroit prospect and as having the best arm of any minor leaguer Tiger outfielder. He was 3 for 12 with 3 runs for Anzoategui that winter.

After splitting most of 2012 between Lakeland (.289/.324/.447 in 67 G) and the AA Erie SeaWolves (.312/.345/.465 in 55 G), he was called up to the majors in late August. For the season in the minors, he had 8 triples, 78 runs, 23 steals in 31 tries, 15 assists and 18 walks to 95 strikeouts. He made his big league debut against the Chicago White Sox on August 31st, entering the game as a rightfielder in the 8th inning and never reaching the plate. The next day, he earned a start in right and hit 8th against the Sox and went 1-for-3 with an RBI. He walked against Francisco Liriano his first time up. Later on, he singled off Nate Jones to score Delmon Young. He saw regular action as Detroit's right fielder in September and hit .319/.379/.319 in 23 games. He was then 6 for 18 with a double and 4 RBI in the first two rounds of the 2012 postseason. He started Game 1 of the 2012 World Series; only two players had started a World Series Game 1 with fewer regular-season games: Joe Sewell (22 games, 1920) and Livan Hernandez (18, 1997), nearly giving Garcia the record for a position player. He was 0 for 5 with a walk in the Series, as Detroit was swept by the Giants.

Garcia was injured at the start of the 2013 season and only played his first game for the team on May 14th, after a short rehabilitation outing for Lakeland. However, he was not particularly sharp in Detroit, hitting only .241 in 30 games, with 2 homers and 10 RBI. He was sent down to the minors in early July, getting his first taste of AAA ball with the Toledo Mud Hens where he found his hitting stroke. He was hitting a scorching .382/.414/.549 in 32 games when the Tigers traded Garcia to the Chicago White Sox on July 30th, in a three-team deal that netted them SS Jose Iglesias from the Boston Red Sox. He hit .304/.327/.447 in 42 games with the White Sox, with 4 doubles, 5 homers and 21 RBI, claiming the starting right field job for himself. He was the Opening Day starter for the Sox at the position in 2014 and on April 8th had a 4 for 5 game with his first two homers of the season in a game against the Colorado Rockies. The next day, however, he attempted to make a diving catch on a sinking liner hit by the Rockies' D.J. LeMahieu, but plowed his left shoulder into the ground, tearing his labrum. He had to undergo surgery, and it seemed his season was over, but he did come back in mid-August and eventually played 46 games, hitting .244 with 7 homers and 29 RBI.

He was finally healthy at the start of the 2015 season and started the year hitting very well. By going 7 for 12 with 6 RBIs in a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics on May 15-17, he raised his batting average to .346, second in the American League and was even able to lift his OPS above that of teammate Jose Abreu. His 45 hits at the point were already more than he had had in 2014. Along with the comparisons to countryman Miguel Cabrera which he had earned since reaching the big leagues with the Tigers in 2012, he was also being compared with Bo Jackson because of his tremendous speed and athleticism on a body the size of a typical NFL running back. He finished the 2015 season at .257 with 13 homers and 59 RBIs in 148 games, disappointing numbers considering his strong start. In 2016, he had a similar season, hitting .245 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 120 games.

On April 14, 2017, he was part of a historic starting line-up for the White Sox against the Minnesota Twins, as all three outfielders were named "Garcia". Alongside Avisail in right field were Leury Garcia playing center and Willy Garcia making his major league debut in left. He had the best average in the American League in April, hitting .368 and kept it up over the next two months to be named the White Sox's representative at the 2017 All-Star Game. He had a spectacular game on September 14th when he went 5-for-5 and drove in 7 runs to lead Chicago to a 17-7 win over his old team, the Tigers. He completed what was his best season by a wide margin with a .330 average, 18 homers and 80 RBIs in 136 games. He also scored 75 runs, had 171 hits, and an OPS+ of 138. However, he was not able to sustain that level of production in 2018 as he fell back to .236 in 93 games, even though he set a career best with 19 homers. However, he had just 49 RBIs, his OBP fell from .380 to a dismal .281 and his OPS was just 96. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in late April, forcing him to miss two months of action.

Garcia was a free agent after the 2018 season, but given that he was coming off a poor year, and that he had only played up to his tremendous potential one year in the past five, there was not a lot of interest in his services, including from the White Sox who had decided to move on. On January 18, 2019, he reached a conditional one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. He was guaranteed $3.5 million and could earn up to $6 million if he managed to play regularly. It turned out to be a great move for the Rays, as Avisail became a regular with one of the best teams in the American League, splitting his time between right field and DH. On May 28th, he was gifted a home run by Toronto Blue Jays RF Randal Grichuk, as leading off the 3rd inning, he hit what appeared to be a routine fly ball, only to watch Grichuk lose it against the backdrop of Tropicana Field's roof. The ball landed behind Grichuk and bounced to the right field corner, while Garcia circled the bases easily for an inside-the-park homer. He ended up playing 125 games and hitting .282 with 20 homers and 72 RBIs and an OPS+ of 112. In the postseason, he homered in Tampa's win over the Oakland Athletics in the Wild Card Game, then went 5 for 16 (.313) in their five-game loss to the Houston Astros in the Division Series.

Having reestablish his value, Avisail signed a two-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers before the 2020 season, which was abbreviated to 60 games by the Coronavirus pandemic. He played in 53 of those games, hitting .238 with 2 homers and 15 RBIs in what was a truly disppointing year: his OPS+ fell to 78, the lowest of his career. Still, the Brewers made it into the expanded postseason, and while he went 4 for 8 in the two games against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Wild Card Series, it was not enough to upend the juggernaut the Brewers were up against. He bounced back on 2021 with a solid year as Milwaukee won a division title, hitting .262 in 135 games with 29 homers and 86 RBIs. His OPS+ shot back up, to 117, but this time a good season was followed by a poor postseason as he was only 2 for 15 with 8 strikeouts, both hits being singles, as the Brewers lost the Division Series to the Atlanta Braves, three games to one.

Given his up-and-down last few seasons, Avisail was considered to be a bit of a risk when he hit the free agent market following the 2021 season. He had to find an unconventional landing spot, the Miami Marlins, who were willing to offer him $53 million over four years to shore an outfield that was among the least productive in the majors.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • AL All-Star (2017)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 2 (2019 & 2021)


Further Reading[edit]

  • Christina De Nicola: "Marlins set to sign Avisaíl García (source)", mlb.com, November 28, 2021. [1]
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "Avisail Garcia finally finding consistency in White Sox lineup", USA Today, May 18, 2015. [2]
  • John Perrotto: "Avisail Garcia having All-Star season despite unrest from his native homeland Venezuela", USA Today Sports, June 22, 2017. [3]

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