Well, this is the first preview of 2015. Avisail Garcia was one of the three players I was most excited to see for the entire 2014 season, along with Adam Eaton and Jose Abreu. We did get a preview of Garcia in 2013 after arriving via the Jake Peavy trade last July. He was ok offensively, with a .304 batting average but a poor .327 OBP. This stems largely from the 5 walks, total in 168 plate appearances. Considering he is only 22, we can hope that his approach at the plate will become at least a little more patient. As far as his major league stats, there isn't a lot of power to speak of, or really any extra base prowess either. Again with age, hopefully some of that will come along. Finally, there are very few stolen bases to speak of, so speed isn't part of his skill set either.
Defensively, Avisail has been average, if slightly below. In 70 defensive chances with the White Sox in 2013, he only had one assist and unfortunately, two errors. According to the advanced metrics, especially Baseball Info Solutions which provides a kind of runs saved aggregate number, Garcia was right at zero, he didn't save any runs defensively, but at least he didn't come in with a negative number.
So why is there buzz around Garcia? Mostly it's based on his age and by extension his potential. According to some, he was the #2 prospect in the Tigers system before the trade, touting his potential as a fielder a power threat and speed threat. Just because those tools have completely materialized at the major league level yet, doesn't mean that his ceiling isn't high. Watching him mature and improve along with Eaton, Abreu and (hopefully) Davidson was going to be the highlight of a decidedly transitional year for the White Sox.
Which makes Wednesday's injury all the more disappointing. Garcia had a great game on Tuesday night along with Abreu. It was one of those moments that fans get to think, "what if?" What if this was going to be a preview of what was ahead for White Sox fans for the next few years, two big hitters who could just dominate a game. Maybe we should start thinking of a combo nickname like Garbreu. Unfortunately, all those fantasies and dreams were dashed by a hard fall and a torn labrum. I don't know if Garcia will fully recover or not, but his youth should work in his favor. A season ending injury, however, contains far too many variables to make any kind of prediction for his future. I hope he comes back in 2015 and still is capable of flashes of being a star player. I'm not ready to give up on Garbreu just yet.
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