When the Milwaukee Brewers signed Avisail Garcia during the 2019 offseason, it was a move that surprised people. But, it also made sense.
Garcia would add outfield depth behind Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun. But instead of being the fourth outfielder, he almost immediately had to be the starting center fielder and lead-off hitter.
With all things considered, Garcia was a signing needed for outfield depth. Was he worth his two year, $20 million deal with a third-year club option? Next year will probably show a better picture than this season.
Avisail Garcia, along with the rest of the Milwaukee Brewers offense, struggled at the plate in 2020. Garcia ended with a .238 batting average, had 15 RBIs and only two home runs. The 29-year-old is a career .270 hitter, but 2020 wasn’t ideal at the plate. Garcia ended the year with 49 strike outs, which was higher than his total season hits of 43.
During the 2017-2019 seasons, Garcia averaged almost 20 home runs each year. Even with the 60 game season, he was nowhere near the same type of production. Defensively, Garcia wasn’t bad, but it is hard to fill the shoes of Lorenzo Cain.
Lorenzo Cain Opts Out
The 2020 Season didn’t begin until July 24th. With a shortened season, there were lots of uncertainties. During the first full week of regular season games, over a dozen players tested positive for Covid-19, including St. Louis Cardinals players. The Brewers’ first home series was cancelled. When the second game was cancelled on Saturday, August 1st, Lorenzo Cain also announced he would be opting out of the 2020 season.
In an instant, Milwaukee lost their starting center fielder, a huge defensive presence, and a clubhouse leader. Garcia went from splitting right field with Ryan Braun to playing center almost every single game. He also hit in the lead-off spot most of the season, which isn’t an easy position to be in. Before the 2020 season, Garcia hit in the leadoff spot ten times.
While I can’t give Garcia an amazing grade, it’s also hard to truly give him a low one. Garcia was put in a very uncomfortable spot. Losing Cain for the season was huge. It was a weird season. Garcia had to suddenly play a very hard position. He played 49 games out of 60, and 44 of those were at center. He also had to hit at the top of the order, which he wasn’t used to doing either.
We all have to hope he learned from this season, and completely blows everyone away during the 2021 season. If he doesn’t, I don’t see Milwaukee selecting the club option for him. His 2020 was the definition of average. His 2021 can’t be.
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