2020 was such a strange year for everybody in Major League Baseball. It is often said that MLB players feed off of the crowd’s energy. That was in full display throughout last season as numerous players around the league had the worst year of their careers. One of those players was newly signed Brewers outfielder Avisaíl García. Granted, the Brewers only played 60 games last season, so it wasn’t much of a sample size. Should we be concerned with how Avisaíl García played last year? Let’s take an in depth look at what we can expect from the Brewers starting right fielder.
In 2020, Lorenzo Cain opted out of the season after 5 games due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. That saw Avisaíl García get the start in center field instead of the anticipated right field. He played 44 games in center field and 5 games in right field. No matter where he was in the outfield, he was excellent. He posted a perfect fielding percentage at 1.000 and committed 0 errors. It was his first season with 0 errors since 2016.
Also, he even got a double play from center field on August 8 against the Reds when Joey Votto hit a fly ball to Garcia in center field, allowing Shogo Akiyama to tag up on third base and attempt to score. But Avisaíl García had different plans and threw a perfect ball to Omar Narvaez who tagged Akiyama out at home. Needless to say, Avisaíl García had a terrific year defensively. Although he had an incredible defensive year, it did not translate to his offense. Throughout the season, he batted .238 with 2 HR, and 15 RBI in 53 games. The .238 batting average was the lowest of his career as a starter. He also had a career low OPS at .659. Even though he struggled mightily with his hitting, he still posted a decent on base percentage at .333. That was the third best of his career.
One highlight from his 2020 season came on 8/15 when the Brewers beat the rivaled Cubs 6-5 in 10 innings thanks to Avi’s go-ahead double in the top of the 10th inning. His struggles could be from a number of reasons. Anywhere from the MLB getting rid of in-game video, to the new position that he had to play that added an increased amount of wear and tear on his legs.
What to Expect in 2021
The Brewers are back to playing a full 162 game season in 2021. That is important because it gives struggling hitters such as Avisaíl García time to correct their mistakes and get out of their slumps. With the return of Lorenzo Cain, García will be the starting right fielder for the season. Expect the same kind of defense that you saw from him in 2020. He has a career fielding percentage of .981. He also has a cannon for an arm and can throw out almost anyone.
Also, according to Sophia Minnaert, Avisaíl García lost 30 pounds during the off-season. Going from 250 pounds to 220 should improve both his speed and his durability. She goes on to say that he feels lighter but just as strong. The Brewers are getting Avisaíl García in the best shape of his life this season.
Another early candidate for #BSOML is a leaner Avisaíl García. He dropped over 30 pounds from last season thanks to a cleaner diet of eliminating salt and sugar during the week. He feels lighter and just as strong. Cc @AdamMcCalvy.
— Sophia Minnaert (@SophiaMinnaert) February 23, 2021
I am also expecting Avi García’s bat to pick up this season. Not only is he feeling just as strong after losing 30 pounds. But, he is back to his normal position and the use of in-game video is also back. When the Brewers signed him during the 2019 off-season, they were getting a player coming off of one of his best seasons.
In 2019 with the Rays, García batted .282 with 20 HR and 72 RBI. If he can return to his 2019 form, he can be a key contributor to the Brewers offense behind Christian Yelich and Keston Hiura. After signing a two year deal with a club option for a third, Avisaíl will need to have a much better year than he did in 2020 if he wants to return to the Brew Crew in 2022.
I wouldn’t worry too much about the 2020 season. It was filled with so many ups and downs and unforeseen circumstances, that it took its toll on many of baseball’s top players. Avisaíl García has always been a solid player. In his career he has a .271 batting average which is very respectable. Throughout his career, every time he has a bad season, he follows it up with another good season. So in 2021, with Garcia in the best shape of his life, expect him to have the best season of his life.
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