The story of the Chicago Cubs’ minor league system this year is Robel Garcia. After being completely out of the Major League system and playing in Italy for five years, the Cubs took a chance on him and signed him to a minor league contract.
The Chicago Cubs Robel Garcia has raked, hitting 24 home runs between the minors and majors. However, there are a lot of holes in his swing that pitchers might be able to exploit once they figure him out.
For starters, He swings and misses at 86 percent of off-speed pitches, and 56 percent of his strikeouts came on breaking balls. Garcia hunts fastballs and usually drills them, it’s the secondary stuff that gets him.
He is 8-for-24 with three home runs in his short time in the Majors; however, 11 of his 16 outs are strikeouts. He is 3-for-9 against breaking balls, with five of the six outs being strikeouts. Garcia has an expected batting average of .142 on breaking balls, and an average exit velocity of just 81.5 mph.
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The story of his minor league season was not only home runs, but it was also the strikeouts. In the Cubs’ minor league system, he struck out 34 percent of the time. One player in the major leagues has a higher rate than that, Wil Myers of the Padres at 36 percent. Garcia’s MLB K rate is 41 percent.
The question long term is if Garcia will ever be able to make enough contact to stick around or hit anything else other than a fastball. Pitchers will eventually figure out that Garcia can’t hit anything else, and it’s up to him to make the necessary adjustments.
Garcia has been better at second base than the current offensive black hole that is there now with Daniel Descalso and Addison Russell, but playing Garcia every day gives a better chance of him being exposed, and quite frankly he is not ready to play every day at the Major League level yet.
He has been in the big leagues for just a few weeks and is also only just 26, so there is still time for Garcia to improve his game and learn how to hit breaking balls consistently. Until he cuts down on the strikeout rate, the questions will always be there.
Garcia is an excellent player and an incredible story, but there is really a lot of work still needed for him to become a polished everyday player, and he’s not there yet.
Garcia has not hit that rookie wall yet that all rookies hit, and with his profile, that could look ugly if he doesn’t make more consistent contact. The ball jumps off his bat, so he will be fine if he hits it, the problem is just hitting it.
He is such a fun player, but he can be way more fun if he makes a few adjustments to his game, and only time will tell.
*Stats current as of 7/18