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OF Avisaíl García
- AL All-Star selection in 2017
- Signed with Marlins on November 28, 2021 for 4 years/$53M.
- 2023 is his age-32 season
Heath Bell, Wei-Yin Chen, Mike Morse...Avisaíl García? If 2022 was representative of the player he’s going to be moving forward, the Venezuelan outfielder is a candidate to be added to this infamous list of terrible Marlins free agent signings. At age 31, García recorded career lows in batting average (.224), OPS+ (65), and WAR (-1.1). He also set a career high in strikeout percentage (28.7).
The Marlins are on the hook for Garcia’s $12 million per year contract through 2025, with a club option in 2026. While that sounds scary at first, there are reasons to believe García can still produce for Miami.
Why he’ll be good
When Jazz Chisholm Jr. posted an Instagram video of several Marlins players working out in January at loanDepot Park, the first thing many noticed was how slender García looked. García began last season at 250 pounds, but lost 20 of them while rehabbing from a hamstring injury in September. Since then, he has maintained his physique and entered Spring Training looking his best since he signed with the Marlins.
In an interview with Jeremy Taché of Bally Sports Florida just before spring camp, García took full responsibility for his performance last year.
“Everybody makes mistakes,” García said on Taché’s show, Miami Mic’d Up. “I didn’t do my diet. I have to do it. But that’s a mistake from last year. And I’m not going to do it again, for sure. Because I’m at my best when I am skinny.”
García spent time going through workouts and drills with fellow Marlins outfielders Jorge Soler, Bryan De La Cruz, and Chisholm this offseason. He also worked closely with new outfield coach Jon Jay.
García has this odd trend where, every other season, he absolutely mashes the ball. Call it a coincidence, an anomaly, a curse, whatever you’d like. The pattern is there.
ZiPS is projecting a 2023 slash line of .243/.301/.380 with a wRC+ of 94 (a 28-point jump from last year). Part of this projection could be accounting for his odd-year booms, while part of it could simply be him progressing to the mean.
For whatever it’s worth, García has a .916 OPS in 16 spring at-bats as of Thursday. Already in that small sample, he’s had batted balls with exit velocities of 109, 110 and 113 miles per hour.
Even in his good seasons, García’s chase rate is abysmal. Even his “best” year in terms of plate discipline in 2020 yielded a chase rate of 34.4%, ranking him in the bottom 15% of qualified hitters. Last year, his chase rate was 40.7%, which was the tenth-worst out of all qualified hitters.
2023 Marlins Role
García is pretty much cemented as Miami’s starting right fielder. He’ll surely get some reps at DH, and possibly for the first time since 2016, left field.
There’s no reason to believe he’ll hit anywhere other than middle of the lineup. So far in Grapefruit League games, Skip Schumaker has most frequently slotted García fifth in the order.
A best-case scenario for García would be re-emerging as a productive, hard-hitting slugger and add some power to a Marlins lineup that had a collective slugging percentage of .383 last season (third-worst in the majors).