Rookie outfielder Adolis García may not have been penciled in on any Texas Rangers projected lineups when the season began, but that feels like a lifetime ago now. The 28-year old has arrived on the scene in a big way with his offensive output in May.
García, a native of Ciego de Ávila, Cuba, has brought two things to not only the Rangers’ lineup but also the team and fanbase. He brings real excitement and a feared bat—something we haven’t seen in Arlington since Adrián Beltré‘s prime.
The former St. Louis Cardinals’ emergence at the plate was evident weeks ago. But, after an additional 100 at-bats and an increased comfortability in centerfield, the sample size of his play is officially large enough to unwrap. Through 40 games in 2021, the 28-year old has a 155 OPS+ and totaled 16 home runs and 41 RBIs. Those are numbers that can favorably compare to any of the game’s top superstars thus far in the campaign.
WATCH: Logan Lockhart and Tyler Milliken react to Scott Kazmir‘s return to the MLB, make their playoff picks for the AL East, and break down Adolis García‘s hot start in Texas on Prime Time Sports Talk’s “The Squeeze.”
The Road to North Texas
The baseball world watched the Tampa Bay Rays, led by Randy Arozarena, march on to the Fall Classic in 2020, and that alone was a story in itself. But just like García, Arozarena was an outfielder in the Cardinals’ farm-system during the 2019 season. Despite never being teammates while playing minor-league baseball in St. Louis’ organization, the direct comparisons between the two outfielders are uncanny, based on both of their above-average statistics with their new, respective clubs.
Both Arozarena and García excel at hitting the fastball, demonstrate speed on the base paths, and have the potential for defensive heroics in the outfield. The Cardinals’ loss has turned into the Rays’ and Rangers’ gain. Most importantly though, the two sluggers are still classified as rookies. The decision to move on from the two Cuban right-handed hitters was based on the Cardinals’ admiration for Harrison Bader, who now patrols the outfield in St. Louis.
St. Louis sent García to the Rangers in exchange for cash considerations on December 21, 2019. Since then, a COVID-riddled 2020 campaign transpired in the baseball world. Plus, Garcia appeared in three games with limited success in a Texas uniform. And even at the beginning of the 2021 season, the door still wasn’t open for Garcia to burst onto the scene until a long-term injury to first baseman Ronald Guzman made space for the former Cardinals prospect to get the most playing time he’s ever seen at the big-league level.
A Month of May to Remember
Garcia made his season debut for the Rangers in mid-April against the Rays, hitting in the clean-up spot. Since then, he’s never looked back, finding himself batting either ahead or one-spot below Joey Gallo in the Rangers’ order.
The Rangers slugger ranks first on the team in most of the major offensive categories, including OPS (.942). Garcia is a leader statistically with Texas. However, the 28-year old has provided a surprise element to the team’s lineup. Thus, protecting Gallo.
Entering 2021, it appeared to be Gallo’s lineup to carry. But, Gallo has led the league in strikeouts on multiple occasions. However, Gallo’s bat was the one matchup opposing pitchers would still have to be wary about. With the emergence of Garcia in the Rangers’ order, the entire offensive outlook of the team has changed.
A Core Piece for Chris Young
Having a hitter not named Gallo who can be pitched around is a pleasant surprise for manager Chris Woodward and an encouraging sign moving forward. In other words, the Rangers now have another piece to build around. Thus, increasing their roster flexibility and giving general manager Chris Young even more options when it’s time to potentially re-tool in the offseason.
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