The Atlanta Braves lost Evan Gattis this past offseason. In two years, Gattis became a bit of a legend for Braves fans — a hero, one might say. Part of his appeal is and was the long, crazy road he took to becoming a Major League Baseball player. Another part came from the way he batted, played, and acted in general. Over those two years, it became nearly impossible not to love Evan Gattis, a folk hero. With Gattis gone, Atlanta needed someone to step into those folk hero-y shoes.
Enter Adonis Garcia.
If baseball history is your bag, then here’s this: Adonis Garcia is the first "Adonis" to reach the Major Leagues since Adonis Terry did so in 1884, which is something you wouldn’t normally find in a box score.
With that, I’ve officially gone beyond the box score in this post and I can write whatever I want from here on out, if I understand this job correctly.
Currently, Garcia is a 30-year-old third baseman with little Major League experience. A few weeks ago, he was a 30-year-old guy with no Major League experience, and he hadn’t been a good minor leaguer. The exceptions are 126 PA for the Yankees AA squad in 2012 and with their AAA team last year, when he was at least two years older than the average player for each league. Adonis wasn’t a prospect, sort of like how Evan Gattis wasn’t a prospect.
And it isn’t that Garcia has been tremendously good, really. Using wRC+, he’s been a little better than a league-average hitter, which means he’s been one of the better hitters on Atlanta’s team. He’s not an all-around hitter, by any means. He’s hitting just .220, barely walking, and striking out a little more than you’d probably like. What the right-hander has done is hit for a ridiculous amount of power in his first 52 trips to the plate, and he’s gone to the opposite field and deep center to do it on a few occasions.
In those 52 trips to the plate, Garcia has put up a .300 ISO, which is something that a 5’9", 190-pound 30 year old with no prior Major League experience (and little minor league success) will not continue. That’s not why I’m telling you about Adonis Garcia. Sure, I could tell you that his average exit velocity had been really low before August 3rd, so he’s pretty much just on a hot streak that will end soon. I could remind you that he won’t keep doing this for the second time in one paragraph, especially since his HR/FB rate is sitting at 30 percent. I will tell you that he won’t keep hitting almost as well as Nolan Arenado.
Instead, I’m telling you about Adonis Garcia because he probably won’t be that folk hero for very long, and I want you to enjoy him. Players like Adonis Garcia, those who start hot and then get cold and never get hot again, come along pretty often (see: Hart, Bo). However, in a couple of weeks, Adonis Garcia has done things like this, which makes him pretty endearing to fans. Enjoy your Adonis Garcia if you're fortunate enough to get one is what I’m saying.
There hasn’t been a ton for Braves fans to be excited about this year. Those exciting times are at least a year away, and they’ll probably have to wait a little longer. They’ve had a few weeks of Adonis Garcia, though, and Adonis Garcias are always… something, at least.
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Murphy Powell is a contributor at Beyond the Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter at @murphypowell.