He’s quick, he’s hungry and he knows how to flash the leather. In the series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Greg Garcia got the nod to start at third base and didn’t disappoint.
Despite going 0-for-3 at the plate, Garcia started to bring the Cardinals’ struggling defense back to life. After some sliding plays and flashy throws, Garcia has opened some eyes.
“[Garcia is] going to make plays. He did a nice job all day long,” Mike Matheny said. “His backhand came in well. He’s a spark for us.”
Garcia's bat was quiet in his start against the Pirates, but it hasn’t been quiet in the young 2017 season. Thus far, among 15 at-bats, Garcia is slashing a .267/.450/.267 line along with a .742 OPS. This includes four hits, one RBI, four strikeouts and four walks. He has a fairly powerful swing in 2017 as well, averaging 94.1 MPH and 94.6 MPH off of fastballs and two seam fastballs. If Garcia can keep up the defense and stay consistent in his offense, the Cardinals may indeed have their much-needed spark.
In 2016, Garcia came up clutch for the Cardinals a number of times. With men on base, he had an average .273, including 21 singles, three doubles, 16 walks and 14 RBIs. If Garcia’s offense from 2016 carries over into 2017, he could be one of the answers to the Cardinals’ dry offense.
With a struggling Jhonny Peralta, a Matt Adams who is still trying to find his place in the lineup and an overall struggling infield, Garcia is perhaps one of the key players that the Cardinals need. In past seasons, he has proven he can play nearly every the infield position. In his MLB infield career (second base, third base and shortstop), he has a fielding percentage of .961 with 12 errors in 306 chances. He has played 124 games in the infield in his MLB career. With a combination of Jedd Gyorko and Garcia, it also helps that the Cardinals have several utility players when needed.
Garcia may find himself in the starting lineup more often, and he will improve with each chance he gets. He's a left-handed batter who hits well off of both right and left-handed pitchers. As the 2017 season starts to unfold and as questions start to become answered, Garcia is starting to prove himself worthy of being an every day Cardinal.