- Adolis García is the latest hero of October
Adolis García is the latest hero of October
The month of October is the refiner’s fire when it comes to the MLB postseason. The immense pressure and heat that comes from each moment, as elimination is ever looming, presents a moment that few players can rise up and meet. Each year there always appears to be a new hero or story that becomes the driving force behind a team on their journey to a World Series title. For the Tampa Bay Rays it was Randy Arozarena in 2020, for the Houston Astros it’s always Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez, and for the 2023 Texas Rangers, it’s Adolis García.
García’s evolution into a postseason hero for the Rangers seemed almost impossible for the outfielder when he was originally signed as a free agent by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017. García had just finished a season playing in Japan after he had defected from Cuba in 2016. He didn’t dazzle in his Japan, but it was a strong enough showing that the Cardinals decided to bring him into the organization. He spent the next three seasons with the Cardinals system, batting .266/.308/.499 with 69 home runs. He had a brief stint with the big league team in 2019 but struggled to a .118 AVG in 21 games and the Cardinals eventually parted ways with him.
On Dec. 21, 2019, the Texas Rangers paid a small sum of cash to the St. Louis Cardinals for his rights and would install him as a lineup regular by the 2021 season after they had initially designated him for assignment as spring training started, but he immediately burst onto the season as a 28-year-old rookie. In 149 games he slashed .243/.286/.454 with 31 home runs and 90 RBI to earn All-Star honors and finish fourth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. The following season he had a .250 AVG and .756 OPS to go with 27 home runs and 101 RBI.
2023 could be considered the pièce de résistance of his career thus far as he once again proved how impactful and valuable he is as a player. In 148 games he whacked 39 home runs and drove in 107 runs while batting .245 with an .836 OPS. While the focus was placed mainly on Corey Seager and Marcus Semien’s fantastic years offensively, García was right in the thick of it doing his part to contribute. On April 22, 2023, against the Oakland Athletics, García had five hits, including two doubles and three home runs, and drove in eight runs. With this, he became the fourth person in MLB history to hit three home runs and two doubles in one game His efforts earned him yet another All-Star game nod and the start, where he was able to show off his offensive and defensive skills on the field.
In the postseason he has been on the main heroes to help drive the Rangers to the World Series for the first time since 2011 with a historic performance in the ALCS, but first, it’s worth mentioning what he has done defensively.
A high-caliber bat is always great to have in a lineup, but García’s value grows exponentially thanks to his Gold Glove-worthy defense in the outfield. In his three seasons with the Rangers, he has recorded 26 Defensive Runs Saved, 14 Outs Above Average, and a 22.9 Ultimate Zone Rating. He has one of the best arms in the league and recorded 11 outfield assists in 2023. He is a finalist for the Gold Glove in right field in the AL this season and for good reason. Highlight reel catches and throws abound and his value is essential to helping the pitching staff be as good as it has been in 2023.
But as I mentioned, his bat is the story of the postseason.
Over the final four games of the ALCS against the Astros, García homered five times. In Game Five he hit a go-ahead three-run home run to put the Rangers up 4-2. In Game Six, a must-win situation for the Rangers, he hit a grand slam in the top of the ninth despite striking out four times that day. In Game Seven of an 11-4 blowout of the Astros, García homered twice and drove in five runs. Over the series, García set a record with 15 RBIs in a postseason series and was named the ALCS Most Valuable Player after batting 357/.400/.893 to push the Rangers to the World Series.
In 12 games total this postseason, García is slashing .327/.352/.750 with seven home runs and 20 RBI. Yes, he has struck out 16 times, strikeouts are just part of his game, but the power is an ever-looming threat and when he gets dialed in he is a dangerous bat in the lineup. In total, he has 17 hits in the postseason, with only one of those being a double and the rest either landing the seats or ending up as a single. His ALCS performance is an example of what he could do in the World Series should he stay hot, and it’s something the Rangers will need in the final round.
At 30 years old, García has blossomed in Texas over the past three years. Cardinals fans are constantly kicking themselves seeing players they traded away having this kind of success but for García it’s working out as best as it could have. He is a star player and has etched his name in Texas lore for years to come. Not all heroes wear capes, but Adolis García does wear a Rangers uniform, and that’s close enough for October this year.