It’s Time to Appreciate Greg Garcia

Mandatory Credit: Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Padres signed Greg Garcia to be a plug-and-play utility player, and he has executed that job wonderfully.

Greg Garcia has only been an everyday player one season in his six-year career, in 2017 with the Cardinals. The El Cajon native and Valhalla High School product has been the prototypical utility infielder, giving your best second baseman or third baseman a rest on a Sunday getaway game or filling in for an injury.

When the Padres brought him in before this season, he was asked to do nothing more than what he had done in the past. Padres teams of the past may have signed him to be their everyday second baseman while trying to find answers they didn’t have. This team is different, in a good way. Garcia came into this season understanding that they had signed Ian Kinsler (who signed a month after Garcia) to be the everyday second baseman until star prospect Luis Urias was ready. There was no part of this equation where Garcia would see 600-plus at-bats and 150 games at second base.

Just about halfway through the season, this role has fit Garcia like a glove. He has played all four infield positions, mainly at second and third. He has been a left-handed bat off of the bench. He helped the Padres navigate through the injury to Fernando Tatis Jr. and Kinsler’s struggles.

Off of the bench, he has four pinch-hits with four walks.

As a starter, he is batting .268 with two home runs, eight doubles, and three triples on his way to a respectable .744 OPS this season. For a guy who has a lifetime batting average of .250 and a career OPS of .704, these numbers are more than acceptable for the role the Padres want Garcia to play. He currently owns a 100 wRC+, which is perfectly average.

On top of that, he has played steady defense, manning two positions well, displaying solid defensive metrics at both second and third base.

Among Padres hitters with at least 150 at-bats, he is third on the team with a .341 on-base percentage. His OPS is better than that of Wil Myers, Kinsler, Manuel Margot, and Austin Hedges.

According to Fan Graphs, he has posted a 0.7 WAR, which is slightly higher than Eric Hosmer’s 0.6.

He has also come through in the clutch on several occasions, batting .281 with five extra-base hits with runners in scoring position. He has tortured the Colorado Rockies specifically, in his eight games against them, batting .370 with a 1.044 OPS.

Garcia has been anything but a disappointment this season. He has been everything the Padres could have asked him to be when they signed him.

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Nick Lee
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.

9 thoughts on “It’s Time to Appreciate Greg Garcia

  1. This dude is a fantastic role player, and one that every good club has…there is nothing wrong with any part of his game, and from all accounts…he’s a great teammate too….well done, Greg….I’m hoping you’re going to be a part of this playoff team, very, very soon…..

  2. As a Cardinals fan, Garcia was always a favorite of mine, because he had a high OBP compared to his BA. I think he just somewhat missed his era, had he played back in the moneyball days, he would have been a starter. But now power is the most valued commodity

  3. Garcia has out shined many players on this team. He seems to be even better with regular playing time. Great OBP ! Should be platooning with Kinsler regularly, though Kinsler has been getting better lately. Greg is an excellent Padre

  4. I wish Andy Green starts appreciating Garcia.. I get we’re paying Kinsler a bunch, but we should still be playing the best player at second.

  5. Just wondering why he isn’t leading when all signs are pointing towards yes ? Dude just grinds .. a true gamer

  6. Yes. Winning teams usually have guys like this. And of course for a utility guy there’s nothing wrong with a league average bat.

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