For the fourth straight year, we’re taking some time in that time between the end of the season and the winter meetings to discuss each player that made an appearance on the St. Louis roster this season. Whether they played almost every day or never actually got into a game, they get covered in this series. All stats are exclusively their time in St. Louis. Just think of this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a quick evaluation before heading home for the winter.
Player: Greg Garcia
Season stats: 49 games, 87 PA, 7 R, 5 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 10 BB, 12 K, .240/.337/.387, 97 OPS+, 0.7 bWAR
Hero/Goat: Hero 1, Goat 2
Overall grade: B-
Positives: Biggest highlight may have been his pinch-hit, game-tying home run against Chicago on June 26….also won a game against Colorado by drawing a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth….hit .286 with an .855 OPS at Busch Stadium….hit .500 in June, which was when he was originally called up….hit .346 with a .952 OPS as a pinch-hitter….hit .310 with a .980 OPS with no outs in an inning….hit .556 with a 1.600 OPS against the Chicago Cubs….eventually replaced Pete Kozma as the go-to guy to relieve Jhonny Peralta.
Negatives: Scuffled down the stretch, hitting .150 in August and .220 in September….only hit .186 as a starter, though he did hit .313 coming off the bench….only hit .087 playing shortstop….hit .150 with two outs in an inning….hit .167 in tie games and .125 with two outs and runners in scoring position….hit only .194 in day games.
Overview: Fans have clamored for a couple of years for Garcia to get a larger look and that came to pass in 2015. While I think many folks have a slightly higher opinion of him due to his early heroics, there’s no doubt that he provided more off the bench than other folks did. He’s the reason that this year’s Kozma entry is going to likely be the last. Garcia brought a little spark and wasn’t an automatic out when he was called on to pinch-hit, which is something we’ve not seen just a ton of over the past couple of years with the bench folks. Plus you have to like a guy who has won games with a bases-loaded HBP and a bases-loaded walk in his career, right?
Garcia probably is never going to be starter material, but having someone on the bench that can rest most every infield position and do so fairly competently plus be an asset as a pinch-hitter is supremely valuable for a major league team. As we all know, games are won in the margins, and having a guy like Garcia be part of those margins is a nice benefit for the team we root for.
Outlook: While the team has said that they would look at some external options for a backup shortstop, it seems unlikely that even if that search is successful that Garcia will be affected too much. He’ll still be the utility guy, filling in at various spots and giving Matheny a few options to rest players during the year, something that I’d expect he’ll try to do a little better next season.