Adolis García played out of his mind in May and won Rookie of the Month in May. A month later, he got the nod to the All-Star game. Now, he’s cemented himself in Texas Rangers’ history with the most homers and RBI in a rookie season (beating Pete Incaviglia’s 1986 rookie campaign). On Thursday, García blasted a baseball to the Rangers’ bullpen, pulling Texas within a run in their eventual 7-6 win, but most importantly, took the top spot in Rangers’ rookie history. “I knew when he hit it that I made really good contact. At that moment, it’s a really special moment.” As far as relief goes, I think Chris Woodward exhaled more than Adolis did on the homer. “I know he was, but I know I was as his manager,” Woodward said, chuckling. “I’ve [wanted] it so bad for him. I’m glad he did it on one swing.”
I’m looking at the 2021 AL Rookie of the Year
— Alex Plinck🏳️🌈 (@aplinckTX) September 30, 2021
Statistically, García has struggled in September. Thursday’s homer was his second of the month, and he posted his lowest slugging and OPS in a month by far. Was it exhaustion or too much pressure to break the record? Or both? “He was our hero for a lot of the games,” Chris Woodward told me. “He’s expanded, that’s something that we addressed with him, and he’s aware of. He’s almost trying too hard at times and being indecisive.”
For Adolis, he didn’t feel pressured at all as the at-bats dwindled. “I wasn’t pressured, just a little anxious, but thankful I got it done,” García said after Thursday’s game.
For Adolis’ 2021, it started back at spring training and his teammates took notice. “He was impressive in Spring,” Nathaniel Lowe told me. “It’s not easy to go in there and get the mop-up at-bats. [But], I feel like every time Adolis got to the dish in spring, it’s like the ball is coming out loud, and of course, he looks great in the uniform. Now he’s turning himself into a complete player because he’s playing stellar right field or wherever he plays in the outfield.” Speaking of defense, that’s what impressed Brock Holt told me was the most impressive thing in watching Adolis García in his rookie campaign. “His defense from start to finish,” Brock said. “He’s made some of the better plays I’ve seen this year in both center field and right field. We’re lucky to have him, and we’re lucky to get to watch him.”
🛑DON'T RUN ON ADOLIS🛑 pic.twitter.com/M4bKyFiDbu
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) September 23, 2021
The defensive aspect of the game is what separates Adolis from the competition. Sure, it gives a disadvantage to guys like Ryan Mountcastle because players don’t have the chance to showcase an arm regularly at first base. However, García ranks third in MLB in defensive runs saved by outfielders. Not rookies, but overall outfielders. Runs saved by his arm ranks fifth, and run saved by good fielding plays (described on Fangraphs) leads all MLB outfielders. So he dominates on both sides of the baseball. Yes, his offense scuffled in September, but his defense hasn’t suffered (even though he’s split time between center field and right field). Unfortunately, the split time may disqualify Adolis from a gold glove. Woodward was apologetic about it and even said if he’d qualify, Adolis was a potential for a platinum glove (for overall fielders in each league).
Is García a finished product? Heavens no. There’s still work in the offseason, but the track that Adolis is on right now makes Rangers fans excited for years to come. García is a humble player that even breaking the rookie franchise record in homers and runs batted isn’t satisfactory for him. “He’s going to tell you that he wishes he would have done better, which is why he’s a top-end player, and that’s why he’s having some success for us and hopefully will continue to have a lot more success,” Nathaniel Lowe told me. Pretty soon, Globe Life Field will have an El Bombi dish at a concession stand. Count on it.
Asked Nathaniel Lowe if he was thought Adolis García would make this catch. He smiled at me and said,
— Alex Plinck🏳️🌈 (@aplinckTX) September 29, 2021
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