Avisail Garcia doubled his home run pleasure Monday night, pulling an offspeed pitch from Matt Shoemaker for a solo home run to left-center field in the fourth inning and pushing a fastball from Shoemaker in the sixth inning into the right-field seats.
The first homer carried 435 feet. The second one, at 411 feet to the opposite field, might have been more impressive.
The homers were Garcia’s 10th and 11th of the season, his third and fourth in the last six games following a homerless month of July for the strong, 6-4, 240-pound right fielder. Garcia hadn’t homered in 46 games before this recent tear.
Here is a closer look at Garcia’s numbers, month-to-month, from Baseballreference.com:
Garcia hit .253 last month, but with virtually no power — only two extra-base hits in 101 plate appearances. In June he hit three homers and drove in 11 runs while hitting .181. After working with Todd Steverson on his balance at the plate, weight transfer and focusing on laying off bad pitches away, Garcia seems well on his way to having his best month.
“I’ve been working really hard,” Garcia said, “and those guys help me a lot, the manager [Robin Ventura], Steverson,” Garcia said.
“I’m using my top hand more. I’ve been working on that. Today, I feel a little bit better. Like I said, I come here every day and try to get better and try to get my swing back.”
Garcia is batting .266 with 11 homers and 42 homers in 100 games. In the rush-to-judgment times we live in, he has already been evaluated in some circles as an underachiever, maybe not the prospect the Sox thought they were getting when they acquired him from the Tigers in the Jake Peavy trade two years ago.
Not so fast, Ventura said. Garcia, who turned 24 in June, is younger than Tyler Saladino and the same age as Trayce Thompson.
“Sometimes we forget how young he is,” Ventura said. “He’s been around while, but he’s still young and going through it and he’s still learning. You see the talent he has and the potential that’s there when he hits something hard, it can leave either way. The one going the other way, it a little more impressive because you see how much power he has.”
The final month and half of Garcia’s first full season will be one of the more interesting things to follow on the White Sox. If he has in fact turned an important corner, it could be a fun watch for Sox fans.
“It hasn’t happened right away,” Ventura said. “Everyone has their level of doing it and when they do and when they make some change and when they want to make some changes … you have to believe in what the changes are. Everybody goes though that a little differently. I think for him it’s starting to click and there’s some clarity on how you’re going to do it, how he’s going to go about it, how guys are pitching him. I think it should be a fun thing to watch for him.”