This Week in Fredi Gonzalez Think
By Fred Owens
Sep 15, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves third baseman Adonis Garcia (24) hits a single against the Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth inning at Turner Field. The Braves defeated the Blue Jays 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Horses for courses
I know that’s a shock to some but since arriving from Cuba he played one game at second (AAA 2013) and 19 at third (AAA 2104) before joining the Braves this year. At Gwinnett he made 65 starts at third base mostly because of his bat and the fact that they had no better defensive option.
We don’t have advanced metrics for Cuban ball or minor league ball here. Fielding percentage is the only thing we have available and it paints a picture of a guy that need to play the outfield.
|2009||24||Ciego de Avila||CNS||Fgn||3B||81||268||58||196||14||.948|
(Statistics courtesy Baseball-Reference.com)
In 2011 Sean Smith wrote a piece for The Hardball Times comparing minor league fielding to major league projection using total zone defense. He found that TZ performance correlated better for infielders than outfielders.
"I’ve found that you can usually get a correlation of 0.50, meaning you regress 50 percent to the mean, at about 350 chances for infielders. This represents less than a full season of chances for second, third and short. . . .For infielders, players perform worse, relative to the league, as they move up in levels. In other words, major league third basemen are better fielders than Triple-A third basemen, who are in turn better than players in the lower minors."
In four seasons prior to 2009 he played some second base in Cuba as well but posted just a .974 fielding percentage there too. At 30 years old and having played some level of professional ball since 2005 it’s highly unlikely that Garcia will improve at third.
This year for Atlanta Garcia’s made some spectacular plays at third; he’s also made some really bad errors on simple plays. According to Fangraphs none of the defensive metrics like him as a third baseman.
- DRS -4
- UZR -1.2
- UZR/150 -5.5
- Fielding % .902
They do however indicate he has value at the plate.
Although his slash is .275/.285/.448/.772 his wOBA is a more respectable .328 and his 107 RC+ ranks him second among current Braves with 150PA. This guy who needs to be in the outfield when he plays so Friday’s lineup was fine. He had Garcia’s bat and his childhood buddy Olivera at third, then Garcia had a mental hiccup.