2017 Atlanta Braves Season Preview: Adonis Garcia

Feb 15, 2017; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves third baseman Adonis Garcia (13) takes batting practice during MLB spring training workouts at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 15, 2017; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves third baseman Adonis Garcia (13) takes batting practice during MLB spring training workouts at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

I love Adonis. You love Adonis. But let’s not pretend it’s because the Atlanta Braves incumbent third baseman is an All-Star.

By now, your humble narrator’s personal affinity for Atlanta Braves third baseman  Adonis Garcia is well-documented.

He fled Castro’s Cuba, was kidnapped and held at gunpoint, spent 10 days in jail trying to sneak into Mexico, and overcame his 5-9 height to become a tater-mashing folk hero in certain sections of Braves country (that section often being my house, where we spray an adult beverage Stone Cold Steve Austin-style after each Adonis homer).

And so believe me when I say that Adonis Garcia is just about league-average at best. You’ve no idea how disappointing that is for me, but it’s nonetheless true. And since that’s a depressing note to kick off on, here’s a photo of Adonis making some kids day:

2016 In Review

Adonis Garcia made 563 plate appearances last season. In related news, the Atlanta Braves were not in the playoff hunt.

It was an up-and-down season which featured defensive adventures at third base early in the season, a brief demotion and a triumphant return that included legitimately outstanding defensive efforts such as this:

Optimists (hello there!) point to a strong second half (.293/.333/.456, 9 home runs, 39 RBI and 43 runs scored) and casually ignore that .322 BABIP and an inability to draw walks (24 for the entire season!). He had an fWAR of 0.9, a wRC+ of 90 and a wOBA of .308—pick your favorite advanced metric, Adonis rated at replacement-level or worse in all.

2017 Steamer Projections

97 games, 392 plate appearances, 10 homers, .270 average, no walks to speak of and wRC+ at 88. Why, those are the numbers of a platoon player, those are. Though as our friend Andrew Scherer pointed out in his preview of Rio Ruiz, Steamer only has him slated for 169 plate appearances, so Adonis is (currently) projected to get more time of the two.

What Could Go Wrong?

I suppose the worst thing that could happen is that, for some reason, the Atlanta Braves have to figure out a way to wring 150 games out of Adonis at third base due to injury, Ruiz not being ready, Austin Riley not being ready (yet) or an out-of-nowhere deal that sends one out of town.

That leaves the Braves with 150 games of league sub-average play at third base, during an era of near-unprecedented talent at that position. So that wouldn’t be optimal, except for the part where Adonis Garcia remains in our lives on a day-to-day basis.

What Could Go Right?

More from Tomahawk Take

Much as the Atlanta Braves use Peterson to serve as a jack-of-all-trades up the middle of the diamond, they could also make solid use of Adonis Garcia in a soft platoon at third base with Ruiz, covering the corners for Nick Markakis and Matt Kemp in a pinch and giving Freddie Freeman a breather every so often, with pinch-hitting duties thrown in for good measure.

But thus far, it seems there’s not a platoon in sight.

It’s difficult to envision Adonis Garcia playing an everyday role on a contender, which is fortunate as the Atlanta Braves are not likely to be contenders.

However, with so much talent on hand, it’s also tough to look at Atlanta and see a role where Adonis plays ahead of a youngster with promise like Rio Ruiz or veterans making tons of money in the corner outfield spots (see Kemp and Markakis—both of whom, it should be noted, still possess more talent than Garcia).

Unfortunately, those are the only three positions Garcia is even halfway qualified to play regularly.

So if form follows function, expect this season to be the last we see of our good friend Adonis Garcia in an Atlanta Braves uniform. As John Coppolella has proven countless times over the years—particularly with Kelly Johnson—his specialty is off-loading veterans, particularly those under team-friendly contracts, for prospects before or at the trade deadline.

Next: Paco, Boni and why we never know anything for certain

When Ruiz gets to Atlanta—even though Garcia stands to see plenty of plate appearances against lefties and righties alike if you look at Steamer—Adonis would make for a nice option at the deadline for a contender looking to add a bat.

If Ruiz proves himself capable, or Riley makes a big leap in the minors, then Adonis would be a luxury the Atlanta Braves simply couldn’t afford.