If I can keep it up all month, 31 days of positive posts! There's going to be enough negativity going around with the Cardinals not in the post-season.
Greg Garcia has been my favorite backup infielder on the Cardinals for a long time. While I think he is likely gone prior to next season due to the emergence of Yairo Munoz and Jedd Gyorko's existence on the roster, I have enjoyed Garcia's time with the Cardinals more than prior incumbents at his position such as Daniel Descalso, Mark Ellis, Breyvic Valera, Ryan Jackson, or Aaron Miles. Mainly Descalso and Miles - who were never (rightly) really given a shot at a starting job but played a lot of time with the club.
Garcia, to me, has always been very much a light-hitting version of Matt Carpenter, who can actually play solid, yet unspectacular defense. Unfortunately for Garcia, this year opposing pitchers decided to throw him a ton more strikes. Previously in his career, pitchers sat between 40-42.5% balls taken by Greg Garcia. This year, Garcia was only able to take about 37.5% of his pitches for balls, thus lowering his walk rate. Garcia also had his worst hitting luck this year, with only a .259 BABIP compared to a career average of .309 (prior to this year, that number sat at .327.
Greg Garcia raised his launch angle this year quite a bit to 9.9%. For his career it now sits at 7.0%, so you can tell how much higher it had to have been this year. The problem with that is that Garcia's exit velocity is not hard enough to be someone that hits the ball at such an angle. It then produces lazy fly ball outs that are more unproductive than line drives - of which his percent went down sharply this year.
One positive for Garcia in 2018 was that he helped to keep the Cardinals afloat earlier in the season when nobody else seemed to be hitting. In March/April he had a slugging of .515 and an OPS over .800.
Another positive for Garcia was that when he started at the middle infield - his best two spots - his OPS was over .720. When he pinch hit or started elsewhere, that was not so much the case.
Another positive for Garcia was that he was one of the only few that seemed able to score a run from third with less than 2 outs this season. In the 12 instances where he batted with a runner at third and less than 2 outs this year, he drove in 8 runs.
My last positive for Garcia in 2018 is that he was very good against the Brewers when we needed him to be. He only batted 28 times against the Brew Crew this year but got on base 11 times and had 2 of his 6 doubles on the season against them.
I would love to have you back next year because I think you're due for some positive regression, Greg. But I fear that this is the last time I'll get to see you in a Cardinals uniform and that makes me sad - which I think is actually a non-intuitive way to be positive about the Greg Garcia experience as a whole.