Check out the Rangers' must-watch rookie

April 24th, 2021

The Rangers' most exciting player to watch right now is a 28-year-old rookie who barely made a splash in his first two big league cups of coffee. But is making up for lost time.

The former Cuban national team star, who left the island for the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball then made his way to MLB with the Cardinals in 2018 before Texas scooped him up, is leading all 2021 rookies with five home runs (one ahead of Jazz Chisholm Jr., Yermín Mercedes, Phillip Evans and Dom Nuñez). He's making highlight-reel plays with his glove and arm, too. García is a whirlwind on the field.

García's combination of raw power, speed and defense is even more interesting than you might think. Let's use Statcast to break down his tools.

Here are the three metrics where García stands out:
• 22.2% of his batted balls have been barrels -- those are ideal combinations of exit velocity and launch angle, the type of contact that turns into home runs and extra-base hits. The overall league barrel rate in 2021 is 8.5%.
• His average sprint speed -- that's how fast he is on max-effort runs on the bases -- is 28.2 feet per second. That's more than a foot per second faster than Major League average speed, which is 27 ft/sec.
• He's been worth +2 Outs Above Average, Statcast's overall stat for defense, in his nine games in the outfield.

That puts him in the top 15% of MLB or better in all three categories. García is one of only three players who currently rank in the top quarter of the league in barrel rate, sprint speed and OAA this season.

75th+ percentile in barrel rate, sprint speed and OAA in 2021

Adolis García, Rangers
97th in barrel rate | 86th in sprint speed | 89th in OAA

Jazz Chisholm Jr., Marlins
98th in barrel rate | 92nd in sprint speed | 89th in OAA

Matt Chapman, A's
77th in barrel rate | 77th in sprint speed | 100th in OAA

Not a lot of players are standouts in all three categories of power, speed and defense. For example, these are the only players who ranked in the 75th percentile or better in barrel rate, sprint speed and OAA last season:

Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres (100th, 98th, 100th)
Evan White, Mariners (90th, 85th, 97th)
Byron Buxton, Twins (88th, 99th, 86th)
Luis Robert, White Sox (85th, 96th, 98th)
Harrison Bader, Cardinals (80th, 98th, 86th)
Chris Taylor, Dodgers (77th, 88th, 80th)
Dansby Swanson, Braves (77th, 90th, 86th)

So back to García. At the plate, he's mashing (and bat-flipping, and celebrating, and playing the game with passion). His home-run-hitting has also been the definition of "power to all fields."

Look at García's spray chart. His five homers are spread perfectly across every slice of the ballpark: one to the pull side in left field, one to left-center field, one to dead center field, one to right-center field and one to the opposite field in right.

When you can crush the ball out to any part of the park, people are going to want to watch you hit.

On the bases, García can turn on the jets. He's reached a max sprint speed this season of 29.9 ft/sec, right on the edge of the 30+ ft/sec threshold for elite speed. On his first career triple -- a wild play where he drove a ball off the very top of the wall at Tropicana Field, which everyone thought was a home run, but wasn't, resulting in a sudden mad dash around the bases and him being tagged out at the plate just shy of an inside-the-park homer -- he reached 28.9 ft/sec.

In the field, he has a flair for the big play. García robbed Shohei Ohtani of a potential home run on April 19, ranging 103 feet to the center-field wall at Angel Stadium.

He uses great jumps in the outfield to make relatively difficult plays look easy. García's average jump this season is +5.0 feet above MLB average, the second-best of any qualifying outfielder behind Brett Phillips.

Outfield jump leaders, 2021

  1. Brett Phillips (TB): +5.4 feet vs. avg.

2) Adolis García (TEX): +5.0 feet vs. avg.
3) Jarrod Dyson (KC): +3.9 feet vs. avg.
4) Austin Slater (SF): +3.3 feet vs. avg.
5) Justin Williams (STL): +2.8 feet vs. avg.
Jump: Feet gained/lost in first 3 seconds of a play due to reaction, burst and route

Thanks to those jumps, García has converted 91% of plays in the outfield this season, when he would only be expected to make 80% of those plays based on their catch probability. His +11% success rate added over expectation is tied for third-best of any fielder in 2021.

He's even shown the arm. The day before his catch on Ohtani, he threw out the go-ahead run at the plate in the 10th inning of a scoreless game against the Orioles, firing a 90.7 mph strike home.

García still has a lot of work to do to become a consistent big leaguer, but right now, if you tune into one of his games in Texas, you're probably going to see something worth watching.