Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Avisail evolving on mental side of the game

White Sox right fielder developing better understanding of his at-bats
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- In describing Avisail Garcia's renaissance in 2017, begin with words such as recognition and accountability.

Recognition, as in Garcia quickly realizes when he expands the strike zone and chases nearly unhittable pitches. Accountability, as in the White Sox right fielder becomes the first one to point out the issue.

CHICAGO -- In describing Avisail Garcia's renaissance in 2017, begin with words such as recognition and accountability.

Recognition, as in Garcia quickly realizes when he expands the strike zone and chases nearly unhittable pitches. Accountability, as in the White Sox right fielder becomes the first one to point out the issue.

"Same person, different thought process," White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson said. "Saying, 'I know what I did and I don't need a 45-minute session in the cage to fix myself.'"

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Garcia and other #ASGWorthy players

"Been missing a couple pitches in the middle of the strike zone and fouled off a couple pitches," Garcia said. "You've got to be ready."

Garcia's average sat at .357 after a four-hit, six-RBI performance against the Mariners on May 20, From May 21-29, Garcia dipped into a 4-for-27 funk, with one extra-base hit and nine strikeouts.

Video: DET@CWS: Avisail clears bases on a double in the 3rd

But a significant change for Garcia, 25, has been not letting slumps get too deep. That stretch was followed by an 8-for-22 run, punctuated by three singles in a 7-4 loss to the Tigers on Sunday.

Having a better understanding of what went wrong allows Garcia a better opportunity to build on the positive.

"Hitters always have -- I wouldn't use the word 'fear' -- a problem with getting out," Steverson said. "You get out a lot, but it's like everybody wants to do well.

"So when it doesn't happen consistently, it's how you deal with it. He's dealing with his outs better, understanding how that kind of correlates. 'I'm out, but did I hit it well? I'm out, but am I out because I swung at a bad pitch?' You are able to put those in a better place in your brain than to just say, 'I was out.'

"It's a question of, why were you out?" Steverson said. "Did you get out because you hit it right at somebody? In that case, what can you do? Or did you let them have an at-bat? What function did you not execute during those one or two minutes you were there?"

The 2013 three-team trade with Detroit and Boston brought Garcia to the White Sox as the center of their most recent rebuild prior to 2017. He was labeled a five-tool talent -- tools which hadn't been on display consistently until this season.

Even through his struggles, the organization stood behind Garcia. And as general manager Rick Hahn pointed out recently, executive vice president Ken Williams emerged as a strong Garcia supporter. Garcia is a player who needs to be involved in all aspects of the game, so Williams believed he would excel with a return to right field from designated hitter.

Video: DET@CWS: Avisail throws out V-Mart at the plate

That support has been rewarded as Garcia develops greater knowledge of his game.

"One thing I tried to remind people around here is that his acceleration to the big leagues was really quick," Williams told MLB.com. "But if you look at the physical talent on the guy, there's not too many guys that have his total package.

"Sometimes you have to allow that to take a step back in your expectation and take a step forward in your patience. So yeah, I fought for him, and I'll continue to fight for him, because I believe in him."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Avisail Garcia