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Steverson says Avi can build off breakout '17

Outfielder had impressive season for South Siders, hitting .330 with 80 RBIs
November 15, 2017

CHICAGO -- When will Avisail Garcia reach his full potential?It's a question Todd Steverson heard on a regular basis beginning when he took over as the White Sox hitting coach on Oct. 31, 2013. Garcia provided the resounding answer of "2017" by hitting .330 with 18 homers, 27 doubles and

CHICAGO -- When will Avisail Garcia reach his full potential?
It's a question Todd Steverson heard on a regular basis beginning when he took over as the White Sox hitting coach on Oct. 31, 2013. Garcia provided the resounding answer of "2017" by hitting .330 with 18 homers, 27 doubles and 80 RBIs scored last season.
Now that question changes for the 26-year-old Garcia after his first All-Star selection. Moving into 2018, Garcia is being challenged to produce similar frontline results, something Steverson believes Garcia can handle.
"You know, why not?" Steverson said during the White Sox Amateur City Elite signing day program Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field. "He stuck to something. He's older. He's more mature. He's more knowledgeable about who he is and what the game has presented in front of him.
"At the end of the day, he did what he did and nobody can ever take last year away from him. Going forward, it's going to be as hard, if not harder, for him on that level because you gain a level of respect from your peers and coaches around the league that say, 'Hey, this guy made a stride forward. We have to watch out for him and pitch him a little more careful.'
"That's up to him and myself and the staff to stay on him and help him keep himself level-headed enough to understand what's going on. Keep the process the way he's been doing it, and hopefully we can have positive results."

There's a chance those positive results occur with another team, though.
The White Sox have two years of control over both Garcia and first baseman Jose Abreu. In the midst of a rebuild, it's up to general manager Rick Hahn and his staff to figure out whether one or both of these veterans fit into the long-term target for championship contention or whether the rebuild is better served by moving them to enhance the team's youthful core.
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If this duo stays together on the South Side, Steverson believes Garcia will continue to benefit from playing alongside Abreu.
"Along with the accolades, he's so consistent with his thoughts and routines and what he believes in," Steverson said of Abreu. "He's been a great help on the flip side as a peer also, as he has been with [Yoan] Moncada and so on and so forth."
Garcia took control of his career by coming into camp in better physical condition, maintaining that improved state and doing the same on-field in terms of a more controlled plate approach. The young outfielder wants more. And so do the White Sox.
"He and I sat down at the end of the year and talked about certain things," Steverson said. "We will talk again when it comes to Spring Training about what is it did you learn?
"What is it we are going to expand upon and how are we going to get better in certain areas? Even though you had a good year overall, there are always areas to get better. They can keep you at the status where you've risen yourself."

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.