Greg Garcia is on fire at the plate recently, giving Mike Matheny more options when setting up the Cardinals infield.
Greg Garcia’s promotion to the big leagues was long overdue. In his brief stint in the majors this season, Garcia has hit an astonishing average of .565. Obviously, this batting average is not sustainable but temporarily it has earned him a spot on the Cardinals 25 man roster.
Garcia was brought to the big leagues on a temporary basis when Matt Carpenter was on paternity leave. Garcia went 2 for 3 with a home run and three walks in two games, forcing general manager John Mozeliak to keep him on the MLB roster and to designate for assignment Ruben Tejada.
The Tejada experiment failed miserably. In his stint he hit .176 with only two extra base hits. Tejada was brought in to be a utility infielder while Jhonny Peralta was injured but failed to create much of an impact on the diamond.
Garcia brings a crucial element to the Cardinals lineup: versatility. Garcia can play all of the infield positions besides first base, where the Cardinals already have ample amount of options. He is an above average fielder and can be trusted wherever he is placed.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) May 29, 2016
Because of his versatility, Garcia will play in almost every game. His bat will allow him to pinch hit in late inning situations. Though he is not a home run threat like Matt Adams, he can be used to start a rally or in RBI situations. Garcia does not strike out often and has the ability to work deep in counts.
In late inning situations, Garcia is more trusted in the field than fellow rookie sensation Aledmys Diaz. Diaz has been tremendous at the plate for the Cardinals and is a candidate for the National League Rookie of the Year award but has been abysmal in the field. So far in 2016, he has recorded 12 errors at shortstop. Diaz cannot be trusted in late game situations, making Garcia a perfect defensive replacement.
In addition, Manager Mike Matheny will be able to utilize his lineup better with Garcia on his bench. Matheny will have the luxury of being able to use the double switch more often. This will help the Cardinals hide the pitcher in their batting order while using less players. We all know that Cardinals pitching has been inconsistent, so Matheny must now use every option available to protect his pitchers and let the hitting help them out.
The biggest impact that Garcia has is the fact that he is a right handed bat. Three out of four of the Cardinals starting infielders are left handed. Garcia should get a lot of starts when the Cardinals are facing a left handed pitcher and could give Carpenter and Kolten Wong days off. This will also help the struggling Wong, who is hitting .211 against left handing pitching, break out of his slump.
Photo captured by Geoff Burke- USA Today Sports