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Avisail Garcia the Clutch

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With a game on the line, Avisail Garcia has been great to start 2017.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at New York Yankees
Regarding Win Probability Added, Avisail Garica is second in the American League to only Mike Trout.
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

670 the Score's, Herb Lawrence, does pose an interesting question as the month of April wraps up today. Player of the Month or Pitcher of the Month doesn't mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, but it'd be good for Avisail Garcia to come away with some hardware to highlight how well he has performed.

For these types of honors, Wins Above Replacement should make this decision easy and of course, it would go to Mike Trout. Because Trout is the best and he's having a terrific start to the season. Seven home runs and a slash line .365/.436/.719, Trout is already worth 2.1 bWAR after 26 games. Just absurd.

So with that balloon popped, I did come across data that proves my eyes aren't deciving me. Late in games, Avisail Garcia has come through for the White Sox early in 2017. I know the fans who religiously follow the sabermetric principles will shut down anything that resembles to "clutch." I just don't know how else to describe what Avi is doing in the seventh inning or later.

Here are some stat nuggets for the clutch, Avisail Garcia:

  • In 28 plate appearances, Garcia is 11-for-26 with a double, a home run, and six RBI in the seventh inning to ninth.
  • In high leverage situations, and it's just 11 plate appearances, Garcia is 5-for-10 with three homers and nine RBI.
  • With two outs and runners in scoring position, Avi is 6-for-12 with two homers and 12 RBI.
  • In 30 plate appearances when the White Sox have been behind, Avi has a team best .873 OPS.
  • All five of his home runs have been when the game is within one run.
  • Avi's Win Probability Added is 1.7, second in the American League to Mike Trout's 2.4.
  • Using Baseball-Reference's Clutch rating (WPA / (average Leverage Index - Leverage Index)), Avi is at 0.9. Also second to the league but to Trout's teammate, Albert Pujols who is at 1.

I keep telling myself it's early. Regression will bite back, and history also tells us that Avi will disappear for a month or more at the plate. But this is fun. The whole month of April has been far more intriguing than I thought it was going to be, and Avisail Garcia is a huge reason why. He has become the man Sox fans want at the plate with the game on the line. What a time to be alive.