Leury Garcia – Starting Second Baseman

As the days roll by on the MLB Lockout and the seemingly endless winter in Chicago trudges on, my mind is starting to slide towards 2022 White Sox thoughts. One thing I had some fun with when December 1st rolled around and the Lockout crystalized without the White Sox addressing Second Base was the idea of a Zero Second Base Strategy.

The idea is basically like the Fantasy Football strategy of Zero Running Back. The concept is that you solve the other problems of your team with higher draft picks in a fantasy football draft and then at Running Back you use low end volume to attack the problem and hope that you gather enough mass to find one or two performers good enough to cover the production you need. In Fantasy Football, its a viable strategy because of the high injury risk of NFL running backs. Lots of players end up with chances throughout a year and that allows this strategy to work. Could that work for Second Base?

Enter Leury Garcia

That’s right, before the “long MLB winter” the White Sox did re-ink Leury Garcia. He feels like a nice luxury for a contending team. A professional super utility player that can pretty much grab a glove all around the diamond and not embarrass hisself. But, what if, he ended up being the primary Second Baseman. Would that be so bad? Let’s take a look.

In 2021, Leury Garcia slashed .267 / .335 / .376 for a wRC+ of 98 across 472 plate appearances. Now let’s take a look at the qualifying Second Basemen for the 2021 season and see where he slots in with that group.

Cut out from Fangraphs.com

If Leury had enough plate appearances to qualify he would slot in tied for 19th with Jazz Chisolm Jr. just behind DJ LeMahieu and just ahead of Whit Merrifield. 19th doesn’t seem that great, but let’s assume that the remaining plate appearances wouldn’t hurt that rank and that he could nail down the 19th best production at Second Base for the season, how would that rate compared to what the White Sox did in 2021 at Second Base??

Quite hilariously, the White Sox had the 19th best wRC+ plus from the Second Base position. That wRC+ is only 91, but you have to remember that even if you have an ever day Second Baseman with a 98 wRC+, they’ll have off days and some of your backups will be playing instead so it tends to drag the performance some. Regardless, a 19th best wRC+ by Leury would theoretically cover the half season of Madrigal + the half season of Cesar Hernandez (plus backups).

None of that sounds ideal. Of course you’d love a good upgrade at Second, but the current free agent market doesn’t appear to be bearing that fruit, see below.

Free Agent Second Basemen

Cut out from MLB Trade Rumors – the remaining free agent Second Basemen

Oof, that’s brutal.

In closing, if the White Sox end up with White Sox Twitter’s most over-hated player at the keystone, it’s totally fine. If they end up with the punching bag of your frustrations, the longest tenured player, as their starting Second Basemen for the year, it’s more than adequate. On a team with a roster filled with premium bats and a top end rotation, if another Second Baseman doesn’t show up that is a clear upgrade over Garcia, he’ll be just fine. He’ll be there picking up the slack. Same as it always was.


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