Los Angeles Dodgers prefer other spices over Garlick

The Los Angeles Dodgers are chock full of talent and have designated OF Kyle Garlick for assignment. Here’s why your team should probably consider him.

When you have a player development system like the Los Angeles Dodgers, quality players are always showing up at the MLB level. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, the 40 man roster limits how many players they can hoard at a given time.

OF Kyle Garlick became an unfortunate casualty of their impeccable depth as he was designated for assignment to make room for superstar Mookie Betts.

The 28-year-old Garlick made it to the MLB level for the first time in 2019 and had a respectable showing .250/.321/.521 good for a 114 wRC+.  He has only posted one below-average batting line in the minor leagues and that was in 2018 at AAA.  Garlick also torched AAA pitching with a 144 wRC+ and 23 home runs in 2019.

In his brief minor league sample, Garlick was boom or bust at the plate, striking out 36% of the time while also hitting nearly 60% of his balls in the air. These numbers match-up pretty closely to his minor league numbers so this is the type of hitter Garlick profiles as. There are some more reasons to be intrigued by Garlick, consider this tweet from MLB’s Mike Petriello.

Obviously, you know the answer is Garlick since you clicked on the article. In the same vein, Garlick was 8th in Barrels/PA when you limit the number of Batted Ball Events to 25.  He also showed a healthy 91.6 average exit velocity. When he makes contact, Garlick hits the crap out of the ball which makes him a prime example of a baseball player in 2020.

There is a blueprint for how Garlick can proceed with such a lofty strikeout rate.  Browsing through players with at least 300 plate appearances, you can see there are a number of hitters who had above-average batting lines with K rates in the 30s. Consider players like Rays INF Brandon Lowe and Twins 3B Miguel Sano who still managed to total over 3.5 fWAR.

TTO King Joey Gallo just had the best year of his career and he ran a 38% K rate and only had 297 plate appearances. Modern MLB players and teams don’t fear the strikeout which means a player like Garlick can absolutely thrive in the current offensive environment.

Defensively, Garlick graded out as neutral in both corner OF slots albeit in a short sample.  Even if he is below average in the field, Garlick’s bat has enough upside that he could be an offensive weapon for a team. Even though the sample is small, the batted ball quality and exit velocities are very real.

A number of teams should be interested in seeing what Garlick can with a full season of ABs or a potential reserve role. You have to think the San Francisco Giants would be the favorite with former Los Angeles Dodgers exec Farhan Zaidi in charge.

The Rangers, Orioles, Pirates, Marlins, Tigers, or any team with questions in the corner OF should take a look at giving Garlick 500 ABs and see what happens.  Worst case, the team cuts him loose, best case they have found another part of a future core or a valuable trade chip.

As a former 28th round pick, just making it to the show in any capacity is impressive. Garlick should catch on with any number of teams whether it is a contender looking for an interesting bench bat, a rebuilding team with ABs to give, or a near term contender who thinks Garlick can lock down a corner OF spot. A guy with his minor league and short MB track record should get an opportunity to see what he is.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers were the very beneficiary of someone getting DFA’d before they had proven themselves and it ended up pretty well for them. All Garlick needs now is a chance and some MLB team could end up with their own version of Max Muncy.

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