As the season draws to an end, the debates for awards start to amp up. As for Luis Garcia and the Houston Astros, the case for the American League Rookie of the Year has to be something the young pitcher has set his sights on. The last time an Astros player took home the AL Rookie of the Year honors was in 2019 when Yordan Alvarez slugged his way to win the award.
A Case For Luis Garcia
There have been some impressive rookies this season, especially in the American League, including players such as Adolis Garcia of the Texas Rangers, Randy Arozarena and Wander Franco from the Tampa Bay Rays, and even Ryan Mountcastle of the Baltimore Orioles. All are having exceptional rookie seasons as position players. Still, when we look at Garcia, he is the only pitcher that has the opportunity to be a finalist.
The story of how Garcia made it to the Astros is genuinely remarkable. With his dancing wind-up, Garcia burst onto the scene during the 2020 postseason. Skipping Double-A and Triple-A, Garcia managed to understand and adjust to the game’s flow, which can be a daunting task for most pitchers his age.
Garcia improves with each start and shows that he can keep hitters off-balance by mixing up his pitches at the major league level. In a Houston Chronicle article, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman said, “He’s been unbelievable for us. Every time he goes out there, he gives us a chance to win. Competes, works extremely hard on the days he’s not pitching. He’s a student of the game, and he’s a great teammate. He’s been a leader for us, and I’m super happy for him for the season he has. I do believe he should win Rookie of the Year.”
When Garica is on the mound, nothing seems to discourage him. Often smiling and having fun, Garcia exudes confidence, and having the support of a lineup with Bregman and Carlos Correa playing right behind him takes the pressure off, giving Garcia even more grace to go out and do his thing.
On the season, Garcia is 11-7 with a 3.23 earned run average in 150.1 innings pitched. Not to mention, Garcia has a total of 161 strikeouts, which ranks 14th overall in the American League and second on the team behind Lance McCullers Jr. When considering advanced statistics such as WAR (Wins Above Replacement) and WHIP (Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched), Garcia ranks in the top 100 for rookie pitchers, according to mlb.com.
Garcia has been a shining light in this Astros starting rotation this season. In his last start against the Los Angeles Angels, he went six scoreless innings, giving up only three hits. His performance is the reason why the Astros sit atop of the AL West standings and have a magic number of three to clinch a postseason berth. When the season is all said and done, Garcia will be your AL Rookie of the Year!
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