I may have jumped the gun yesterday when I declared Chris Shaw to be the Giants’ September Surprise. Aramís García followed up a 4-strikeout game with a 4-hit game, the first Giant to do that since Hunter Pence in 2015 and the first rookie to do so in 25 years (this is per Andrew Baggarly’s game recap available with a subscription to The Athletic). He’s played capably at both catcher and first base already and has three home runs in 38 at bats already — which, as Brady noted in his recap, is just two away from Buster Posey’s season total. Maybe he’s the surprise?
But instead of panicking and yelling “FRAUD!” at myself in a mirror, I sat and thought about this for just a moment. Shaw is the September Surprise because he’s a “top prospect” who came up and gave us a little bit out hope about future prospects. García is quite obviously a prospect, too, but he’s more or less come out of nowhere. The Giants needed a warm body who could catch and he was the only one left on the 40-man roster.
The dude has 14 hits in 38 at bats. The league hasn’t figured him out, but he hasn’t been intimidated by the league. He’s taken what they’ve given him, and that ability to “stay within one’s self” is a quality we’ve 1) yet to figure out how to measure and 2) underrated from our fan perspective.
Still, Roger’s caveats still apply here:
May be an unpopular opinion but I’ve long held stance that nothing worthwhile is ever “learned” in September: expanded rosters, tired vets looking forward to offseason—it’s not real. September is where you fool yourself into thinking Manny Burris is going to be great next yr!— Roger Munter (@rog61) August 21, 2018
One thing to add to earlier comment that nothing valuable is really learned in September--it goes both ways. Both good perf and bad should be viewed w dubious eye. Remember when Yankees fans though Aaron Judge was a total bust after he hit .179 w 44% Ks in late season callup?— Roger Munter (@rog61) September 1, 2018
García also has 0 walks against 18 strikeouts in his 38 plate appearances. His BAbip is over .500. That’s incredibly unsustainable and simply mind-boggling. So, yeah, this is just some fun with small sample sizes — but given the extent of the damage he’s doing in this small sample size, relative to his minor league performance (.675 OPS in 301 AB this year in Double-A) and stature in the organization (Brady is right: the Giants are likely to re-sign Nick Hundley rather than put García in the role), can’t an argument be made that Aramís García is the biggest surprise of the entire season?
I’ll give you a few other candidates and let you decide:
A switch hitter with a little bit of pop and plenty of speed who brings a lot of energy onto the field when he gets in a game. He has no plate patience and you have to be extremely forgiving and slightly drunk to consider his defense to be effective or useful, but he’s managed to stick around all season and with a skill set that’s not easily duplicated by anyone else in the organization.
A quality right-handed starter who will end the season as the rotation’s best pitcher. He certainly has had a bit of luck (judging by his peripherals) and his stuff isn’t overpowering, but it’s still effective and his sequencing and “pitching smarts” are both apparent and off the charts. He’s rightfully received a lot of coverage for his success and the Giants basically signed him off the street in the offseason.
Here’s a solid rookie who came up, did well, struggled, adjusted, did well, struggled again, and adjusted back to settle into an effective back of the rotation starter. He, too, has demonstrated plenty of “pitching smarts” with a combination of good sequencing and pitching through loss of control. In every one of his starts, he’s managed to lose a pitch or two for multiple innings and instead of fold, he simply goes with what’s working. and
Okay, look, the correct answer is probably Dereck Rodríguez. But for this brief moment in time, Aramís García has stood out in a way that’s hard to fathom. Consider that the Giants have a pitchers’ park and Curt Young is an above average pitching coach. The organization has similarly been above average when it comes to developing arms over the past decade or so.
At the same time, the Giants’ organization can’t hit, don’t understand what it takes to hit major league pitching, and generally look really, really bad at the plate. García’s at bats aren’t polished and they’re not transcendent — we’re not watching a proto Trout or proto Acuña here — and, really, we’re looking at the textbook definition of a hot September call-up, but again, given who he is and what he’s accomplished, can’t an argument be made that he’s the biggest surprise of the season?
Aramís García: biggest surprise of the season?
This poll is closed
Yeah, no. Still D-Rod
Sure. Why not? None of this matters.
Gimme Hanson. He brings the VROOOM.
Andy is dandy.