Tampa Bay’s Randy Arozarena won the American League Rookie of the Year award for 2021.
Many Rangers fans were hoping that honor would go to Adolis Garcia. And for a while he looked like he was a lock for it.
But in the end, he wasn’t one of the three finalists and it went to fellow Cuban, fellow outfielder, and fellow former Cardinal Randy Arozarena. How good does the Cardinals farm system have to be to have gotten rid of both Arozarena and Garcia, and still have a team that won a division? That’s a system that can develop talent.
Adolis Garcia wasn’t even on the Rangers opening day roster. He was toiling in the minor leagues and got called up only because of injuries and underperformance on the major league roster. After a somewhat slow start, Garcia made the month of May his daily highlight reel.
He batted .312, with an on-base average of .340, and an OPS in the elite stratosphere at .981. He hit 11 home runs, seemingly a game-winner every day. It was enough to get him named to the American League All-Star team and get the Rookie of the Year talk started.
He was must-see baseball watching. He was electrifying. He was a national story.
Then, just like that, he cooled off at the plate, hitting .242 in June, .216 in July, .227 in August, and .212 in September. His OPS plummeted as well, from that high mark in May to .716, then .660, .749, and all the way down to .559 in September.
Maybe he ran out of gas. Maybe the league caught up to him. Through all of that, though, he still managed to drive in 90 runs, and hit 31 home runs.
But he was inflicted with Rangeritis, a nagging and persistent itch to swing and miss. Garcia struck out 194 times.
He may not have earned the Rookie of the Year nod but he did earn the right to be a Ranger for next year. He might not be a build-around kind of player and he might not ever reclaim the glory of May but his defense is elite and the Rangers have none of that, either.
Right now, Adolis Garcia is all the Rangers have.
Here is the complete list of Rangers Rookie of the Year winners:
Neftali Feliz, 2011, RP
Mike Hargrove, 1974, 1B