After hitting 21 HR in 2007 heading into his age 27 season, everyone was sitting back waiting for the greatness of Ryan Garko to fully shine full. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be as the only way to describe Garko’s 2008 was significant disappointment. Let’s take a look at just how bad it was:
495 At Bats
14 Home Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.273 Batting Average
.404 Slugging Percentage
.346 On Base Percentage
.306 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Not only did his home runs drop by 7, but his doubles fell as well (29 to 21), meaning that it was just a disappointment all the way around. His HR/FB fell to 8.1%, so there is some room for growth, but just how much? You would have thought that 2008 would have been the season that he grew and matured into a bigger power threat, but it wasn’t to be. At this point, I don’t know that I can be convinced that an excessive power season is coming.
Part of the concern is the amount of playing time Garko will receive in 2009. With the emergence of Kelly Shoppach, there’s a chance that the team shifts Victor Martinez over to first base on at least a semi regular basis, in an effort to keep both in the line-up. With a healthy Travis Hafner in a position to fill the DH (and hopefully return to form, but that’s a conversation for another day), there’s only so many at bats to go around.
With limited AB’s, what exactly are we hopping for here? I know he did produce 90 RBI, thanks to an average of .315 with runners in scoring position (RISP) and an even better .333 average with RISP and two outs. Considering he was only a .273 hitter overall, there’s little chance that he is able to duplicate those numbers. Also keep in mind that in 2007 his average with RISP was a meager .233. Yeah, don’t look for him to be able to repeat his ’08 campaign, meaning less RBI are probably on the horizon.
He didn’t score enough runs to begin with, considering there were 15 players eligible at 1B who scored over 85 runs last season. Given the line-up as it is, the chance of him improving, even slightly, is minimal at best.
With all that said, let’s look at what we’d expect from Garko in 2009:
.282 (116-412), 15 HR, 71 RBI, 57 R, 0 SB, .311 BABIP, .345 OBP, .447 SLG
As a corner infielder, those numbers are just not acceptable. You want a big slugger from those spots, but he just doesn’t cut it at all. With the set-up of the Indians as it is, there’s too many question surrounding how many at bats he’ll actually see and even if he does, there’s just nothing pointing to a big season.
In AL-only leagues he has value, outside of that move on. There are just too many better options available to you. Keep on an eye on him, just in case he finally breaks out, but my money is on him not being much of an option this season.