How Maíkel García could blossom into a star for the KC Royals

His 2023 was good but García's 2024 might be even better.
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to Kings of Kauffman's 2024 KC Royals player projection series. Over the next few weeks, we'll be reviewing how various Royals performed last year and predicting how they might fare this season. Up today is infielder Maikel García

The Royals might have their everyday third baseman for the foreseeable future in Maikel García, but 2024 will be a critical year in his development. After a rookie season filled with promising moments, what will he provide in the upcoming campaign? Between his defensive contributions and potential for an offensive breakout, Garcia should be a focal point of the team's progression.

Last year, Garcia slashed .272/.323/.358 (84 wRC+) with four home runs and 50 RBI. While his lack of power limited the ceiling of his production, his contact ability provided an encouraging base skill set. Tack on 23 stolen bases and incredible defense and Garcia begins to look like a legitimate long-term piece of the lineup. Will he be able to build on his first full season in the majors?

How FanGraphs projects Maikel García's 2024 season

FanGraphs (Depth Charts version) expects García's offensive production will be similar to last season, predicting for him a .264/.325/.371 line with six home runs, 51 RBI, and 20 steals.

How Maikel García will actually perform in 2024

García's path to success seems quite clear this season — great defense and utilizing good contact to hit for a high batting average. There are also several reasons to expect him to overcome any limitations on his power production. Although he ranked in the 10th percentile in barrel percentage, he was in the 93rd percentile for hard-hit percentage and 87th percentile for average exit velocity, according to Baseball Savant. He didn't profile as a big home run hitter in the minors, either, but he should certainly improve.

García displayed an impressive awareness of the strike zone for a rookie; if he can turn some of his ground balls into line drives, his high batting average could lead to an invaluable role in the Royals' offense. The 89 wRC+ projected by FanGraphs, paired with his defensive talent, would be fine, but fans should ultimately hope García makes meaningful improvement as he embarks on a new season.

And if he does, he could join the ranks of Royals stars.

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