clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Phillies have acquired a big bat in Kyle Garlick

New, comments

The right-handed slugger has the chance to be more than just a bench bat in 2020...

Photo via Richard Jackson / USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies went out of their way to acquire Dodgers’ odd-man out, OF Kyle Garlick, in a trade on Saturday that sent LHP Tyler Gilbert to Los Angeles. As a corresponding move, Nick Martini, who was earlier claimed from the Cincinnati Reds, was DFA’d.

Garlick was sent packing as a response to the Dodgers’ acquisition of Mookie Betts and David Price. He’s a supremely talented bat who just wouldn’t fit on a chock-full LAD roster — thus, the Phillies were quick to nab him before he could clear waivers.

The piece going back to the Dodgers, 26 year-old Tyler Gilbert, is a LHP with Major League upside — but is another one of those low-ish velocity, low-stuff kind of guys that the Phillies have in spades. He did, however, put up a solid Triple-A campaign in 2019, and will likely see some MLB time with Los Angeles somewhere along the line.

For ages, Phillie fans have yearned to see a surprise prospect break out from nowhere — something like what the Mets found in Jeff McNeil, or what the Yankees discovered in Mike Tauchman, Gio Urshela, and so on.

Well, the Phillies might have produced just that via trade.

Garlick is more than just your average, run-of-the-mill fringe bat — he had an absurd 2019, both in Triple-A and the Major Leagues.

In the PCL, Garlick put up a mammoth slash of .314/.382/.675(!!!) with 23 home runs and a 1.057 OPS... in 81 games.

Now, before anyone else decides to burst my bubble — believe me, I know the PCL was racked with home runs galore last year, and, sure, Garlick’s ridiculous season may be a byproduct of some sort of juiced ball conundrum... but a 46 home run pace? A .675 SLG%? Juiced ball or not, that’s some big time power.

Despite what his monstrous numbers may lead you to believe, Garlick isn’t all that imposing in the box. He stands at 6’1”, 210 lbs, but generates immense power from his lower half, which is, typically, a good sign.

Check out his swing back in 2016:

In fact, Garlick carries with him shades of another very famous lower-half hitter — Josh Donaldson, who, funnily enough, also stands at 6’1”, 210 lbs.

Obviously, Garlick won’t be nearly as valuable defensively as Donaldson, but his swing and mechanics themselves are very reminiscent of the Twins’ third baseman, who’s had quite the successful career at the plate — as Phillie fans, I’m sure, remember from Donaldson’s time with the Braves in 2019.

Garlick also managed to put up some solid stats in the Majors last year:

Over 48 Major League at-bats, Garlick hit .250/.321/.521 with 3 long balls and an .842 OPS, combined with a 118 OPS+. Based on SLG% and OPS+ alone, it’s easy to see, even thru the small sample size, that Garlick’s tools will transition just fine into the Majors.

On the flip side, it’s worth mentioning that Garlick’s K:BB numbers are less than ideal. In the Minors, he struck out 84 times in 81 games, compared to a meager 25 walks. In his short Major League stint, Garlick struck out 19 times, while only walking in 5 instances. This piece of his game is, obviously, pending improvement.

This is a trade that we’ll have to look back on a few months from now, once we know how the roster is due to shape out after injuries, in-system battles, and so on. That said, Garlick’s presence alone just made the race for the Phillies’ bench that much more interesting. He’s an impact bat from the right side — something the Phillies were in desperate need of.

Should Garlick not make the bench out of camp, he still has 2 MiLB options to his name, and will serve as an excellent piece of outfield depth, should the Phillies suffer any earth-shattering injuries, as they did with Andrew McCutchen in 2019.

Personally, this trade really excites me, and, as my Italian Grandmother used to always say — everything’s better with a little bit of Garlick!

... I’ll see myself out.