There’s been plenty of talk about the American League MVP Shohei Ohtani and the National League MVP Ronald Acuña Jr., especially right here on SB Nation and on Battery Power back in September. There’s also been plenty of talk about the World Series MVP, which is fully warranted since Corey Seager joined a small-yet-illustrious group of players who have been named World Series MVP on multiple occasions.
With that being said, we probably haven’t talked enough about the ALCS MVP because what Adolis García was doing during not just that series but the entire 2023 postseason in general was genuinely astonishing to watch. While the path to the World Series for the Texas Rangers was a true team effort and the established stars/free agency acquisitions like Seager and Marcus Semien both helped lead the way at the top of the order, it was García’s supernova run that really turbocharged Texas on their way to the title.
It all started with García’s regular season efforts, as he needed to at least prove that his breakout season in 2022 wasn’t a fluke and that he would be a true star for the Rangers going forward. Not only did he do that but he also took a big step forward as he improved in nearly every facet of the game. His plate approach improved massively as evidenced by his walk rate going up four percent as he cut down on his swings on pitches outside of the strike zone and his contact rate on all pitches went up to 70 percent.
When he did make contact, he usually did a ton of damage as well as he finished the season with a career-high wRC+ of 124, a wOBA of .354 and an Isolated Power number of .263 as he slugged for 39 homers.
While he didn’t exactly improve as a baserunner (he only stole nine bases when compared to 25 in 2022 and his BsR rating went down precipitously as a result), he continued to also play some good defense as well. All of this helped contribute to Adolis García putting up the best season of his career so far according to FanGraphs WAR — his 4.8 fWAR was a 1.2 point increase over his breakout season in 2022. It’s safe to assume that unless some type of awful disaster strikes, García is here to stay as a far as being a star player goes.
It’s one thing to do it in the regular season and after the 2023 season was finished, Adolis García had proven that he was a consistent enough performer to be relied upon in the Summer. Doing it in the Fall is a different story but García seemed up for the task from the start. During the 2-0 Wild Card Round sweep that got the run going for the Rangers, García was the one who got the lineup going for Texas as his leadoff homer in the fourth inning was the start of a four-run inning for the Rangers that put them in control of the game on their way to the sweep.
When the Rangers raced out to a 9-2 lead after three innings in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles, Adolis García played his part in a five-run second inning as he hit an RBI single to stretch Texas’ lead to 4-2 in a game they eventually won 11-8 to go up 2-0.
This eventually set the stage for García’s performance in the Game 3 clincher, which is when the burgeoning star capped off another crooked-number inning for the Rangers during this postseason with a huge second-deck three-run shot to push Texas to an early 6-0 lead. The game was already out of reach for Baltimore and the Rangers were onto the ALCS to take on their rivals down in Houston.
All of this was a prelude for what Adolis García would accomplish during the epic seven-game clash with the Astros. In Game 1, Houston held García hitless despite winning 2-0. Unfortunately for the Astros, that was the last time that García would be quiet for the remainder of the series. He got on the board in Game 2 with an RBI single and then he hit another RBI single in the closing stages of Game 3. From that point forward, García became Houston’s main problem as he homered in the Game 4 win and hit a massive go-ahead three-run shot in Game 5 before completely taking over by the time the series went back to Houston.
Adolis García put the icing on top of the cake in a sweet win in Game 6 as his ninth-inning Grand Slam left no doubt that this series was going to go the distance. He then proceeded to dominate Game 7 in what ended up being an emphatic pennant-clinching win for the Rangers. García picked up four hits, with two of them being homers and the second dinger putting Texas up 11-3 — essentially planting the Rangers flag right in the middle of Minute Maid Park. It was impossible to deny García and the Rangers on this night and his ALCS MVP was well-deserved.
García even proved that the bright lights of the Fall Classic weren’t bright enough to prevent him from keeping it up. Game 1 of the 2023 World Series was an entertaining back-and-forth affair and García’s three-hit, two RBI performance was key in helping the Rangers get off to a 1-0 start against the Diamondbacks. In fact, García shined when the Rangers needed him the most as his walk-off homer in extra innings was the moment that permanently enshrined him in World Series lore.
It’s a real crying shame that Adolis García suffered an oblique injury that kept him out of the rest of the World Series because it would’ve been so much fun to see him keep this up and give his incredible postseason run a proper send-off. Instead, we’ll all have to be satisfied with what actually happened and quite frankly, nobody’s going to forget the run that García went on for a long time.
His efforts will surely never be forgotten in Texas, either — nobody ever forgets their first World Series title and nobody is going to forget how special Adolis García looked during this postseason run. It was a long time coming for the Texas Rangers but if García continues to tap into the levels of performance that he delivered during this run then it may not be a long wait for the second parade in Arlington.