Ryan Garko makes Jerry Crasnick's latest random list of nine guys column on ESPN, this week showcasing players who are "making significant contributions with no hype." To wit:
More proof that some of these guys either can't be bothered to read a basic stat line, or can't understand it when they do. Garko's main attributes are not, in fact, power and discipline. Among qualifying AL first basemen, Garko is currently dead last in walk rate (a horrendous .037) and ahead of only Sean Casey (yikes) in extra-base hits (10).
Garko's main attribute actually is hitting for contact, as he's second among his peers and 14th in the entire league with a .317 batting average. Bolstered of course by a .351 BABIP.
To recap, Garko has had terrible discipline and middling power at best, and he's gotten very lucky on balls in play. So the real story isn't that Garko is doing great and deserves more of the spotlight. The real story is that his good-not-great 870 OPS may be a mirage, and it shouldn't surprise anyone if we see a significant drop in his numbers soon.
Looking for a bright side? Garko is among the league leaders in pitchers per PA, and his power numbers have come up significantly in May. But his walk rate has gotten even worse. I really do think it's cause for concern.