Nationals

Nats' García is youngest player with multi-homer game in 2021

Nationals
Luis García

Luis García is one of many young players in the Nationals’ organization getting an opportunity to play every day after the team tore its roster down at the trade deadline last week. The 21-year-old infielder entered play Wednesday hitting just .087 since being called up July 29 but stopped his skid in a big way with two home runs against the Philadelphia Phillies.

García is the only player 21 or younger with a multi-homer game this season. The versatile infielder has spent most of this year at Triple-A Rochester, where he showed progress as a power hitter (13 home runs in 37 games) after hitting only two homers in 40 games for the Nationals’ big-league club in 2020.

Manager Davey Martinez has noticed a shift in García’s mechanics, which he believes has translated to his development into more of a home run hitter.

“The big difference is, like with Carter [Kieboom], he’s really using his legs to hit,” Martinez said after the game. “He stayed on a pretty good fastball against [Matt] Moore and drove it the other way. When he’s starting to do that, he’s staying back, he’s getting ready early and he’s really using his lower half so it’s good to see. He had some good at-bats today.”

The second home run García hit came off lefty pitcher Matt Moore and he took the opposite way, something the left-handed hitter worked on during the offseason.

“It is a very good sign,” García said through interpreter Octavio Martinez. “It’s something I worked hard a lot this offseason and trying to get more acclimated to facing lefties. And just seeing how the fruits of my labor, hard work I put in this offseason are starting to show, I’m very excited about that.”

 

Before García, the last 21-year-old with a multi-homer game was Juan Soto, who did it Aug. 31 last season. García said in 2020 that he was trying to emulate Soto as much as possible. He even adopted a similar batting stance, though Martinez noted Wednesday that he’s since dropped his hands a bit more and the success has followed.

“He’s trying to take the same approach [as Soto] up there,” Martinez said. “He’s trying to get the ball up, middle away and just stay on the ball, hit the ball to left-center field. But as you can tell, when the ball is in he’s pretty quick inside as well. So he’s a young hitter, has a lot of talent and it’s good to see him have some success here.”