Avisail Garcia is so hot right now

With 24 hits in his last 16 games, a .340 batting average in May, and some actual honest-to-goodness extra-base hits in the past week, Garcia is the hottest hitter on the team, and an easy choice to fill in the cleanup spot while Abreu got a night off.

He's also not that hot right now, since his magical run hasn't taken him very far away from a possibly still frizzly fate. He's ridden a rather absurd nearly .400 BABIP to all of a 121 wRC+, or a .322/.355/.441 batting line.

In other words, he's solidly above-average (Garcia finishing 20% above league average offense is a best-case scenario for him this season), but this is likely the crest, and the fallback when Garcia's singles stop finding grass all over the diamond will take him down to a far less happy place. There's nothing really good about his profile other than the gaudy hit total, and nothing to keep him upright when that goes away.

Garcia's not walking much at all (five free passes in 124 plate appearances), and he's not gonna. Per FanGraphs, he's swinging more often than any other qualified hitter in baseball (60.7%!!), and by a great deal*. The margin between Garcia and the No. 2 hacker Brandon Phillips, is the same as the difference between Phillips and No. 14 Danny Santana. Plate approach is not as simple as taking tons of pitches is good and aggression is bad, it's about putting yourself in a position to succeed with the skills you have. 

*larry from South Side Sox pointed out that Pitch F/X data is more reliable for this measure. It takes Garcia down to 59.9%, but actually extends his lead on the rest of the league

This is a discussion of whether Garcia has the ability to maintain a high batting average, which is funny, because he's awful at actually making contact. All progress from early in the season is gone and he's whiffing at over 17% again, and his career mark is 16.6%. Only Mike Zunino is whiffing at a higher percentage of his pitches, and Zunino is hitting a very well-earned .188. Garcia's 21% strikeout rate is high--though not that high for our current strikeout-crazed era--but if he wasn't hacking at everything that was close and waiting deeper into counts, it would probably be in the high-30's and rendering him unplayable. He's so damn bad at putting the bat on the ball, he can't really afford to spurn opportunities.

The question is whether there's anything to his ability to generate hard contact consistently, or for God's sakes, hit for power consistently. He poked his bat out and hit a 400-foot laser beam to dead center Wednesday night, suggesting his larger potential, and whipped another bullet out to left field last weekend. This is encouraging, but the primary benefit of patience is that it allows you to wait for pitches to drive. Avisail is not going to do that, and probably needs to demonstrate he's pretty good at spraying singles consistently.

As far as impossibly dodgy batted ball numbers, the incredibly inconsistent only method of line-drive rate loves Avisail's start (10th in baseball in line drive rate. In the newer and possibly less dodgy measure of "hard hit" rate, Garcia is wholly unremarkable.  In either case, Garcia is unreliable to be good  until he proves otherwise. This is a White Sox blog, and we're obviously beyond the pale in terms of optimism about his future, but there's a reason there aren't a lot of hulking, strikeout-plagued singles hitters hitting a light and consistent .320. It's weird, it certainly doesn't seem sustainable, and doesn't feel like his final form anyway. Garcia remains the guy to watch in the Sox lineup, not just because he's the bellwether, but because he's just one of the most bizarre acts in the business at the moment.