Heroes are made in October and there has been no greater hero this postseason than Texas Rangers slugger Adolis García. The two-time All-Star clubbed 39 home runs during the regular season, second most in the American League, and he's taken his game to another level in the postseason. Garcia is hitting .339/.391/.763 with eight home runs and 22 RBI in 14 games this October.

"Just very happy at the opportunity to be in the history books," García said after his walk-off home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 1 of the World Series. "But like I said as well, just when I'm in the batter's box, I'm just focused and I tune out everything, every other noise, and I'm just focused on the situation."

García's 22 RBI are the most ever in a single postseason and he also set the single-series record with 15 RBI against the Houston Astros in the Championship Series. His eight homers are tied for the second-most ever in a single postseason, two fewer than Randy Arozarena had in 2020, with at least three games left in the World Series. Arozarena had 86 plate appearances that postseason. García currently has only 64.

"He's done such a great job of (staying in control of his at-bats)," Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said after Game 1 against the D-backs. "We saw him in the last series. We saw him toward the end of the season. And he's doing such a great job of controlling his emotions, so to speak, where he's not over-swinging and he's staying under control. That's fun to watch when he does that."

Controlling at-bats was not always a strength of García's. He has been a free swinger most of his career, so while he brought immense power to the plate, pitchers could exploit his aggressiveness and get him to chase out of the zone. That is no longer the case. García does not expand the zone nearly as much as he did earlier in his career. A graph is worth a thousand words:

Adolis García cut his chase rate significantly in 2023. FanGraphs

García's improved discipline is most notable against non-fastballs. A year ago, he swung at 45.7% of the breaking balls and offspeed pitches he saw outside the strike zone. This year, that's down to 31.5%, a tick better than the 32.0% MLB average. Among qualified hitters, only teammate Nathaniel Lowe cut his chase rate more than García from 2022 to 2023. Bochy saw this coming in spring training too.

"I didn't know Adolis until I came here this spring and I saw him chase one slider, and it might have been a pitch he chased a lot, but he's shown good discipline at the plate, so I haven't seen it. That's why I like to form my own evaluation until I see these guys," Bochy told in March. "... I've seen a guy this is not what you might read in the report or his evaluation. He is throwing out really good at-bats. His discipline has been very good this spring. That's what's impressed me about him."   

García's improved plate discipline was on display not during his walk-off homer in Game 1, but during his third-inning walk against Zac Gallen. Gallen executed a good curveball below the zone in a 2-2 count -- his curveball had a stellar 40.6% swing-and-miss rate in 2023 -- but García didn't flinch. Then he took a 3-2 changeup in the dirt to work a walk that loaded the bases. 

Mitch Garver followed with a walk of his own, which forced in the game-tying run. In the past, García was vulnerable to two-strike curveballs exactly like the one Gallen threw. This season, he's done a much better job of not only being competitive in two-strike counts, but doing damage with two strikes. Here are García's numbers in two-strike counts:

OPSChase % Swinging strike %









MLB average




García turns 31 in March, so he's not a young kid by baseball standards. Plate discipline and swing decisions are difficult to improve to start with, and especially so when a player is this deep into his career. The biggest plate discipline gains typically come when the player is in the 18-24 range. Improving plate discipline as much as García has at this stage of his career is uncommon and impressive.

The Rangers are fortunate they still have García -- they put him on waivers in February 2021 and any team could have claimed him, but didn't -- but you need a little luck along the way to build a pennant-winner. García's much improved approach is not luck though. He has worked at it for years and it is the result of hard work and good coaching, and now he's shining on the game's biggest stage.

"First of all, thanks to God who has been there with me since Day 1, has helped me throughout this process," García said after World Series Game 1. "And also hard work and effort that I've put in to try to get to this point."