Key Stats: Jaime Garcia has pitched two full seasons in the majors, and those two seasons have been amazingly consistent. He has identical Wins (13), WHIPs (1.31) and almost identical K/9 (7.27 and 7.21) and line drive rate (18.6% and 18.4%). His ERA is the only major stat that shows significant change from year 1 to 2, moving from 2.70 to 3.56, and it would seem that his BABIP and team defense were the main attributes to that. Looking at the overall picture of his stats hides his effectiveness in some situations though…
Skeptics Say: Garcia isn’t as effective on the road as he is pitching at home. In each of his two seasons his ERA home/road split has been different by more than two runs. His FIP and xFIP don’t really explain this as they are relatively consistent; the difference in BABIP though is 66 points. So while he puts up generally overall solid numbers, he can hurt your ratios when he is on the road.
Peer Comparison: Jaime Garcia gets a lot of credit for being a good pitcher. And he is, but I think because of his great ERA his rookie season and the fact he pitches for a winning team, people might over value him some. Let’s look at his line, and compare it to some other guys in baseball.
Garcia – 3.56 ERA, 7.2 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 1.31 WHIP
Player A – 3.39 ERA, 6.1 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 1.28 WHIP
Player B – 3.32 ERA, 6.4 K/9, 1.3 BB/9, 1.13 WHIP
Player C – 3.14 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 1.17 WHIP
Player D – 3.69 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 1.18 WHIP
O.K. All five of those guys have very similar numbers and one could argue that they are all evenly matched, but I would be 95% certain that you are going to be able to get players A-D later in your draft than you can Garcia. Who are they? Matt Harrison, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Baker and Javier Vazquez. The names aren’t as impressive, but you can’t argue with the numbers, which is really all we care about.
Team Outlook: To spend or not to spend, that is the question for the Cards. They are still the favorite to land Pujols, but losing him is a big blow to that team. Granted he was out a month, and other guys picked up the slack while he was gone, but can we expect similar production from Berkman to help fill that void again should they lose Pujols? I would guess not. We also don’t know how new manager Mike Matheny is going to use his pitching staff compared to La Russa last season, or how the team will react to that.
What They’re Saying: CBS Sportline: #48 Starting Pitcher; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #49 Starting Pitcher & #190 Overall; RotoChamp: #141 Overall
Projection: Garcia is a good pitcher, but not as valuable as other owners may think he is. Look at him as a solid 4th or 5th guy for your starting rotation in mixed leagues and only if you don’t mind using him exclusively when he pitches at home.
13 Wins, 3.86 ERA, 137 K, 1.31 WHIP in 190 innings.