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The Underrated Freddy Garcia

By Mike Silva ~ August 8th, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Yankees.

Bartolo Colon has been the big story for the Yankees starting rotation. Who would have thought he could emerge as the Yankees #2 starter when they signed him this winter on the advice of Tony Pena? The other big surprise, to a lesser extent, is Freddy Garcia. It’s Garcia that gets talked about far less than Colon, but who continues to defy the odds and provide top of the rotation performance despite reduced velocity.

Garcia was solid for the White Sox last season with his 18 quality starts (6 innings/3 runs or less). His overall numbers (4.64 ERA) were bloated by a few very poor outings. Garcia has been even better this year, producing 14 starts of 6 innings and 3 runs or less. Despite pitching in the offensive-laden AL East, he has only produced four outings where he allowed 4 earned runs or more. Last year, he had 8 such outings. To date, he is 10-7 with a 3.16 ERA. You could make the argument that he is having a better season than Cliff Lee.

How does he do it? Garcia doesn’t have an extreme groundball rate, his strikeout rate is very pedestrian (5.1 per nine), and he walked a few more batters this year than in the past. The bottom line is Garcia knows how to pitch. He can navigate a lineup. He knows how to pitch around the hitters that will hurt him, and is confident enough to get the big out when he needs it. He’s left 77% of runners on base this year. For those that think he is lucky, his BABIP is .290, slightly below the league average.

I don’t think advanced stats tell the story of Freddy Garcia. He is a perfect example of a pitcher that is too dull for the stat line, but does the one thing that matters: win. You can’t teach or measure such an intangible.

Sure, he will make you nervous. Especially when pitching in Fenway Park against the powerful Red Sox lineup. But he will compete even with less than his best stuff, which is more than what I could say for another Yankees starter by the name of A.J. Burnett.

Give me pitchers like Freddy Garcia who don’t light up the stat page, but know their craft. He has turned out to be an equally good signing as Colon, and is one of the major reasons the Yankees didn’t need to give up a top prospect for an average veteran starter at the deadline.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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1 Response to The Underrated Freddy Garcia

  1. Samuel

    Garcia is effective against anybody if he hits his location and changes speeds.

    That second inning strike out of Josh Reddick with the bases loaded and no one out was a thing of beauty. After going 1-1, Garcia threw three straight splitters (changes) on the outside corner at the knees.

    Reddick could only foul them off. Then Garcia threw a splitter inside which Reddick swung over the top of for the strikeout.

    Garcia also recorded outs in the game by jamming Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis then getting Gonzalez out later on by having him reach for a pitch.

    AGon was 0 for 3 with a pop up and two ground balls off of Garcia.

    Did anyone notice Gonzalez did nothing all weekend? He was 1 for 13 with a single walk.

    Garcia will get into trouble when his pitches are over the middle of the plate, pretty much like any pitcher.

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