Alert the trolls! ¬†Plaster¬†up the bulletins under the bridges! ¬†Because I’m biased. ¬†I hate the Cardinals. ¬†They’re just so good against my Brewers! ¬†And yeah, that’s pretty much all I got… Ummm, also… because McGwire did steroids?! ¬†Yeah that doesn’t work from a Brewers fan… Ummm, because Lance Lynn is a porker and dominates us every time out? ¬†Dammit, Wily Peralta is listed 5 pounds heavier! ¬†I have no rational basis…
And with said caveats, I’ve never been a Jaime Garcia fan. ¬†I actually picked him up in that redonk rookie year in 2010, and sold him mid-season which didn’t really work out. ¬†As he returned from a rash of shoulder injuries plaguing the past few seasons, he was further off my radar than the Red October. ¬†Can you believe he’s never had a WHIP under 1.30 in ANY Major League season? ¬†And that includes only 9 starts last year and 10 appearances in 2008. ¬†Then after seriously considering him for my top 100 SP¬†ranks last week, he got rocked at KC Tuesday. ¬†But followed it up with a gem yesterday at Toronto! ¬†What is going on here?! ¬†I feel like I’m taking crazy pills! ¬†So I decided to break down Sunday’s start and re-address my ill-conceived biases – and Garcia – for this week’s re-ranks:
First Inning:¬†Garcia’s first pitch of his fifth start this year is a great sinker at 91 on the outside corner to Jose Reyes. ¬†Then goes two-seam on the fists, and it’s a routine grounder to short to start the game. ¬†Another switch-hitter from the right side – Melky Cabrera – takes a fastball just high and outside, then a two-seamer is just inside, another fastball low, then a sinker stays outside, and it’s a four-pitch walk. ¬†In his first four starts, Garcia actually had a 22:0 K:BB going. ¬†Streak broken! ¬†First walk on the year. ¬†So up is Jose Bautista who takes a solid sinker right on the inside lower black. ¬†Great movement there.
Then an 84 MPH change-up outside and low gets a huge hack, 0-2.
Pretty nasty combination there. ¬†A fastball is emergency hacked foul, then Garcia’s first slider bends on the hands and gets a lazy pop fly to left, two down. ¬†Again a tough righty matchup with Edwin Encarnacion up, and change-up is¬†in the dirt, a sinker gets swung over and missed, then a sick slider that just dies going 11-5 and almost gets E3 on the foot gets a huge whiff, 1-2. ¬†Man, it gets past backup C Tony Cruz for a passed ball too, fooled everyone! ¬†Probably just crossed up signs. ¬†Slider again in the same spot is laid off, Garcia spikes a change-up, change-up is fouled, a heater fouled, another fastball tapped foul, still a full count. ¬†And the 9th pitch of the AB is a sinker in the dirt, another walk. ¬†Runners on first and second, and a two-seamer gets the call on the inside edge to Brett Lawrie, a dandy of a sinker is in the zone, then a slider just falling out of the zone is swung over, and it’s a three-pitch K to get out of the inning.
Second Inning:¬†Man, a brutal inning for Drew Hutchison giving up four runs, giving Jaime a big 4-0 lead. ¬†He starts Steve Tolleson with a cutter high, another cutter is in there at 89 MPH, a 90 MPH two-seamer somehow missed but looked good, but a 90 MPH four-seamer right down the middle is laced to left for a single. ¬†Dioner Navarro takes a sinker just outside, then a fastball is grounded right down the third base line, and Matt Carpenter makes an unreal play to get the slower Navarro at first. ¬†Runner moves to second, and sinker is low to Erik Kratz, then a fastball is hit hard to short, and they get the lead runner at third. ¬†Good defense. ¬†Garcia starts the 9 hole hitter Kevin Pillar with a cutter in the top of the zone strike one, change-up is in the dirt, a cutter low and on the hands is nipped foul, and a huge bending slider that starts at ¬†Cruz’s right shoulder and ends up in the dirt by his left foot is whiffed on, and it’s gone gone chasin’ waterfalls!
Third Inning:¬†The Cards put another tally on the board, 5-0 redbirds, and Garcia is back to the top of the order and Reyes fouls it off, 0-1. ¬†A change-up hangs high, another change down Broadway is fouled, but he sticks with it a third time and gets a bloop pop-up, luckily Jhonny Peralta is able to make the basket catch, one down. ¬†Sinker is low to Melky, another is a tad higher but still out of the zone, gets in there with a 92 MPH cutter, another sinker at 92 is perfect on the lower inside black, 2-2. ¬†All pitches low and inside. ¬†Then another sinker low – closer to the middle of the plate – is tapped to third and it’s an easy out as Melky fell out of the box. ¬†Two down, and a change is on the inside edge, curveball just inside, then a cupcake fastball down the middle – a tad towards the outside – gets grounded to short to end the inning. ¬†Bautista yells in frustration right after he hit it – he knew he shoulda crushed that one.
Fourth Inning:¬†Garcia opens the fourth with that sinking fastball in the zone to Edwin, then a two-seamer breaks Edwin’s bat for a very easy groundout to short. ¬†Change-up is low to Lawrie, a slider bends in the top of the zone to even it up, a fastball gets the call high in the inner zone, then a slider that hung a bit is golfed to left, but it’s an easy catch. ¬†Two down, and Garcia gives Tolleson a two-seamer outside, a perfect change-up at 83 gets a swing-and-miss, 1-1.
That one started like it was right down the middle, then the string is pulled. ¬†Jaime follows it up with a 75 MPH curveball that loops into the zone, 1-2.
Great pitching and another back-to-back sequence I wanted to highlight. ¬†After missing a change low, Tolleson saw that pitch floating way up there and took all the way. ¬†Awesome stuff. ¬†Garcia sails a hanging change, fastball is high, then barely high with a fastball again for his third walk. ¬†Well, I jynxed it! ¬†But he’s right back in the zone to Navarro, then gets a weak grounder to third, and Matt Carpenter has all day to throw out the tortoise that is Dioner Navarro, inning over.
Fifth Inning:¬†Well the fifth starts off with a fastball¬†that looked way outside getting the call, 0-1 to Kratz. ¬†Nice help there. ¬†Two-seamer is low, then a change-up outside is fouled back, 1-2. ¬†Might not have swung at that one after that first call. ¬†A hanging curveball is looped foul, then a two-seamer on the hands is grounded to third, one down. ¬†Fastball is in there at the knees, Pillar then chops one foul, and the 0-2 92 MPH sinking fastball is popped to right, but Allen Craig has it go off his glove in foul territory while sliding. ¬†Still 0-2, and a solid curveball gets an emergency tip foul, then a change-up is spiked, and a sick change-up in a perfect spot on the outer black gets swung through, third K for Jaime. ¬†Pillar looks overmatched. ¬†Reyes takes a cutter in there, sinker is just low, two-seamer outside, four-seam inside, then another heater on the hands jams him, but even with a great Carpenter barehand play, Reyes beats it to first for an infield single. ¬†A perfect throw gets him, but great effort. ¬†Melky takes a sinker low, and it’s right through the wickets for a passed ball. ¬†Tony Cruz having trouble. ¬†Another fastball low, yet another sinker went low, but Melky swung at a ball there. ¬†2-1 is a hanging two-seamer, looked pretty easy to hit, and Melky grounds it routinely to Carpenter… But, Carpenter boots it for an error and the inning continues. ¬†Runners at first and third, and rough defense behind Jaime. ¬†Big at bat here with Jose Bautista up, and a cutter is just inside, then a two-seam paints the inner low corner, at the behest of Joey Bats and the crowd. ¬†Looked inside. ¬†A 1-1 change-up is in the dirt but blocked well, 2-1. ¬†Another fastball on the inside corner at the knees gets a strike called, and all of Toronto hates it. ¬†Looked inside again. ¬†Garcia then goes change-up, and Bautista is way in front and over top it, whiffing for Garcia’s third K. ¬†Garcia got two calls and¬†took advantage.
Sixth Inning:¬†At 85 pitches¬†– a lot have been fouled off thus far – Garcia is looking at only one or two more innings of work, and loops a slow 70 MPH curveball that looked like a strike, but is called high, 1-0. ¬†So the umpire giveth and the umpire taketh away. ¬†Change-up drops in there, then a fastball fouled off, a change that hung a tad fouled back, then a fastball at the knees is rocketed to third, but Carpenter makes the play this time for the out. ¬†That was the hardest hit all day. ¬†Lawrie takes a two-seamer low, then a slider gets routinely hit to short, two quick outs, just what Jaime needed. ¬†And even better is a first-pitch groundball hit by Tolleson and another very easy play for Peralta to end the inning.
Seventh Inning:¬†Back-to-back innings with a first-pitch curve, but this time it’s in there from Jaime, Navarro takes another curve low, two-seam low, and a heater down the middle is a routine grounder, one down. ¬†First-pitch two-seamer down the middle is hit up the gap by Kratz for a quick single. ¬†Only Jaime’s third hit given up, and Pillar takes a two-seamer on the inside edge, 0-1. ¬†That looked inside too, but Garcia has been getting that inside corner all day. ¬†Jaime goes further in with the cutter, and a dribbler to Carpenter gets the out made at first, two down. ¬†Another benefit of the call there, Pillar probably doesn’t swing at that if that inside corner call isn’t made. ¬†Of course that’s conjecture… Reyes takes a curveball low, a two-seamer is way high, 2-0. ¬†Cruz comes out for a quick chat and a cutter is in there, then a fastball very high, 3-1 is a sinker that looked to stay high, but gets the call to go full. ¬†Yet again the ump helps him out. ¬†And the payoff pitch is a cutter in the zone hit pretty hard towards the gap, but Peralta is on it and makes the play.
Final Line: ¬†W ¬†7 IP ¬†108 Pitches (68 Strikes) ¬†0 ER ¬†3 Hits ¬†3 Walks ¬†4 K ¬†Gamescore: 72 ¬† ¬†Gamescore+: 70.2
Final Analysis:¬†To be honest, I really don’t know what to make of this start. ¬†Home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez had a very liberal strike zone, and Garcia looked like the Jaime of old with the three walks. ¬†My Gamescore+ doesn’t figure in lucky calls at the plate, but with the lower strikeout total and a few walks, his Gamescore+ came out just below his Gamescore.
Garcia’s arsenal starts with the sinker, well it’s called a four-seamer on Fangraphs and in play-by-plays – but with his over-the-top motion, it sinks regularly. ¬†He also mixes in a two-seamer and cutter, with the latter at varying speeds. ¬†Fangraphs lists his cutter with an 82.1 average velocity, but I think they lump sliders in there. ¬†They’re similar and/or he is able to vary the speeds greatly. ¬†Then to the off-speed where along with those occasional sliders/slower cutters, and some curves, is the devastating change-up – his best pitch. ¬†He’d only gone to¬†it 13.7% of the time before this past start, but imagine – well, hope – that creeps closer to 20% as the season wears on. ¬†His stuff has tons of movement and a lot of sink, reflected by fantastic GB rates – a career 55.4% mark and 52.8% this year prior to yesterday.
I had a lot of trouble figuring out where to rank Garcia… ¬†After mentioning that 1.30 WHIP barrier he hasn’t overcome yet¬†in his career, he’s rock-n-rollin’ with a 0.95 WHIP right now. ¬†And¬†while commendable what he did at Toronto, no Adam Lind or Juan Francisco¬†(since he’s a lefty) and the 6 through 9 hitters of Tolleson, Navarro, Kratz, Pillar is about as bad a 6-9 you’ll see in the Majors, even the NL! ¬†*Cough*, except maybe the¬†Padres, *cough*. ¬†But I saw enough of this start to slide him in at 86. ¬†I decided to keep him just under last week’s Pitcher Profile subject Roenis Elias, since I don’t really see big K potential from Jaime unless he really gets that change-up going. ¬†That’s his main putaway pitch. ¬†Plus Jaime has been victim to the big inning, giving up multi-run frames in all four prior starts including the 5th inning 6-run disaster last start against the Royals. ¬†That said, the velocity looks good, gotta love the ground ball rate, and he pitches in a good park. ¬†Worth an add in anything deeper than 12-team and a good streamer option otherwise. ¬†Next two are at home with the Nats and Phillies coming to town. ¬†We likey those!
JB’s Updated Top 100 SP
(rankings based on 12-team Roto – green for risers, red for fallers)
Dropped Out:¬†Liam Hendriks, Toronto Blue Jays¬†(I really thought he’d earned a chance),¬†Robbie Erlin, San Diego Padres¬†(DL – only had him 100 anyway),¬†Chris Tillman, Baltimore Orioles¬†(you can rest now Cram It :) ),¬†Michael Pineda, New York Yankees¬†(not gonna wait anymore),¬†Tom Koehler, Miami Marlins¬†(walked 4 in two straight, not striking guys out, BABIP show further regression likely in hits as well)
- Thanks again to all you commenters! ¬†Helped me look back on my Drew Smyly, when I said this in my preseason ranks: “When you see what he did out of the bullpen last year, it‚Äôs eye-popping numbers. But don‚Äôt forget he‚Äôs a lefty and was used in a lot of lefty-lefty situations, giving him 129 lefties faced last year to 174 righties. You‚Äôre not going to have that close a ratio as a starter. Compare it to 127 to 289 the previous season as predominately a starter.‚ÄĚ (https://razzball.com/2014-top-100-starting-pitchers/). ¬†Even after a bounceback start last Friday, .138 with 1 homer in 61 lefty PAs, .300 7 homers in 169 righty PAs. ¬†Yikes. ¬†K:BB 49:20… Eh it’s all looking like I should’ve heeded my own advice…
- Did you know that Homer Bailey only has 2 non-QS since April 20th? ¬†I think we all know what has fueled his turnaround…
- Keeping the trend of Reds being the top two risers this edition,¬†Latos looks set to return the rotation later this week if his final rehab start tonight goes well. ¬†Let’s hope he’s not pitching in San Antonio so he can avoid further cramping…
- I told you to hold strong on Archer! ¬†What would they have to title his show if he was also on FX?
- Yordano Ventura had great velocity and looked good in his first game back after the elbow issues-layover (the results weren’t really there – only 1 K – but 6 IP QS), but I’m worried they’ll cap his innings earlier than they would’ve beforehand. ¬†It hurts his ROS outlook.
- I’m absolutely all-in on Heaney. ¬†After one rough outing @Colorado Springs (PCL in thin air), bounced back with 6 IP 9 Ks 1 BB – 5 hits (all singles) and one run allowed. ¬†Must-own in all leagues.
- All-in on Jason Hammel. ¬†That slider is filthy this year – he’s using it 30.9% of the time and hitters are .162 against it and an absolutely obscene .076 ISO on it. ¬†Let’s just hope his arm doesn’t fall off throwing all those sliders!
- I watched Phil Hughes against the Astros, and just stuff wise – ignoring the result – not impressed at all. ¬†Looks so hittable. ¬†At home he should get away with it somewhat since he’s a fly ball pitcher, but the Astros murdered those three homers.
- Still cautiously optimistic Cingrani can keep his rotation spot and improve. ¬†We’ll see how it hashes out when Latos is back – if Cingrani gets the boot, Alfredo Simon will waddle his way back in.
What say you on Jaime? ¬†And do I have all the teams correctly listed next to the pitchers this week, Dusty Baker? ¬†I can show you what to do with that toothpick if so! ¬†Hah! ¬†Happy pitching this week!