Key Stats: Matt Garza had career highs in innings and wins last year – numbers that demonstrate his durability and ability to pitch deep into games. Garza went at least 7 innings in 16 of his 33 starts a season after going at least 7 innings in 14 of his starts. After two straight seasons of 200 innings, he’s clearly established himself as a work horse in fantasy and real baseball.
Skeptics Say: Despite the highest innings output of his career, Garza had 39 less strikeouts than he did in 2009. While his fastball was actually thrown with slightly greater velocity, Garza added a two seem fastball for the first time to his repertoire throwing it about 12% of the time. Looking at the PitchFx data for him, there were some changes in the middle of the season in terms of the movement on his fastball and the newly developed two seemer. Going by the month, it’s clear that Garza’s strikeouts really flattened out after April. He had just one double digit strikeout game all season. Given that his ground ball rate went down by 4%, it will be interesting to see if he continues to rely on the cutter.
Peer Comparison: The average ERA in Major League Baseball was 4.07 last season. That is up almost a half of run from where it was in 2006 and 2007. In case you missed it, it was the year of the pitcher. Having said that, for the dominating stuff that Garza can have on any given night, it was disappointing to see him finish with a 3.95 ERA. That is the second straight year his ERA has ended up in the 3.9 area, so perhaps that is what he is. What you look for with any pitcher as far as ERA are starts in which he lays an egg (allowing 5 or more earned runs) or absolutely dominates (allowing 0 earned runs). Garza had more starts in which he laid an egg (7) than he had dominating starts (5). With an “average” ERA here’s how Garza stacked up against other guys with “average” fantasy reputations.
Bronson Arroyo – Laid an Egg: 7, Dominating Starts: 4
Johnny Cueto – Laid an Egg: 5, Dominating Starts: 6
Ryan Dempster – Laid an Egg: 6, Dominating Starts: 5
Edwin Jackson – Laid an Egg: 7, Dominating Starts: 5
Derek Lowe – Laid an Egg: 3, Dominating Starts: 3
Team Outlook: What was said of Jeremy Hellickson the other day applies here as well. The bullpen blew just one game in which Garza left with the lead last season, and in that game Garza allowed four home runs. He had all the support he needed to win 15 games, so it will be hard for him to get back to that level this season.
What They’re Saying: Yahoo: #48 Starting Pitcher & #192 Overall; CBS Sportsline: #47 Starting Pitcher; Couch Managers: #204 Overall; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #31 Starting Pitcher; Mock Draft Central ADP: #97 Overall
Projection: Garza is nothing more than an average starter. Because he is young and durable, he’s ranked higher than those he is compared to.
13 wins 3.75 ERA 1.25 WHIP 162 K in 210 innings
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