The amazing Freddy Garcia

Garcia is a junk-baller, pure and simple. The velocity is gone from his fastball. Most of the bite is gone from his breaking pitches. He’s not going out to the mound looking to overpower a batter or blow a fastball by them. Rather, he’s looking to execute his pitches and hit his spots. Garcia mixes his offerings well, particularly his fastball, splitter, curveball, and slider, and changes speed effectively to keep a hitter off balance. He’s got to locate his pitches to stay out of the middle of the zone and avoid allowing solid contact.

It’s a bit of a high stakes strategy, but it’s one Garcia has excelled at thus far. Sure he’s had the bad game every now and then, but most pitchers do. But Garcia’s overall line is fantastic, his peripherals are solid, and he’s given the Yankees a quality start in 13 of his 18 starts. There isn’t a one of us out there who wouldn’t have eagerly signed up for that in the spring.

Now, I could go over all of the warning signs with Garcia. The low groundball rate and low HR/FB ratio. The times he’s sitting in the zone and gets hit hard. The lack of success against Boston. But honestly, what’s the point? Logic says it’s hard to be this effective pitching the way Garcia does, yet here he is all the same. He’s getting results, he’s eating innings, and he’s helping to buoy the Yankees’ rotation that (and I’m sure this will draw some howls out there) might be the best group of starting pitchers the Yankees have had since the 1996-2001 dynasty years.

Garcia has gotten a lot less attention than fellow reclamation project Bartolo Colon. And Colon probably is the more impressive story, but what Garcia is doing isn’t that much less amazing, at least not to me. I confess, I was far from a believer in Freddy in the spring, and deep down I don’t know if I really am yet, but I am along for the ride.

8 thoughts on “The amazing Freddy Garcia

  1. Chris U.

    The only howl you'll get from me involves extending the definition of the dynasty years to 2003, at least regarding the pitching staff. Pettitte, Clemens, Mussina, and Wells racked up some great numbers that year. Freddy has clearly outperformed expectations and kept some pressure off of the depleted bullpen. Thanks for the post.

  2. jay_robertson

    Shoot – one more reason NOT to go out and spend money and/or prospects on a mid-level starter. How many of the available guys can you guarantee will give those results? Let alone be better. Does AJ even have that many "quality starts" this year? I know Javy didn't in the second half of last season.

    Keep it up, Freddy. (fwiw – a suggestion to the folks at Yankee Stadium – why not put up a video, or at least play the song, by the '60s Brit band, Freddy and the Dreamers? The song? – "Do the Freddy.")

  3. jay_robertson

    Apologies – Freddie and the Dreamers.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4LlztpjXtI

  4. munson78

    Never thought I would want Freddie but here I am glad to have him with our team. Does anyone else think he looks like "The Rock" ? He sure is pitching like it.

  5. DustyYF

    I'm in total agreement here. Believe it or not, this Yankees team has allowed the second fewest runs in the AL.

  6. David, Jr.

    It was a great pickup. He did the same thing last year. Lots of quality starts. This isn't as big a surprise as people make it out to be.

  7. James A. Glaston

    Didn't Ozzie Guillen say that Garcia was the ChiSox best starter in the second half of 2010?

  8. Mike

    Really it is amazing to me when a pitcher completely changes his style from when he first comes into the league with gas and can still make it later on once he's lost it as a junkballer. I'm not sure if it's luck or not, but Garcia seems to really bear down with men on base: Bases empty: .290 BA / 5.37 K/9 in 58.2 innings; Men on Base: .217 BA / 6.66 K/9 in 52.2 innings; RISP .168 BA / 6.82 K/9 in 34.1 innings (though his BB/9 increases as well as his K/9; makes sense if he's being more careful). Perhaps the fact that he slows the pace waaaayyy down with runners on base has an effect to throw off the opposing hitters.

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