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.