That leaves us with Freddy. Oh, the things that can be said about Freddy. In retrospect, I actually think his 2011 season has been a bit overrated (an FIP- of 99 over 146 innings isn’t bad, by any means, but it’s not world beating by any means), but solid is solid, and Garcia certainly outperformed everyone’s expectations for him. If nothing else, you can legitimately say that it began to feel like the Yankees had a good chance to win every time he took the mound for a start, and that’s not nothing for a pitcher like Garcia.
So can he repeat his 2011 performance next season? I’m skeptical. 2011 was a clear outlier in Garcia’s career trend line, and though the bottom line performance was good, the underlying peripherals weren’t really there. Consider this illustration of Garcia’s career arc (only years in which Garcia pitched at least 100 innings are included, and since 2004 was the last time Garcia struck out at least six batter per nine innings, the table starts in 2005):
As you can see, 2011 sticks out like a sore thumb, and the numbers that really reach out and grab you are the home run rates,
which went down noticeably, and the groundball rates, which went down even more noticeably.…