With Jaime Garcia’s masterful performance over the weekend, I though it would be fun to go back to early 2010 before h broke into the majors and see what people were saying about him.
Perfect World Projection: He’ll be a good ground-ball pitcher with third starter possibilities.
The Future: The Cardinals want to fill a spot in their 2010 rotation from within, and Garcia is a leading candidate to do so. He left a favorable impression in a brief callup in 2008, and should make the club if he has a strong spring. He projects as a No. 3 starter.
Along with his solid repertoire, the southpaw is also an extreme ground-ball pitcher and that continued in ’09 as he posted a 62.4 GB% in 51.0 combined innings. At the very latest, Garcia should be helping out the Cardinals by mid-2010.
Grade B-; I like him and the Tommy John recovery looks like it went well, but I hope they let him build up his stamina rather than pushing him too quickly.
It’s hard not to get excited about Garcia’s performance returning from Tommy John surgery. He showed no loss in velocity or the inconsistent command that generally plagues pitchers after this surgery. There’s little reason to think he can’t be a starter in the major leagues this year but the Cardinals will likely control his innings by starting him in AAA. -azruavatar
Reading through these writeups I’m left with a couple of takeaways:
- Everyone underestimated how healthy Garcia was and how cautious the Cardinals would be. While they shut Garcia down at the end of 2009 2010 he began the season with a long leash and neither he nor the team looked back.
- It’s possible that everyone was a touch conservative on Garcia’s upside. Garcia’s not a 2.70 ERA pitcher but with a FIP below 3.50 last year it’s entirely possible that he’s closer to a #2/#1 pitcher than he his a middle of the rotation kind of guy. I’d attribute that to some improved command — his breaking pitches are more consistent than they were in the minors — and an unexpectedly refined cutter. Garcia’s curveball and changeup have always been average or better pitches but his cutter has turned out to be much better than expected. I didn’t see the cut fastball in the minors as often as I did a slurvy breaking pitch or a curveball but he’s obviously brought an impressive repertoire to the big leagues.
Regardless of the reasons, Garcia has, to date, outperformed expectations. We can only hope he continues to do so in 2011.