When assessing the health of a starter, there are a few key indicators to watch for. One, of course, is velocity. When a player is hiding an injury or has lingering effects from surgery or a previous DL stint, they often see a reduction in velocity. Fortunately for Garcia, his velocity is right where he left it in 2006, his last full season in the majors. While this is a good sign that he has recovered well from his latest shoulder escapade, this does not mean that he is back to form from his days in Seattle. In the early 2000s, when Garcia was at the best of his career, he was sitting in the 91 mph range (with a season at 93 mph in 2002). His arm has not been the same since 2006, when dropped 2 mph on his fastball from 91.4 in ’05 to 89.3 mph in ’06. The Garcia of 2009 sits at 88.5 mph. While not the Garcia of old, a 0.8 mph drop in velocity is not much to be concerned about, considering all his arm has been through.
The second, and often, more important, indicator is his command ratios. Even if a pitcher has a decrease in velocity, hitters will not be able to slug his stuff until he starts leaving it over the plate or getting into lots of hitter’s counts… and then there’s the walks. Even with diminished velocity, should Garcia be able to control the strike zone and keep his walk totals down, he should be a relatively effective pitcher. Luckily for him, he has been able to do so, as his 2.83 BB/9 and 56.3 first-strike percentage are right in line with his career averages. …
September 16, 2009
THT Fantasy on Freddy Garcia
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