Thursday, January 23, 2014


                                                               Matt Garza

The starting pitching market finally began to take shape again on Thursday as the Milwaukee Brewers and SP Matt Garza agreed on a four-year deal worth $52 million dollars pending a physical.  For Garza, the move is a positive one when it comes to his fantasy baseball value as he stays in the National League where he showed his best career K rate while with the Chicago Cubs.  The move is also a bit of a risk for the Brewers given the utter lack of health Garza has had at times in his career, with the latest being elbow woes that allowed him to toss only 145.1 innings last season.  With the inks barely dry on the contract though let's take a closer look at what Garza could provide his fantasy baseball owners in 2014. 

As far as those 145.1 innings looked last season, Garza pitched to a nice 3.82 ERA while striking out 136 batters which is a very nice K rate once again.  Since moving from Tampa Bay to the National League with the Cubs before the 2011 season (not including the second half of 2013 when he was dealt to the Texas Rangers), Garza has averaged just a bit less than a K/IP which is a terrific ratio for any pitcher to have and makes him very valuable in innings capped leagues.  In addition Garza has a career ERA of 3.84 which includes never having had his season long number there reach the 4.00 mark which speaks to his consistency.  The decision for Garza to go back to the National League was a decent one for his numbers as his ERA will be closer to 3.50 than the 3.75 he stayed around while in the American League.  In addition Garza's WHIP will likely fall to a very nice 1.15 area code in the NL after being perennially in the 1.25 realm when with the Rays.  Again very nice ratios indeed there. 

Now for the negatives.  Garza has been a mess health-wise the last three seasons and his elbow has barked on more than one occasions which is always very scary.  The chance for re-injury is very high and makes investing in Garza a bit harrowing.  However Garza never is an expensive stock and with him coming off a nondescript 2013 season that ended poorly in Texas, his draft price will never be lower.  You could likely get Garza as cheap as an SP 5 this season where at that point he would be a very good buy.  The problem is never the numbers with Garza.  Instead it is his utter lack of health that has drove us all nuts during his recent seasons.  I for one am very interested in drafting Garza as an SP 5 and those who play in innings capped leagues like I do should be intrigued as well.  As long as you grade him out properly as an SP 5 pitcher, you should be able to turn a nice profit on the guy for this season.

2014 PROJECTION:  11-7 3.48 ERA 1.15 WHIP 165 K

Be sure to check back for more of the starting pitching rankings as we move forward through the week.  Let us hear your thoughts.

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