Matt Garza is a pitcher that I was extremely high on heading into the season and he certainly hasn’t disappointed. Just look at the numbers through 11 starts:

5 Wins
76.0 Innings
3.08 ERA
1.21 WHIP
60 Strikeouts (7.1 K/9)
27 Walks (3.2 BB/9)
.266 BABIP

In fact, he has exceeded just about anyone’s expectations. The question is, can he possibly maintain this type of success?

First off, the BABIP is on the luckier side, but don’t yet declare it a foregone conclusion that he regresses there. Just look at his numbers from the previous two years:

  • 2008 – .278 (184.2 IP)
  • 2009 – .284 (203.0 IP)

He’s not significantly far from those marks, is he? Yes, he’s below average, but it is very possible that he can maintain it, or at least not have a huge regression.

Even if he does, it shouldn’t have that big of an impact because you would expect his strikeouts to improve from here on out. He’s down over a strikeout per nine nnings from 2009 (8.4 K/9). 

He also has his minor league track record in his corner (10.0 K/9 over 307.0 IP). At Triple-A in 2007, he posted a 9.3 mark over 92.0 innings. I wouldn’t suggest a huge increase, but he certainly could post an 8.0 mark from here on out and it wouldn’t be a surprise.

The one number that is concerning is the strand rate, currently sitting at 82.7%. That’s good for the seventh best mark in the league, so if you are looking for the big sign for a regression that’s the one to point to and rightfully so.

There are a few other factors to weigh in, of course. Pitching in the AL East, there are plenty of matchups with the Yankees & Red Sox on the horizon. No matter how good the Rays are, those are tough games and wins could be few and far between.

I wouldn’t make the decision in your mind to just sell him no matter what, but if someone in your league is willing to give up a good player for him it certainly is worth exploring. You have to think it’ll be tough for him to maintain that ERA, so kick the tires and see what is out there.

Have you already traded Garza? If so, what did you get? Would you hold onto him or do you think a regression is coming?


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