A New Take on Matt Garza

Last year on Opening Day, the Cubs rotation (as hard as it is to believe) was actually looking pretty good. They had Ryan Dempster, a 15 game winner in 2010, at the top of their rotation. Then came the “new and improved” Carlos Zambrano and the winter acquisition of Matt Garza. In the 4 and 5 spots were Randy Wells and top prospect Andrew Cashner. Many Cubs fans cautiously dubbed the rotation as a strength.

Well, Cashner and Wells both went down in their first starts with the Cubs, Dempster won a disappointing 10 games, and Big Z was, well, Big Z. But the common belief between Cubs fans was that Matt Garza did alright. In fact, he was considered as the best pitcher on the Cubs, even though he only had 10 wins. In the words of Carrie Muskat, he was a “tough-luck pitcher”.

And with Garza trade rumors flying, I decided to take a look and get my own opinion on this guy’s value. And what I found surprised me. We all knew Garza was good. But after a little digging, I found out Matt’s 2011 season was phenomenal. I’m no Theo Epstein, but I think Matt Garza is seriously underrated. What I did was this:

MLB.com has a game log for every player in the major leagues. It shows every game they played and what they did in it. I simply went to Matt Garza’s game log, and looked at every start he had. I ignored if he won or lost, and just looked at how he did. I considered a start worth a win if he pitched six innings or more and gave up three runs or less. I kept a tally of his “deserved wins and losses”. And like I said, what I found shocked me.

Note: Unless you’re really interested in the stats, feel free to just look at the deserved wins and losses, because for the casual fan, this may get a little dry… The pictures are there for the same reason.

Start #1: April 3

IP: 7.0 ER: 3 – deserved win

1 win, 0 losses

Start #2: April 9

IP: 5.2 ER: 5 – deserved loss

1 win, 1 loss

Start #3 April 15

IP: 6.0 ER: 5 – deserved loss

1 win, 2 losses

Start #4: April 20

IP: 6.0 ER: 0 – deserved win

2 win, 2 losses

Start #5: April 25

IP: 6 ER: 1 – deserved win

3 wins, 2 losses

Start #6: April 30

IP: 8.0 ER: 3 – deserved win

4 wins, 2 losses

Start #7: May 6

IP: 6.0 ER: 5 – deserved loss

4 wins, 3 losses

Start #8: May 11

IP: 5.0 ER: 1 – deserved loss

4 wins, 4 losses

Start #9: May 17

IP: 6.0 ER: 0 – deserved win

5 wins, 4 losses

Start #10: June 6

IP: 4.0 ER: 4 – deserved loss

5 wins, 5 losses

Start #11: June 11

IP: 6.0 ER: 1 – deserved win

6 wins, 5 losses

Start #12: June 16

IP: 6.0 ER: 5 – deserved loss

6 wins, 6 losses

Start #13: June 21

IP: 5.0 ER: 2 -deserved loss

6 wins, 7 losses

Start #14: June 27

IP: 7.1 ER: 3 – deserved win

7 wins, 7 losses

Start #15: July 2

IP: 9.0 ER: 1 – deserved win

8 wins, 7 losses

Start #16: July 7

IP: 2.0 ER: 6 – deserved loss

8 wins, 8 losses

Start #17: July 14

IP: 7.0 ER: 0 – deserved win

9 wins, 8 losses

Start #18: July 19

IP: 7.0 ER: 1 – deserved win

10 wins, 8 losses

Start #19: July 24

IP: 7.0 ER: 2 – deserved win

11 wins, 8 losses

Start #20: July 29

IP: 5.2 ER: 6 – deserved loss

11 wins, 9 losses

Start #21: August 3

IP: 7.0 ER: 0 – deserved win

12 wins, 9 losses

Start #22: August 9

IP: 6.0 ER: 3 – deserved win

13 wins, 9 losses

Start #23: August 14

IP: 5.0 ER: 2 – deserved loss

13 wins, 10 losses

Start #24: August 20

IP: 7.0 ER: 0 – deserved win

14 wins, 10 losses

Start #25: August 25

IP: 5.0 ER: 3 – deserved loss

14 wins, 11 losses

Start #26: August 30

IP: 6.2 ER: 2 – deserved win

15 wins, 11 losses

Start #27: September 5

IP: 7.0 ER: 1 – deserved win

16 wins, 11 losses

Start #28: September 11

IP: 7.0 ER: 3 – deserved win

17 wins, 11 losses

Start #29: September 16

IP: 9.0 ER: 3 – deserved win

18 wins, 11 losses

Start #30: September 21

IP: 9.0 ER: 0 – deserved win

19 wins, 11 losses

Start #31: September 27

IP: 7.0 ER: 2 – deserved win

20 wins, 11 losses

That’s right. Over the whole season, if Matt Garza would have had the run support (average runs scored per game in 2011 was 4.6) and the bullpen could hold his leads… He would have a 20 win season. To put that in perspective, Clayton Kershaw won the NL Cy Young with 21 wins.

Now, I’m not saying we should strip Kershaw of his Cy Young and give it to Garza. All I’m saying is that Garza is not the 10 win pitcher he’s made out to be. He’s much, much more. Trade rumors have been swirling around, but I think many times the best move a team can make is to hold on to their players. And on a team full of mediocre pitching, Garza is one guy the Cubs need to keep.

5 Comments

I agree with you on Garza. I watched him pitch last year and lamented every time the bullpen blew a lead or the team didn’t score runs for him. It was frustrating watching him give a great effort and see his team lose it. I would love for us to keep him, but if we do trade him I know we would get a lot in return.

Ron

He is a very good pitcher. Having him pitch on a team out of the Central would be nice. :)

Welcome to the MLB Blogsphere!
I know what you mean about Garza. Kuroda was in the same boat with the Dodgers. He got poor run support. Kershaw also won some low scoring games. Kershaw won every start against Lincecum. Dodger offense was anemic. Kershaw deserved winning the Cy Young.
Emma

I watched Kershaw several times last season, and it seemed like every time I turned on the TV he was shutting out some team. He’s crazy good…

Pingback: this article « Century and Counting

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: