Jaime Garcia’s Success Could Influence St. Louis’s Long-Term Rotation Outlook


Once upon a time, the St. Louis Cardinals envisioned Jaime Garcia as a deep sleeper as a 22nd round pick in the 2005 MLB Draft. Garcia would later adapt the uncanny ability to prove doubters wrong and receive more Major League experience than any of the 13 Cardinal pitching selections before him other than Mitchell Boggs.

When healthy, Garcia has compiled respectable numbers with the Cardinals, posting the fourth most victories (46) and the third lowest ERA (3.32) of any Cardinal with 100 starts since his debut in 2008. But it’s been difficult to judge Garcia’s talent over the last four seasons, in which he has averaged around 70 innings pitched per season as a result of recurring shoulder issues and various lower body issues. 

More from St Louis Cardinals News

Battling two disabled list stints, Garcia has made his presence known on this year’s roster with a 1.79 earned run average, 4 wins and nine quality starts. The 29 year-old has been exceeding expectations around changes in gameplay, but his improvements in selection, style and split situations make him an even more prized commodity for St. Louis to consider beyond this year.

Garcia’s pitch selection has inevitably changed to an extent that has allowed him to adjust his mechanics around various upper body injuries. Originally raised as a fastball pitcher with a secondary curveball and hopes of developing a third pitch, Garcia has implemented a cutter and changeup nearly 20 percent more compared to last season, while opting for the fastball on over half of his pitches.

Such improvements in Garcia’s pitching approach have allowed Garcia to restore confidence as an efficient pitcher. Averaging over six innings pitched per start, Garcia has recorded over 66.9 percent of his outs on ground ball plays this year, while his 3.67 ground ball to fly ball ratio could be a testament to his enhanced fastball control and lower velocity.

Building up a reputation as a home warrior, Garcia has excelled in several other split situations beyond his 25 career victories at Busch Stadium. In his career against current division opponents, Garcia has collected 10 victories alongside 197 strikeouts. The southpaw has also proven himself as a steady hither throughout the course of his career with 31 hits, 2 home runs and 12 RBIs over parts of seven seasons.

Ultimately, Garcia may need a few strong performances to build a case in the Cardinals’ long-term plans. St. Louis holds club options over $11 million if they choose to retain Garcia for the next two seasons, but the southpaw will have another chance to prove his value to the organization in tonight’s start against the Miami Marlins.