Who is Jaime Garcia? Really…who is this guy?
I can tell you who he is…
Remember a couple years back when Joe Posnanski wrote a cover story in Sports Illustrated about Zack Greinke being baseballs best pitcher? Greinke was the front man in the worlds largest sports digest. We all remember the photo.
Weeks after that story broke through the press, Greinke slowly started to decline towards mediocrity. Well, to be a little fair, he declined closer to average human, athletic performance. He was no longer pitching like the super hero we made him out to be. He won the Cy Young at the end of the year just as the fire burnt out. The next season, with so much hype and publicity, he was known as the glorified ace on the worst team in the league- the next Maddux, a mastermind at his own craft.
Greinke finished the season last year with 10-14 record and a stingy ERA just above four. If the trend continues, he could finish his career known as nothing more than a one hit wonder in ancient record books of pine tar, maple bats, and bubble gum.
Back to Jaime Garcia. Who is this guy?
After capturing his fifth straight win against the Cubs on Thursday, Garcia made a mark in Major League Baseball. Not only does his team hold first place in the central, but he has also pitched virtually perfect all season long. It leads me to believe he is on his way to big achievements this year.
Jamie Garcia is on the verge of becoming the next great lead story in my mind. We are talking about placing him in a National League class of Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, and Josh Johnson. On the brink of big time public exposure as an official national introduction soon waits. Those three names are the three best pitchers in baseball and Garcia is close to being right there with them. I believe that he is a star, and he is going to be a star for some time. I cannot say what the definition of “some time” is, however. I said the same for Zack Greinke, and although the media still identifies him as a star, I don’t really see him that way anymore. He seemed to get a little start stuck and pompous after his move to Milwaukee, and starting the season on the disabled list slowed his momentum down incredibly. He’s not even the best pitcher in his division. Jaime is.
There is a difference in Jaime. Maybe it’s the fact that he plays on a winning team. Maybe it’s the overall team success that makes his talents shine a little brighter than that of Greinke. I think when Zack found stardom, there was a great story to tie to it. Not because he played for a playoff contender, but because he overcame the mental restraints that once took him out of the game-A Josh Hamilton type of story. It was good for him. It was good for the press, and any one else who enjoys a decent baseball tale.
But I think Garcia means business…meaning that he is here to shine and stay here for a while. The guy can flat out pitch the baseball and no one can get a decent bat on the ball. I’d like to see Pujols get his opportunity to face him. Even with confusing spring training numbers, he has truly performed when it matters most. It’s seems to me that he is a little more fiery and competitive than most pitchers he faces. He wants it more and in then end, he usually gets what he wanted. It rubs off on the team and you get a good idea that the offense knows they need to produce because the Garcia kid is going to pitch his butt off.
But in comparison to Greinke, the numbers from Zacks 2009 Cy Young season are similar to Garica numbers this year. No one could hit either of them. They pitched a good amount of innings and the ERA was microscopic. I think Garcia can handle the media pressure as he continues to get better. When he pitches the Cardinals do an amazing job of backing him up which in defense of Greinke, a perk he never had.
All in all, Jamie Garcia is on fire. He is 5-0 and pitching with dominance. Who is going to stop him? Who can stop him? He will obviously not go perfect throughout the season, but he is definitely picking up the slack for Chris Carpenter. After a few rough outings the Cardinals ace is showing signs of slowing down. Is this an indication that Garcia is next in line to be the ace? If you ask me I would say so, but next year with Wainwright coming back and Garcia right up there with him the Cardinals staff is golden. Kyle Loshe is throwing gem after gem this season and Kyle McClellan doesn’t look to shabby either. The Cardinals have the tools to pitch great and when they produce offensively; this team is a lot tougher than people give them credit for.
If Garcia continues his ace type effectiveness, watch out, we might have the NL CY Young award back in Saint Louis.