Milwaukee Brewers: Why Matt Garza’s 2016 Season Will Be Unpredictable

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Jul 26, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Matt Garza (22) fields a bunt hit by Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Ender Inciarte (5) during the first inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 26, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Matt Garza (22) fields a bunt hit by Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Ender Inciarte (5) during the first inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /
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Matt Garza will make his season debut on Tuesday after coming off of rehab and Milwaukee Brewers fans won’t know what to expect.

As Wily Peralta was optioned to Triple-A recently, it guaranteed Matt Garza would be coming back to the starting rotation. While the main question for Milwaukee Brewers fans was which pitcher would be taken out of the rotation, they may also wonder just what to expect out of Garza in 2016.

If he was completely healthy to start the year, and went by Baseball Prospectus 2016, we may say he would have a solid year as they predicted 131 IP, 4.36 ERA, 4.39 FIP, and overall 0.6 WAR. A year most Milwaukee Brewers fans would take when we look back on the numbers of 2015.

But, after his recent lat strain, he had to go to the 60-day disabled list, so all those numbers had to be thrown to the side. Then more time was needed than expected and here we are in mid-June coming up on his first start tomorrow.

But, let’s take a look at a graph on his FIP (via FanGraphs) on where it’s been at throughout the years:

As you can tell his 2011 season with the Chicago Cubs was staggering as a 2.95 FIP (by far his lowest of career), 3.32 ERA, and 4.9 WAR will certainly make you look better than average. But, then there was last year.

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Yes, of course it was at Miller Park, certainly a bit of a friendlier ballpark to hit in. But, still safe to say it didn’t matter which park he pitched at as Milwaukee Brewers fans know 2015 wasn’t just bad luck.

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But, the hopeful part of looking at the graph is how it may just balance out. Every pitcher may have their up year and their down year and much like Baseball Prospectus had his numbers coming back down, hopefully they play out and he indeed does drop his numbers down and by the end of 2016 at least Milwaukee Brewers fans can say he was average.

So, no matter what you think of Matt Garza, he still has his ink signed to that 4-year, 50 million dollar contract and while we can say we’re still in the playoff race for now at 4.5 games out of the wild card, there’s no point in rooting against him. But, if you’re rooting for him to get his stats up only to be possibly traded later on, that’ll work too.

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