Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Matt Garza suffered through a brutal spring, and then suffered a groin injury. He returned to the starting rotation on April 24th. He’s made a total of two starts since coming back. Here’s what you need to know about them, and Garza’s long term status with the team.
1. Matt Garza’s Velocity Is Down
His fastball has averaged 92.1 MPH so far this year, down very slightly from last year’s 92.2 MPH average, but that’s why the Brewers should be concerned. Velocity is up every this year because the placement of the radar gun has been adjusted, and it’s impacting velocity between +1-2 MPH. This means that Garza’s 92.1 MPH fastball this year would be in the 90.5-91 MPH range last year.
2. Matt Garza’s Results Are Better
With 11 strikeouts and three walks in 10 2/3 innings with the Brewers, Garza has a 9.28 K/9 and a 2.53 BB/9. He posted a 2.76 BB/9 in 2014, but he’s never posted a K/9 over 7.00 in a Brewers uniform.
3. Matt Garza’s Current WAR #’s
After two starts he has a 0.1 WAR. In 2015 he posted a 0.6 WAR for the entire season. He’s only half a win away from bettering his 2015 numbers in 2017.
4. The Teams Matt Garza Has Faced
He’s pitched against the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves. These two teams have a combined 22-27 record, and it’s a bit of a surprise that their records are that good. Garza gets the Pittsburgh Pirates in his next start on May 5th.
5. Matt Garza’s Contact Rates
Only 6.3% of the balls hit off of Garza in his first two starts qualify as ‘soft contact.’ 43.8% of balls hit against Garza are rated as medium, and 50.0% are rated as hard. For his career, Garza has a 18.6% soft contact rate, 52.7% medium contact rate, and a 28.7% hard contact rate. He’s been getting hit hard, but he’s yet to suffer the consequences.
The best case scenario for the Milwaukee Brewers is a good month or two out of Matt Garza followed by a trade to a team that thinks it’s a contender and needs rotation depth. Garza is in the final year of his contract, and his option for the 2018 season has virtually zero chance of being picked up. He’s merely keeping a spot warm for one of the younger arms at Triple-A.