Ashbourne: Matt Garza, whiffing prodigy

From Nick Ashbourne at Beyond the Box Score on December 17, 2013:

At some point in the days to come a major league franchise is going to load up a massive truck full of money and send it over to Matt Garza’s house. I’m speaking figuratively of course; you wouldn’t actually need a massive truck to haul that amount of money, a larger than average sedan would do fine. The 30-year-old pitcher will sign on a dotted line and instantly acquire more material wealth than you and everyone you know combined will ever see. Maybe that’s an unfair statement. Definitely more material wealth than I and everyone I know will never see. Perhaps you are either more popular or wealthier than I am, or have wealthier friends. That’s neither here nor there. This article isn’t about you or I, it’s about Matt Garza. The fact of the matter is that Matt Garza is about to make a lot of money based on the assumption he will be a very good pitcher in the future.

That assumption, for a variety of reasons, is a dangerous one. Firstly, pitchers in general are very fragile so any contract of the length and value that Garza is likely to receive is inherently risky. There are also risks specific to Garza. Matt Garza hasn’t been the most durable pitcher in the world lately with only 259 innings pitched over the last two years. Jeff Zimmerman’s recently released report on starting pitchers DL chances gave Matt Garza a 50.7% chance of landing on the DL in 2014. As pitchers rarely get less injury prone as they pitch into their thirties, this is a worthwhile concern.

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Originally published: December 17, 2013. Last Updated: December 17, 2013.