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November 9, 2010

Analyze This

Dark Horse Free Agents: Jon Garland

by Jesse Behr

The San Diego Padres came as close as any team could to making the postseason last year, losing to the San Francisco on the final day of the season in a showdown for the National League West title. Nevertheless, much of San Diego’s success can be attributed to right-hander Jon Garland, who was a constant in the Padres’ rotation all season. Here’s how the veteran has fared over the past three seasons: 

YR

Team

GS

IP

W-L

ERA

BB

SO

SNLVAR

SNWP

SIERA

2008

LAA

32

196.2

14-8

4.90

59

90

2.0

.455

4.84

2009

LAN, ARI

33

204.0

11-13

4.01

61

109

3.5

.429

4.75

2010

SDN

33

200.0

14-12

3.47

87

136

4.6

.521

4.45

Garland has averaged 208 innings over 11 big-league seasons. He’s 15th among active pitchers in innings pitched, in select company with marquee names like Roy Halladay (9th), former White Sox teammate Mark Buehrle (11th), and CC Sabathia (14th). Similar to Buehrle, Garland pitches primarily to contact:

YR

GB%

BABIP

2008

49.9%

.315

2009

45.7%

.302

2010

51.9%

.270

Career avg.

46.3%

.288

While Garland has been a groundball pitcher his whole career, Marc Normandin pointed out that he was even more so in 2010, attempting to take advantage of PETCO Park being a pitcher’s haven. 

Garland ended up being seventh in the National League in ground ball percentage and sixth in BABIP (minimum 150 innings). The Padres in turn, were fifth in GB% (46.8) and second in BABIP (.291) – one of the best defensive teams in all of baseball. If Garland leaves San Diego, he’s going to need an average to above average infield in order to post similar numbers to 2010.

Here's a list of teams that may attempt to sign Garland this winter: 

Team

ERA (rank)

GB % (rank)

BABIP (rank)

BAL

4.59 (27th)

43.2 (28th)

.301 (15th)

DET

4.30 (25th)

45.2 (16th)

.303 (17th)

MIN

3.95 (11th)

46.2 (12th)

.304 (21st)

SEA

3.93 (9th)

44.3 (22nd)

.285 (3rd)

MIL

4.58 (26th)

43.6 (24th)

.317 (29th)

NYN

3.70 (7th)

46.5 (8th)

.303 (18th)

PIT

5.00 (30th)

45.7 (14th)

.321 (30th)

Garland is the epitome of a workhorse, and some of these teams desperately need a pitcher that can give them 30 starts and 175-200 innings. Some of these clubs are looking to contend in 2011, others could be looking to sign Garland and deal him at the trading deadline. So let’s hear it – where will Garland be pitching next season?

Jesse Behr is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jesse's other articles. You can contact Jesse by clicking here

Related Content:  Jon Garland

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