Posted on May 25, 2014 at 3:34 PM
(BaseballStL) -- Go ahead and take any player and project them at their worst before projecting them at their best. Sure, a huge difference would reside in their production which would mean drastically different things for any team.
All players are wild cards in a sense. For the Cardinals, if Allen Craig gets back to hitting the way the Cards know he can that would mean great things. Matt Carpenter, too. Trevor Rosenthal and Carlos Martinez also would fit on that list.
But you can make the argument that there isn’t another player on the Cardinals big league roster who represents the greatest difference between changing the fortunes of the team based on how he plays than Jaime Garcia.
If you watched the FOX broadcast of the Cards/Reds on Saturday evening you would have seen Adam Wainwright do an interview with the broadcasters. In it, the Cards ace said he’s not sure there’s another pitcher on the team that has the pure stuff of Garcia. Wainwright cited the late movement and overall nastiness of the lefty’s pitches.
Garcia’s problems have largely been two-fold in his career. Number one: health. After missing all of 2009 with Tommy John surgery he returned to pitch in just two full seasons before having injury problems again in 2012 and 2013. The latter ended up cutting into his 2014.
Number two: mentality. For whatever reason Garcia hasn’t shown an ability to remain locked in and focused long enough to get through a full start. Take the most recent Reds game for example. Few pitchers have dominated the way Garcia did in the first four innings. But once he got into just a little bit of trouble in the fifth, it all began to unravel.
After seven years (not all pitching healthy, of course) in St. Louis, Jaime Garcia just might be who he is. A tremendously talented pitcher who will never be as dominant as he could because of a lack of mental toughness. If that’s true, it’s sad.
But there is no denying when he’s on and making pitches the way he can, the 27-year old from Reynosa, Mexico can take the Cards a long way. Remember, the ace says he has as good of stuff as anyone on the team.