View Full Version : Why Jon Garland isn't going anywhere.

04-26-2005, 06:11 PM
Do you like the new and improved Jon Garland? Me too. Why is he pitching like this? What clicked on? Will he stay? These are all valid questions, and I have watched his starts in their entirety on at least two occasions each. After looking again at the last three starts, I have found a few subtle differences. They become extremely apparent if you watch any of last year's starts:

1. He's confident: Jon isn't pitching around ANYONE. He has a power sinker that really makes players beat the ball into the dirt. The old Jon used to nibble around the corners and was timid to get the ball over the plate on the first pitch. If you are a sinker ball pitcher, it's not going to work if you're behind in the count. Jon is getting people down 0-1, 0-2, then they are forced to go after the sinker and get rolled up into the double plays or easy grounders.

2. He's getting the ball DOWN! You say, "duh..he's a sinkerballer!!!", but the key to the whole puzzle is the fact that Jon's getting his four seamer down, too. Garland wouldn't get rocked a whole lot in 2004, but he'd just get nailed in one inning. This goes back to his lack of confidence, but also the fact that he was keeping his fastball up. On first pitches of a sequence, Jon would either throw a ball or throw a bp fastball. Now, you see that first pitch low and away or down and in on the lefties. He's still getting more than enough of the plate to get the 0-1, but the ball isn't elevated for hitters to pull the trigger on it with any success. He's locating that fastball well.

3. The Santana factor (A.K.A. "Hey this changeup is one helluva pitch!!") It was said many times this offseason that Garland was learning to get his changeup over and in the slot that fastballs come from. He no longer has to rely on a subpar curve to change the pace of the opposing bats. Jon's game is the plus four seam and sinking 2 seam fastballs. Now he throws in a changeup, and the opposing hitters have no chance.

Garland's got some new toys to play with, and he also is starting to believe that he does have a ton of talent. He's always had GREAT stuff, but getting him to put it on the mound was the big chore. Now, he's putting it all together, and he's getting the results. Maturity has set in with this kid, and he's going to be great. Let's hope we can afford to extend him.

04-26-2005, 06:18 PM
Great overview, couldn't agree more. When Garland is on his game, being the sinkerballer that he is, he gets a lot of ground balls and thats exactly what he's been able to do. Is he this good, I don't think so, but with his new approach it would hard to argue that he isn't the best 5th starter in the league. Since Garland seems like a completely new pitcher (putting together all the things you mentioned above), hitters will try to figure him out, but as of now his results are absolutely remarkable.

04-26-2005, 06:18 PM
Yup, keeping the ball down is a big factor. 28/34 Homers is not acceptable (as he did in 2003 and 2004 respectively). Jon's a guy that if he can keep the ball in play, is going to get a lot of outs because of what his pitches do. He shouldnt have much fear of throwing strikes because most hitters cant do a lot with his pitches as long as they're not thrown over the plate indescriminately. Also, he used to walk way too many for a guy that gets a lot of outs when the ball is put into play. If he can keep the walks under 60, he's in great shape.

He just needs to keep doing what he's been doing: keep the ball down and get the hitters to put the ball in play or strikeout. Most hitters dont have much success when he does these things so if he can continue to do these things, there's no reason to think that he cannot keep this up.

04-26-2005, 06:19 PM
I would say his curve is his second best pitch, he just couldn't spot it in previous years.

The only thing Jon needs is an out pitch he likes to throw with 2 strikes to strike guys out.

Has there been any really successful pitchers with K Rates under 4? Not just saying that b/c I am in love with the K (like the national media is and why they give so much attention to Carrie)...just wondering.

04-26-2005, 06:23 PM
The other thing I noticed that really tells the tale is Jon's body language when he allows a baserunner. You honestly need to see this guy's reaction to a baserunner last year. He would get very uneasy looking, and he'd get very caught up in that guy. You have to be aware of the baserunners, but you can't be in fear of them. You still have to make your pitch!

Garland looks like a new man this year. He actually gets more aggressive now when a runner is on. Instead of nibbling at the plate with a runner on, Garland will MAKE that guy hit his ball, resulting in a DP. It's beautiful that you can see the man's growth as a pro JUST BY READING HIS FACE!

04-26-2005, 06:25 PM
Actually, I think he's been throwing his four-seemer UP and hitters are swinging too late. He throws it as an out pitch after he gets ahead with a two-seamer, sinker and change-up.

04-26-2005, 06:35 PM
Garland has always had the stuff.

The difference this year is confidence.

He's got the confidence of the manager. He's got the confidence of the pitching staff (especially MB). He's got the confidence of the fans.

Remember, he's still a youngun with room for improvement. Which is scary. Let's hope we see the continuation of his maturing.

04-26-2005, 06:37 PM
Has there been any really successful pitchers with K Rates under 4? Not just saying that b/c I am in love with the K (like the national media is and why they give so much attention to Carrie)...just wondering.

Not many, but I think that if Garland begins to establish himself as a sinkerballer and players begin to avoid grounding out or popping up, they'll start swinging and missing more. Kevin Brown at first didnt strike a lot of guys out, but eventually he did. His K/9 will probably be back in the 5-6 range when this year is over. His stuff is just too good and he's pitching too well to not do that.

04-26-2005, 07:08 PM
Many baseball people always thought Garland had this in him.

Now he suddenly seems to have found himself. Anyone think Pierzynski and Widger have something to do with this?

04-26-2005, 07:16 PM
I am surprised at how well Garland is pitching thus far. I was figuring he'd at least have an ERA maybe around 4.30 or so this year, but not this good. Since the offseason I knew I'd have to worry less about him than Contreras.

04-26-2005, 07:47 PM
And you guys wanted Javier Vasquez :rolleyes:

04-26-2005, 07:57 PM
I believe Jon will keep up this awesome breakout season, and I for sure as hell hope he sticks with the club after his contract is up. We stuck with him long enough he should pay the organization and the fans back by staying with us for a lot more years.


04-26-2005, 08:00 PM
I think that if we stick behind Jon, it will give him the confidence that he needs to continue his incredible year.

04-26-2005, 08:22 PM
I think a big reason he and the whole staff for that matter is pitching well is the vastly improved defense the Sox are fielding this year. It does a lot for the pitcher's confidence knowing that you can trust the defense behind you to pick it no matter where it is hit.