3 Reasons Luis Garcia, Not Cristian Javier, Should Move to Bullpen

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Cristian Javier
Cristian Javier /

1. Cristian Javier is a better pitcher than Luis Garcia as the game goes on

One field of information that would help Javier’s case to stay in the rotation has been his performance as the game goes on, especially the third time through the opponent’s batting order. With the advent of modern analytics, plenty of teams have been very hesitant to leave starters in the game after every opposing batter has made two plate appearances because, by that time, they usually have a good read on the pitcher and are far more successful against him.

This isn’t the case for Javier, though. He’s just as effective facing opponents the first time in a game as he is the third time, despite that this is the first season he has been given an extended run as a starter. The first time through the order, opponents have a .651 OPS against Javier. That number drops to .567 the second time through, and it only goes back up to .650 the third time. For context, the league-average OPS is around .700. Hitters simply don’t get as used to Javier.

Meanwhile, the same can’t be said for Garcia. Like Javier, he is an excellent pitcher when facing hitters for the first and second time in a game; opponents have a .657 and .635 OPS respectively against him in those situations. However, the third time through the order, that number balloons to .859, including 8 home runs in 110 such at-bats.

From that standpoint, it makes more sense to put Garcia in the bullpen, where he would only face the same hitter a maximum of twice in a game. It would mask that deficiency of facing opponents a third time through the order and showcase his strengths, getting the best out of him while also eating innings for an Astros bullpen that has been exhausted as of late. At the same time, Javier would continue to get the chance to go deep into games, a chance he has earned on account of his consistent ability to get batters out no matter the inning.