3 Reasons Luis Garcia, Not Cristian Javier, Should Move to Bullpen
3. Cristian Javier has had a better season than Luis Garcia overall
Cristian Javier has enjoyed a terrific breakout season. Headlined by a notoriously high-spin fastball, he has some of the best stuff in the game. On the year, he has a 2.88 ERA, 3.37 FIP, and 1.00 WHIP in 112.1 innings. Opponents are slashing a measly .179/.263/.331 (.594) against him, and his advanced metrics are elite as well: his Statcast expected batting average of .174 and xwOBA of .255 are among the best in the league. He limits quality contact on a great level.
Garcia, meanwhile, hasn’t had a breakout year, and in fact, he has been in a slump of late. His latest outing against the Twins (5 IP, 3 ER) wasn’t terrible, but he has a 5.22 ERA in the second half. On the season, he has a 4.14 ERA, 4.05 FIP, and 1.18 WHIP in 128.1 innings. Hitters are more productive against him in general with a .229/.287/.407 (.694) slash line. His expected metrics are all above league-average, but worse than Javier’s: his Statcast xERA is 95 points higher (3.60 vs 2.65).
Again, this is not to suggest anything beyond this season. Garcia is young, and to post numbers similar to that of a good 4th-5th starter at his age still bodes well for him to reach his full potential one day. However, in a situation that doesn’t exist on any other team in baseball, there are simply too many starters that have been better than him on the Astros’ roster, so the bar is higher.
This season, Cristian Javier has been one of those starters that is having a better year. He should be the one staying in the rotation, and it makes the most sense for the Astros to move Luis Garcia to the bullpen.