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Jaime García

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Jaime Omar García

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[edit] Biographical Information

Jaime García made his major league debut in 2008 and had an excellent rookie season in 2010.

García was drafted in the 30th round of the 2004 amateur draft by the Baltimore Orioles but did not sign. The St. Louis Cardinals chose him in the 22nd round of the 2005 amateur draft and he was inked to a deal this time by scout Joe Almaraz [1], the same scout who had scouted him for the Orioles in 2004 [2]. Jaime split 2006 between the Swing of the Quad Cities (5-4, 2.90, 80 K, 18 BB in 77 2/3 IP) and the Palm Beach Cardinals (5-4, 3.84). He was chosen for the 2006 Futures Game but did not appear. His 131 strikeouts led Cardinals farmhands and Baseball America named him the team's #2 prospect. Baseball America rated him as the #7 prospect in the Midwest League, third among pitchers behind Nick Adenhart and Jacob McGee, and as the 15th-best Florida State League prospect, between Johnny Cueto and Jair Jurrjens.

García was 5-9 with a 3.75 ERA for the 2007 Springfield Cardinals before being sidelined by left elbow problems in late July, ending his season. Baseball America ranked him as the #13 Texas League prospect, one spot after Chris Perez.

Jaime began 2008 with Springfield and went 3-2 with a 2.06 ERA in six starts, earning a promotion. With the Memphis Redbirds, he was 4-4 with a 4.59 ERA and was again named to the Futures Game. He was denied a chance to pitch in that contest once again, this time because he was called up to the majors to replace the injured Mark Mulder.

In his major league debut, García replaced Kyle Lohse in the 8th inning of a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates and threw two shutout innings to complete a 6-0 combined whitewash. He allowed a single to Ryan Doumit, his first batter, but then settled down to get 6 of the 7 other hitters he faced. He would go 1-1 with a 5.63 ERA in 10 games for the 2008 Cardinals.

Unfortunately, he missed most of 2009 due to a shoulder injury that required Tommy John surgery, seeing some rehab time with the GCL Cardinals (0-1, 4.50 in 2 G), Palm Beach (0-1, 0.71 in 3 G) and Memphis (2-0, 3.86 in 4 G), striking out 41 and allowing only 25 hits in 37 2/3 innings to offer hope for a full recovery.

Jaime made the Cardinals' rotation in 2010 and dazzled, going 13-8 with a 2.70 ERA. He was 4th in the National League in ERA behind Josh Johnson, Adam Wainwright and Roy Halladay. He finished third in voting for the 2010 National League Rookie of the Year Award behind Buster Posey and Jason Heyward and made the 2010 Topps All-Star Rookie Team as the top rookie lefty (Stephen Strasburg was the other starter picked, Neftali Feliz the reliever). He was the first Cardinals rookie since Alan Benes (in 1996) to win 13 games in a year and had the lowest ERA by a Cards southpaw since John Tudor in 1990. He also batted .198, his 10 hits being the most by a Cards rookie pitcher since Jason Simontacchi.

The lefty was 13-7 with a 3.56 ERA for the Cardinals in 2011. He tied for second in the NL with two shutouts (behind Cliff Lee) and also tied for second with 12 wild pitches. He started Game 3 of the NLDS but lasted only two innings (3 walks, one run) in a 3-2 loss to Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies. He lost Game 1 of the NLCS to the Milwaukee Brewers' Zach Greinke and then had a no-decision in Game 5, also won by Milwaukee. Despite his shaky postseason run up to that point, he returned for Game 2 of the World Series and was much better, not allowing a run in a pitching duel with Colby Lewis of the Texas Rangers (St. Louis won after he left). He was less effective in a Game 6 no-decision again facing Lewis, St. Louis winning a heart-stopping game that went into extra innings on their way to winning the world title in seven games.

Garcia fell to 7-7, 3.92 in 2012 while missing time with injuries. He again threw 12 wild pitches, behind only Tim Lincecum in the NL. He started Game 2 of the NLDS against the Washington Nationals on October 8th, but struggled with his control over the first two innings, and then was pulled out of the game with discomfort in his pitching shoulder. He underwent an MRI the next day which revealed damage to his rotator cuff. The Cardinals decided to shut him down for the remainder of the postseason at that point. He was back in the Cards' starting rotation at the start of 2013 however, and did well in the early going, with a record of 5-2, 3.58 over his first 9 starts. However, he returned to the DL on May 22nd with a strained left shoulder, putting him out for the remainder of the season. It was more of the same in 2014, when he made his first start on May 18th, then pitched only 7 times before being shut down by an injury once again. He was 3-1, 4.12 in 43 2/3 innings when he went back on the disabled list with nerve issues in his left shoulder necessitating season-ending surgery.

Garcia returned to the major leagues on May 21, 2015, but was a 5-0 loser against the New York Mets as his opponent, Jacob deGrom completely muzzled the Cardinals' offense that day. He recorded his first win of the season in his next start, on May 26th, when he defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks, 6-4. He showed some encouraging form on June 12th when he threw 8 scoreless innings against the Kansas City Royals in a 4-0 win in which he also collected an RBI single. He ended up going 10-6, 2.43 in 20 starts, making a remarkable comeback after three straight years dominated by health woes. The Cardinals posted the best record in the majors that season, and Jaime started Game 2 of the Division Series against the Chicago Cubs; he gave up 5 runs in 2 innings, but none of them were earned as an error by 2B Kolten Wong on a ground ball in the 2nd opened the door, and he added to his own woes by mishandling a bunt by his opponent Kyle Hendricks a couple of batters later.

On April 14, 2016, he pitched his first shutout since 2011 when he defeated the Brewers, 7-0, on a one-hitter, while striking out 13 batters in a dominating performance. The lone hit was a single by Domingo Santana in the 6th inning. He ended up making 32 appearances, 30 of them starts, and pitching 171 2/3 innings. His record was 10-13, with a 4.67 ERA and 150 strikeouts. On December 1st, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves in return for three young players: Luke Dykstra, Chris Ellis and John Gant.

[edit] Notable Achievements

[edit] Sources

[edit] Further Reading

  • Jenifer Langosch: "Expectations, not questions, greet Garcia: Left-hander's return to dominance key ingredient to Cardinals in '16", mlb.com, February 22, 2016. [3]

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