The Tigers recently designated Armando Galarraga for assignment and since the Yankees are still on the look out for a starting pitcher it has obviously drawn fans attention towards him.
The thing is that for all the fame Galarraga has attained as a major leaguer it really has all come from one game – his imperfect game – because at this point in his career he has been a bit underwhelming.
Gallaraga, 29, broke into the league as a Texas Ranger in 2007. He threw just 8.2 innings in three games. He came back in 2008 with the Tigers and had a very strong rookie campaign throwing 178.2 innings with an ERA+ of 121, a K/9 of 6.3 and a BB/9 of just 3.1.
After that things did not go so well though. His ERA+ dropped from 121 to 81 to 93. His K/9 went down from 6.3 to 6.0 to 4.6. His BB/9 went from 3.1 to 4.2 then rebounded to 3.2.
Nothing is extremely overwhelming, but they don’t have to. The only question is, is better than Sergio Mitre?
The thing about Mitre is that he’s been in the league longer, he was a rookie in 2003, but because of injuries and ineffectiveness has actually pitched in fewer innings. They are comparable though, 475.1 for Galarraga and 416.1 for Mitre. So let’s start comparing them.
First of all, Mitre’s ERA+ over his career is just 83 against Galarraga’s 97. That is not good for Mitre especially considering Mitre pitched a good portion of his career in the National League. Galarraga barely beats out Mitre in K/9 over their careers at 5.7 vs. 5.4 respectively. Mitre has better command though with a 3.0 BB/9 against Galarraga’s 3.5.
The thing is that while Galarraga is trending downward, Mitre is trending up. Since becoming a Yankee Mitre has thrown 105.2 innings. In that time his ERA+, his K/9, and his BB/9 are all better than his career averages at 89, 5.2 and 2.5 respectively.
So even though Galarraga has better career numbers than Mitre, Mitre has the better recent peripherals (Galarraga’s ERA+ is still slightly better than Mitre’s in his time with the Yankees 93 vs. 89).
I’ve thrown a lot of numbers out already, but the bottom line is that these two are very close. Galarraga had a better start to his career, but Mitre has gotten better and they seem to have met in the middle. Or at least close enough that the Yankees probably don’t need Galarraga.
In the end the one big advantage that Galarraga has over Mitre is stamina. Mitre hasn’t thrown at least 150 innings since 2007. If the Yankees are really looking for a reliable innings eater at the back of their rotation then Galarraga could be the guy. Not because he’s better than Mitre, but merely because he threw 188.2 innings last year and that’s not something to get too excited over.
In the end Joba Chamberlain is probably better than both of them.