Jaime Garcia and the St. Louis Cardinals' distinctly mixed pitcher-drafting record

March 07, 2012; Melbourne, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Ottavino (53) looks a little like he's wearing eyeliner in this picture, even if he probably isn't. Also it looks like it's kind of working for him, I think?

Today I feel a little bad for Jaime Garcia. Not a lot bad, because he is a young, talented baseball player with $27 million left to run on his contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, but a little bad. Jaime Garcia is a 25-year-old, homegrown, left-handed starter with a career ERA of 3.27. Last year he cut his walk rate by a third and threw two shutouts. For all that, his Grapefruit League debut, due a few minutes from now, is the third most interesting Cardinals start this week. And that's if you weren't as interested as I was in seeing what Jake Westbrook looked like after losing all kinds of weight.

Jaime Garcia! He gets ground balls, he's made significant strides in two years, he throws four good pitches, and the Cardinals not only drafted him, but drafted him late. And he developed under Tony La Russa!

So here's to Jaime Garcia, almost certainly the best pitcher the Cardinals have developed from draft day and not broken my heart with since Matt Morris. Not that that was enormously difficult to manage. Since 1990—Matt Morris was drafted in 1995—here's the list of Cardinals pitchers with at least 1 bWAR, also known as The Jay Witasick Line:

Rank Pitcher Draft bWAR
1. Mark Mulder 2001-2 30.9
2. Matt Morris 1995-1 16.4
3. Rick Ankiel 1997-2 10.1
4. Braden Looper 1996-1 6.4
5. Donovan Osborne 1990-1 5.2
6. Chris Perez 2006-1s 4.3
7. T.J. Mathews 1992-36 3.8
8. Jaime Garcia* 2005-22 3.4
9. Cliff Politte 1995-54 3.4
10. Kyle McClellan 2002-25 3.1
11. John Frascatore 1991-24 2.1
12. Chris Narveson 2000-2 2.0
13. Blake Stein 1994-14 2.0
14. Mike Crudale 1999-24 1.4
15. Allen Watson 1991-1 1.2
16. Jay Witasick 1993-2 1.0

(If you were wondering, the 1998 draft—in which they draft not a single pitcher over 1 WAR despite having two supplemental picks and spending a ton of money to convince Chad Hutchinson to play baseball—turned out pretty well, if only because they were willing to throw J.D. Drew two tons of money. Drew's 46 WAR and Jack Wilson's 15 do a lot to make up for the next-highest number being Esix Snead's 0.3 and Bud Smith ending his career at -0.7.)

I bring up this unpleasant list only to wonder at how much better the situation looks for the Cardinals at present.

In addition to Garcia, who seems extremely likely to pass T.J. Mathews and Donovan Osborne in the near future, the Cardinals have three starting prospects for whom not crossing 1 WAR would be a major disappointment; Lance Lynn and (the undrafted) Eduardo Sanchez, who have a good chance of going it this year; and a bunch of C+ prospects with a chance of turning into Donovan Osborne or Braden Looper.

Jaime Garcia is a very good pitcher who could still turn into a great pitcher. Coming in 2005, the year after the Cardinals drafted Chris—after a really, epochally terrible draft, he's also the sign of competent drafts to come.

Come on, man! Say it two more times and I get my hyper-bitchin' old body back! Say it three more times and The Ghost of Pete Kozma is going to get mad jealous!

For god's sake, I thought after I put you in the book we agreed to—

Also, The Relief Pitcher of Adam Ottavino is totally wearing guy liner!! LoL. Let me fill that Jim Garcia asterix in for you, bro, since u were probably gonna be all "vorp vorp vorp" with it like the Swedish Nerd or David Foster Nerdface:

*should totally wear guy liner, NOT

That was my—you took—you know, at Turf Show Times the Ghost of Tye Hill helps Ryan Van Bibber moderate the comments.

*By Fangraphs's WAR, of course, this looks significantly better for Garcia, whose 2011 season suffers the bWAR difference especially badly—he's already at 6.4, 6.8 if you drop his uneventful week in 2008. Matt Morris also has a negative-WAR problem, borne of his awful time in Pittsburgh. Drop his sub-replacement-level seasons, and he's at 18.9.

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