Roto Arcade - Fantasy

We use the word "gem" too often to describe efforts that are merely useful.

For example, last season Jason Schmidt pitched a six-inning no-decision in which he walked three and struck out four. The effort was quickly declared both a "masterpiece" and a "gem," although it was neither. He was facing a bad lineup in a great pitching environment, and he was a little lucky.

But Matt Garza's effort yesterday against the Marlins?

OK, that was a gem.

The 24-year-old righty threw a complete game one-hitter, and for the second time this season he struck out 10. The lone hit allowed by Garza was a Hanley Ramirez home run to leadoff the seventh, but if you check the highlights you'll note that the pitch wasn't exactly left on a tee. He threw a slider that just caught the edge of the strike zone, low and away. Garza happened to be facing one of the league's most dangerous hitters, though, so the results were imperfect. That happens.

Still, Garza was excellent. He beat a team that's fourth in the NL in runs-scored and second in slugging percentage. Matt Buser obviously covered him in last night's Closing Time so we won't go much further, except to say that the 3,242 of you who've added him so far today have done the right thing.

Garza should be owned in any public-style mixed league, period.

That's not the same thing as saying that there should be a place for him on every roster, by the way. But there should certainly be a place for Garza in every league. He's easily a top 50 starting pitcher. Garza's 1.21 WHIP is significantly better than what the average owned SP will produce, he's struck out 18 batters in his last two starts while walking only three, and, in case you hadn't noticed, he's pitching for a team that's 47-31.

Of course he's going to have a few rough starts; no pitcher avoids those. And of course you'll sit him occasionally, based on match-ups. But it's June 27, and there's no way that a competitive league's free agent pool is loaded with better options.

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