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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fantasy focus: Freddy Garcia

He's a 34-year-old pitcher.

From 2007 to 2009, he started only 23 games and was 5-10.

Even when he won 17 games in 2006, he had a 4.53 ERA and 1.28 WHIP.

It only makes sense, then, that in 2010 -- aka The Year of the Pitcher, Jose Bautista, Paul Konerko, Troy Glaus, Vladimir Guerrero and Corey Hart -- Freddy Garcia again is a fantasy factor.

It's been a goofy season (Bautista and Konerko are tied with Miguel Cabrera for the major-league lead in homers; Guerrero and Hart are tied for third in RBI), and Garcia is back to compiling some wacky numbers.

His ERA is 4.66 and his WHIP is 1.34. Yet he's 8-3, has won five consecutive decisions and is 8-1 in his last 10 starts.

Another surprising number: As of early Tuesday night, Garcia was available in more than 88 percent of the leagues on

He's not going to provide much help to your team ERA -- in fact, he might hurt it. The same goes for your team's WHIP. His strikeout numbers (51 in 85 innings) aren't much better.

If you need wins, however, Garcia should be near the top of your waiver-wire wish list.

In his last six starts, Garcia is 5-0 with a 3.54 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. Since May 5, he's managed to go 8-1, even with a 4.21 ERA and 1.35 WHIP.

Even with the gaudy season ERA, Garcia has allowed three earned runs or fewer in eight of his last 10 starts.

He knows how to win, obviously, as his career statistics show (Garcia has had 12 or more victories seven times in his career).

I wouldn't start him in 10- or 12-team mixed leagues. In deeper mixed formats (14- and 16-team leagues) and in AL-only leagues, Garcia is a starting option.

Before you make the move, consider if you can afford the hit to your team ERA. And keep in mind Garcia's 4.66 is inflated by two poor outings (starts in which he allowed seven earned runs in three and 2 1/3 innings).

Take away those two losses and Garcia is 8-1 with a 3.39 ERA in 12 starts.

He might soon realize he's 34 and fortunate to be winning so frequently. Or he might win 16 games.

In a season in which Bautista is on pace to play in all 162 games, hit 42 homers and drive in 105 runs, would you really be surprised if Garcia accomplished the latter?

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