Unfortunate Case of Garrett Mock

Posted by Dave Nichols | Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | , , , | 7 comments »

Garrett Mock was a big leaguer.

For parts of three seasons, Mock pitched for the Washington Nationals.  Acquired by the Nats with Matt Chico from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Livan Hernandez in August 2006, Mock compiled a 4-13 record with a 5.17 ERA in 55 games, including 19 starts.  He could always strike batters out (career 8.0 K/9), but his control was equally "impressive", walking nearly five batters per nine innings.

Mock won a job in the rotation in 2010 with a good spring training (and precious little competition), but was ineffective in his first start, giving up four hits and walking five in 3 1/3 innings in an 8-2 loss to the New York Mets.  After that game, the Nats tried to send Mock back to the minors, but it was revealed that Mock had sustained an injury to his cervical spine on the right side of his neck, requiring surgery.  He made a few rehab appearances in the minors at the end of 2010, going 1-3 with a 4.33 ERA in six starts across four levels of the minor leagues.

Mock, now 28, was hopeful that an off-season of rest and strengthening would allow him to throw better in the spring and compete for a job with the big league club in 2011 once again.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Ineffective during spring training, Mock was an early cut, optioned to Triple-A Syracuse on March 11.  Mock was terrible for the Chiefs.  In his three starts, he gave up 12 earned runs (9.53 ERA), nine hits and walked an astounding 17 batters in 11 1/3 innings, striking out 10.  Mock was placed on the minor league seven-day disabled list April 22, then reactivated for one start for Class-A Potomac where he pitched well, going six innings and allowing just four hits and two walks, striking out six.

That earned him a trip back to Double-A Harrisburg, where he's been even worse.  In two starts for the Senators, including last night's train wreck, he has pitched 7 1/3 innings total, allowing 11 earned runs on 12 hits and three walks, striking out just five.

In total, he's made six minor league starts across three levels this season.  He's 0-3 with a 8.39 ERA, allowing 23 earned runs on 25 hits and 22 walks, striking out 21.

It appears that the accumulation of injury has taken its toll on Mock, to the point of no longer being able to be effective even at Double-A.  Maybe something else is wrong with him physically.  Maybe it's mental.  Maybe it's nothing more than nature taking its cruel course.  But with the wealth of starting pitchers in the Nationals minor league system right now, Mock is very quickly running out of opportunities to prove he still belongs.

Mock was once a promising prospect and made a handful of starts in the Major Leagues.  We should all be so fortunate.

7 comments

  1. Souldrummer // June 15, 2011 at 2:21 PM  

    I try not to write or comment about Mock that much anymore. He's just not that good. I wonder if RobBobS will fully come to grips with Garrett Mock's fall from grace.

  2. bdrube // June 15, 2011 at 2:32 PM  

    A cautionary tale for those advocating that we dump Marquis at the trading deadline for prospects. We did that with Livan in 2006 and ultimately didn't see much of a return.

    Hopefully, Rizzo won't pull the trigger on a deal unless he gets an offer he can't refuse as with Capps last year. We could do a lot worse than giving Marquis an extension to be the rotational veteran presence going forward.

  3. Souldrummer // June 15, 2011 at 3:42 PM  

    @bdrube
    Yeah, but what return did the Diamondbacks get? Ultimately, there's strength in numbers when it comes to prospects. Was Livo going to pitch us into the postseason that year? Because if he isn't, I think you sell and sell when the player has value. I certainly believe that we should have sold Adam Dunn last year if the rumors were true about the kind of value we would have gotten in return (Daniel Hudson in play?).

    I hope we sell Marquis because he will be a free agent and we're still too far away from being a contender that will make noise.

  4. Dave Nichols // June 15, 2011 at 4:26 PM  

    I agree with SD on this one. The more talent you accumulate, the better the chances one of them turns outto be useful. It takes 10 pitching prospects to find a useful pitcher, let alone a good major leaguer. There are only two ways to accumulate talent: draft and trade veterans. The idea of "veteran leadership" on a team that is still two-three years from seriously competing is highly overrated, at least in my opinion.

  5. Andrew // June 15, 2011 at 4:53 PM  

    Interesting discussion, not on Mock but on the comments that have turned to Marquis.

    I still believe you hope for the best with Jason Marquis for the rest of 2011 and extend him for 2012.

    Reasoning is this team wins around him and it is bizarre when you think he isn't the teams best pitcher (as JZim is) but the team is 10-3 in his starts. It is about wins and trying to keep that formula. So there has to be an intangilble there or something we are missing as to why this team wins around him.

    Could his success be because he is the out-going firey guy on the mound compared to all the other pitchers who are quiet types? Could it be because he leads by example with his bat and his baserunning?

    Also, Free Agent classification probably nets you nothing if you don't trade him as you use a 2 year average rating and we all know what Marquis 2010 looked like so if he is extended and has a good 2012, you possibly turn him into a Type A or B Free Agent that will yield a good Draft pick if he was extended and wasn't traded in 2012.

    If you do trade him this season and wait until July 31st, I don't think you get much for him and agree with bdrube as the Cutter Dykstra types of pickups aren't worth "accumulating" the body count or what you call talent.

  6. erocks33 // June 15, 2011 at 5:56 PM  

    the problem with not dealing Marquis this year is that the Nats would have to extend him for at least a 2 if not 3 year deal, and at this point he's just not worth holding onto for that long, and there's no way Marquis would sign on for just a one-year extension.

    Also, take a look at Marquis' career splits. He's always been more effective pre-all star game, then tends to peter out the second half of the season. So I think it's better to sell high while you can ...

  7. Dave Nichols // June 15, 2011 at 6:12 PM  

    Completely concur erocks.