Name: Matt Garza
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: November 11, 1983
The Twins selected Matt Garza as their first round pick during the 2005 June Draft, and he appears to be a great selection. Out of Fresno State, Garza showed the ability to dominate in his first season of professional baseball, and should once again be toeing the rubber for the Beloit Snappers in 2005. Very mature for his age, Garza should move rapidly through the Twins farm system in 2006.
Garza's collegiate career got off to a slow start for Fresno State, as he looked overmatched as a freshman. He posted only one win, against six losses, and had a 9.55 earned run average. Due to his makeup, Garza overcame eye surgery and naysayers, to turn himself into one of the better pitchers in college baseball over his last two seasons. He is also the kind of kid that knows about responsibility, being a young father and husband.
He began his professional career with the Elizabethton Twins, and quickly showed he did not belong in the Appalachian League. He made four starts for the Twins, and showed that he was ready for the next level. In his four starts, Garza went 1-1, posted a 3.65 earned run average, and struck out 25 batters in 20 innings of work.
After his call-up to Beloit of the Midwest League, Garza continued to impress, joining some of the best prospects in the organization in Beloit's starting rotation.
He started ten games for the Snappers during the 2005 season, and again finished with an ERA well below 4.00. He also struck out better than a batter per inning, and finished the year as then tenth best prospect in the Midwest League. In 56 innings of work, Garza struck out 64 batters, en-route to winning three games.
He will be closely watched this season, as the Twins may move him up fast if he gets out to a fast start. Look for him to anchor the Beloit pitching staff at the beginning of the year.
Repertoire: Fastball, Slider, Curveball, Changeup
Fastball. Garza showed an electric fastball during the 2005 season, as he continued to hit high digits even after an entire season of college baseball. His heater sits in the low to mid 90s, and it has been clocked as high as 96 miles per hour. As is not the case with his other pitches, Garza relies on his fastball, and has confidence in it when he throws it. It is one of the better fastballs in the organization, and it will once again cause hitters fits in 2006.
Other Pitches.Garza has a nice assortment of breaking stuff, but his main problem is a reluctance to rely on them in crucial situations. Due to this, he relies on his fastball too much, and than will get him into trouble as he goes higher and higher through the system. Still, his slider is a good one, being clocked in the mid 80s, and his changeup is showing the potential to be a solid pitch in his arsenal. Add those pitches to a high 70s curveball, and you have the makings of a pretty lethal repertoire.
Pitching.If there is one thing that the scouts would change about Garza, it is his reluctance to trust his pitches. However, he is the consummate professional, who is one of the hardest workers in the entire Twins organization. He wants to succeed, and it is because of that that he will. He is also a bulldog on the mound, as he tries to get the very best out of himself with every start. He is the kind of kid that knows what kind of opportunity he has, and he goes out there every day to prove to the Minnesota Twins that they made the right choice by making him a first round selection.
Projection. Garza projects as a starting pitcher, and that is exactly where the Twins like him. He has tremendous stamina, and once he uses his entire arsenal, will have one of the better repertoires in the farm system. He also looked sharp in his Major League camp start during Spring Training, which had a lot of Twins' brass excited about the future. He appeared in four games this spring for the Twins, and finished with a 1.23 earned run average.
ETA. 2008. Garza is the kind of prospect that could move very quickly through the organization, so and estimated time of arrival is hard to gauge. He will be 22 when the season opens, so he shouldn't spend too much time in Low-A ball. He should make it to Fort Myers relatively early this season, and could see some time in Double-A ball if the cards fall a certain way. I believe the safe play is a 2008 arrival, where he'll only be 24 years old, and he'll have three years of Minor League ball under his belt.