Scout's View: Matt Garza

See also: Previous Scout's View: Pedro Ciriaco
See also: Scout's View Archive

One year after Francisco Liriano's meteoric rise through the Minnesota Twins farm system, righthander Matt Garza is following the same path.

In his first full year as a professional, Garza has jumped from high Class A Fort Myers (5-1, 1.42) to Double-A New Britain (6-2, 2.51) to Triple-A Rochester (2-1, 2.05). The Twins selected Garza in the first round (25th overall) of the 2005 draft out of Fresno State.

Overall, the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Garza was 13-4, 2.04 in 21 starts. He led the minor leagues with 142 strikeouts (and just 30 walks) in 123 2/3 innings, and he held opposing batters to a .179 average.

The Twins waited until September to promote Liriano last year, then he opened this season in the bullpen before being inserted in the rotation. It's easy to see Minnesota doing the same with Garza.

We caught up with a veteran National League scout who saw Garza in Double-A to give us the skinny.

"The night I saw him, he was a guy who just mowed them down for about seven innings," the scout said. "And then he encountered a little bit of trouble and, because he hadn't thrown a lot of pitches, it was nice to see him try to work out of it. You could tell he was losing things, but it was good to see him gut it out. He was a tough kid, and he got out of the trouble.

"The impressive thing was, in his last inning--he threw eight innings that night--he was throwing as high as 97 (mph). So he lost nothing at all velocity-wise later in the game. When he needed something at the end, he had it. And then, it wasn't like a one-time thing. He repeated some 97s, which was really nice to see.

"Of his breaking pitches, even though they might end up with the same grade, the curveball was a better pitch than the slider, but they were both good. So what it tells you about a kid like that is that he's got three plus pitches, and the other pitch ain't bad.

"So for me, No. 1, he stays as a starter. There's no reason to say he's short somewhere and he doesn’t have a repertoire to use.

"I get excited when I'm looking at some highly touted kid, and you're hoping that he can duplicate what you've heard, and he certainly did. He was really impressive."

Fastball: 70
Curveball: 60
Slider: 60
Changeup: 50
Command: 60
Makeup: 60