Matt Garza

A photo of Matt Garza.

Matthew Scott Garza (born November 26, 1983 in Selma, California) is a right-handed starting pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays. Garza was the 25th pick of the first round of the 2005 Amateur Draft. He attended Washington Union High School and Fresno State University.


Entering 2006, Garza was ranked as the Minnesota Twins seventh-best prospect by Baseball America.[1] He gained attention for rising through the ranks of the Twins' minor league system, starting the season at Single-A Fort Myers and ending at the major league level, pitching with the Double-A New Britain Rock Cats and the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings in between. Garza was a combined 14-4 at the three minor league levels in 2006, with a 1.99 ERA and 154 strikeouts in 135 ⅔ innings. He earned All-Star berths in the Class A Florida State League and Class AA Eastern League. Backed by those numbers, Garza earned the USA Today Minor League Player of the Year Award for 2006, the second consecutive year in which a Twin won the award (in 2005, Garza's teammate Francisco Liriano was the winner).[2] On August 8, Minnesota purchased Garza's contract, promoting him to the majors to replace the injured Liriano.[3] Garza is one of a small number of players to advance through the minors and reach the major league level in a single season. On August 11, his major league debut, Garza allowed seven earned runs in 2 ⅔ innings to the Toronto Blue Jays.[4] Garza earned his first win on August 23 against the Baltimore Orioles, allowing just one unearned run in six innings.[5]


Entering 2007, Garza was rated as the top prospect in the Twins organization[6] and the 21st-best prospect in Major League Baseball[7] by Baseball America. Garza did not make the Twins rotation out of Spring Training, being assigned to Rochester instead. He was recalled to the Minnesota Twins on June 28 after being passed by other Twins pitching prospects such as Kevin Slowey and Scott Baker due to disagreements with the club over his pitch selection.[8] He was selected to the 2007 All-Star Futures Game in San Francisco, but did not get to participate due to his call up to the major league club.[9] On July 6, in a game against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, Garza became the first Twins pitcher to bat in an American League game since Allan Anderson in 1989. Garza was put in the eight-spot when catcher Mike Redmond left the game after his head was cut by Jim Thome's bat on a backswing. Joe Mauer, the designated hitter for the game, replaced Redmond as the catcher, forcing Garza into the lineup. On July 29, Garza recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts in six innings against the Cleveland Indians.


On November 28, 2007, the Twins traded Garza along with Jason Bartlett and Eduardo Morlan to the Tampa Bay Rays for Delmon Young, Jason Pridie, and Brendan Harris.


Garza throws a fastball 93-96 and can touch 97 his fastball. He has a big curveball that sits 74-77mph. He throws a tight slider in the low 80s. He also throws a rare changeup to give hitters a different look. [10]


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