Cal State Fullerton RHP Justin Garza
Date Scouted: 4.18.15 In-Person
7-Word Scouting Report: Projectable Collegiate Righty, Flashes Three Average Pitches
On a spectacular spring afternoon, Saturday I took advantage of the flawless weather to scout national powerhouse Cal State Fullerton visit the University of Maryland. In particular I was eager to watch how Fullerton’s starting pitcher and intriguing 2015 MLB Draft prospect, Justin Garza, would fare against the Terps’ prodigious lineup.
Saturday Garza flashed a strong 3-pitch mix, featuring a 91-93mph fastball, touching 94mph, with late life. He maintained his velocity throughout the appearance, though his control wavered throughout the start. In addition, Garza flashed an 80-82mph slider with sweeping 10-to-4 action that he could locate for a strike or bury in the dirt. Finally, later in the start Garza started showing a decent 78-82mph changeup with some natural fading action and showed good arm speed with the pitch. Frankly, I am surprised he did not throw his change more often, as it induced both weak contact and whiffs.
Physically Garza is listed at 5-11 170lbs, in which I would take the over on height and the under on weight, as he has long, lean legs, a high waist, and a rather thin upper body. Although he should not grow taller, he does have some projection for further muscularity as he matures. His delivery involves plenty of effort and he has a mild arm stab during the motion, but I was impressed and surprised how well he maintained his arm slot throughout this appearance, until he visibly wore down around 90 pitches. He is a very good athlete and fields his position extremely well.
Although the raw numbers were underwhelming in this viewing (5.2 innings pitched, 6 runs, 3 earned, 7 hits, 1 walk against 7 strikeouts), I came away impressed by Garza and his future potential. He shows good velocity on his fastball, has two off-speed pitches that can show average, and he can maintain his velocity and mechanics multiple times through the lineup. Certainly scouts will quickly project him long-term as a reliever due to his lean frame and infrequent use of his changeup, but I think with some additional weight and mechanical refinement he could remain a starter as a professional.
As a college junior Garza is eligible for this June’s draft, although this will not be his first experience with the draft process as he was selected by Cleveland in the 26th round in 2012. However, Garza should be selected significantly earlier this time around, as his 3-pitch arsenal and extensive college accomplishments will obviously be appealing. While his lack of top-end velocity or a dominant off-speed pitch will likely keep him from a 1st day selection, I expect Garza to fit well as a Day 2 pick to a team favoring college pitchers and a track record of success.
Projected Draft Status -> Mid 3rd Round – 6th Round