Friday, May 5, 2006
Twins Minor League Reports
Q&A with Matt Garza
Ft. Myers Miracle Pitcher
2005 Twins 1st Round Draft Pick
Good morning to everyone!
We are going to start out today with another Q&A with a Twins minor league player. If you would like to see what other Twins prospects and more I have had Q&As with, please be sure to look at the end of this Q&A. Today, I need to thank Matt Garza for taking the time to answer some questions for us!
Matt Garza was drafted by the Twins in the 1st round of the 2005 draft out of Fresno State University. During his Junior year there, he went 6-5 with a save in 19 games. His ERA was 3.07. In 108.1 innings, he struck out 120 batters while walking just 37. He signed quickly with the Twins and reported to Rookie League Elizabethton and made four starts. He went 1-1 with a 3.66 ERA. In 19.2 innings, he walked six and struck out 25. He moved up to Beloit where he made 10 more starts and went 3-3 with a 3.54 ERA. In 56 innings, he walked just 15 and struck out 64. For both teams, his first start was not good, so that really distorts just how well he pitched.
However, what he has done so far in 2006 is really nothing short of remarkable. He got to spend some time with the Twins in big league training camp and really made a strong impression. He has now made 6 starts for Hi-A Ft. Myers and pitched in 31.1 innings. He would have another 4-6 innings thrown, but in one of his starts, he was hit in the back by his own teammate on a relay throw. He is now 4-0 with a 0.74 ERA. In those 31.1 innings, he has struck out 40 and walked just six hitters. Along with Kevin Slowey, they comprise an amazing 1-2 punch atop the Miracle starting rotation. Yesterday, I gave my SethSpeaks April Pitcher of the Month Award to Garza. I'm sure that is right up there with the actual Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Month award he received. Baseball America named him as the Twins #7 overall prospect this year. It think it is safe to say that if another such list was made now, he would rank much higher.
Did You Know? In his senior year of high school, Garza threw for 2,411 yards and 30 Touchdowns for his high school football team. He had passing games of 359 and 330 yards that year.
I'm sure you don't want to read any more background. Check out his minor league numbers and other information here. Let's just get to the Q&A already! Thank you to Matt Garza for taking the time to answer these questions. Again, I think that this is very interesting to read and I hope, and am sure, that you will enjoy it too.
If you have any comments for me or Mr. Garza, please e-mail me, and I will try to answer your questions or forward them on to him and see if we can get you an answer.
Let the Questions Begin!
SethSpeaks: Growing up in California, who was your favorite team and who were some of your favorite players to watch and emulate?
Matt Garza: well I grew up liking both the Yankees and Dodgers. I really didn't have a favorite player growing up i just liked watching pitchers compete..
SethSpeaks: Tell us a little about your high school career. Were you drafted out of high school?
Matt Garza: I played 3 sports up to my junior year, then I was a two sport athlete (baseball, football). I was taken in the 2002 draft by the Rockies in the 40th round
SethSpeaks: What is one of your best memories at Fresno State?
Matt Garza: probably the chance to pitch in front of my family ever home game... especially my son!
SethSpeaks: The Twins took you with their first round pick just last year. Had you talked to the Twins' scouts much, and where were you expecting to be selected?
Matt Garza: I spoke with the twins scout a couple of times and he told me he would push for me, other than that no clue that I was the top guy. my agent informed me of the interest of teams but I had an idea of late first to supplemental.
SethSpeaks: You signed rather quickly after the draft. Was that your plan? Did you just want to get going and play?
Matt Garza: I had the option to holdout, but when I spoke with teams I made it clear that my intent was to play and just asked to be treated fair. I was out of baseball for three weeks and was tired of just working out alone. so yes I wanted to get out and play..
SethSpeaks: What were your initial thoughts when the Twins picked you? What were some of your thoughts about the organization at that time?
Matt Garza: I was happy to just be picked, later I learned that the twins were the type of organization that develops players and I knew I would just fit right in.
SethSpeaks: What are your thoughts now, after spending a little bit of time with the organization, on the Twins and particularly the way they develop so many pitchers?
Matt Garza: I am excited to be playing for an organization like the twins. I know that they have the right interest in when pitchers are ready. Mainly by the past successes..
SethSpeaks: What was your biggest adjustment from the amateur ranks to pro ball?
Matt Garza: mostly just the 5-day rotation.. other than that I see it as baseball.
SethSpeaks: Who are some of the coaches or people that have helped you get to this point in your career?
Matt Garza: there have been plenty of people who have touched me while I strived to achieve this goal. Way to many to just pick a couple..
SethSpeaks: How would you describe yourself as a pitcher? What are your strengths, and what areas would you say you most have to improve upon?
Matt Garza: I see myself as a power pitcher, that's not to tough of a choice. I feel my strengths are the way I compete, my hard working demeanor and my ability to attack the hitter.. now weaknesses I have to learn to pitch more, and that just comes with experience.
SethSpeaks: What pitches do you through, and would would you say is your out pitch?
Matt Garza: I use a fastball, slider, curveball, and a change-up. I consider my fastball as my out pitch.
SethSpeaks: You spent quite a bit of time in big league camp this spring. What did you learn from it, and how were you treated by the big leaguers?
Matt Garza: I was treated great, there are so many great guys up there and they are all willing to help you get better. the most important thing I learned there was to enjoy the game and work hard..
SethSpeaks: Favorite baseball movie?
Matt Garza: probably Bull Durham..
SethSpeaks: Favorite baseball book?
Matt Garza: head's up baseball
SethSpeaks: What is the best part, so far, about a career in baseball?
Matt Garza: I get to wake up everyday, go to a baseball field and play a game for a living.
SethSpeaks: What is the most difficult part of life in baseball?
Matt Garza: the time away from my family, definitely!
SethSpeaks: What are your goals for the 2006 season? Do you set goals, or think about where you would like to be in August?
Matt Garza: I really don't like to make goals. I know the only goal to have is to be a big leaguer and the only way to get there is to work hard and not worry about the future. take care of the present and the future will fall into place..
SethSpeaks: What do you think it will be like to put on a big league uniform in a regular season game for the first time?
Matt Garza: great, but I think it'll be as fun as the one I wear now.
Matt, I thank you again very much for taking the time to answer all of these questions so well. During the season, I would imagine free time is at a premium! So thank you!
Do you have any thoughts or questions for Matt Garza or me? If so, please feel free to e-mail me.
If you would like to read any previous Q&A's, here is a checklist:
5/2/06 - Q&A with Kyle Waldrop (Twins minor league pitcher at Beloit)
4/28/06 - Q&A with David Winfree (Twins minor league infielder at Ft. Myers)
4/25/06 - Q&A with Josh Rabe (Twins minor league outfielder at Rochester)
2/24/06 - Q&A with Tommy Watkins (Twins minor league infielder at New Britain)
2/20/06 - Spring Training Q&A (Part 2) (Several Twins and former Twins answer questions about spring)
1/3/06 - Q&A with Chris Coste (Phillies AAA player and my former college teammate)
11/29/05 - Q&A with Chris Brown (former Twins 1B prospect, spent 2005 in Beloit)
11/25/05 - Q&A with Seth (your questions for me)
11/23/05 - Q&A with Pat Neshek (Twins Relief Pitching Prospect, added to 40 man roster, 2006 in Rochester)
11/15/05 - Q&A with Jeff Dooley (the voice of the New Britain Rock Cats)
11/8/05 - Q&A with David Dorsey (local writer for The News-Press in Ft. Myers, FL)
10/25/05 - Q&A with Mark Sheldon (former Twins Beat Reporter for MLB.com)
10/18/05 - Q&A with Kevin Slowey (another top pitching prospect, Twins 2nd round pick in 2005, 2006 in Ft. Myers)
10/11/05 - Q&A with Wes Holtsclaw (local writer for the Elizabethton Twins)
10/5/05 - Q&A with Eli Tintor (Minnesota-native, catching prospect who played 2005 in E-Town, 2006 in Beloit)
7/28/05 - Q&A with Jim Mandelaro (local writer for the Rochester Red Wings)
2/28/05 - Q&A with Pat Neshek (Minnesota-native, reliever prospect who played 2005 at New Britain)
12/17/04 - Q&A with Alexander Smit (Holland-native, pitching prospect spent 2005 between Beloit and E-Town)
5/28/04 - Q&A with CJ Nitkowski (big league pitcher, spent Spring Training 2005 with the Twins)
So, the Twins pitching seems to have taken a step forward. In the past three games, Johan Santana, Brad Radke and Carlos Silva all had very strong starts. Apparently Silva, with the help of Rick Anderson, found the mechanical flaw in his delivery that was not allowing the ball to sink. That is the positive. The negatives are plentiful. First, they just split with the Royals. Better than having been swept, however, far from the desired result against arguably the league's worst team. Luis Castillo came up lame in the early innings last night after turning a double play. However, it sounds like it was just a cut on his shin, and he should be able to play this weekend. But the main negative remains that horrendous offense. I will take a look at how the Twins hitters fared in the past four games (two against the Mariners and two against the Royals).
Shannon Stewart (3-14, 3 BB, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, K)
Luis Castillo (4-11, BB, 2B)
Joe Mauer (3-16, 2-2B, 2 RBI, 4 K)
Torii Hunter (5-15, BB, HR, 3 RBI)
Lew Ford (3-11, BB, RBI, 2 K)
Justin Morneau (3-15, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 K)
Tony Batista (3-15, 2B, 2 R, RBI)
Michael Cuddyer (2-8, 2B, K, SB)
Juan Castro (2-8, BB, 3B, K)
Rondell White (2-9, 2B, 2 R, RBI, K)
Luis Rodriguez (0-3)
Nick Punto (1-4, RBI)
Mike Redmond (Did Not Play)
The other negative is that the team now has a weekend series against the Detroit Tigers. Those of you who may have been out of town for the past two weeks may have missed that when these two teams played in Detroit last weekend, the Tigers swept the series, outscoring the Twins 33-1! It is a new weekend. The Tigers will get to see Scott Baker and Johan Santana this time around. However, the Twins will have to see Mike Maroth and Jeremy Bonderman. It will be interesting to see how tonight's game goes. If the Twins can stay in the game for awhile, it would be good for their confidence. However, if Lohse is not able to throw well, it could go to the Twins' heads. The Tigers are a legitimately solid offense. There are still some question marks about their pitching, but those are quickly disappearing too.
Over at Sickels' site, they have a discussion going about the lineup the Twins should use in tonight's game against Kenny Rogers. Be sure to post your lineup thoughts there! I posted mine already.
It really should be a very intriguing series. Here are the pitching matchups for this weekend:
Friday - 7:10 p.m. - Kyle Lohse (1-2, 8.77, 1.91, .330) vs Kenny Rogers (4-2, 2.59, 0.98, .203)
Saturday - 6:10 p.m. - Scott Baker (1-3, 4.40, 1.36, .304) vs Jeremy Bonderman (3-2, 3.99, 0.94, .203)
Sunday - 1:10 p.m. - Johan Santana (2-3, 3.89, 1.27, .261) vs Mike Maroth (4-1, 1.78, 1.25, .246)
Do you have any thoughts on the Twins, the Tigers, the AL Central or anything else? If so, send me an e-mail, or post some Comments below.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE NOTES
SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Alex Romero, New Britain Rockcats
SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Kyle Waldrop, Beloit Snappers
I have written frequently about when the Twins should promote Matt Garza and Kevin Slowey to New Britain. If you go to this diary on John Sickels' site, that very same question is asked and further discussed. Really, it is a fair question and there are some great responses.
There is another diary on about the same topic.
If you have any thoughts on the Twins system, please e-mail me.
Thursday - Red Wings 5, Ottawa 7 – In yesterday's Comments, I wrote that Jason Tyner and Andres Torres were about the same player. Yesterday, they both went 3-5 with a double. Tyner added a walk while Torres hit a home run. Jason Kubel, Garrett Jones and Terry Tiffee were each 2-5, and Josh Rabe was 2-6 with a double. JD Durbin got the start. In six innings, he gave up four runs (3 earned) on five hits. He struck out four. The only bad number was the six walks. Beau Kemp came in and threw three shutout innings. Pat Neshek pitched the 10th and gave up two hits and an intentional walk, but no runs to go with two more strikeouts. Ricky Barrett took the loss. He got just one out in the 11th, but he gave up two hits and a walk and was charged with three runs. Kevin Cameron got the last two outs.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Thursday - Rockcats 10, Harrisburg 9 – Justin Jones had a rough start. In just 2.1 innings, he gave up five runs (2 earned) on five hits and four walks. Justin Olson went the next 2.2 innings and got the win. He gave up a run on four hits and two walks. Bobby Korecky then gave up two runs in two innings. Jay Sawatski pitched a perfect inning. Julio DePaula got his first AA save, giving up a run in an inning. I really liked the Rockcats lineup last night. It went Denard Span, Alex Romero, Matt Moses, Danny Matienzo and Doug Deeds. Span went 3-5 with a double. Romero went 2-3 with two walks, a double and a home run. Moses went 2-4 with a walk, his fourth homer and three RBI. Deeds was 2-3 with a walk, a double and two RBI.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Thursday - Miracle 3, Lakeland 8 – Kyle Geiger went 2-4 with an RBI double. He had two of the team's six hits. Trevor Plouffe added a double. Anthony Swarzak falls to 1-3. In five innings, he gave up three runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out eight, but two of his hits allowed were home runs. Chris Schutt went the next two innings and struck out four. Tim Lahey had his first real rough outing. In one inning, he gave up four runs on six hits. Josh Hill gave up a run in his inning.
Thursday - Snappers 8, Southwest Michigan 2 – Tuesday's Q&A man, Kyle Waldrop, had a great start and he got great run support. The righty improved to 2-2 with seven innings of three hit ball. He gave up two runs (1 earned) and struck out three. Yohan Pino struck out one and walked two, so Jose Lugo came in and struck out four of the last five hitters for his second save. Henry Sanchez led the offense with two doubles in four at bats and three RBI. Edward Ovalle went 2-3 with a double. Erik Lis was 2-3 with a stolen base. Drew Thompson went 2-5 with a stolen base.
Do you have any further thoughts on any Twins prospects, minor leaguers, or these summaries? I would love any input, or ideas to make it better. Thanks! E-mail me, or also feel free to leave comments below.
Let me know what you think. Send me an e-mail, or let's talk about it in the Comments here. That is it for today and for the week!|
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