|Chicago Cubs – No. 22|
November 26, 1983 |
|Bats: Right||Throws: Right|
|August 11, 2006 for the Minnesota Twins|
(through June 16, 2013)
|Earned run average||3.88|
|Career highlights and awards|
Entering 2006, Garza was ranked as the Minnesota Twins seventh-best prospect by Baseball America. 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 Single-A Florida State League and Double-A 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). On August 8, Minnesota purchased Garza's contract, promoting him to the majors to replace the injured Liriano. 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. Garza earned his first win on August 23 against the Baltimore Orioles, allowing just one unearned run in six innings.
Entering 2007, Garza was rated as the top prospect in the Twins organization and the 21st-best prospect in Major League Baseball 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. 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. 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.
Tampa Bay Rays
After the 2007 season, 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 had a successful season with the Rays, going 11–9 while posting a 3.70 ERA. He also earned MVP honors for the ALCS in which he helped the Rays beat the Boston Red Sox by posting a 1.38 ERA in two starts, and earning the decisive victory in game 7 of the ALCS.
On June 26, he carried a perfect game through 6.0 innings against the Florida Marlins before giving up a leadoff home run in the seventh inning to Hanley Ramírez. That proved his only blemish as he won the complete game with 10 strikeouts and one walk.
As of the end of July 2009, opposing batters were hitting .222 against him, which was the second-lowest batting average in the league; he was just behind Edwin Jackson (.216), and was followed by Jarrod Washburn (.224) and Scott Feldman (.228; .217 as a starter).
Garza threw a no-hitter on July 26, 2010 at home against the Detroit Tigers, becoming the fifth pitcher that season to throw a no-hitter. It was also the first no-hitter thrown by a Tampa Bay Rays pitcher in the team's history. He faced the minimum 27 batters as the lone base runner, Brennan Boesch, who drew a 1-out second inning walk, was erased on a double play hit by Ryan Raburn in the next at-bat. Garza threw 120 pitches, 80 for strikes, and tallied six strikeouts. 101 of his pitches were fastballs.
On January 7, 2011, Garza was traded from the Rays to the Chicago Cubs as part of an eight-player deal. The Cubs sent outfielder Sam Fuld, and prospects Christopher Archer, Hak-Ju Lee, Brandon Guyer, and Robinson Chirinos to the Rays for Garza, outfielder Fernando Perez and minor league left-handed pitcher Zachary Rosscup. In spring training he led all pitchers in the major leagues in earned runs given up, with 25, in 21.2 innings. Garza finished the season with a 10-10 record and a 3.32 ERA.
Garza throws a 2-seam fastball that varies from 90–94 mph, as well as a 4-seam fastball that varies from 93–96 mph that can, on occasion, reach 98. His arsenal also includes a big, breaking curveball that he throws for 72–77 mph, a tight slider in the mid-high 80s, and a changeup he uses to fool hitters.
Matt Garza is married to his high school sweetheart; together they have three children.
As someone who has had to deal with teen pregnancy, Garza was invited to sit on a panel for The Candie's Foundation in New York City about combating teen pregnancy with Hayden Panettiere and Bristol Palin on May 6, 2009.
- "Top 10 Prospects: Minnesota Twins". Baseball America. 2006-02-01.
- "Alexi Casilla and Matt Garza named 2006 Twins' Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year". MLB.com. 2006-11-01.
- "Notes: Early start for Garza". MLB.com. 2006-08-08.
- "Garza hit hard in debut vs. Jays". MLB.com. 2006-08-12.
- "Garza notches first MLB win". MLB.com. 2006-08-23.
- "Top 10 Prospects: Minnesota Twins". Baseball America. 2006-11-30.
- "2007 Top 100 Prospects". Baseball America. 2007-02-28.
- "Twins call up Garza from Triple-A". MLB.com. 2007-06-28.
- "Futures' stars set to align today". MLB.com. 2007-07-07.
- T.R. Sullivan. "Feldman: The rock of the rotation, 7/29/09". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved 2011-04-02.
- "MLB Player Fielding Stats – As p – 2009". Espn. Retrieved 2011-04-02.
- Garza takes place in history, no-hits Tigers MLB.com July 26, 2010
- Game Box Score MLB.com July 26, 2010
- "Garza's fastball will hold the key to his post-no-hitter development". CNN. July 27, 2010.
- "Source: Cubs agree to Garza deal". espn.go.com. 2011-01-08. Retrieved 2011-04-02.
- "Cubs acquire right-hander Matt Garza in eight-player trade with Rays". mlb.com. Retrieved 2011-04-02.
- "Major League Baseball Stats: Sortable Statistics | MLB.com: Stats". Mlb.mlb.com. 2011-03-29. Retrieved 2011-04-02.
- Mechanical Analysis: Matt Garza | SaberScouting
- "Maturing Garza may be Rays' real ace – John Donovan - SI.com". CNN. October 25, 2008. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
- "Garza spends his day in New York sitting between Hayden Panettiere & Bristol Palin". wtsp.com. 2009-05-06. Retrieved 2011-04-02.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Matt Garza|
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- "Garza takes wild ride in stride" – Minnesota Public Radio
- No. 25 – MLN FAB50 Baseball 2006
- Video of Matt Garza warming up in the bullpen
July 26, 2010