Weight: 225 LB
Born: 10/27/89 in Suwanee, GA
College: Vanderbilt University
Acquired: Drafted in the 1st Round (pick #59) of the 2011 June Amateur Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays
Signed For: $370,000
Garvin attended the Wesleyan School in Georgia where he helped lead his team to the state title in 2008. He was originally drafted by the Houston Astros in the 45th Round of the 2008 draft following his senior season, but opted to attend Vanderbilt University instead.
He pitched sparingly as a freshman for the Commodores making only nine appearances, but then after spending the Summer pitching in the Cape Cod League, he had a fantastic Sophomore season. Pitching out of the bullpen, Garvin posted a microscopic 1.25 ERA in 36 innings.
In 2010 he again pitched in the Cape Cod League and continued to impress going a perfect 5-0 with a 0.74 earned run average. Working as a starter, he was named the Cape Cod Baseball League Pitcher of the Year.
Last season as a Junior he was named the 2011 SEC Pitcher of the Year and led Vandy to an appearance in the College World Series. He went 13-2 in 18 starts while logging 112.2 innings and struck out 101 hitters. Opponents hit .232 off of him and he showed excellent command by only walking 25 batters.
Because he is so tall, Garvin is able to get a nice downhill angle on his fastball, which typically sits in the 89-93 MPH range and occasionally touches 94-95. His secondary pitches are a sweeping breaking ball that acts as a sort of slurve and a changeup that he throws in the 79-81 MPH range.
Scout.com's National Baseball Expert did a full scouting report on Garvin just prior to this year's draft. In it he discusses his mechanics and delivery and says:
"Repeatability is the key with Garvin and he does this as well as anyone in the country. Despite his extra tall frame, Garvin repeats his mechanics extremely well and gets on top, creating good fastball movement and downward plane. There is some concern long term, however, over his head snap and recoil at the end of his delivery. It doesn't give him problems command wise but might be a durability issue down the road."
The general consensus on his breaking ball is that it is not a pitch that will generate swings and misses. His fastball which was considered to be a 55 on the 20-80 scouting scale by Pilliere, is a pitch that he commands well and he uses it to set up his changeup which has a nice 10-15 MPH separation. If he can show consistent command with his fastball, then he has the ability to use his change as an out pitch.
Below are a couple of videos of Garvin in action. One is a bullpen session, and the other is of him in live game action during the 2010 season for Vanderbilt.
Given his age, experience, and success pitching at the highest of collegiate levels, Garvin is a good candidate to start 2012 at High A Charlotte. He should be a quick mover through the system and it wouldn't be surprising to see him promoted relatively quickly even given the organization's cautious and patient approach with pitching prospects.
Garvin has plus command of three pitches, repeats his mechanics extremely well and has a slightly better than average fastball. He projects as a mid-rotation starter or perhaps a back-end reliever if durability becomes an issue .
Garvin could have easily been ranked in the Top 20. His ranking at #33 is not so much because of his future outlook, but is more of a product of the sheer depth of the Rays system. Scott Grauer of RaysProspects.com had him ranked at #18 and also sites him as a potential candidate to start his career at Charlotte. John Sickles of MinorLeagueBall.com did not have Garvin in his Top 25, but had him listed under "others".
I generally tend to rank players who have not yet played professionally a tick lower than most, but I would not at all be surprised if Garvin has a good debut and becomes one of the better pitching prospects in the system.
John Gregg is Publisher and Senior Editor of Rays Digest. You can follow him on Twitter at @RaysDigest. He can also be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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