Garza brings an above-average fastball to the table. Coming from a high 3/4 arm slot his fastball sat 93-94 but Garza can reach back for 95+.
Garza will throw both a four- and two-seam fastball. The two-seam has nearly identical velocity to the four-seam with additional movement to his arm side. Garza will throw the four-seam twice as often as the two-seam. Even with the solid movement of the two-seam Garza has never been viewed as much of a groundball pitcher.
The only drawback to Garza’s fastball is his frustrating command of the pitch. Far too many two-seam fastballs find the white of the plate. This occurs when Garza tries to throw the two-seam to his glove side only to see the pitch drift back over the heart of the dish. Garza doesn’t catch as much of the plate with his four-seam but still tends to miss up in zone with the pitch.
Garza is a high-energy pitcher and when the game doesn’t go his way his effort noticeably increases leading to a further degradation of command. After allowing a runner it often takes two to three pitches for Garza to regain some semblance of command.
He loves to challenge hitters with the fastball even when ahead in the count. His fastball becomes most hittable after a first pitch ball. Garza is highly competitive and will repeat locations treating the second pitch as a mulligan and attempting to hit the same spot he previously missed.
In a vacuum Garza’s fastball is a 60 pitch. It grades lower in reality due to a lack of command. The pitch also lacks depth and deception due to the exaggerated high arm slot.
Going forward there is a legitimate concern with the pitch that has been Garza’s bread and butter. The average velocity of the fastball has declined at minimal but steady rate. The combination of this loss of velocity, a litany of arm (both shoulder and elbow) injuries, and the inherent effects of a pitcher aging, there is a risk for this pitch to lose substantial effectiveness.
Garza’s ability to generate swings and misses on the four have been on the decline every year. Over this same time batters ability to square the pitch up and create line drives has held steady until 2013, which saw batters hit line drives 10 percent more often off both his four- and two-seam. 2013 also saw Garza generate far fewer groundballs with both fastballs.
For a pitcher who works off his fastball the aforementioned trends need to be considered for any team thinking of opening the checkbook.