Arizona Fall League prospect: Grayson Garvin

Grayson Garvin
Is Grayson Garvin an up-and-comer for the Tampa Bay Rays?  (Nick Martinez)

Grayson Garvin was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays with the 59th overall pick of the 2011 MLB draft. The big left-hander had an excellent junior year at Vanderbilt University, making 18 starts and throwing 112.2 innings. Garvin struck out 22.4 percent of hitters while walking just 5.5 percent. Opponents hit only .232 against Garvin.

The Rays went down to the signing deadline before working out a deal with Garvin, so he didn’t pitch professionally in 2011. Garvin spent 2012 in high-A. Pitching through elbow troubles, the results were unimpressive. He made 11 starts, posting a 5.05 ERA, and striking out 19 percent of hitters while walking 9.7 percent. His season ended when he opted for elbow surgery.

Grayson Garvin got a late start to his 2013 season, and he began in rookie ball before moving back to high-A. He threw only 28.1 innings, but had solid strikeout and walk rates of 21.2 percent and 7.1 percent. The Rays sent him to the Arizona Fall League to get him some more playing time, and he has impressed. In 26.1 innings, he has 25 strikeouts against eight walks.

As a 6′-6″, 225-pound left-hander, Grayson Garvin has the size front office personnel drool over. He uses his frame to his advantage, getting good downward tilt on his pitches. His fastball will sit in the low 90s and occasionally touch 94-95 with some nice movement. His breaking ball is a big, sweeping slurve. I saw it get some whiffs in the AFL, but I don’t think it has much promise against big-league hitters. He has good feel for his change-up, and the pitch has 10-15 miles per hour of separation with nice fade.

Garvin uses a high leg kick and a short stride. Most of his velocity comes from his upper half, and he repeats his mechanics very well. There is a pretty significant arm recoil and neck snap after finishes his delivery. That hasn’t affected his command, but it does pose durability concerns.

Garvin had nagging elbow issues for three years before finally getting surgery in 2012. Time will tell if the elbow will continue to give him troubles or if the surgery cleaned things up so he can work at full strength. Next year is a big one for him. He doesn’t have great upside, but he has better feel and command than most pitching prospects. I see Grayson Garvin as a possible No. 4 starter or seventh- or eigth-inning reliever.

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