As a die-hard Red Sox fan, I was excited to hear that the team had picked up a new relief pitcher, Justin Garza. With a 95 mph fastball and a strong curveball, Garza has the potential to be a valuable asset to the team’s bullpen. Though he has yet to make his Major League debut, his performance in the minor leagues shows promise. It will be interesting to see how he fits in with the Red Sox and contributes to their success on the field.
Meet The New Guy: The Red Sox Pick Up Relief Pitcher Justin Garza
The Boston Red Sox have added another arm to their bullpen with the acquisition of relief pitcher Justin Garza. The 26-year-old right-hander was picked up from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for cash considerations.
Garza was originally selected by the Cleveland Indians in the eighth round of the 2015 MLB Draft. He spent four seasons in their minor league system before being traded to the Angels in 2019. In the Angels organization, Garza continued to develop and was eventually called up to the big leagues in 2021.
Garza’s debut season in the majors was a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, he posted a solid 3.72 ERA in 19.1 innings pitched across 18 appearances. He also struck out 21 batters and only walked five, showcasing his ability to miss bats while limiting walks.
On the other hand, Garza also served up four home runs in those 19.1 innings. His FIP (fielding independent pitching) was also significantly higher at 6.00, indicating that his ERA may have been somewhat lucky.
Despite these concerns, the Red Sox saw enough potential in Garza to take a flyer on him. He’ll likely begin his Boston career in the minor leagues, but could be a call-up option for the big league club if injuries or underperformance strike the current bullpen.
Garza is a fairly typical relief pitcher in terms of his arsenal. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and he pairs it with a slider and a changeup.
His slider is definitely his best secondary pitch. It has a sharp, late-breaking movement that generates a lot of swings and misses. His changeup is a work in progress, but could become a useful third offering if he can refine it.
One area where Garza struggles a bit is with his command. He can be prone to missing his spots and walking batters. If he can improve his control, he has the stuff to be a solid middle reliever in the majors.
Role With The Red Sox
As mentioned earlier, Garza will likely begin his time with Boston in the minor leagues. He’ll get a chance to work on his command and hone his secondary pitches while building up his overall stamina.
Assuming he performs well in the minors, Garza could be a candidate for a call-up later in the season. The Red Sox have already dealt with some injuries to their bullpen this year, so having a depth option like Garza could be valuable.
Long-term, Garza’s ultimate role with the team will depend on how he develops. If he can improve his command and become more consistent with his offspeed offerings, he could be a solid middle reliever.
If he can take things a step further and develop into a true late-inning weapon, he could find himself in the mix for high-leverage situations. But that’s a big “if” at this point, and Garza will need to continue to develop and refine his game before that becomes a realistic possibility.
The addition of Justin Garza isn’t going to make headlines around the league, but it’s a smart pickup for the Red Sox. They’re adding a young arm with the potential to develop into a useful bullpen piece down the road.
Garza will need to work on his command and continue to refine his secondary pitches, but there’s reason to believe he could be a successful reliever at the major league level. If he can take the next step in his development, the Red Sox could have a valuable asset on their hands for years to come.