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2016 MLB Draft Profile: Braxton Garrett, LHP, AL HS

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The owner of the filthiest breaking ball in the 2016 draft class, this projectable southpaw has already been linked to the Astros at 1-17

Information

Height: 6' 3"

Weight: 190 lbs.

B/T: R/L

Classification: High School 

College Commitment: Vanderbilt University 

Summary

It's easy to get excited, as an Astros fan, about a 6' 3" projectable left-handed starting pitcher who has an excellent fastball, a filthy curveball, and an average to solid change up, with a clean delivery, good makeup, and excellent results against high level talent when they get mentioned as a possibility for the Astros at 1-17.

Taking a quick look at how overmatched high school hitters in Alabama have been against Garrett, who is considered by many to be the second best left-handed pitcher in this draft class behind Jason Groome, provides a bit of statistical weight to the excitement:

Year Grade Team ERA W L APP IP H R ER BB K HR BF AB OBA OBP WHIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% K/BB
14-15 Junior Varsity 0.74 7 1 11 66.2 17 12 7 11 141 2 241 227 .075 .129 0.42 19.17 1.50 58.5% 4.6% 12.82
15-16 Senior Varsity 0.56 5 2 11 62.1 31 12 5 15 125 0 242 222 .140 .211 0.74 18.12 2.17 51.7% 6.2% 8.33
Varsity Totals 0.65 12 3 22 129 48 24 12 26 266 2 483 449 .107 .170 0.57 18.56 1.81 55.1% 5.4% 10.23

Brax Garrett's fastball was hovering between 89 and 91 miles per hour last summer, including during his stint with Team USA, but has jumped to 90-93 miles per hour this year, and there is room still in his long, lanky frame for more velocity as he matures physically.  He shows good command of his fastball and gets good movement on it, and it plays well against a truly devastating breaking ball that has been called "the best breaking ball in this year's high school class" by John Sickels.  His third pitch, a change up, lags behind the other two a bit but still figures to grade out as an average or solid-average pitch with more time.

Not for nothing, Garrett also features a very good pickoff move.  Part of that is a faculty of staring at the runner as he raises his leg to drive toward the plate instead of staring in at the plate.  He has thirty one pick offs in his junior and senior season of high school combined against just twelve stolen bases allowed.

Ceiling

This is a top of the rotation lefty with concrete number two potential in a Major League rotation one day.

Floor

At bare minimum, he looks like he could compete in Double-A today as a LOOGY.  A long-term floor as a back end starter seems reasonable, given how many boxes he checks and how polished he looks already.  His is considered a noticeably higher floor than most high school prospects.

Projected Draft Round

Obvious, clear first round draft selection unless his camp gets a bit silly with their signing bonus demands.

Will he sign?

This is the question, isn't it?  If drafted high enough, it seems most players would sign.  There's nothing that this writer could find that lends itself to the idea that there are any well known signability issues with Garrett.  If he's a top 20 draft pick, it seems a relatively safe bet that he'll sign.

Bibliography

Pitching mechanics at 200 FPS:

The curveball is filthy:

Possibly the best of all the videos featuring Garrett, this one also shows his athleticism on a leaping grab of a high-bouncing ground ball: