Braxton Garrett Eagerly Awaits Pro Challenge
MIAMI—Lefthander Braxton Garrett, the seventh overall pick in June, is still a teenager, living at home with his parents. He has yet to pitch an inning as a pro—unless you count three innings in instructional league.
Given that, some predict that the 19-year-old will need at least three or four years in the minors before he is ready for the majors.
That’s not Garrett’s plan, however. "I want to get there as soon as I can,” said Garrett, whom the Marlins drafted out of Florence (Ala.) High. "I believe I can (arrive) quicker than what a lot of people think.”
Garrett, who stands in at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, had a 3.8 grade-point average in high school but turned down a scholarship offer from Vanderbilt when the Marlins came through with a $4.1 million bonus.
Garrett said he would have studied psychology or exercise science—he is fascinated by how the mind and the body work—but for now such academic pursuits will have to wait. What he’s most interested in learning right now is how to become a better pitcher.
After he signed, Garrett traveled with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League team, but he did not pitch in games because the organization did not want to overtax his young arm. Instead, Garrett threw some bullpen sessions, studied the game from the dugout and used some of the longer bus rides to read Pedro Martinez’s autobiography.
"He talked about his competitiveness, and that’s something I take pride in, too,” Garrett said.
Garrett finally got to face pro batters at instructional league.
"I knew it wasn’t going to be like high school—everyone here can hit a fastball,” Garrett said. "It’s going to take more than throwing.”
That, though, is Garrett’s strength. Starting with a 91-93 mph fastball, he already has an advanced three-pitch mix. Garrett has worked the most on improving his changeup, refining his delivery and developing a between-starts routine.
"I can’t wait to show what I can do,” Garrett said. "There’s a fine line between confident and cocky, but I believe I can be the best.”
• First baseman Xavier Scruggs, a minor league free agent pickup who made 17 starts for the Marlins, elected free agency after being outrighted off the 40-man roster.
• The Marlins signed speedy outfielder Dalton Wheat, the No. 1 prospect in the independent leagues this year, after he hit .335/.414/.403 in 67 games in the American Association.