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Twins Claim RHP Ralph Garza Jr. off Waivers


The Twins claimed RHP Ralph Garza Jr. off of waivers from the Houston Astros on Wednesday afternoon. Here’s what you need to know about the newest member of the 40-man roster. 

On Wednesday, the Twins filled the final spot on their 40-man roster by claiming 27-year-old Ralph Garza Jr. off waivers. Garza Jr. will report to Triple-A St. Paul. 

Drafted from the University of Oklahoma by the Astros in the 26th round of the 2015 draft, Garza Jr. made his MLB debut earlier this season with Houston. Garza pitched 11 innings in nine games for the Astros, going 1-2 with a 4.91 ERA while striking out 14. He pitched against the Twins on June 2, hurling two innings of one-run ball while striking out two in a 14-3 win against Minnesota at Target Field. Garza was designated for assignment by the Astros when the team activated RHP Josh James from the 60-day IL. 

Even though Garza’s small sample of numbers at the MLB level isn’t great, he’s been excellent at the AAA level. The reliever posted an impressive 1.96 ERA for Houston's Triple-A affiliate Sugar Land this season in ten appearances. In that span, he gave up just five hits and two runs while striking out 17 in 14 1/3 innings pitched. 

Garza was even more successful in 2019 with former Houston AAA affiliate Round Rock. Garza was electric, serving as both a closer and a set-up man, posting nine saves and 16 holds en route to an 8-1 record with a 4.04 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 78 innings.

Although he’s got six pitches in his arsenal, Garza relies primarily on his sinker, four-seam fastball, and slider. Garza’s fastball averages about 92 MPH, and his sinker floats around 90 MPH. Yet his greatest asset is the contrast between his heat and offspeed pitches. The Texas native’s curveball averages just 75 MPH and is his primary strikeout pitch. That contrast landed him an excellent 25.8 strikeout percentage in Triple-A and 14 strikeouts at the big league level in 2021. 

Of all the waiver signings that the franchise has made in 2021, this one has the potential to be one of the better ones. Garza has consistently dominated in Triple-A and frankly hasn’t had that many opportunities to prove himself in MLB play. Expect the Saints to implement Garza into the back end of their bullpen immediately. And while it isn’t a given, successful results in St. Paul could earn Garza a spot in the Twins bullpen by the end of the season.


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34 minutes ago, DocBauer said:

Weird that Houston would let a live arm go. But then again, roster crunches happen. Might be a viable arm who just needs opportunity to show what he can do. Nothing to risk by bringing him on.

100% agree. The team's got nothing to lose. Worst case scenario: he doesn't perform and the team finishes with a record that they probably would've had without him. Best case: He turns out to be excellent and the Twins have a prime set-up guy for years to come. Low risk, high reward.

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My first inclination is we've seen enough of Burrows already. Replace him now with Garza and see what he has. I don't understand why a guy who's already been in AAA, even if for another club needs to go to your own AAA. If he's good enough to go after, and the big league team needs arms, and he's proven himself in AAA already, then just promote him and see what he can do. It's not like he's going to hurt the chances for this team anymore this year. It seems this organization is more concerned about their minor league teams than the major league team.

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10 hours ago, Mike Sixel said:

While I agree this makes sense, and they have nothing to lose.... The fact Burrows is still on the roster, and not someone from their system, makes me nervous that they just can't move on like they should sometimes.... And this guy might take a forty man place next year, even is he shouldn't.

Some guys get DFA many times in a single season bouncing around.  Sometimes it is about timing to get a guy through waiver claims.  The FO will see what they think of all their pen guys and many will get DFA to make room on 40 man to protect in rule 5 draft.  

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Yeah, it's not uncommon for teams to claim players and then immediately DFA them to try and pass them through waivers. See our old friend Jake Reed. He may never play in another game this season as teams line up to DFA, claim, repeat. It does really feel like that's another thing the MLBPA should address.

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If you think a player could be better if he just does "fill in the blank" then you have to keep him around long enough to see if he can learn how to do that. Grabbing waiver wire projects is fine for the rest of this season. I'm not concerned if they're learning in AAA or the big leagues as long as they have a plan for each of the acquisitions.

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19 hours ago, Mike Sixel said:

The fact Burrows is still on the roster, and not someone from their system, makes me nervous that they just can't move on like they should sometimes.... And this guy might take a forty man place next year, even is he shouldn't.

 

3 hours ago, DJL44 said:

If you think a player could be better if he just does "fill in the blank" then you have to keep him around long enough to see if he can learn how to do that. Grabbing waiver wire projects is fine for the rest of this season.


I also wonder if part of the reasoning for making moves like this now is:
Players who'll need to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason can come up in September without using an option (if I remember correctly). The Twins have a few of those players who should be on the verge of a debut (Miranda, Ryan, Winder) but they'll need to make roster space for them. So in a losing season, the next few weeks are the time to evaluate more marginal 40-man guys, and to use as much roster space as you have to cycle through them before you need to make room for more long-term additions.

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3 hours ago, whosafraidofluigirussolo said:

 


I also wonder if part of the reasoning for making moves like this now is:
Players who'll need to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason can come up in September without using an option (if I remember correctly). The Twins have a few of those players who should be on the verge of a debut (Miranda, Ryan, Winder) but they'll need to make roster space for them. So in a losing season, the next few weeks are the time to evaluate more marginal 40-man guys, and to use as much roster space as you have to cycle through them before you need to make room for more long-term additions.

They have plenty of good on their mid twenties in AAA.

.. Options are irrelevant for them..... So evaluate them. Burrows? Move on. 

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