With the seventh overall pick in the 2016 draft, the Marlins have selected LHP Braxton Garrett from Florence High School in Florence, Alabama. Baseball America projected him to be picked at seventh overall by the Marlins. Meanwhile, ESPN had Garrett going eighth overall to the Padres and MLB.com had him slipping to the Mariners at 11th overall.
Garrett joins former No. 2 overall pick Tyler Kolek, lefty Jarlin Garcia and righty Kendry Flores as pitchers within Miami's top 10 prospects. The Marlins have a young core of Jose Fernandez and Adam Conley in their rotation, and will hope to add more homegrown talent to the major-league roster in Kolek and Garrett.
Under the tutelage of his coach/father at Florence HS, shaggy-haired teen Garrett came back from 2015 18U Baseball World Cup in Osaka, Japan even better than when he left (Team USA won the tournament). His performance there - as well as the 0.54 ERA, 131 strikeouts, and 15 walks in 65.1 innings he posted this past season - helped get him Vanderbilt's attention, to whom he has committed, and then proceeded to do himself the favor of throwing a complete game shut-out at the National High School Invitational three months ago. This was all enough for the Alabama Sports Writers Association to deem him the somewhat uninspired title of "Mr. Baseball." The coach of his rival high school, Rogers High, called him "...the best high school pitcher that I have ever seen."
But the main thing here is the curveball.
Garrett has one of those curveballs that is called a "breaking" pitch because it "breaks" the batter so entirely that many fail to recover. It moves from about 76-80 m.p.h., sneaking around bats conducting stealth kills of hitters who seem very confident that the bat is going to strike the ball. Here it is broken down frame by frame, so that you may see the curveball's journey from high to low, and also the victim staring into space as he tries to remember what his fallback plan was if baseball didn't work out.
I have circled both the pitch and the lost expression on the poor young man's face for your convenience.
The issue is, Garrett will if anything rely on his curve too much, and his heater doesn't always have the velocity to make up for it, sitting as low as 88 m.p.h. but capable of hitting the mid-90s. A strength training regimen will help, as will the development of a change-up he's got in the works.