On Wednesday the Tampa Bay Rays called up right-handed reliever Ryan Garton from Triple-A. He made his big league debut yesterday against the Miami Marlins, giving up six hits and three runs in two innings of bullpen work. Let's take a look at his background and possible future.
Garton was drafted by the Rays in the 34th round in 2012 from Florida Atlantic University where he was a successful starting pitcher for four seasons. He didn't throw hard enough to excite scouts as a starter but the Rays moved him to the bullpen and his stuff ticked up. He posted a 2.95 ERA with a 70/32 K/BB in 61 innings last year in Double-A and matched that with a 2.38 ERA, 29/6 K/BB in 23 innings this spring in Triple-A, leading to his promotion.
Listed at 5-11, 185, Garton was born December 5, 1989. He features a mixed arsenal with a fastball in the 90-93 range; in college as a starter the fastball was just in the upper 80s but in the bullpen he throws harder. He also has a slider in the mid-80s, and a curveball in the upper 70s; reports from the minors also mention a decent change-up although the Pitch F/X data didn't identify a clear change-up in his debut.
He does a fine job throwing strikes and his track record in the minors is good enough for him to merit more opportunities despite the rough debut. Overall, even as an 11th or 12th man on a pitching staff he was a huge bargain as 34th rounder.
Public video for Garton is scarce but here's a brief clip from spring training.