Baseball scouts dream of the elusive switch pitcher. While there are dozens of switch hitters, the number of pitchers who can throw off a mound with either hand can be counted on a single digit: recent Dodgers call-up and former A’s and Blue Jays bullpen arm Pat Venditte.
Now Venditte may finally have some company, at least at the prep level.
As reported by the Montgomery County Courier, College Park (Texas) junior Brandon Garza has gone from being a pitcher who can alternate between pitching with his two different arms in different innings to swapping his on-mound approach from batter to batter. While the lefty-righty batter match up advantages aren’t as pronounced in high school as they are in MLB, they’re still notable; when he’s on the bench during another pitcher’s start, Garza keeps close notes on how others attack individual hitters to see if he could get an edge using one arm or another.
Still, for College Park the biggest advantage when Garza is on the mound is the unique loophole he provides. Rather than face a 110-pitch in-game limit, Garza is allowed 110 pitches per arm, or a total of 220 per game (if needed).
“He’s basically two people whenever he goes out there,” College Park coach Jason Washburn told the Courier. … “He’s so valuable because he can do righty and lefty. Through injuries, sicknesses and whatever, we needed him to step up and he has in a big way. Good stuff happens when he pitches.”
To this point, Garza has racked up a 2.56 ERA through 65 2/3 innings, earning a 7-4 record. While he is still building and improving, Garza has topped 80 miles-per-hour with both of his arms, topping out at 88 when hurling righty.
That’s plenty impressive for all the players who line up alongside him, particularly his traditional catcher, Josh Trahan.
“It’s really cool to have him throwing on both sides,” Trahan told the Courier. “If he gets tired or he’s struggling with one side, he can just switch over to the other.”
Oh, to be a switch pitcher with an electric arm in the prime of youth.