Prospect Roundup: Catcher Dustin Garneau shares his insight on Tyler Matzek, Jon Gray and Rockies top pitching prospects

Tyler Matzek pitching to Dustin Garneau - Charlie Drysdale

Q&A with Rockies prospect Dustin Garneau on top pitching prospects in the organization including: Christian Bergman's hot start, Eddie Butler and Jon Gray's fastballs and Tyler Matzek's growth as a pitcher.

This week I had the chance to catch up with Dustin Garneau, heralded as the best defensive catcher in the Rockies system. The right-handed backstop has spent most of his minor league career receiving for the likes of Tyler Matzek, Christian Bergman, Eddie Butler as well as many others including  Jon Gray.

I've had the opportunity to see (Tyler) grow in every aspect of his game first hand. -Dustin Garneau on catching for Tyler Matzek

The southern California native grew up in the same geographic area which produced future Rockies: Troy Tulowitzki, Tyler Chatwood and Nolan Arenado. His background gives a unique insight into the top pitching prospects in Colorado's farm system and he shared with us some of the things that makes each pitcher so good.

Share with Rockies fans a little bit about yourself and is it true your nickname is Drago? Where did that come from? Please tell me it's from Rocky IV.

I use to have spiked hair in college when I first was there. And when it wasn't gelled it looked a lot like yes, Ivan Drago from Rocky 4. So it stuck with me throughout college, but no one calls me it in pro ball. Now it's just G.

Baseball America has you ranked as the top defensive catcher in the Rockies system. In regards to that part of your game, what sets you apart from other players and share with us some of the hard work you've put in to make it to that level?

It's quite an honor to have Baseball America label me that in regards to my game. I take pride in my defensive work, because how I work back there directly affects the pitcher and his game. So if I slack off, then his outing will be bad too. It's a huge part of being a catcher in being able to handle a staff throughout a season in every aspect of it. I've also had so some pretty good coaches to help and hone my skills along the way.

You were selected by the Rockies in the 19th round of the 2009 draft in the same class as Tyler Matzek. You two have been battery mates nearly every year since then, can you give us a little insight into the enigmatic pitcher and what makes him so hard to hit?

Being with Tyler every year has been a blast, because I've had the opportunity to see him grow in every aspect of his game first hand. He came in with a lightning arm and he struggled finding the strike zone, but now he's really learned how to be a pitcher and what it means to pitch. He has swing and miss type stuff and thats been proven over the years. Now he is limiting his walks, which leads him into deeper games and better outings.

Dustin Garneau launches a missile for a double.

This season in Tulsa you've had the chance to work with one of the best rotations in the minor leagues. It features three first-round draft picks (Butler, Gray, Anderson) and a former California League Pitcher of the Year (Winkler)-- from your perspective behind the plate, describe to the readers what makes these pitchers so good.

The staff in Tulsa is pretty legit from top to bottom. Butler and Gray have a different type of fastball that you don't see very often. Butler is a hard sinker and Gray is just a big strong kid that brings the heat. Both will be big leaguers in my opinion and have that good quality of stuff. Anderson just knows how to pitch, not the overpowering stuff as the other two, but knows how to pitch to a lineup and have quality outings. Winkler has opened eyes this year in the nation's mind, but we all knew he could pitch. Nothing over powering, but has four pitches that he can throw to all four quadrants of the strike zone very effectively.

Christian Bergman is on a tear in Triple-A right now, with a consecutive scoreless streak of 24 innings in his home park of Security Services Field at Colorado Springs. You had a chance to be a part of that special run and catch a couple of his games. Did it feel like you were part of something special during that time, and what do you think, has Christian figured out how to pitch at altitude?

Bergy is one of the best pitchers I've ever caught. His run in the Springs right now is pretty legit for anyone to do. When I was catching him, there didn't feel like there was something special going on, just typical outings for Christian. I don't know if he's figured out the altitude up there, but it appears he has and has had the ability to pitch and pitch well.

On Sunday, you were part of a bizarre play against New Orleans. You were on third base when Tim Wheeler popped up in foul ground to the Zephyr's third baseman, who then made an incredible catch while falling over the wall. You tagged up and were thrown out at home, but the call was later reversed allowing your run to score. What exactly happened, and have you ever seen anything like that before?

That play on Sunday was a first for me. So basically I went home because I saw him fall over the wall when he caught it. Now the weird part was is he just threw the ball in from out of bounds behind the wall. Which is illegal and results in one extra base for the runners because, he didn't establish himself back in fair territory. So when I knew he had to come back into fair ground I took off for home. So I took a chance on him taking a longer time hopping back over the fence to throw me out,  but it worked out better with him throwing from foul ground in the stands.

I want to thank Dustin Garneau for taking the time to answer my questions. You can follow him on twitter at @dusgar13. Also, just to expound on his defensive prowess, catching doesn't have a lot of measurable stats and is usually graded by other things as Purple Row poster Oldfogie can tell us. The one thing that is measurable is caught stealing percentage and Garneau's career minor league CS% of 40% is one of the best in Rockies history, tied with Wilin Rosario.

Hottest Prospects of the Week

Pitchers (filtered by ERA)

Name

Age

Tm

W

L

Sv

BF

IP

G

H

R

ER

HR

BB

IBB

K

ERA ▴

Christian Bergman

26.08

COL

0

0

0

31

8.0

1

4

0

0

0

2

0

2

0.00

Eddie Butler

23.25

TUL

2

0

0

50

12.2

2

9

1

0

0

5

0

6

0.00

Ryan Carpenter

23.83

MOD

1

0

0

24

6.0

1

3

0

0

0

3

0

5

0.00

Carlos Hernandez

27.25

TUL

0

0

0

17

5.0

1

1

0

0

0

1

0

3

0.00

Konner Wade

22.5

ASH

1

0

0

24

7.0

1

2

0

0

0

1

0

5

0.00

Devin Burke

23.33

MOD

1

0

0

26

7.0

1

4

1

1

0

0

0

5

1.29

Jon Gray

22.58

TUL

1

0

0

22

6.0

1

2

1

1

0

2

0

4

1.50

Daniel Winkler

24.33

TUL

0

1

0

53

13.2

2

10

4

4

3

1

0

10

2.63

Hitters (Filtered by hits)

Name

Age

Tm

PA

AB

R

H ▾

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

K

SB

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

Patrick Valaika

21.75

2 Tms

31

30

6

15

3

1

0

7

1

4

3

0.500

0.516

0.667

1.183

Ashley Graeter

24.67

ASH

19

18

7

11

5

0

3

5

1

1

4

0.611

0.632

1.389

2.021

Josh Rutledge

25.17

COL

31

26

4

10

1

0

0

1

3

3

2

0.385

0.433

0.423

0.856

Chris O'Dowd

23.67

MOD

33

31

7

10

4

1

1

3

1

8

2

0.323

0.344

0.613

0.957

David Kandilas

23.75

MOD

34

28

6

9

2

1

0

1

6

5

1

0.321

0.441

0.464

0.905

David Dahl

20.17

ASH

28

26

4

9

2

2

0

5

2

4

1

0.346

0.393

0.577

0.970

Wilfredo Rodriguez

20.42

ASH

22

20

5

9

1

0

0

2

1

1

0

0.450

0.500

0.500

1.000

Trevor Story

21.58

MOD

32

31

7

8

1

1

1

4

1

8

2

0.258

0.281

0.452

0.733

Derek Jones

24.00

MOD

32

30

2

8

0

2

1

5

1

11

2

0.267

0.290

0.500

0.790

Hottest prospect videos of the week

Kyle Parker hits a mile high triple.

Ryan Casteel belts his fourth home run of the year.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Purple Row

You must be a member of Purple Row to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Purple Row. You should read them.

Join Purple Row

You must be a member of Purple Row to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Purple Row. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker