Travis Garnett has the mentality Maryland baseball is looking for

Pitching coach Corey Muscara meets with right-hander Nick Turnbull during Maryland's 8-1 loss to West Virginia at Bob "Turtle" Smith Stadium on April 10, 2019. (Tyler Ecker/The Diamondback)

Maryland baseball looks to continue improving by adding new talent with strong recruiting. And this year’s cycle is no different, highlighted by Travis Garnett, a top-100 player in the 2021 class.

The Pasadena, Maryland, product verbally committed to the Terps the summer before his sophomore year and signed his letter of intent this November. Garnett is the No. 98 prospect in the country, per Perfect Game, and is the highest-ranked player in Maryland’s 2021 class. 

“I really liked the coaches at Maryland, especially the pitching coach,” Garnett said. “I felt like I had the chance to be a part of something special.”

Garnett is a left-handed pitcher that has drawn eyes due to his 6-foot-6, 228-pound frame. And he checks the boxes statistically, too. His fastball sits in the low 90s and features a high spin rate — an increasingly important measurement used by professional scouts and college coaches alike.

“Anybody would mention his pitching upside and potential, but what really drew me to him personally came from our recruiting process,” Maryland pitching coach Corey Muscara said. 

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Garnett responded well to the various materials the Terps provided during their conversations, Muscara said. He recommended books for Garnett to read and videos to watch — stressing the mentality Maryland wants its players to have. And Garnett embraced it all.

“He was way different than any other kid I had recruited, and the relationship was built on the mentality and what we believe in,” said Muscara.  

That mentality-based approach was a new technique for the Terps in this cycle, Muscara said. The 2021 class was the first group in which the coaches focused more on finding players that would buy into the program’s beliefs, rather than just recruiting for pure talent.

Garnett has continued to improve after verbally committing to Maryland. He said that he’s added 4 mph to his fastball each year, topping out at 94 this summer at the Perfect Game National Showcase — one of the country’s premier events for top high school prospects.

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Part of Garnett’s upward trajectory is his willingness to attack issues head-on, Muscara said. His off-season routine includes six days of throwing and working out per week so he can be ready for the next time he plays, even if there’s no high school season this spring.

Yet the Terps might have to be worried that Garnett will never pitch in College Park. With his ever-improving game and high ranking, getting taken in the 2021 MLB Draft before going to college is a real possibility for Garnett. 

“The draft is so volatile and you can never really predict it,” Muscara said. 

If Garnett does sign with the MLB, it will be a big loss for Maryland. But for now, Muscara can at least take pride in his 2021 class — one that has the right mindset to continue the Terps’ growth.

“This 2021 class isn’t as talented as the two previous classes on paper, but it’s the class I’m most excited about,” he said. “It’s the most united, hardest-working and the group that believes in us the most.”

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