Entering the 2017 season, Amir Garrett was arguably the Cincinnati Reds top pitching prospect. He had a solid spring training with the big league club, throwing 21.1 innings with a 4.22 ERA, six walks and 14 strikeouts and earned a spot in the rotation.

Amir Garrett’s first three big league starts were outstanding. He threw 19.2 innings with three walks and 21 strikeouts. That came with a 1.83 ERA, allowing just four earned runs in that span. Things started to go south after that. Over the next three starts he walked 11 batters with just seven strikeouts in 16.1 innings and allowed 13 earned runs – though nine of those runs did come in his April 24th start.

The Reds sent the lefty back to Triple-A after his May 6th start, where he made one start. It went as well as possible as Garrett struck out all six batters he faced. He was back in the Majors for the next time through the rotation, but over the next month things continued to go south in the Majors. In six starts he posted a 12.49 ERA in 22.1 innings with 15 walks, 21 strikeouts and he allowed 13 home runs.

Amir Garrett would then spend the next nine weeks in Triple-A. Things went a little better, but he still had some struggles. In 65.2 innings he had an ERA of 5.89. His peripherals were solid, walking just 24 batters, allowing seven homers and he struck out 55. He returned to Cincinnati in September and made four more appearances to close out his season. Walks were once again a problem, walking 11 batters with 14 strikeouts in 12.1 innings.

Even when he was pitching well in the very beginning of the season, his velocity was down from where it had been in the past. At the time we were unaware the Amir Garrett was hiding a hip injury. That information came out later, and it seemed to explain some things. During the 2017 season, Garrett averaged just 92.2 MPH on his fastball. As a starter it was 91.9 MPH. In the past he’s been 90-95, but touched higher, and some days it was more 92-95. That wasn’t often the case in 2017.

Yesterday Amir Garrett made his spring training debut for 2018. He was the final pitcher of the game for the Reds against the White Sox. He dominated the 7th and 8th innings, throwing 2.0 perfect innings with four strikeouts. The numbers are great to see, but it was what those in attendance were saying that sticks out even more.

Former Major League scout and now prospect writer Bernie Pleskoff had this to say:

It was a few hours later, but then Bill Mitchell (Baseball America contributor, Photographer extraordinaire) shared this:

Read that again. 95 to 97 MPH on the fastball. Yes, it was only a handful of batters that he faced. And yes, he didn’t have to “save” something because he knew he wasn’t going to throw 100 pitches. But, it’s also February. Most pitchers don’t hit their peak velocity until June.

After the season Amir Garrett acknowledged that his hip was injured and had been bothering him for a majority of the season. He had both PRP and stem-cell injections in his hip in order to recover from the injury. While we will have to see if the hip issue is what led to the control problems in 2017, it seems that if nothing else, a healthy hip has led to a much harder throwing version of Amir Garrett early on in 2018. If the hip was somewhat responsible for the control problems, then it could be a very big rebound for the left hander.

27 Responses

  1. Stock

    I would love to see a rotation of Bailey, Disco, Castillo, Garrett and Stephenson to start the season. It seems kind of Ma waste to move Finnegan back to the bullpen but no more than moving a healthy Garrett to Louisville. Mahle is waiting an opportunity to join the rotation.

    Maybe the rebuilding process is complete. Maybe I am dreaming.

      • AC

        Faaarr Price! He don’t wanna win no games! Bring back Lou! He’ll whip em into shape.

      • MK

        Lou is 75 and had a stroke this off season. Don’t think he will be back in dugout.

    • Colorado Red

      I would like to replace one of these guys with Mahle.
      I think he is going to be really good.

  2. Jordan L Barhorst

    He’s gotta be in the conversation after that last appearance. If he strings a few of these outings together, I think he enters himself into the Mahle/Lorenzen group with ease. He’s got to be higher in the conversation for the major league roster than Cody Reed at this point.

    • The Duke

      Hopefully we see him a little sooner in the game next time when MLB players are still hitting. Love the reports on the stuff, but he was facing minor league guys too.

  3. sultanofswaff

    Even with a good spring, it’s difficult to envision a scenario where Garrett makes the team. Like it or not, there are starters and relievers who will get first dibs.

    My thoughts on the 2 televised games:
    –Billy is still Billy with the bat. Give me some Ervin and Schebler in a plattoon.
    –Not sure about the range, but Blandino has the arm for SS.
    –Senzel is going to be a beast. If he can just be fringe average on defense at SS, there will be nothing Peraza can do to keep his job.
    –Will there be a better SP in the Central than Castillo??? Darvish/Carlos Martinez are the only guys that comes to mind.
    –Dilson Herrera is going to hit. If he or Blandino can play a passable SS, I like either over Pennington for utility IF.

    • Doug Gray

      I talked with a scout last year that thought Blandino could handle shortstop because of the arm being strong to the point that it made up for the lack of range. I don’t agree with that one, at least in terms of being an every day shortstop, but it’s not a thought that’s 100% in baseball that he can’t handle the job.

      • MuddyCleats

        Doug, if Blandino could hit like he walks to home plate, he’d already be in the ML. You would think it’s Babe Ruth coming up considering the way he struts to the dish. If he wasn’t such an easy out, he’d probably get thrown at and HBP more!

      • Doug Gray

        He posted a .382 OBP last season….. not sure I’d say he’s an easy out.

      • MuddyCleats

        Good Pt on Blandino. Hit 260 @ AA and 270 in AAA. 62BB and only 60 runs scored? My guess is he wouldn’t draw the walks at a higher level w/ better pitching? Stats were not too far behind Nick Gordon,(20 fewer runs, 15 Rbis and 13 SBs, but K’s much less. Maybe he has a reason to strut….a little that is…..?

  4. MuddyCleats

    Really good news. In particular, I am interested in Pleskoff’s comments on his “arm action.” Hopefully it means he was on top more and driving off the rubber?

    • Doug Gray

      MC,
      You do not have to fill out the “website” option while commenting. Just leave it blank – just need a name/email.

  5. James K

    Okey, Garrett… Why do players think they should not tell anyone about an injury?

    • Doug Gray

      I think there’s a lot of reasons why. One, “toughness”. Smart or not, there’s a thing in sports where you have to be tough and macho and showing weakness isn’t a good look. Everyone is playing with some sort of thing at some point in pro sports. Two, particularly with young guys, you don’t want an injury to cost you your job. If you can play with it, sometimes you do, because the thought is that if you aren’t playing someone else will and your job may not be there when you get back. That’s not to say either of those are why Garrett or Okey kept their injuries to themselves for so long – I have no idea. But those are reasons why some guys do keep them to themselves throughout sports.

  6. Wes

    Former redsminorleagues.com pitcher of the year Amir Garrett has little to prove in minors. He’s been doubed as a future reliever his whole career and w injury concerns- that should warrant more consideration for move to pen. He should be competing for the 8th inning job and to be the successor to ilglasis vs wasting away service time in AAA. Make the move already !

    • The Duke

      We don’t lose any service time when he’s in AAA. And you see if he can start because starting pitchers are loads more valuable than relievers. 180-210 IP > 60-80 IP

      • Wes

        Last small market team to win WS was KC and it had little to do w guys who pitched 180 innings. They were lights out in 7,8,9 innings and teams, like Rockies, are trying to recreate this. 8 of top 10 Free agent pitchers in regards to 2018 free agent salaries are relievers and the reliever market has been most active by far this off season. Times have changed. Reds need to get with the times!

  7. AirborneJayJay

    With Garrett that was big. The Reds need 3 LH pitchers to step up. Kerala is on shaky ground. Finnegan is a big question mark. Crockett and Perez are unknowns. Reed is inconsistent. Garrett is going to have a lot of front office eye balls on him each time out now.
    With so many arms in camp, guys like Garrett have to make their own breaks. Garrett can seize his chance here.

    • Doug Gray

      You do not have to fill out the “website” option while commenting. It’s there as a courtesy if someone actually has a website, but not a requirement.

    • Gilbert Keith Chesterton

      I’m not sure I agree that Kerala is on shaky ground.

      Kerela is one of the more stable states in India, as far as earthquakes are concerned.

      The states up past New Dehli and the eastern bit past Bangladesh are on shaky ground, but not so much with Kerela.

  8. David

    Can anyone here please relate how Garrett hurt his hip initially? Thanks.

  9. Gilbert Keith Chesterton

    Since the Reds did not mention Garrett as a contender for the starting role, does that mean they already have him pegged as the set-up man to limit potential injury risk?

    Kind of like what they did with Raisel Iglesias (and Chapman), moving him from SP to RP?

  10. Jim Delaney

    Great to see Amir throwing well. I definitely think he can work his way back into conversation to be on the staff as either a reliever or starter. I could see the long man role come down to him or Jackson Stephens but you never know, they could decide to keep two long men. Also, good to see Lorenzen pitch well on Saturday as a Starter. Really hope this continues for Lorenzen and even if he is beaten out for rotation spot by Romano, Mahle, etc. they send him to AAA to start. If the player wants to be a starter and heart isn’t into relieving they should see if he can be a starter. I know this may hurt the bullpen a little bit but development of young starting pitching is the key for long term success.

  11. MK

    I communicate with Amir quite often, the last time was the week before he came to Dayton on the Caravan and he told me everything felt great and normal. He also got engaged this winter which can certainly focus your mental outlook.