Bats: Right Throws: Left
Height: 6’5" Weight: 228 lbs
Garrett was born on May 3rd, 1992 in Victorville, CA, quite possibly the single most anonymous city of over 120,000 people you'll ever come across. Some 40 miles North of San Bernardino, Victorville's location on the edge of the Mojave Desert has nonetheless allowed it to serve as the backdrop for many movies needing such a setting, such as 1997's Contact, 1977's The Hills Have Eyes, and 2004's Kill Bill: Volume 2, among many others.
Garrett eventually found his way to Las Vegas, NV, however, and matriculated to the Henderson International School in suburban Henderson, in large part due to his excellence as a basketball player. From there, you largely know the story, as Garrett attended St. John's University to play hoops before transferring to Cal State Northridge, but that didn't keep the Cincinnati Reds from drafting him out of high school back in 2011 in the 22nd round, lobbing a large signing bonus at him, and being quite patient while he eventually focused on baseball full-time.
The thing is, there are a select few major leaguers who were both born in 1992 and cut their early chops in the Las Vegas area. In fact, two in particular come to mind, and both have already claimed National League Rookie of the Year and MVP awards despite just now entering the year in which they'll turn 25. Yes, both Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper shared their previous whereabouts and paths to pro baseball with Garrett, which obviously means you now know his future career arc.
Seeing how Garrett hasn't yet thrown a big league pitch, it's hard to provide a wealth of technicality here. In lieu, here are some scouting reports about him from his progression through the minors (and up the prospect charts).
- Here's the basics from Brooks Baseball, which is largely based on his efforts from only Spring Training (since he managed to throw 84 pitches in parks that had PITCHf/x tracking. (Note: since it's Cactus League work, take it with a grain of salt, but at least it shows his pitch repertoire.)
- Minor League Ball's John Sickels took a closer look at Garrett back at the end of 2015, but still detailed much then of what the Reds currently hope to enjoy.
- RR's own Eric Roseberry contributed to this look at Garrett from Baseball Prospectus that dropped earlier today.
- Doug Gray looked at what we should expect to see from Garrett in the bigs in this article from earlier this week.
A statuesque lefty who can hit 97 mph with his fastball with a deceptive, low effort delivery? That's the kind of prospect dreams are made of, really, and Garrett is just that. The lone aspect of his game that's kept his overall prospect status a bit more muted, I think, is a combination of both his age and his inexperience and how to gauge that against his competition.
While effective throughout his minor league career and big-league ready in the eyes of the Cincinnati Reds (at least), there still seems to be a layer of untapped potential still in Garrett, the kind that will have a light bulb pop on when he finally gets the right combination of reps and advice, things he got a bit of a late start on given his partial years in the minors split with playing basketball.
Still, he's the owner of an impressive 3.18 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in the 100 games he's spent across the minors, and despite getting just 12 starts above the AA level in his career, he'll toe the rubber Friday night against the St. Louis Cardinals in his Major League debut.
Garrett will be 25 years old this year, and that coupled with the fact that he already burned a minor league option in 2016 contributed to the Reds' decision to keep him the rotation on Opening Day. Part of that was due to his peers falling down around him, but a larger part was due to how impressive his overall poise was during the competition in camp this spring. He'll have to work to continue to improve his command - his 3.7 career BB/9 and 2.17 K/BB ratios in the minors aren't awful, but will need to get better - but if he can stay in and around the strike zone with some choosy tutelage from Tucker Barnhart, there's nothing about his stuff that should get overwhelmed by big league hitters.
Of all the young arms the Reds are tasking with big league responsibility this year, I think Garrett's the one in the best position to actually shine, and that process will begin in earnest later tonight.