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The Red Report 2019 - Amir Garrett

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The circumstances of Garrett’s 2018 bear an eerie resemblance to his 2017, though in very different roles.

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Cincinnati Reds Photo Day Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images

Fast Facts

  • Left-handed relief pitcher
  • 26 years old
  • Born in Victorville, CA.
  • Went to high school at Henderson International School in Henderson, NV.
  • Amir Garrett is the only pro baseball player attributed to Henderson International School, per Baseball Reference.
  • You may have also heard that Amir Garrett attended undergrad at St. Johns University in New York, where he was a pretty good basketball player.
  • Is very handsome, but not the most handsome person in his family. That title belongs to his puppers, Dozer and Dash.

Organizational history

  • Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 22nd round of the 2011 MLB draft.
  • Played two seasons for St. Johns University Basketball in 2011-12 and 2012-13, because Amir Garrett is easily more talented than you and everyone you know.
  • Made MLB debut on April 7, 2017

Career stats

Standard Pitching
Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W Awards
2017 25 CIN NL 3 8 .273 7.39 16 14 0 0 0 0 70.2 74 60 58 23 40 2 63 2 0 1 321 61 7.39 1.613 9.4 2.9 5.1 8.0 1.58
2018 26 CIN NL 1 2 .333 4.29 66 0 7 0 0 0 63.0 56 30 30 8 25 3 71 3 0 3 264 98 3.89 1.286 8.0 1.1 3.6 10.1 2.84
2 Yrs 4 10 .286 5.93 82 14 7 0 0 0 133.2 130 90 88 31 65 5 134 5 0 4 585 74 5.74 1.459 8.8 2.1 4.4 9.0 2.06
162 Game Avg. 3 7 .286 5.93 58 10 5 0 0 0 95 92 64 62 22 46 4 95 4 0 3 414 74 5.74 1.459 8.8 2.1 4.4 9.0 2.06
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/8/2019.

Scouting report

Brooks Baseball
Statcast

Amir Garrett and/or his adorable pupperinos

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Look at these vicious dogs... @dozeranddash

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Projections

Fangraphs

Outlook

2018 was a season of progress for Amir Garrett, even if it came in a completely different role for the big league club. After a rough 2017 campaign where Garrett started in 14 of his 16 appearances for the Reds, he moved full time to the bullpen in 2018 with no starts and 66 appearances. His numbers seem to be better for it, but the underlying reason for his 2017 struggles bears a eerie resemblance to his 2018 season.

If you’ll recall, Garrett started out on fire as a part of the Reds rotation in 2017, striking out 21 batters in his first three starts of the year before getting touched up in his final start in April. Still, he allowed only four more runs in his next two starts (13 innings) and seemed to have the makings of a real difference maker in a Reds rotation that had lacked one for quite sometime.

Then, he was optioned to the minors for the minimum, in order to save some innings on his arm.

When he came back, he was a different pitcher. He allowed 13 runs in his next two starts (only nine innings pitched). Then it was revealed he was dealing with a hip injury he’d apparently suffered during his short minor league tour; one that he had tried to play through. It didn’t work, and he spent 10 days on the disabled list thereafter with right hip inflammation.

He’s spend the minimum there, too, but was obviously still not right. He’d make four more starts that summer, “good” for 13 innings pitched and a 12.15 ERA, before being sent back down and not recalled until September.

It was a really, really forgettable year, all told.

Fast-forward from there to the beginning of the 2018 season, where Garrett made the Opening Day roster as the lefty hammer in the bullpen. It was a role he was extremely well suited for, as he allowed nary a run in his first eight appearances. Through the first two months of the season, Garrett pitched 31.2 innings good for a 1.99 ERA in 26 games. He was an extremely needed piece at the latter half of the bullpen, especially considering new teammate David Hernandez didn’t make his season debut until the end of April.

Where things really started to turn ugly was after his June 26th outing against the Atlanta Braves. In that game, Garrett would take a sharp comebacker off his left from the bat of Ender Inciarte. He’d leave the game and have X-rays on the leg, but they came back negative. He’d pitch again on June 28th against Milwaukee, where he allowed a run in the second to blow the lead for the Reds in a game they’d end up losing. In the next outing, he’d blow it again against the White Sox while not recording an out.

Garrett would end up finding himself on the disabled list at the end of August due to a possibly-related-but-not-directly-related left foot injury suffered when landed wrong on it after a pitch. From June 28th to the end of the season, Garrett pitched 21.1 innings of 7.59 ERA ball, allowing a .300/.388/.556 slash line against, with 22 strike outs to 12 walks and four home runs.

It was a really, really forgettable second-ish half, all told.

I think it’s unfair to say that Garrett was keeping an injury from the team, as he seemed to have done in 2017. He did return to the game after apparently injuring his foot in August, but admitted later that it was something that he probably shouldn’t have done. That said, his average fastball velocity did experience a slight dip in July and August, while ticking back up in September after some time on the disabled list. It’s not at all clear whether injury had anything to do with that (or if it’s really significant enough to base any type of conclusion on).

Regardless, you can’t hate some of the peripherals Amir put up in 2018. He ran his K/9 number all the way up to 10.14 last season, which is just a tick better than what Raisel Iglesias was able to muster. His pitching stuff has always backed up strikeout numbers like that, and it played up in the pen. His average fastball velocity was at 92-93 working as a starter in 2017; it got up to the 95-96 range in 2018, touching upwards of 98mph. And while the 3.57 BB/9 mark is still too much, it’s markedly better than the number he put up in 2017.

Where Garrett could improve in 2019 is trying to limit the balls the leave the yard (stop me if you’ve heard this before about a Reds pitcher). Of pitchers that threw more than 30 innings out of the Reds bullpen, Amir trailed only Austin Brice and Raisel Iglesias in HR/FB ratio. Austin Brice is no longer with us, and Raisel does and has things in his arsenal that Amir (nor many, many other pitchers on Earth) does not. Finding a way to induce less hard contact or more ground balls (only David Hernandez had a lower GB% than Garrett), even if it comes at the expense of a strikeout or two, would do a lot for Garrett’s overall game.

Still, the easiest path forward for the breakout Amir Garrett season may just be as simple as avoiding the freak injury and, if suffering it, being quicker to take some time off. Now a full time relief pitcher, Amir has a bit of cushion when it comes to playing time. On both stuff and experience, he’s only behind Iglesias, Jared Hughes, and Hernandez in the pecking order. A DL stint now, in 2019, won’t necessarily cost him his place in line like maybe it would’ve in 2018 and especially in 2017.

Anyone can be Pipp’d, but the Reds are a lot better when Amir Garrett is at 100%.