Another day and another portion of the ESPN Top 100 Prospects in baseball list comes out. Today it was Amir Garrett that cracked the list. The left hander was ranked by Keith Law as the #39 overall prospect in baseball.

Since fully committing to baseball, the Cincinnati Reds lefty has pretty much breezed his way through full-season baseball. Amir Garrett posted a 3.64 ERA in Dayton in 2014. In 2015 he dominated the Florida State League with a 2.44 ERA in 140.1 innings and 133 strikeouts. Last season he destroyed the Southern League with a 1.75 ERA before heading to Triple-A in the second half. With the Bats he posted a 3.46 ERA and combined for 144.2 total innings between the two stops.

There was a step backwards at Triple-A this season. His walk rate crept back up to where it hadn’t been since he was in rookie ball. Garrett walked 4.1 batters per 9-innings pitched. His strikeout rate was easily the lowest it had been since he left rookie ball, striking out just 7.2 batters per 9-innings pitched. With Louisville it was more about finding some consistency at the highest level of the minors. He had some dominant games, but four games out of 12 crushed his walk rate. In 17.1 innings he had 21 walks over those four starts. In the remaining eight starts the left hander walked 10 batters in 50.1 innings.

Here’s one of the things that Keith Law had to say about Garrett in his write up:

I believe strongly in betting on highly athletic kids like Garrett to make adjustments, the way Jeff Samardzija — another two-sport guy who didn’t play baseball full-time until after college — did in his late 20s, and could see Garrett working on command for a year in the Reds’ bullpen before he becomes a mid rotation starter.

There’s a new front office in town, but the last thing I want to see if Amir Garrett head to the bullpen if the plan in the long term is for the rotation. The Reds simply haven’t shown that once a guy goes to the bullpen that he’s going to get a chance to return. If the decision is that the lefty is a reliever, that’s fine. But sending him to the bullpen for a year to then bring him back as a starter just isn’t a plan that makes me feel comfortable. With the Reds, until I see it, I don’t trust that plan. Perhaps that’s just me.

19 Responses

  1. Pat

    He’s a “prospect” as they all are until they hit the big club. But a lefty with his skills is special. Some good coaching at AAA and he’s ready in a year. He’s a starter – agree that coming out of the Reds bullpen isn’t the way to go. Starting and relieving are two very different mentalities and don’t confuse a guy especially as he works to keep his walk rate down. Starter, long term keeper…just a little more time 1/2 to 1 season in the minors.

  2. BBFAN

    Like I said before he gets better every year. He is on his way

  3. Jason

    Doug I don’t think people understand. This is garrett’s last option out of spring if he doesn’t make the club. So with that being said, the Reds must move him along quicker if they wanna see what they have in him. They need to let him get his lumps out the way already. So come next year he will be ready.

  4. Brad

    If 3/4 of Garrett, Reed, Stephenson and Castillo stick as ML average to above average SP, big win for Reds.

    Id prefer to see, in order: Garrett (due to options and talent), Stephenson, Reed. If they combine to man the 5th spot in rotation and half of the 4th spot currently held by Feldman, that is about 240 innings split between 3 pitchers, and service time split.

    2017 is a big year for Reds to figure out which pitchers are starters, which are relievers and which are not good enough. Lot of arms on 40-man.

    By my chart, need to add:
    2018: Jose Lopez, Shed Long, Mahle
    2019: Jimmy Herget

    Add in Senzel or Vlad Gutierrez

  5. Wes

    I thought MLBs list of Left handers was pretty weak. A good performance in AAA to start the season and Garrett could be at top of that list very soon!

  6. Pat

    Doug: Just wondering…Amir rated #39 – on your list for Reds #4. He was one of three that went to Rookie Development program…along with Ervin, your #15, and Davis non-ranked. Read anything into these three selections by Reds for this program or just three quality individuals or three quality available to go? The Reds are assembling a lot of young depth which is great until it becomes a log jam. Thanks – Pat

    • Doug Gray

      I don’t think there’s much to read into the selections necessarily. Usually it’s guys close to the Majors. They don’t send guys twice.

  7. DHud

    The Reds bullpen is where the hopes and dreams of starters go to die

    • Tct

      Besides Chapman, who does this apply to?

      Its too early to say on Lorenzen and Iglesias. Both of those guys were brought up as starters and used as starters until they got hurt. With Iglesias, there is some concern over whether his arm would hold up starting. And its worth mentioning that Lorenzen got plenty of starts in 2015 and wasn’t very good. Yes he was rushed and yes he has changed his pitch selection, but its not like he was lighting the world on fire as a starter and the Reds inexplicably moved him to the pen.

      Its also worth pointing out in relation to those 3 guys, there is plenty of reason to believe that the Reds were one of the only, if not the only, team to see them as starters. If there were other teams out there who thought Chapman and Iglesias could be league average or better starters, then the Reds would not have gotten them so cheaply. And it seems like most teams liked Lorenzen either as an outfielder or a reliever.

      There have been plenty of things to criticize Reds brass for. But this bullpen thing seems strange to me considering that the Reds have been more aggressive than anyone in taking prospects thought to be relievers and turning them into starters. Show me the organization who is consistently taking dominant relievers and turning them into starters. You are criticizing the Reds for not doing something that, with the occasional rare exception, no other team is doing either. Why don’t the Yankees turn Aroldis into a starter? Why didn’t they, or the Indians, give Miller another chance to start. Why don’t the Orioles give Britton another shot in the rotation. It just isn’t happening anywhere. Not just in Cincinnati.

      • RFM

        Many people seemed to want Lorenzen moved to the bullpen the whole time he was starting, keeping him struggling in the rotation was idiotic when his stuff might play up in the bullpen. Now that he’s been successful in the bullpen, it’s idiotic to keep him where he’s been successful, because he should/could be more!

        The only conclusion I can come to is that unless a pitcher becomes an elite 200 inning starting pitcher… many will be angry about their usage, no matter what. Success shouldn’t make us happy, it should make us angry that they’re not being moved back to a role they struggled in. After a year of complaining about the bullpen, we should be angry about the team addressing our concerns.

    • RFM

      Yeah, when we hear for years “this guy is likely a reliever, but the team thinks he might be more” or “this guy could be a great reliever on a team desperate for relief help” they occasionally end up as relievers. That definitely applies to Lorenzen and Iglesias and Cingrani and Chapman. How horrid!

      When the consensus is that a guy should start, they keep pushing the guy to start! Crazy!

      The Reds bullpen is where starters go to die… or where projected relievers end up, depending on how you look at it…

      In the past the Reds have had some great success stories of turning their best relievers into starters, like Danny Graves and Scott Williamson. While no other team would think to send its struggling/questionable starting pitchers to the bullpen… right?

      • Doug Gray

        There’s certainly something to what you’re saying – but when the Reds are saying “we want this guy to start”, but then they go to the bullpen, they don’t return. The sample size is small, but they said it with Chapman for, what, 3 years in a row? Cingrani got the same treatment. That’s not to say that those guys would have worked out as starters – I doubt Cingrani would have given his lack of pitches, but they seem to say it then don’t act upon it.

      • HavaKlu

        You are incorrect in saying that the Reds had great success in turning relievers Graves and Williamson into starting pitchers. Williamson started only 10 games in ’01 and though effective never started another game. Graves had a 4-15 record with a 5.33 era in ’03 as a starter after which he never returned to being even a successful reliever.

  8. Andrew

    Does this mean that Senzel is a top 20 prospect in baseball?

    • Doug Gray

      You’d have to think so. Law had a midseason ranking on July 14th and Senzel wasn’t in the Top 50. However, he was on the “just missed” list. I can’t imagine that hitting .329/.417/.590 for Dayton AFTER that list came out would drop him out of the Top 100 if he just missed the Top 50. I can imagine that doing that would vault him from say, a ranking of 55 into a top 20 spot.

  9. Arnold Ziffle

    Five in the top-100 all at AA or AAA, to go along with Reed, Herrera, and Peraza, not bad. Okey, Trammell, and Aquino can replace Stephenson, Winker and Garrett on next year’s list. And this year’s #2 draft pick probably should find their way onto that top-100 list then also.

    • Greenfield Red

      Let’s hope Luis Robert is part of the plan, although we have no reason to think the Reds will be involved. There could be some additional trades to add to the list too.

      I don’t think the Reds have done all they could do in this rebuild, but I think they’ve done a lot and can do more.