Amir Garrett entered the 2017 season as an unproven rookie who had yet to make a Major League appearance. There were some questions among evaluators (and myself) about just how effective he would be early on in his big league career. The two bigger issues were: Can he find the strikezone consistently, and how will his change up play at the next level?

Three starts in and the results are rather telling. Amir Garrett has easily been the Cincinnati Reds best starter. He’s posted a 1.83 ERA in 19.2 innings pitched. He’s struck out 21 batters, including 12 of them in his start against the Baltimore Orioles last night. The strikezone concerns? Non-existent so far. He’s walked all of three batters. The change up? It’s looked good and he’s throwing it with confidence.

Last season with the Triple-A Louisville Bats, Amir Garrtt had four games where he walked four or more batters. In those four games he walked a combined 21 batters in 17.1 innings pitched. In the other nine games with the Bats he walked just seven batters over 59.2 innings pitched. When he was on, he was absolutely on. But when he wasn’t, he really wasn’t. That consistency problem, we haven’t seen it show up this year. He’s been in control of the strikezone all three times out. The 24-year-old lefty has thrown strikes 68% of the time, an above-average rate.

Going back to the start against the Orioles, as noted, Amir Garret had 12 strikeouts. That matches his professional best, matched two times in the minor leagues. In the game on Wednesday night he had 19 swinging strikes. That’s a boatload of swings and misses for a single game. He only had 16 in the previous two starts combined. Among the 109 qualified pitchers for 2017, Garrett’s swinging strike rate of 12.9% is 16th best in baseball.

We are dealing with incredibly small sample sizes right now, but the early signs are very good. According to Fangraphs pitch values, Amir Garrett’s slider has been the 5th most valuable slider in baseball this season. The change up has been the 29th most valuable change up so far, too.

It’s unlikely that his slider continues to play up as well as it has in the first three games. It’s significantly more valuable right now per 100 thrown than any slider in baseball was last season. But, if you’ve watched him pitch in the last few years, you know it’s likely to continue to be a very good pitch. The change up value, however, it’s in the range where it could continue to be as valuable as it has been. And if that’s going to be the case you’re looking at a pitcher with three truly above-average offerings at the big league level. Couple that with a guy who has shown no issues with throwing strikes so far and things are looking awful bright for the Reds and Amir Garrett.

9 Responses

  1. Jonathan

    I’m concerned about that 6th year. This could be a bigger issue than it was with Mike Leake. I wish the Reds would have used Stephenson for 3 starts and then put Garrett in as a SP. Oh well…He looks really good though.

    Reply
    • MK

      My concern about that sixth year is I will be celebrating my 70th birthday, hoping I can still sit up and watch games at that point. So I am going to enjoy his pitching while I can.

      Reply
    • Matthew O'Neal

      If he’s good enough that we’re bummed about losing that 7th year, I think that’s a win in itself.

      Reply
  2. Steven

    I was able to watch about three innings of his last start and to me he didn’t look like an “impressive” rookie but a seasoned vet.

    Reply
  3. Steve

    Olson came back to earth today. Hope he puts this bad outing behind him and comes back strong in 5 days

    Reply
  4. kevin zook

    Can’t put in words how impressed i am with Amir.. he just has this look on the mound that i love… keep going Amir don’t stop …so fun to watch

    Reply
  5. linda laines

    I love hearing and reading about your success so far. So proud of you as it is so well deserved. Your entire family must be so proud. Keep doing what you are doing…keep working and making your dreams come true. Love to you from Las Vegas…your cousin’s teacher

    Reply

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