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The season couldn’t have gotten out to a much better start for left hander Amir Garrett. The 23-year-old posted a 2.41 ERA in the month of April in 18.2 innings with just five walks and he struck out 24 batters.
He followed that up with a month of May that was pretty similar. In six starts he posted a 2.40 ERA that spanned 30.0 innings. His walk rate did jump up to 10% on the month, but he kept a high strikeout rate (23.6%) through the month. Garrett also finished the second month in a row without allowing a home run.
June was a bit of a struggle. The left hander watched his ERA jump up to 4.18, in large part due to an increased walk rate. He walked 13% of the batters he faced and also allowed the first home run of the season in his first start of the month. In July his ERA rebounded quite well as it dropped to 2.10, but his walk rate was a little high as he walked 11.4% of the hitters on the month and his strikeout rate dropped to 19.5%.
The final five weeks of the regular season were a nice rebound as he posted a season best 1.64 ERA in August and the first day of September. In 38.1 innings he walked just 10 batters (6.7%) and had 29 strikeouts (19.6%). That was just a tease for what was to come for Garret in the playoffs. In his first start, in game 1 of the opening round series he allowed just one hit over 7.0 innings with 12 strikeouts and no walks. In the Florida State League Championship series he would make another start, this time allowing two runs over 6.0 innings with two walks and seven strikeouts.
Garrett would finish the season with a 2.44 ERA in 140.1 innings to go along with 55 walks and 133 strikeouts. His numbers in the playoffs were even better. He finished second in the league in both ERA and in strikeouts.
Fastball | The left hander worked with his fastball in the 91-95 MPH range, picking up velocity from where he had been in the past year. He would routinely hit 96 in most starts and topped out at 98 MPH. It was the third year in a row that his top end sitting velocity as well as his top end touching velocity has improved.
Slider | The pitch was hit go-to pitch for strikeouts. It flashes itself as a plus offering, but can be average at times as well. It generally works in the 82-84 MPH range.
Change Up | A clear third offering for Garret. It’s generally a below-average offering and one that he doesn’t show too often. In some starts he would throw it fewer than five times in a game.
Other | While his slider may rate out at times as his best pitch, it’s the fastball that plays the best. It’s the pitch he has the most control of, though it’s no more than average control of the pitch. Control of his slider did take a step forward in 2015, but it’s still a pitch that is more of a chase pitch than one he can consistently throw in the zone. How more advanced hitters will handle that is still an unknown, but improved control of the pitch may be needed against those types of hitters. The lack of usage with his change up must improve. He’s able to rely on the fastball and slider combination at this point, but a third pitch he has faith in and can go to will be needed in the future.
There could be more room to grow for Garrett in the velocity department. He’s still working on getting his body into pitching shape after spending so much time bridging things in the training room to be in shape for basketball. He’s put on plenty of good weight in his lower half over the last year. The upside with the left hander is very high, but there is some work to do in several areas as well.