Titanic Struggle Recap

No mere Garrett

Nothing matters other than Amir Garrett’s performance.

His FIP was -0.10. (That’s a minus sign.)

Cincinnati Reds 0  Baltimore Orioles 2 || MLB || FG || Statcast

The rookie left-hander threw seven innings, striking out 12 Orioles and walking just one. Garrett gave up seven hits, all but one were singles. He didn’t throw a wild pitch or hit a batter. Garrett provided ticket-holders free pizza during the 6th inning. After three major league starts, his ERA/FIP/xFIP is 1.83/2.04/2.67. In 19.2 innings, he has 21 strikeouts, given up 3 walks and but one homer. As Thom Brennaman was using his deep-concern voice to express doubts about Garrett facing the Orioles lineup a third time, the amped-up 24-year-old was striking out the side in the 6th. Hashtag: Analysis.

Throw this recap on the pile of positive posts we’ve written about Garrett: Nick Carrington predicted he’d be the best of the young pitchers, Jason Linden said we could go ahead and count on him, and Chad Dotson wrote about Garrett’s basketball prowess. Here is Nick Kirby’s recap from Garrett’s first start, and Chad’s recap of his second.

Everything else: The Reds bats never woke up against Ubaldo Jimenez and continued to snooze against the O’s bullpen. They managed two hits – singles by Eugenio Suarez and Tucker Barnhart – and three walks. Wandy Peralta struck out the side on ten pitches in a dominant inning.

But back to the only thing that matters. Yes, it’s only been three starts. The point isn’t that Amir Garrett IS a great major league pitcher. Garrett will have his ups and downs as his rookie year continues. It’s that he’s proven the talent is there.

Remember, we’re sorting. After three starts, you can put Amir Garrett in the “will be major league pitcher” category. No mere accomplishment.

The win statistic is a dumb way to evaluate pitchers. Tonight, it’s a dumb way to determine how you, as a Reds fan, ought to feel. And that’s elated.

77 thoughts on “No mere Garrett

  1. Offense was sleep walking from the beginning.Also happened twice in the 4 games against the Brewers.However Garrett was just great and he will have his ups and downs just like all the rest but the Orioles can hit and they did just enough to beat him.As long as we continue to swing early in the count we will beat ourselves.Jimenez has a history of throwing lots and lots of pitches and is usually done after 4 or 5 but we helped him so much.

    • With Hamilton leading off and his threat to steal, Peraza should not follow him in the batting order since he does not work the count. It’s an old story but Votto should be batting second. The manager, apparently, is not able to come to that conclusion.

      • Early in the 2016 season Price did have Votto batting 2nd behind Hamilton. The expirement didn’t last long and I remember reading that Votto did not like batting behind Hamilton because he did not like having to swing at questionable pitches to protect the runner. Soon afterwards Votto was back to 3rd in the lineup.

        So, before running Price into the ground you might consider that he has just a bit more information about his players at his disposal than you do.

        • Votto has said that he loved hitting when Billy is on base. More fastballs and more concentration on the runner. What do you mean by “swing at pitches to protect Billy”? Billy doesn’t need protection from a swinging hitter. To the contrary, They need someone that can take a pitch when he’s on. Last night on a 1-0 count, Peraza swung and a low and inside pitch out of the strike zone while Hamilton was trying to steal. Foul ball. Return to your base.

        • Yeah, like VAREDSFAN said. Joey likes hitting behind Billy because he gets more fastballs. Eno Sarris from FanGraphs did a feature article about it with direct quotes from Joey.

          Any narrative about Joey and baserunners that is negative is 100% false fabrication from one of the two Brennamans. Don’t believe it.\

          And no, we won’t give Price credit on this. He thinks “best hitter hits 3rd” and gives not a 2nd thought to it. He’s ignoring mountains of data to the detriment of run scoring.

      • One of these two lineups would work well for what you suggested:
        Hamilton, Votto, Suárez, Duvall, Schebler, Cozart, Peraza, Catcher
        or
        Hamilton, Cozart, Votto, Duvall, Suárez, Schebler, Peraza, Catcher

        At the beginning of the year, most of us probably would have said Cozart has no business batting second because of his lack of walks and low OBP, but Cozart has actually been much more patient this year, taking 7 walks already.

  2. +1

    He is looking like the real deal. Here’s hoping he (and some guys named Robert, Rookie & Cody) can help us all not miss a guy named Johnny so much

  3. I saw Bruce’s hits tonight. I see he FINALLY changed that long loopy swing to a short, compact swing. Is this a blight on Reds hitting coaches over the years, or a blight on a stubborn Bruce finally changing only AFTER he left the Reds?

    I suspect some complacency set in with Reds, as we know for the past 20 years they were content to hit for power and when not hitting for power, being easy outs with all or nothing approach. Maybe Bruce was enabled by lax coaches, okay with 30 HRs and long, LONG slumps and lots of easy outs. Maybe it was Bruce.

    Regardless, he might finally be a major league hitter now if he keeps this short, punchy, line drive swing and has retired his long, loopy, uppercut happy Reds swing that generated a lot of weak ground balls, pop outs and strike outs.

    Could it be just knowing a contract is coming up motivated an otherwise apathetic Bruce? Seems possible.

    • Contract year. Nothing more, nothing less.
      He’ll hit 86 homers this year and some dumb team will give him a billion dollars.

      • He could be the all star 2B and win a silver slugger this year. Still glad they got his attitude out of the clubhouse with all the young talent coming up.

          • I was wondering the same thing. I’m pretty sure Phillips was a clubhouse leader.

          • One could think that his attitude was probably going to be a negative on all these young players for sure. If not, why on earth would you pay him $13MM to play for someone else? I have said for 2 years to put him on the bench, which was and possibly still is a huge issue for this team. He instantly upgrades the bench on this team. But instead they decided to trade him and $13MM to Atlanta for 2 minor league prospects who scouts say have no real chance to make it to the big leagues.

            This team tried to trade him 3 times in the past 2 years, and he blocked each trade. You can’t possibly think that if they went to him and said we are going to sit you done in favor of one of these young kids, he would have taken it well. Brandon Phillips is a great guy, but a Diva 2B for sure. Especially if he is on the bench during a contract year, which is probably the reason he will have such a great year.

          • It was time for Brandon to move on. I just wish he would have agreed to a trade sooner.

    • Your comment implies that Bruce could have been a consistent hitter, but didn’t care enough to go to the trouble. It’s impossible for me to see it that way, particularly since another implication of the comment is that hitting MLB pitching is pretty easy, which it demonstrably is not.

      • I’ll second that observation. Keep studying, Michael. I think you’ll find nothing has changed. Also, it’s a great start but it’s only two weeks. Haven’t we seen this movie before?

      • I looked at a few ABs from this year and last year and didn’t see much difference. Now, if memory serves, he was flying open for the Mets later in the year last year but early Bruce last year and Bruce so far this year looks close to same/same.

  4. Oh, and really stoked about Garrett AND that the Reds are really letting young players play. Started with pitching last year and really going all in now. Good to see.

    I also noticed the Reds were the hardest team to strikeout now…or at least were up until a game or two ago. That’s a big time turn around. I have made it known that I am less worried about OBP and more worried about making teams work to get you out. Looks like with Peraza being a hard to K hitter, adding in vets Votto and Cosart and we got ourselves a team to compete because they don’t make a lot of empty outs (pop outs and strike outs).

    • Peraza is hard to strike out, but he’s also making some of the weakest contact in the league. Out of something like 300 players he is 6th to last in average exit velocity. BHam is only a couple spots higher. Contact is great, but they need to hit it with more authority.

      • Swinging early in the count at whatever comes up there is part of the reason neither Peraza or Hamilton hit the ball hard regularly. It helps them avoid strikeouts to swing early, but also means few walks and not seeing as many hitter’s pitches.

  5. I was at the at the game tonight and a joy to watch. The amazing part was the command. I don’t recall his final strike/ball percentages but at what point it was like 39 to 11. I predicted in ST he would make the rotation when no one else said he would and also finish in the top 5 in ROY. Im sticking to it.
    I will give another 10 games and 40 at bats but the 1/2 of BHam and Peraza is failing. They share eerily similar failings for top of the order hitters.

    • For years, the scouts told us the command will come with experience pointing to the plus plus athleticism being a good indicator of future success with command and control. Those guys are looking pretty smart about Amir right about now.

      Garrett shouldn’t have made the rotation out of spring training. They should have waited 2 weeks and then brought him up. Now he is a free agent in 2023 instead of 2024, because he isn’t getting sent down with the way he is performing.

      • I’m fairly certain he is on an innings limit this year. Once he meets that limit the Reds can send him back down and shut him down and still preserve that extra year of team control. It doesn’t matter when he’s sent down as long as he doesn’t spend 153 days in the ML.

        • He threw 144.2 IP last year, not including any time spent throwing in fall instructionals. He can likely go 180-190 IP this year without issue.

          • And 180 IP probably gets him to Sept 1st and expanded rosters. Unless Garrett falters along the way, his days of riding buses are over, but it’s a long season and this is his 1st trip out of the MLB gate. The kid looks solid, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Amir struggle at some point this season. The flip side of that coin is the performance of the other starters in the rotation. If Reed and Stephenson can string together dominant performances as starters, along with three other starters (Bailey, Disco, Finnegan & Davis coming off the DL or Adleman, Feldman & Arroyo from the over 30 crowd), somebody has to be replaced in the starting rotation.

      • But what would they paying for that 7th year which would be his age 31 season if it was an arbitration dictated salary? Barring time lost to injury, he’d likely be over 1000IP at the MLB level when it started and busting over 1200IP by the end of it.

        I don’t have the information and algorithms to say for certain; but, I’m not sure he’s a good risk for that sized salary at that age unless he projects as an absolute top flight ace

        It is likely just as good or better strategy to buy that 7th year (and perhaps beyond) on the back end of a long term deal signed in his early in arbitration eligible years.

      • You’re right. He can’t possibly be sent down for 2 weeks at any point in the next 6 years.

        • That would sort of be akin to what they did with Mike Leake in his 2nd season when he struggled, although they didn’t keep him down long enough to attain the extra year. Bottom line, the longer Amir stays up and is succeeding, it’s great for the Reds! But it also makes it that much like less likely he’ll be sent down later.

          If they were really concerned with service time, they would have bit the bullet and waited the first 2 weeks until bringing him up this year. We can probably conclude that they weren’t that concerned about it since they had other options for starters at the beginning of the year but went with him anyway.

        • Even if he doesn’t ever get sent down, I don’t understand all the emphasis being put on it for a guy like Garret. He is probably a #3 starter maybe a #2 if all goes well. He’s not going to be a once in a decade kind of pitcher though. There’s a good chance he may get injured and become ineffective or injury prone during the years of control that the Reds have. Honestly, if his end of team control creates a problem like it did for the Reds w/ Leake, that means that things have gone about perfectly. How often does that happen? Not enough to hold a guy back just for the sake of service time considerations. Only a top, top talent should ever get that treatment. Who knows, he may have gotten sent down after spring training and tanked?

  6. It’s really startling to me that Amir Garrett looks SO much like an already-finished product. We know he isn’t…and that’s actually the exciting part.

    • Unless he learns a new pitch, he isn’t going to be much better that he was last night (granted, he was fantastic last night). He was putting his pitches wherever he wanted and showed both command and control with all 3. Hard to top that.

  7. Garrett is going to surprise us due to the basketball background in that he is very competitive and wants to own the competition. Also, he is going to work hard to become better and we have seen the change-up become a weapon in 3 months? What does he learn this year and become stronger in the next few years. Here’s to the growth the Amir Garrett!

    • How does the basketball background make him more competitive? Most players have some background in other sports.

      Are basketball players inherently more competitive than baseball players? Did Adam Dunn strike out less because he played football?

      • Garrett himself has mentioned the basketball experience as factor in his baseball development. I think it is not the game of basketball itself but rather having fought his way through the vetting system to reach a premier level of competition which makes the difference He was on scholarship at a D1 top 5 power conference program. That’s a level of selectivity approaching MLB. He has been there and done that in terms of understanding the level of physical and psychological effort required to perform and succeed at such a high level..

        • Yeah, I’m sure playing at the high level of minor league basketball helped to mature and prepare him for a level of competition that other baseball minor leaguers do not experience. I can see that being an advantage for him.

          • In terms of the size of the stage, D1 basketball at the level Garrett was at isn’t really minor league. The media attention, crowds, expectation to perform and the like are about the same as at the “next level”.
            D1 basketball at the power conference level is a performance level of its own and not a development level like baseball’s minor leagues.

          • I agree with Jim. Seems like D1 basketball is a “higher level” regarding media and public perception than the minor leagues.

  8. I’m very excited for Garrett. 3 starts is not much of a sample size, but (as loathe as I am to say it) he really passes the “eye test”. He looks like he belongs, and he knows what he’s doing out there.

    Between Garrett and Disco, the Reds have 2 pretty good #2 – #3 type starters. They still need an “ace” (or two). I was very impressed with Romano’s stuff, but he doesn’t seem like he’s quite ready to pitch to MLB hitters. Lorenzen could be that guy, if he ever gets another shot. Reed might also have some potential, we’ll find out starting Saturday. Finnegan, despite what he’s done so far, I really rate as more of a middle to bottom of the roation starter.

    Either way, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and the beginning of exciting times for the Reds pitching. And this isn’t even counting Homer Bailey, who should still be around for another 3 years.

    • If Garrett can be consistently what he was last night, that’s an ace. Not every pitcher is going to be a top of the rotation guy. You need guys who can hold down the backend with a solid era in the 3.75-4.25 range that keep you competitive each time through the rotation. I think long term, Romano and Mahle have the best shot of being very good 4-5 guys in the rotation.

      • Wow, that’s going to be a heck of a starting rotation if you have have a #2/#3 type guy going in your #4/#5 slots. MLB average SP last year had a 4.35 ERA.

  9. Exciting times ahead with all of the young power arms battling for spots on the team.Would love to see Price be as creative with his line up as he is sometimes with his bullpen.Need to ride the hot hand and move those guys up in the order.Three out of the last 6 games we have scored 0,1 and 2 runs which happens and lets hope we don’t become an all or nothing offense.I am being hopeful that our hitters become more selective and work the count but time will tell.If they do then our offense gets so much better,

  10. In 1991, Mo Sanford had a spectacular debut for the Reds. He was in control. He dominated.

    He was never heard from again.

    The MLB history books are loaded with guys who had a great month. Garrett will be figured out and he’ll need to adjust. Let’s hope that is something he can do.

  11. I’d still like to see Lorenzen in the rotation but KC became world champs with a C+ rotation. The Reds could roll out the following and be better then the Royals rotation that went to back to back WS!

    Garrett
    Disco
    3-4-5 = Reed, Finnegan, Castillo, Bob Steve, Romano, or Homer

  12. Another very nice outing for Amir Garrett. It was a shame the offense couldn’t show up against a very average pitcher in Jiminez.
    The top of the batting order sure needs an overhaul, pronto. If they insist on having Votto bat 3rd, then vs. RH pitching have Schebler and Ginnett bat 1 and 2. Then vs. LH pitching have Cozart and Suarez bat 1 and 2. BHam goes back to hitting 9th. Peraza goes to 6th vs. LHers, for the time being losing playing time to Ginnett vs. RHers.
    Cody Reed gets the start on Saturday. Hope the new Cody Reed shows up and lights up those Cubs. It would be nice for Reed to come close to replicating Garrett’s performance, but with some run support.

    • If the Reds were trying to win right now, that’s something that I’d consider for the lineup. Since this year isn’t the year however, the Reds need to see if Peraza is a staring MLB player. They can’t do that unless they play him more than an the short side of a platoon with Scooter. Right here, right now, especially against RHP I’d take Scooter any day. But the Reds are right to be playing Peraza.

  13. I thought the Votto AB in the 8th inning was a rare wasted one for him. With the team down 2-0 and a runner at third, I was surprised to see him go after a 2-0 pitch with an all in swing in a situation where a hit scores a run; and, a walk also brings the lead run to the plate.

  14. I’m eager to see Reed pitch against Arrieta Saturday. Would love to see Reed and Garrett string together some solid starts.

  15. Another good thing about Garrett… he’s got a .271 BABIP against right now, which is close enough to being in-line with normal pitchers that we can conclude he hasn’t really been all that “lucky.” Certainly hasn’t been unlucky, either.

  16. I guess you can count me as the odd one out but although he had a great game yesterday and should have gotten a win, I’m still not sold on Garrett. He is currently averaging 91.2 mph on his four seam-fastball. His hard hit percentage stands at 34% which is above the league average of 31.2%. His K/9 in AA last year was 7.2 so I don’t him to have many 12K in 7 inning games. Basically, what I am saying is I don’t think he can keep it up with these peripherals. I still think both Reed and Stephenson are going to be better than Amir in the long run. A couple of more starts like this though and I will gladly jump of the Amir bandwagon.

    • One suggestion, check out the heat maps for each of Amir Garrett’s 3 outings. Then compare to the Reds other starters.
      He keeps the ball down in the zone and works the edges of the plate.
      That might make you a believer. The swings and misses are there. That is much better than averaging 94 or 95 mph.

      • Yep, in terms of being an effective pitcher, location > velocity. Also, I wouldn’t rely too much on hard hit % just yet. We’re talking about a VERY small amount of data at this point, certainly nothing that you can draw solid conclusions from. Let’s see what happens over his next several starts, even more importantly, once he starts facing opponents a 2nd time.

        • The swings and misses are primarily on his curve and change. His fastball has had 1 swing and miss so far. He wasn’t really a high strikeout guy in the minor leagues so I don’t really see him becoming one in the majors. Don’t forget this is his first time through the league so once hitters realize they can start holding back on his fastball, his offspeed stuff isn’t going to be as dominant as well as it has been the last three games. Also, his BB/9 so far has been 1.37. In the minors it was above 3. In addition, he has been vastly outperforming his projections for the year in almost every category thus I expect him to experience some regression to his stats in the minors and his projected stats. I will be very surprised if he can keep this up.

          • I know, I pointed out above that it will be more telling once he faces opponents a second time.

            And the thing is, his fastball doesn’t have to be mid-high 90s to be effective if he can keep locating it well. Although, I’d like to see more data on this as the season progresses. I think you’ll see an uptick in velo. His offspeed pitches are effective not just because of the velocity differential, but because they have shown decent action. In other words, there is more than one way to skin a cat to become a successful pitcher.

            Finally, and I’m sure you know this, the fact that Garret (so far) has performed above his minor league numbers may also be an indication that he has improved as a pitcher. Which is exactly what you want to see from a young pitcher with relatively low mileage.

            I’m with you though, we need to see how things play out over a longer period of time before we can feel really good about his long term prospects.

          • Sorry MMRED. My reply was meant for WVREDLEGS. You’re right. I think we will see an uptick in Garrett’s velocity but unless he gains 3-4 ticks, his stuff is still going to be below Romano’s, Reed’s, Stephenson’s and others. The movement on his pitches, per Brooks Baseball, is slightly below that on Reed’s so even there he is a notch below Reed.

            There’s no doubt that Garrett has been impressive so far and there is a chance his performance is sustainable due to improvements and adjustments on his end. More likely though, based upon his peripherals and his historic results I think that he has been overachieving thus far. When you add this on top of a small sample size, people shouldn’t be disappointed if his ERA and FIP head towards 4.25- 4.50. I hope I’m wrong about this.

    • While I don’t disagree that some things are troubling (34% Hard), I think speed differential between FB and CH is more important than pure velocity. If Garrett averages 91.4, then he’s touching 93-94 at times, most likely. With his changeup being better than advertised (by my estimation), I think that is plenty of velocity to be a very good MLB pitcher.

      • I’ll add his perceived velocity is likely higher than his actual velocity. He’s a tall guy with a long stride and his release point is quite a bit closer to the plate than some other pitchers’ release points.

  17. No way Bob Steve will be better then Garrett. He couldn’t throw that many strikes in 3 starts as Amir did last night! All of our young guys throw harder but he has an advanced ability to change speeds! Now I like Reed’s potential but he couldn’t throw strikes with his slider last year or hung it over the plate and he didn’t have any effective offspeed pitch to my knowledge? Castillo throws high 90s and has good control so if he can develop some good offspeed stuff then he might be the best of them all! Bottom line….the Reds have a chance to be a really strong staff with a guy like Disco as their 4th starter!

    • This is just me, but I don’t see him becoming a #2 with a 45 fastball. I guess there is a possibility he could become a Jose Quintana, a #2 who gets away with average velocity. More likely though, I think he turns into a solid #3 which is nothing to sneeze at.

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