Prospect Garrett thrives in Futures Game

Nearing Majors debut, left-hander tosses two scoreless innings Sunday

July 8th, 2016

SAN DIEGO -- Left-handed pitching prospect Amir Garrett, fresh off a promotion to Triple-A, threw two scoreless innings for the U.S. Team in Sunday's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, which the World Team won, 11-3, at Petco Park.
Garrett, ranked as the No. 4 Reds prospect by, walked two and did not allow a hit after coming in to start the second. It was Garrett's second time on the Futures Game stage. Last year, he allowed one unearned run on three hits with one strikeout in his one inning but got the victory
"I would think I'm ready for it this time," Garrett said ahead of his appearance. "I've been to Triple-A already, faced older hitters. [I have] another year under my belt."
Garrett, 24, was promoted late last month from Double-A Pensacola to Triple-A Louisville. He has a 2.89 ERA in three games (two starts).
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"Amir has done a great job at continuing to get better and better," Reds director of player development Jeff Graupe said by phone on Friday. "The arrow seems to be pointed way up, and he's progressed way faster than we even expected him to."
The Reds took somewhat of a chance on Garrett when they selected him in the 22nd round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft and gave him a seven-figure bonus. A college basketball player at the time, his pitching experience was raw, but he could throw in the mid 90s. By 2014, he gave up basketball to focus on pitching, and his trajectory in the Reds' organization picked up speed.
Box score
After a nice 2015 season with Class A Advanced Daytona, Garrett moved up to Pensacola to start this season and went 5-3 with a 1.75 ERA in 13 games (12 starts). In 77 innings, he allowed 51 hits with 28 walks, 78 strikeouts and a 1.03 WHIP. He is still developing a slider and changeup to work with his fastball that can reach 96 mph.
"At Double-A, he was getting away with things just with natural ability," Graupe said. "Going up to Triple-A and dealing with more experienced hitters forced him to be in the strike zone more often. It was probably the best way for him to finish off and wrap up his development."
As the rebuilding Reds have placed emphasis on developing young pitchers, several prospects have already appeared this season, including Robert Stephenson, Cody Reed and Brandon Finnegan.
Could Garrett be pitching in the big leagues too before this season ends? Perhaps. But he's trying not to let the possibility of one more promotion get in the way of his continued development.
"Right now, I'm a Louisville Bat," Garrett said. "I'm not really trying to set my sights on playing for the Reds at any point in time. I'm with the Louisville Bats, so I'm going to continue to play there and pitch the best I can. I don't really try to think about how close I am."