Cincinnati Reds are counting on Amir Garrett as the number four starter in 2017

Mandatory credit: Sam Green/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK
Mandatory credit: Sam Green/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK /

With the injury to Homer Bailey the Cincinnati Reds need Amir Garrett to be their number four starter.

Entering the off-season Amir Garrett faced an uphill battle to make the opening day rotation in 2017 for the Cincinnati Reds.  Since then, the Reds have traded away potential opening day starter Dan Straily and have seen staff ace Homer Bailey undergo yet one more surgery.  Now the number four spot in the rotation is his to lose.

With Bailey’s injury, the rotation has quickly taken on a new look.  Tim Adleman went from being a dark horse to winning the last spot in the rotation to becoming the projected number three starter.  Garrett and Robert Stephenson saw their spots in the back end solidify at the same time.

Bailey’s injury has placed three rookies in the last three spots in the rotation. Stephenson is still going to face an open competition with Bronson Arroyo and Cody Reed among others.  Adleman and Garrett have roles that are theirs to lose.

The visual impact to Reds fans will be an open competition in spring training.  Garrett has earned his spot by going 2-5 with a 3.46 ERA at Louisville in the second half of 2017.  In the first half of the season Garrett went 5-3 with a 1.75 ERA at Pensacola.

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Since transitioning from basketball to baseball full-time, his progress has been impressive.  His one developmental issue was his control in Triple-A.  If that issue is solved, he will start the fourth game of the year for the Reds.

The Cincinnati Reds have five pitchers in Bronson Arroyo, Rookie Davis, Cody Reed, Sal Romano, and Robert Stephenson battling for the number five spot that could back Amir Garrett, if he has issues in 2017.

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Garrett’s pedigree as the number two organizational prospect and training specifically as a starter puts him in front of those other pitchers.  The fact that he is left-handed also helps as Brandon Finnegan is the only other left-handed starter in the rotation.  Right now, the only left-hander in the bullpen is Tony Cingrani, but Wandy Peralta also wants to be there.

That’s how Garrett earned his current spot, but it won’t allow him to keep it.  He needs to prove that he is more ready to be an MLB starter than the rest of those pitchers.  From his vantage point the worst thing that could happen is if both Arroyo and Stephenson have terrific springs.

The attention will be off Adleman and Garrett because of Bailey’s injury.  The Reds have faith that those two can consistently give them six innings.  The other options in camp have had issues staying healthy or going deep into games.

The Reds added Scott Feldman to the bullpen this off-season as the potential ultimate middle reliever.  He can pitcher up to three innings if need be with the game on the line.  This will be a change in the amount of support for the starters, as last year this position was a revolving door that included Steve Delabar and Caleb Cotham among many others.

Next: What the Reds have told us so far

That’s why the Reds need Garrett as their number four.  They need him to continue his progression as a professional pitch.  The Reds can’t afford to add another spot in the rotation where five innings per start is the norm every time out.