Cincinnati Reds haven’t named Amir Garrett a starter yet, but they should have

Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK
Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK /

The Cincinnati Reds have a starting pitcher ready to go in Amir Garrett, but are refusing to name him a starter.

At the end of the 2016 season, the Cincinnati Reds had Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani, and Dan Straily listed as starting pitchers for the 2017 season.  None of them will be in the starting rotation to start the 2017 season.  Bailey and DeSclafani are injured, while the Reds traded Dan Straily to the Miami Marlins.

That leaves several spots in the rotation.  The Reds are full of prospects, but one is a step ahead of the others.  Amir Garrett appears ready to be an everyday starter at the big league level.

Garrett is 3-1 over five spring starts with a 2.20 ERA.  He made a similar number of pitches over his first four starts, but extended himself last time out.  He made 70 pitches over five innings in his fifth start this spring.

Despite his low ERA there is cause to have a little bit of concern regarding Garrett.  Garrett has a slightly high WHIP, while maintaining a low walk total.

That is because his batting average against is .273.  That has caused his WHIP to rise just a bit from its normal area of 1.20 to almost 1.30.  That is just enough to be noticeable by the big league coaching staff.

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Even with the potentially high WHIP, Amir Garrett is still the Cincinnati Reds’ pitching prospect most ready to step into the rotation.

This BAA issue is likely an anomaly.  Garrett hasn’t had a BAA against higher than .250 since 2013.  That year he split his time between rookie ball and low A.

Garrett also isn’t a huge strikeout pitcher, so some of the BAA is caused by his defense.

He usually settles around 8 strikeouts per nine innings.  That means he will likely get about 160 strikeouts, if the Reds keep him around or a number that could lead the team.

With the way that rotation is weakened, Garrett would likely have more strikeouts than Finnegan and Bronso  Arroyo.  He’d also have more than opening day starter Scott Feldman.  That would leave him to battle the other rookie phenom, Sal Romano, or whomever the Reds inserted into the last spot in the rotation.

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That makes Garrett the perfect option for the fourth spot in the rotation.  He has made at least 25 starts each of the last three seasons, so he has trained to be a starter.  Hopefully, he doesn’t have a similar year to last year’s staff when the ball flew out of GABP.