Amir Garrett

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Amir Jamal Garrett

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Biographical Information[edit]

Amir Garrett was a top pitching prospect before making his major league debut in 2017.

Garrett was All-State in basketball as a high school junior in California. He was a 22nd-round selection by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2011 amateur draft; the scout was Clark Crist. He signed up for almost $1 million with a clause that he could play college basketball. As a college freshman, he averaged 7.4 points per game and 4 rebounds per game for St. John's University. He started off his pro baseball career the next season with the AZL Reds. He was then promoted to the Billings Mustangs of the Pioneer League at then end of the season, finishing the year at 0-2, 4.05. He fell to 5.4 points per game in basketball as a college sophomore.

In 2013, he made 13 starts between Billings and the Dayton Dragons of the Midwest League, with a record of 2-4, 5.15. He transferred to Cal State-Northridge for basketball, as the team was coached by former NBA star Reggie Theus, and sat out the 2013-14 year. He began to emerge from the pack in baseball in 2014, when he was 7-8, 3.64 in a full season at Dayton, striking out 127 batters in 133 1/3 innings. He tied Mitch Brown for 7th in the Reds chain in whiffs. He decided to quit basketball to focus on baseball. Baseball America named him the #11 prospect in the Midwest League, between Buck Farmer and Jesmuel Valentin. They also named him the #7 Reds prospect and the best athlete in the Reds chain.

In 2015, the big lefthander moved up to the Daytona Tortugas of the Florida State League and went 9-7, 2.44 in 26 starts. He lost the FSL ERA title by .03 to Pablo Ortega, tied for 5th in wins and was second in whiffs, 10 K behind Kevin Ziomek. He allowed only one hit and fanned 12 in 7 shutout innings in the postseason, walking none. He was FSL Co-Pitcher of the Year with Jacob Faria. He also won the Reds Minor League Pitcher of the Year award. He began to make top prospect lists and was named to the USA squad for the 2015 Futures Game. In the top of the 3rd, he relieved Lucas Giolito with a scoreless game in progress. He fanned Manuel Margot and got Nomar Mazara on a grounder. Raimel Tapia singled, advanced on a passed ball by Kyle Schwarber and scored on a hit by Ketel Marte. Ozhaino Albies singled, but LF Michael Conforto threw out Marte at home. After the US scored 3 in the bottom of the inning, Tyler Beede relieved Garrett. Though he gave up their only run in a 10-1 win, the bottom-of-the-3rd rally made a winner of Garrett. Baseball America placed him as the FSL's #6 prospect (between Jeff Hoffman and Amed Rosario) and as #3 in the Reds system (behind fellow hurlers Robert Stephenson and Cody Reed).

In 2016, he began the year in AA with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos of the Southern League and was dominant, with a 5-3, record and a 1.75 ERA in 13 games. At the end of May, he was promoted to the AAA Louisville Bats, then was named to take part in the 2016 Futures Game. He was 7-8, 2.55 in 25 games (23 starts), having finished the season in AAA with the Louisville Bats. Hes struck out 132 batters in 144 2/3 innings. He was 4th in the Reds chain in whiffs, between Tyler Mahle and Jackson Stephens. Baseball America rated him as the #73 prospect in all of baseball, 11th in the SL (between Anthony Banda and Dustin Peterson) and 16th in the International League (between Jose Berrios and Jose Peraza).

He was a winner in his major league debut for the Reds on April 7, 2017. Facing the St. Louis Cardinals, he gave up only 2 hits and no runs in 6 innings to receive credit for a 2-0 win. He did it again in his next start on April 12th, with 6 2/3 scoreless innings in a 9-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. He slowed down after that fast start, however, ending up at 3-8, 7.39 in 16 games, including 14 starts. He was returned to the minor leagues for a spell. He was then converted to a full-time relief pitcher in 2018 and had considerably more success, going 1-2, 4.29 in 66 games. He pitched 63 innings and struck out 75 batters while allowing just 56 hits as a set-up man for closer Raisel Iglesias, recording 21 holds in 23 opportunities. He had an even better season in 2019, making 69 appearances and pitching 56 innings. He went 5-3 with an ERA of 3.21, allowed 44 hits and struck out 78 opponents. He did allow 35 walks, for his highest career walk rate, and had another 22 holds, confirming his role as a key member of the team's bullpen.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Bobby Nightengale: "Reds' Amir Garrett unafraid to speak out about racial inequality: 'The time is now'", Cincinnati Enquirer, July 6, 2020. [1]
  • Phil Rogers: "Garrett a key piece for surprising Reds: Cincinnati re-establishing winning mentality with strong pitching, dependable defense", mlb.com, April 13, 2017. [2]

Related Sites[edit]