Amir Garrett appeared to be the top pitching prospect the Reds had drafted in 2011 at the beginning of the 2017 season when the lanky left-hander opened the season with a 4-2 record, giving up 16 runs and striking out 28 in 35 and one-third innings of work.
But a hip injury landed him on the disabled list in late May and Garrett ended his last 11 starts by posting a 9.32 ERA with 33 walks, 22 home runs in 47 and two-third innings of work and finished the season with a 3-8 record and a 7.39 ERA.
As the 2018 season approaches Garrett is looking to regain that form and land a spot in the Reds rotation and that might not be a sure thing this year. In early reports this year Reds manager Bryan Price has said Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan and Luis Castillo are four of the five starters with Robert Stephenson, Tyler Mahle, Cody Reed and Amir Garrett competing for that final slot.
“My thing was the injury, my hip,” Garrett said. “I never recovered from that and I wasn’t the same as I was the beginning of the year but you know I am feeling good now and I am optimistic. I have to re-establish myself and I think I can do that easily so I am going to get after it and start like I did at the beginning of last year and hopefully I’ll stay healthy and you can see me in my dominant form for a whole season.”
Last season, Garrett tried to pitch through the hip injury that had nagged him since his minor league days and it was evident by his poor outings and soon he was sent to the minors to rehab.. .
Due to the injury Garrett has approached the off season a different and has not only worked on his pitching but on conditioning . The former St. John basketball player said as he is understanding his body as a 25-year old and what it takes to get back into playing shape.
“When you get older you listen to your body a lot more,” Garrett said. “Being 25 years-old I can’t do things that I did when I was 19. I can’t just pick up a ball and throw it.. I have to stretch and do extra stuff that I don’t want to do but have to and mentally prepare myself for the season.”
Garrett added that he learned from the injury and carries himself a different way and has learned to invest in himself more.
Even though it appears he will have a fight on his hands to garner that final rotation slot, the confident Garrett said that he expects to start and pointed out that at the beginning of last season there were of arms vying for spots in the rotation and he secured one.
“I’m looking to make the rotation again. I am healthy now and everyone has seen what I can do when I am healthy,” Garrett said. “It’s a no-brainer. I am going to go out there and do my thing. I am not going to be denied.”
If Garrett can secure that fifth spot, the Reds would have a nice core of pitchers that could help the Reds climb out of the cellar and be more competitive.
Garrett added that he has come up with all these guys and said the starters all have a lot to learn but they are also talented and friends.
“We are so young and have so much to learn,” Garrett said. “We are going to take our lumps but we are going to be OK at the end of the day,” Garrett said. “We all root for each other and not against each other because at the end of day we are a team.”
Garrett considers last year ancient history and said this is a new year and with the solid position players in place coupled with a potentially consistent pitching staff, he said he feels the Reds are going to have a big year.
Garrett points to the unpredictability of baseball and said he feels the Reds are at their peak the team can compete with anyone.