#25 - Dan Griffin
|Date of Birth: 09/29/1984||Position: P||Height: 6'7"||Weight: 225||Bats: R||Throws: R|
Acquired: Drafted in the 5th Round (#162 Overall) of the 2005 Draft
|Augusta - Low-A||5||5||4.46||16||16||0||72.2||78||44||36||7||33||78||.266||0.75|
The hopes were high for Griffin after 2005. He couldn't have done much more, leading Division-IA college baseball in strikeout rate, and then turning in an overall 1.99 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 49.2 innings in his professional debut. With a mid-90's fastball and a deceptive curve, it seemed that Griffin would be the next Giants pitcher to come down the pipe.
2006 had a different destiny in store.
On one hand, the title of ‘next Giants pitcher' was handed off to top 2006 pick Tim Lincecum, and rightfully so. On the other hand, Griffin struggled and then missed half the year in Augusta.
Not unusually for the Giants, little has been released regarding Griffin's injury. All that can be assumed comes from his performance. He appeared to be dealing with it much of the year, as he missed a cheduled start in mid-May, after what had been his worst start of the season. He came back and pitched strongly through June, highlighted by a complete 7-inning game in a double header on June 24th, but then allowed 8 runs in 1.2 IP on Independence Day, and he didn't pitch again in the season. No major surgeries have been reported on him, so it's expected he'll be ready to go in 2007.
What happened to his arm may not be as important as what happened in his games. His strikeout rate lowered, but was still a strong 78 strikeouts in 72.2 innings. His walk rate also jumped, 33 for the year, but that was not surprising, as he was known to have some control issues in college.
Perhaps what surprised the most about his ingame performances was how hittable he had become. He gave up more than a hit an inning (78), more than a third of them were extra-base hits. This means that the curveball that had been so deceptive in the Northwest League was not fooling hitters at all.
Hopefully, this was just a wakeup call for Griffin to not fly by on the two pitches. His two biggest weaknesses coming out of college were the lack of development on his changeup, and inconsistent mechanics. The latter probably led to whatever sidelined him, and will probably be fixed in rehab. The former is a big question. The Giants know how to teach the changeup, but first Griffin has to be willing to listen. Perhaps after being hit around so hard, he will.
The truth is that in retrospect, his 2006 numbers aren't as bad as they look. It's unknown if Griffin injured himself in that last game or went into it injured, but if you ignore that game, he had a very respectable 3.55 ERA. The troublesome walks and hits allowed are still there, but the performance improves greatly.
Griffin's 2007 is up in the air, mostly on the question about whether or not he's healthy. At 6'7, he's still got the physical tools to be a great power pitcher. And at 22, he's not old at all, even if he stays in Low-A. He's still got room to project in many facets of the game.A fair bet is that we'll see Griffin start 2007 back in Augusta, but he may be moved up if he performs well and stays healthy. It would not be surprising to see Griffin, who was in the Giants Top 10 Prospects (according to SFDugout.com) before the 2006 season, to return to that part of the list for next season.
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