Garrett Tosses Shutout

Dayton lost the conclusion of a suspended game Wednesday but came back in the regular scheduled contest to cruise to a shutout win. Former St. John’s hoopster Amir Garrett delivered a dominant performance on the mound by striking out a dozen in the seven-inning contest.

Dayton had kind of a double header on Wednesday. They finished a suspended game from Tuesday night at Lake County before coming back for the regularly scheduled contest. The result was a split as the final score of the first game was an 8-9 loss before the Dragons came back and won the second one 6-0 in seven innings.

The suspended game was a wild won as Dayton overcame a six-run deficit to tie it in the eighth only to allow the game winner in the bottom of the ninth. Jamodrick McGruder did his job leading off by reaching with two hits and two walks. Three other Dragons, Phil Ervin, Joe Ortiz, and Nick Benedetto also contributed two hits each to their attack. On the mound first round selection Nick Howard made his first professional start and got no decision for allowing two runs before he was lifted in the third inning. Radhames Quezada threw a scoreless eighth, but walked the first two hitters in the ninth before making a throwing error on a bunt to allow the game-winner on an unearned run that cost him the loss.

Things went better for the Dragons in the nightcap as they took a first inning lead, blew the game open with five in the third, and cruised to the win. Alex Blandino led off the game with a double and scored on a sac fly. Tromp, Jonathan Reynoso, and Blandino led off the third with singles to load the bases before they were cleared by an RBI groundout and three-run homer by Robert Ramirez. Ervin manufactured another run before the end of the inning by singling, stealing second with an advance to third on an error, and a sac fly.

Blandino, Tromp, and Reynoso led the offense in the second game by contributing two hits each. On the mound Amir Garrett started and finished the affair with a dominant performance. The southpaw limited the Captains to three hits/one walk while striking out twelve over seven shutout innings. The win took his record over .500 to 7-6 and lowered his ERA to 3.22 on the season.

Perhaps his success will influence Garrett to play baseball full time. He left St. John’s this past spring after coming off their bench as a backup swingman on their basketball team for two seasons. However, he did leave the door open to completing his eligibility on the hardwood by transferring to California-Northridge. Should he forego that it would likely make the Reds happy to spend more time in the offseason working with the 22 year-old youngster and his mid-90’s fastball.

Garrett delivers the ball from a tall, lanky basketball physique (6’5”/210#) and generates extra torque with a long wingspan. The lefty’s frame may one day remind Reds fans of Aroldis Chapman. Though Garrett brings good heat, he can’t reach triple digits, but then again a pitcher doesn’t necessarily have to strike out over 50% of batters faced like the Cuban Missile has done thus far this season to have a good career.

But then again, expectations would be to see a generous amount of punch-outs while Garrett is on the mound. His dozen K’s Wednesday brings his total to 113 this season which almost matches his 120 innings pitched. Of course the normal question for a young power pitcher is how good is control? Garrett has made strides this season and driven his walk rate down to 3.2 per nine innings. That number should go down and he improves delivery consistency.

Though it’s his second season at Dayton, he’s still not at a bad age for the Midwest League, especially considering that his focus has been split between two sports. Garrett started out with a solid season at Billings in 2013, but got roughed up with an ERA of almost seven in eight appearances after a promotion to low-A.

Now he’s cut that ernie in half and showing that he’s ready for the next step up the ladder. Cincinnati will probably expect him to depart for the next hoops season until he sends a different message. In the meantime they’ll spend every opportunity available to develop this young prospect’s skills on the mound in hopes of getting a nice return on the million dollar investment they used to ink him after his selection in the 2011 22nd round. Though it would be difficult to find a prospect with scarcer baseball experience on his resume before signing, it’s year three in the Cincinnati organization and the potential upside is still shining brightly for Amir Garrett.

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