By Patrick Despain
With the injuries to the Texas Rangers pitching staff, the starter for tonight’s game against the Houston Astros, is 23 year old, right-hander Justin Grimm. Grimm was a 5th round draft pick by Texas in the 2010 amateur draft, out of the University of Georgia. The report on Justin coming out of college, was that he possessed a “plus” fastball, power curve, average change-up, but had control issues.
Last year, splitting time between Hickory and Myrtle Beach, Grimm performed well, with a 7-3 record, an ERA of 3.39, and a strikeout per 9 (SO/9) of 8.1. He did have control issues at times, with a walk rate of 3.1 per 9 innings, but not enough to be a huge concern. Grimm did give up quite a few hits in his first year averaging 8.3 per nine innings, but overall a solid year.
In 2012, the Rangers started Grimm off at AA Frisco, where he has continued to improve by going 8-3, with a 1.87 ERA. More impressive is his BB/9 is down to 1.6, and his SO/9 is still high, at 7.8. That’s only 14 walks and 67 strikeouts in 77 innings.
What does this all mean for tonight? Nothing. Grimm is facing Major League hitters for the first time, and that is tall order for a 23 year-old, who has never pitched above the AA level. However, baseball is a funny game and anything can happen. If he can give the Ranger’s 5 innings tonight, and just keep them in the game, that would be very impressive.
After the pitching staff gets healthy again, you’d expect Grimm to be sent back down, but I would expect the Rangers to option him to Round Rock. If that is, in fact the case. You could see the Rangers outright release someone like Zach Jackson, who is a 29 year-old lefty who can seem to get anybody out this year.
I’m excited to see Grimm pitch in a Ranger uniform tonight. We could see the first outing in “the show” for a future Ranger starter.