Looking Grimm

If we take a look at Justin Grimm’s spring training results, we immediately cringe at the thought of him starting an MLB game. He has to, though. Justin Grimm starts today vs. King Felix and the Mariners. I can tell you I’m less than thrilled about a Grimm start. I started this to make everyone feel better about it, but I’m not entirely sure I can. So we’ll just take a look at him, and see what we can decipher.

During Spring Training, Justin Grimm threw only 9.1 innings, recording two losses in four games. During those 9.1 innings, he gave up 15 hits, six walks, and 10 earned runs. He was sent back to minor league camp fairly quickly, as it was clear he needed more work. In 2012, Grimm gained some big league experience. 

In his major league debut he tossed 6 innings with 6 hits and just 3 earned runs. A solid outing. He finished the season with only 14 big league innings. In those 14 innings, he gave up 22 hits and 14 earned runs. The good thing about his MLB experience is his K/9 is 8.36. Even in Spring Training, he struck out nine in nine innings. He certainly has the stuff to make outs, he just doesn’t always have command of it.

Grimm’s minor league career is more impressive and is probably a better indication of his talent than the small sample of MLB experience he has. He has a minor league ERA of 3.07 in 281 innings pitched. His K/9 is lower in the minors at a 7.5. His AA and AAA stats in 2012 are vastly different, and suggests he might just need more time in the minors. He killed it in AA, with a 1.72 ERA, 7.59 K/9, and 1.5 BB/9. In AAA, his ERA inflated to a 4.59, K/9 lowered to 5.3. His one minor league start this season came in AAA, and he pitched 5.2 innings, giving up only 4 hits, 2 walks, and one run. If he can repeat that tonight against a less-than-threatening Seattle offense, I’ll be happy. While none of his numbers stand out as over-the-top, they are solid. Since the Rangers probably won’t keep him around for longer than Matt Harrison’s DL stint, he doesn’t need to be over-the-top. He just needs to be solid.

We can hope Justin Grimm pulls off what he did in his MLB debut. Seattle has a better offense than the Houston Astros (the team he faced in his debut), but nothing that scares pitchers. While it seems he probably needs another season in AAA, Grimm should be able to hold his own for at least 5 innings. He has the talent to do it. If he doesn’t? Well, let’s just say I’m glad the Rangers are facing Felix Hernandez. This way no matter what happens, we can just say, “Hey, King Felix was pitching. There was a good chance the Rangers would’ve lost no matter who was pitching, right?” Right.

Emily Cates is a Staff Writer for Shutdown Inning. You can reach her at Emily.Cates@ShutDownInning.com or on Twitter at @EmLikesBaseball.
Emily Cates

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