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.
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.