Once upon a time, Amir Garrett was a top 100 recruit who signed to play with Steve Lavin at St. John’s before transferring to Cal State Northridge.
At the same time, though, Garrett was warming up his pro baseball career after being taken in the 22nd round by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2011 first-year player draft.
As a basketball recruit, the 6-foot-5 small forward was praised by ESPN.com for his energy, athleticism and length.
Baseball America, meanwhile, had Garrett on its list of the top 200 prospects for the 2011 MLB first-year player draft after the left-hander threw in the low to mid-90s for a group of scouts.
Garrett was academically ineligible for the first semester as a freshman at St. John’s, but came back after the semester break to average 7.4 points, four rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals in 26.9 minutes per game for the Red Storm in 2011-12.
In 2012-13, his playing time dipped to 20.1 minutes a game and he averaged 5.4 points and 4.3 rebounds, prompting his transfer to Cal State Northridge, where he sat out last season as a redshirt.
On the diamond, Garrett pitched at two different Rookie levels in 2012, posting an 0-2 record with a 4.05 ERA and 1.550 WHIP in nine games, seven starts, covering 20 innings.
In 2013, he was 1-1 with a 2.66 ERA and 1.352 WHIP in five starts and 23.2 innings for Rookie-level Billings before going 1-3 with a 6.88 ERA and 1.647 WHIP in eight starts and 34 innings at Class-A Dayton.
Garrett said earlier this month that he is done with basketball and he’s having a breakout year on the mound, beginning to live up to the $1 million bonus he received when he signed with Cincinnati in 2011.
He’s 7-6 for Dayton this season with a 3.22 ERA and 1.197 WHIP in 24 starts and 120.1 innings, with 113 strikeouts.
Garrett is also working on a stretch of 17 straight innings over three starts in August without giving up a run, winning all three.
In wins over South Bend, Great Lakes and Lake County this month, Garrett has allowed seven hits and three walks with 21 strikeouts. That’s a WHIP of 0.588 and opposing hitters are putting up a slash line of .125/.169/.196.
He hasn’t allowed more than two runs in a start since June 24, going 5-2 with a 1.49 ERA and 0.807 WHIP in nine starts and 48.1 innings over that span.
It looks like Garrett might have made the right choice.