Yesterday the Cubs traded Matt Garza to the Rangers for a package of prospects that included Mike Olt, CJ Edwards, Justin Grimm and at least one, but maybe two players to be named later. We already wrote about Mike Olt last night. Earlier today we covered CJ Edwards and now it's Justin Grimm.
Grimm is a 6-3, 200 pound right handed starting pitcher. He was drafted out of the University of Georgia in the 5th round of the 2010 draft. He was the 109th ranked prospect just prior to the 2010 draft and signed over slot for a 5th round pick. He'll turn 25 years on August 16th. Despite being the Friday starter for the Bulldogs and having impressive stuff, the results results weren't there.
Grimm has many of the ingredients scouts look for in a college pitcher. He has a pitcher's body at 6-foot-4, 193 pounds; he's quick-armed and athletic; he has big-conference experience and was Georgia's Friday starter this season; and he touches 95 mph regularly with his fastball. The bad news: Grimm had a career 5.80 ERA over nearly 180 innings, and some scouts consider him much the same pitcher after three years at Georgia as he was in 2007, when he was a 13th-round pick of the Red Sox out of high school in Virginia. Grimm has above-average fastball velocity at 90-94 mph, but the pitch lacks life and command thanks to poor mechanics. He rushes through his delivery, leaving his pitches up in the strike zone. He's vulnerable to home runs because he finishes too upright and doesn't drive the ball downhill. Scouts do consider the flaws to be correctable. He has a sharp curveball that at times grades out as an above-average pitch, but he wasn't ahead of hitters enough to use it as a strikeout pitch this spring. Grimm's changeup remains his third-best pitch. He competed well this season despite Georgia's disappointing year, even pitching in midweek in relief to sew up a victory against Georgia State, then pitching a career-best eight innings in his final start, beating Kentucky. He's still expected to go in the first four rounds despite his career 6-12 record.
His fastball averages 91.4 mph this year, but he can still get it up there in the 93 to 96 range.
In the minor leagues, Grimm struckout 20.2% of the batters he faced over 280.1 innings. He walked only 6.9%. In 103 MLB innings, he's struckout 17.2% and walked 7.2%. Because of this, his ugly 6+ ERA is not exactly representative of the quality he's shown so far.
His FIP is a better 4.79, which is still 12% worse than league average. Over 13% of the fly balls he's allowed have left the yard. His xFIP is a 4.11, which is basically league average (102 xFIP-). SIERA tends to agree with the FIP/xFIP, but tERA does not.
Grimm keeps the ball on the ground, but has given up a lot of line drives in his young career.
His strikeout rate is more than acceptable and if his walk remains as good as it's been, Grimm is definitely a starting pitcher. He won't be a top of the rotation starter or anything, but he can provide real value to the Cubs.
He'll be in AAA for a bit, but we should see him in a Cubs uniform no later than when rosters expand on September 1st. He has the potential to be a mid-rotation starter, but if that doesn't work out, he should put together a decent career in the bullpen.
His strikeout and walk rates in the minor leagues are fairly similar to Travis Wood (22%, 9% vs 20%, 7%), but Grimm has more velocity.