VMI baseball SID Brad Salois recently sat down with Reed Garrett, former Keydet pitcher drafted last season by the Texas Rangers. Garrett pitched last season for the Spokane Indians, the Rangers' short-season A ball affiliate, and is now back at VMI working toward his degree before resuming baseball pursuits next spring.
Q: First off, with the offseason now having been in full swing for a couple of months, what has your schedule been like recently?
My schedule was crazy at first. We ended our last game on Thursday night, got back to my host house, packed all my stuff up, got on a plane at 7 AM Friday morning, touched down in Richmond at 8 PM, packed all my stuff up for school, and then got to VMI on Saturday afternoon. Lately, I have been spending my time in class and working to get my degree and working out with Coby (Cowgill, former VMI pitcher now in the San Diego system). It has been nice being able having someone going through the same situation.
Q: Tell me about Spokane - I know the Indians have a sterling reputation in the minor league community, in terms of facilities, community involvement and fan support.
Spokane was awesome. We averaged over 5,000 fans at our home games and they were very interested in our success as a team. Our team really played great baseball, winning the first half and getting a post season berth with a majority of first-year guys. We also had some great opportunities for community involvement. We had several camps for the kids, I went to the Children's Hospital with some of the other guys twice, and we were able to reach out and give back to the community on several occasions.
Q: Talk to me about your first season as a whole. What did you feel went well, where can you improve, etc.
I was extremely lucky to have the first year experience I did. I was part of the starting rotation upon my arrival. I got nine starts as well as six appearances out of the bullpen. I was moved there at the end of July due to the amount of innings I had thrown. It was cool to experience both aspects of pitching. I was able to get six wins and only one loss, but there were things that I found that I need to work on. First pitch strikes is huge in the game and I struggled with that at times. Also, just fine tuning my mechanics to be able to be more repetitive are the two main points I will focus on this off season in preparation for spring training.
Q: Tell us about one of two well-known prospects you might have faced…Who has really impressed you and why? Did you face Barreto or Pentecost from the Toronto organization? I know you started your career against Trea Turner, San Diego's first round pick last year.
Franklin Barreto from the Blue Jays organization was one of the better players I faced this summer. He is an all-around good ball player, plays defense well, is an offensive threat and he has speed. Definitely a tough guy to pitch to.
Q: You had a couple of highly regarded prospects on your own team this year, Jose Trevino and Josh Morgan. Give us a scouting report on them.
Jose and Josh are two very good players. Both play the game extremely hard and the right way. They are there early working to get better, both are clutch players, and definitely great teammates. They are there to pick you up when things don't go well and also are the first to congratulate you when you do well.
Q: One of your teammates this year was Andrew Barnett, the former Gardner-Webb pitcher. Was that strange to be teammates just two months after playing in a Big South series?
I thought it was cool to be with someone that you had played against. I also had Adam Parks, a pitcher from Liberty, on the team too. It was nice to have guys that you've played against there, just so you had some guys to talk to and get to know.
Q: Out in the baseball world, what is the reaction when people learn you’re from VMI? Positive, negative, indifferent?
Most people think it is cool. I had a teammate from Army this summer and we would just joke about how much harder VMI is than West Point. Most wonder if I have to serve time in the military or what VMI is like.
Q: Any stories, amusing tales, etc from the pro game that you want to share?
We were part of the greatest game of this year and it might possibly be one of the best performances in minor league history. As a team we completed an 11-inning no-hitter. That was the craziest thing I have been apart in my career.
Q: What has VMI come to mean to you?
VMI has meant a lot to me throughout this experience. Before I left for Spokane, I was playing summer ball in Corvalis, Oregon and there was an alumnus who came to watch us play. Out in Spokane, I was pitching against Vancouver on July 27 and after I finished pitching our trainer passed me this scorecard that had VMI written on it. I was wondering who had written on that. After we shook hands after the win, there were two guys calling me over to them and they were both alumni. They invited me over for dinner a few times and came back out to watch me pitch a few more times. It was awesome to see the support of the Institute all across the nation. VMI holds a very special place in my life and so do the people who come from here.