Skip to main content

From The Longview News Journal:

Marshall pitching phenom Griffin giving up baseball


Friday, July 28, 2006

Former Marshall High School pitching phenom Colt Griffin is retiring from professional baseball rather than continuing his comeback from major shoulder surgery this past winter.

The No. 1 pick of the Kansas City Royals and ninth overall player selected in Major League Baseball's 2001 Amateur June Draft, Griffin had a series on outgoing injuries which culminated last August and necessitated in undergoing rotator-cuff surgery in the off-season. The 23-year-old right-hander was pitching for the Royals' AA Wichita (Kan.) minor league club in 2005.

Griffin (6-4, 200) appeared in 37 games last season for the Wranglers, pitching 56 innings out of the bullpen with a 4.02 earned run average. He had given up 45 hits, with 25 earned runs, struck out 36 batters and walked 44. His record included one win, one loss and one save.

"Colt tried everything he could this spring to bounce back," said Royals senior director of minor-league operations Shaun McGinn in Wednesday's online edition of The Kansas City Star. "But his fastball and his velocity just weren't coming back. He started making hints that he was leaning toward retiring during the spring, and then he just wanted to try going another direction with his life other than baseball."

Griffin's career, however, has been plagued by control issues. In 373 minor-league innings, he walked 272 batters, hit 44 batters and threw 82 wild pitches, including a league-high 23 in 2003 at Class A Burlington (Iowa). He had 271 career strikeouts.

He did start 27 games in 2003, where he struck out 107 and walked 97 in 149 2/3 innings with a 3.92 ERA while compiling a record of 9-11. The next season — 2004 — the Royals' organization moved Griffin to the bullpen.

In high school, Griffin had been clocked by major league scouts topping 100 miles per hour on the radar gun. He recorded a pitch of 101 mph while pitching a game for Marshall against Lufkin on April 4, 2001; he had 15 strikeouts in that game.

Griffin was named all-state in Class 5A as a senior, where he was 8-2 with 113 strikeouts in 65 innings of work at Marshall. He issued 38 walks and gave up just 24 hits while compiling a 1.21 ERA. He also batted .355, with seven home runs and 42 runs-batted-in.

When Griffin signed with the Royals he received a $2.4 million signing bonus.
Steve Shore
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

The "Colt Griffin" story is really fasincating.

This kid did not even pitch in HS until his senior year. He was an outfielder with a "big" arm who decided to give pitching a try after alot of encouragement by coaches. He literally came out of nowhere.

I saw him pitch against our high school during his senior year. I have never seen so many scouts and radar guns in one HS stadium in my life. You could have lit up the bleachers with the LED readouts from all the radar guns. I guess this was about normal for a future early #1 pick.

Anyway, I was able to stand right behind the backstop directly behind home plate. I will never forget the velocity I saw that night. If anyone thinks there is not much difference between a 100 mph fastball and a 93-95 mph fastball you are dead wrong. You literally had a hard time seeing the ball. The young HS batters had no chance and to make it worse for them he was a little wild. I would not have wanted to stand in the batters box against him.

This is also a classic example of MLB fasication with velocity over pitching ability. The kid was obviously very raw with alot of mechanical flaws. However it is assumed you can teach a kid to "pitch" but you can't teach him how to throw 100+ mph.

Good luck to the kid in his future endeavors.
Last edited by crawdad
Originally posted by crawdad:
This is also a classic example of MLB fasication with velocity over pitching ability. The kid was obviously very raw with alot of mechanical flaws. However it is assumed you can teach a kid to "pitch" but you can't teach him how to throw 100+ mph.

Good luck to the kid in his future endeavors.

They seemingly forget that no matter how hard you throw, it is useless if you can't pitch. And as you pointed out, teaching pitching is far more difficult than most assume. And some kids just can't be taught pitching. Just as some kids just can't throw 95+.
Just more evidence that you don't have to throw in the '90's to get people out. You would think Greg Maddux's career is proof enough, but the scouts are in love with the radar gun. I guess it is easier to read a gun than evaluate a pitcher's heart, stuff, and brains.

No worries for Colt Griffin - he got rich simply by throwing hard in a few high school games! If he is wise with his money, he is set for life.
I remember the year that Colt Griffin came out of nowhere to catch the eye of the scouts. That same year there was another Texas player high on the MLB draft list, Zack Segovia. It was rumored that Colt was a thrower while Zack a true pitcher. I never had a chance to see Griffin but saw Segovia many times. He was typically 94-95 on his fastball but with pinpoint accuracy. He had a mean slider too. The only knock I ever heard was he needed to develop an off speed pitch. I notice Zack is still pitching and evidently doing well in the minors. Like others have said, learn to pitch first, velocity though nice is secondary to pitching.
It's not just MLB scouts that are fascinated with velocity. Most high school AND summer coaches are the same way. I am unsure if you can blame them though, most spectators are the same way, which I am one. I think if you ask most coaches, 95% say the same thing, the more velocity the better(obviously). I personally think there is a difference between a thrower and a pitcher though. This is coming from a dad, whose son is not overpowering, so my opinion is a little skewed to say the least.

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.