D-backs rookie Stone Garrett’s desperation to keep playing has led to power surge

Aug 20, 2022, 5:41 PM | Updated: 5:51 pm

PHOENIX — Stone Garrett spent six seasons riding the bus to various small minor league towns without hitting too many home runs and never advancing past Triple-A.

During those six years playing in the Miami Marlins organization, the 26-year-old Garret hit a total of 41 home runs. He also had four seasons in which his slugging percentage was below .400.

After being released by the Marlins in 2020 — a now well-documented exchange with Dan Budreika, who had been a video coordinator with the Marlins — on the professional social network LinkedIn, Garret eventually signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

And since joining the D-backs organization, Garrett has become a new player. In two seasons in Arizona’s farm system, he hit 53 home runs. In 105 games between Double-A Amarillo and Triple-A Reno last season, he slugged .510. In 103 games this season in Reno, he slugged a whopping .568.

The outfielder’s scorching power since joining the D-backs organization led to a call to the big leagues on Aug. 17. And while he has not yet hit a home run in three games in the majors, he already has seven extra-base hits (four doubles, three triples) in 12 at-bats.

Garrett explained on Saturday why he has had such a power surge since being in Arizona’s system.

“Last year, we were in Frisco,” Garrett said. “And the hitting coaches suggested maybe finishing with two hands. So we went there and I had two homers that series. So it’s kind of like (an) instantaneous results when I started finishing with two hands.

“And the Diamondbacks when I came in last year in spring training, they were very vocal about me if I wanted to stay here, I had to do damage at the plate. And I just got that in my head and it was a do or die situation.”

Garrett stands at 6-foot-2 and told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Friday that he is around 220 pounds. With Garrett’s size, D-backs hitting coach Joe Mather said on Saturday that he thinks the “power was in there somewhere” when Garrett was in Miami.

Mather went on to echo Garrett, saying he thinks the drive to keep playing is a reason for the power increase.

“He was almost out of the game,” Mather said. “I think in his mind, there was a slim chance of him coming back. I think when that happens, if you get that opportunity, you probably dive pretty deep into yourself and where you need to make adjustments. And I know on some level he did that. I don’t know how deep it was. I’m guessing it was pretty deep.”

As for Garrett’s MLB future, Mather believes the corner outfielder can have a long career.

“Yeah, absolutely,” Mather said. “I think one of the quotes with (D-backs prospect) Corbin Caroll the other day was, ‘If you’re ready, doesn’t matter how old you are.’ And I think that makes sense going both ways.”

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