By Alan Eskew
August 8, 2001
KANSAS CITY, Mo.–Colt Griffin slipped into a Kansas City Royals’ No 45 uniform top Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium after agreeing to a $2.4 million signing bonus–equalling the second largest paid to date.
Griffin, the Royals’ first-round pick and the ninth overall selection, was scheduled to report to Spokane (Wash) August 9, the Royals’ Short-Season Class A club in the Northwest League.
“He has as good an arm as I’ve ever seen in the amateurs,” said Royals scouting director Deric Ladnier. “His number is going to be 45. You guys can figure that out.”
Colt 45, with 100 miles per hour fastball at Marshall (Texas) High School.
“I wore 21 in high school, but 45 sounds a little better,” Griffin said.
After negotiating for two months, there was a break through over the weekend, leading to the signing.
“It had gotten to the point that we needed to push forward,” said Griffin’s agent Brian Peters. “The family said the same thing, ‘Let’s see if we can get this deal done.’ The family moved off their demands and the Royals moved off of theirs. There was some positioning taking place. There were concessions by both sides.
“No question about it that it was time to get it done. My firm is about getting guys out, not taking it to the next level (of negotiations). He’s got the second highest bonus in draft of the players signed so far.”
Ladnier said Griffin would throw five bullpen sessions in Spokane and maybe a couple of starts.
“He’ll make one or two starts before the season ends on a very minimal pitch count, probably 35 pitches, for one or two innings,” Ladnier said. “Then he’ll come to the (fall) Instructional League ready to go.”
Area scout Gerald Turner, who saw Griffin pitch six times last season, said while he can throw 95-98, he has “better movement when he’s throwing 91-94.” Turner said Griffin also throws a power slider and changeup.
“He only throws a four-seam fastball right now, but when he gets into player development he will throw a two-seamer and break a lot of bats,” Turner said. “He has a chance to have three-plus pitches in the majors.”
Griffin, a 6-4, 220-pound, 18-year-old right-hander, was 8-2,1.40 ERA with one save in 13 games (nine complete) with Marshall. In 65 innings, he allowed 22 hits, walked 39 and struck out 113.
“I was born with it (a strong arm),” Griffin said. “I didn’t learn it that quick. I’m laid back off the field, but I’ll do anything to win.”
Griffin has been pitching for only a year. He played first base and center field primarily last year for Marshall. When his fastball hit 96 in his second start this year for Marshall, scouts began flocking to his games.
He does not mind throwing inside to intimidate hitters.
“I’ve hit a few,” Griffin said. “They’ll be all right.”