Friendly Rivalry Pushes Rangers' Grimm, Loux
As draft stock goes, not many teams were buying Justin Grimm after doubts were raised by his junior season with Georgia. One team bought into Barret Loux but never saw any return on its investment.
But the Rangers have seen their high-risk investments in Grimm and Loux pay dividends so far this season, as the two 23-year-old righthanders opened at Double-A Frisco with a combined 13-1 record.
Grimm, the Rangers' fifth-round pick in 2010, had to address mechanical issues that plagued him ahead of the draft. He has also developed a changeup and taken a more businesslike approach to his chosen profession.
"You start to show up to the field every day to work, and you go in with the attitude of, 'What can I do today to get better?' " said Grimm, who was 6-3, 2.34 with 45 strikeouts and 11 walks in 50 innings. "It's not just picking up a ball anymore like it was in college."
Loux's draft stock didn't fall in 2010, as he was selected sixth overall by the Diamondbacks, but he never signed after failing his physical. Shoulder and elbow concerns eventually led to him becoming a free agent, and the Rangers scooped him up later in the year.
The native Texan, who went to Texas A&M, didn't have any physical issues in his first full season in 2011 and was the best pitcher in the Texas League through the first six weeks this season as the first pitcher at any level to reach seven victories, going 7-0, 2.37.
The Rangers have kept him busy in the weight room to help keep him on the mound.
"We have a pretty extensive shoulder strengthening program with all our pitchers, but we are a little more aggressive with Barret," director of minor league operations Jake Krug said. "He will do some extra stretching both pregame and postgame, and extra shoulder strengthening in between starts."
If either needs a little extra motivation, they get it in a friendly competition that has developed between the two.
"We both know what we can do," Grimm said. "We're trying to learn from each other. We're roommates on the road and lived together in spring training. It's not like we're avoiding each other."
• Frisco shortstop Jurickson Profar reeled off a 29-game hitting streak, the longest in baseball this year, before it was snapped May 20. Profar wasn't down long, as he homered the next day and raised his average to an even .300.
• While not as long as Profar's, Triple-A Round Rock second baseman Yangervis Solarte had a club-record 22-game hitting streak snapped May 12. He batted .361 during the run, which was the longest in the Pacific Coast League this season.