Name: Christopher R. Gruler
Date of Birth: September 11, 1983
Weight: 200 lbs.
Position: starting pitcher
Team: GCL Reds
Draft: 1st round (#3 overall) by Cincinnati Reds in 2002 amateur draft
School: Liberty Union H.S. (California)
How Acquired: 2002 amateur draft
Bio: After signing for a franchise-record 2.5 million dollars, Chris Gruler was on the road to stardom. Johnny Bench was quoted as saying that Gruler's curveball was better than Tom Seaver's. Some have since then said that Gruler was the organization's top choice because of signability, but the organization maintained otherwise. Meanwhile, the Reds took plenty of heat for drafting Gruler over the likes of Scott Kazmir, Prince Fielder, and many others, and four years later, it all appears to be justified.
In high school, Gruler was throwing 89-95 MPH and receiving great reviews on his baseball makeup, arm strength, and work ethic. In the Pioneer League in 2002, he was dominant, and it didn't take long for a promotion to A-ball. He struggled a bit, but adversity was to be expected for an 18-year-old in A-ball. However, in 2003, after a bout with arm weakness and disastrous performance, he was put on an arm strengthening program. The program never panned out, and Gruler had to resort to major arthroscopic surgery. Less than a year after the draft, some were already calling the pick a bust. It has since been revealed that Chris Gruler had a frayed rotator cuff at draft time, and the Reds drafted "damaged goods".
But 2004 was a new year for Gruler and reason for optimism. His fastball had reportedly been getting as high as 88 MPH, and the command of his changeup was better than ever. Although his control and velocity were reasons for concern, it helped him with his secondary pitches and taught him how to "pitch". But again, injuries couldn't be avoided as he had problems with a straned oblique muscle followed by undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Unfortunately, 2005 was more of the same as he had another shoulder surgery to clean out and loosen the shoulder joint. Professionally, he didn't pitch in a single game.
2006 Stats:Code:W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO 2 4 5.20 23 21 0 0 0 79.2 69 53 46 3 51 63
The future isn't bright for Chris Gruler, but the door hasn't officially shut on him yet. He's off to a good start for the GCL Reds (for whatever that's worth), and he's still young (22 years old). Only time will tell how big of a bust this highly-touted draft pick is, if at all.Code:Team W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO Gulf Coast League Reds 0 0 0.00 1 1 0 0 0 0.0 1 0 0 0 2 3