Grant Black enters his second year with the Grizzlies in 2019.
Black emerged as the club’s primary closer and became a true workhouse out of the bullpen over the second half of the season. He tossed 49 1/3 innings over 35 appearances (all in relief) and finished with a 4.37 ERA that still belied the effectiveness with which he pitched for significant stretches of the year. (He allowed runs in three of his last five appearances in 2018. His ERA was 3.40 on Aug. 19, only two weeks before the end of the season.)
Black struck out 63 (11.5 K/9) and walked only 21 last year. He also saved seven games, tied for the team high with since-traded Kevin Simmons, despite missing nearly a month (June 22-July 18) with a foot injury sustained just as he was finding a groove in an extended-innings stopper role out of the ‘pen.
Black, who will turn 25 on July 21, finished his collegiate career at NCAA Div. II Arkansas-Monticello in 2017, and played with the Puerto Rico Islanders of the Empire Professional Baseball League. As a senior at AUM, Black tossed 102 innings with a 5-6 record and a 4.59 ERA. He struck out 68 and walked 40 for the Weevils.
Black was recruited in football and baseball out of Newport (Ark.) High School — including holding an offer to play defensive end at Mississippi State — but tore his ACL in the fall of his senior year. Somehow, he returned to pitch that spring ... just four months after surgery. Black went on to pitch at Arkansas Baptist College (where he suffered an elbow injury that eventually lead to Tommy John surgery) and Northwest Mississippi Community College before settling at Arkansas-Monticello.
FRONTIER LEAGUE CAREER HIGHS (single-game)
Innings: 4 2/3, vs. Washington; June 12, 2018
Strikeouts: 6, vs. Normal; June 22, 2018