Red Sox pitching prospect Daniel McGrath deserves a shot in 2020
The Boston Red Sox released part of their 60-man roster for the 2020 regular season. What they posted on Twitter had 47 players on it. So far, so good. However, there are some obvious omissions. The one most people will notice is probably catcher Jonathan Lucroy. However, there are some others too.
As far as the hitters go, outfielder Marcus Wilson is a weird one to be missing. Jarren Duran should have been on there as well. Meanwhile, Chad De La Guerra would have been a great addition in the infield. Then you get to the pitchers. And there were a lot of players I loved to see on there. Kyle Hart definitely deserves a look. There were some players conspicuous by their absences though.
Everyone should be familiar with my love for Yoan Aybar, so him not being on the roster at the moment was upsetting to me.
Then there’s Daniel McGrath. It really should not surprise anyone that McGrath didn’t make the roster though. Not because the Australian doesn’t deserve to be there (he definitely does), but because he’s been overlooked plenty in his career already.
I’ll admit it, I was doing a lot of it before last season too. And that’s not fair to someone who has been in the Red Sox organization since 2013. Not only that, but the left-handed pitcher has been good. Outside of 2017 (4.98 ERA), McGrath never boasted an ERA higher than 4.11. That included a strong 3.63 in 2018.
So why wasn’t he getting any love? There’s no proper answer for that. But McGrath forced people to notice in 2019.
In 27 appearances (15 starts) for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs last season, McGrath posted 1.68 ERA. That was accompanied by a minuscule .184 BAA and 1.04 WHIP. Meanwhile, he had 113 strikeouts in 112 1/3 innings.
Yes, he struggled a bit in Triple-A posting a 5.23 ERA, .351 BAA and 1.65 WHIP in 10 1/3 innings. But the numbers overall were still incredible. And you could easily attribute that to needing to get acclimated to the new level.
Now, what about the pitches?
McGrath doesn’t throw hard, which is probably a part of the reason he gets no hype. The lefty tends to sit just under 90 MPH with his fastball. And there isn’t much to say about it, but it was creating a lot of weak contact in 2019.
He has a curveball that’s inconsistent, but when it’s on it’s a very solid pitch. Sitting in the mid-70s, it’s a solid extra pitch to switch things up and keep hitters on their toes.
The changeup also sits in the mid-70s. This is a much better pitch than the curveball though. McGrath has a better feel for it. And with a similar arm motion/speed to his fastball, it confuses hitters. Add in the dip that it has and this is a solid pitch.
Finally, there’s a slider that I don’t think gets enough credit. It hovers around 80 MPH with a strong cut to it. McGrath has good control of the pitch. Meaning, he can throw it for strikes – or have it go through the zone, ending up out of it, causing hitters to swing at bad pitches.
So what do you see there? Four pitches that might not be elite-level, but that he can use in the Majors.
With all that in mind, let me throw this at you.
A 25-year-old left-handed pitcher (to be fair he turns 26 on July 7). He has four decent-at-worst pitches with one-or-two above average. Meanwhile, he’s shown he can work well as a starter and out of the bullpen.
Oh, and he had a 1.98 ERA between 122 2/3 innings in Double-A and Triple-A in 2019.
That sounds like someone that should be on a radar right?
Well as of right now, he’s not on the Red Sox roster. And that’s just ridiculous. We’re talking a left-handed pitcher well under 30 with an impressive minor league resume. And he has an Australian accent. What are there, maybe one or two other people like that in the entire Major Leagues? How could the Red Sox not jump on that opportunity?
Seriously though, McGrath has earned his flowers. And Boston needs help in the pitching department. Now seems like just as good of a time (if not better) than ever for the Boston Red Sox to give Daniel McGrath a serious look. Let’s see what he’s got. My money is on him turning some heads.