The Pittsburgh Pirates have drafted right-handed pitcher Seth McGarry from Florida Atlantic in the eighth round. McGarry sounds like an interesting relief pitching prospect. He’s on the small side, at 6′ 1″, 180 pounds, but has some impressive stuff. He sits in the mid-90s and touches 97, with late movement that fools opponents.
His fastball might be the best that the Pirates have drafted so far in this draft, but he doesn’t have a good secondary pitch. McGarry throws a curve and a changeup, but neither is an out pitch, with the curve being fringe average and the change needing work. He has been compared to former teammate R.J. Alvarez, who made it through the minors quickly and was in the majors two years after being drafted. McGarry is seen as a guy who could be on a similar fast track.
All of that depends on how quickly the Pirates move him. Typically they like to develop their best arms as starters, and eventually move them to the bullpen when that doesn’t work out. However, a few factors could change this approach with McGarry. For one, they don’t have a lot of available rotation spots, especially next year when he’s moving up to West Virginia or Bradenton. Also, McGarry has never thrown more than 37 innings in a season, and only has 58.1 innings in his three-year career, so he might not be able to handle the starter role.
He will need to develop an out pitch, which might be able to come with a switch to a new breaking pitch. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him move if the fastball is as good as advertised and if he can command it, since those are the key traits the Pirates look to develop when they keep guys in the lower levels.