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The Good Phight’s top 20 prospects: #7 - Griff McGarry

He’s your prospect with serious helium

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Sean Rayford/AP

We continue our countdown of top prospects here at The Good Phight, counting backwards from 20 to our top prospect.

Griff McGarry, RHP, 22 years old

Scouting report, via Fangraphs:

À la Dakota Chalmers, McGarry will show you three plus pitches (a mid-90s fastball, a slurve, and a nasty, tailing changeup) but he has 20- or 30-grade command. He walked a batter per inning at Virginia as a starter, but still sat about 95 mph while bending in plus-plus sliders and the occasional plus changeup. If McGarry can develop even 40-grade control, he’ll be an impact big league reliever, perhaps in a multi-inning capacity thanks to his repertoire depth. Though McGarry was, in essence, a senior sign (he was undrafted in 2020 as a true junior) and will be 22 during his first full season in pro ball, he has a long developmental runway because he only just signed, meaning his 40-man evaluation year isn’t until 2024. The Phillies could fast track him in the bullpen, or see if he can develop late like some other arms who have left Charlottesville have and remain a starter.

Jay: 5, Ethan: 7, Alex: 7

Ah, finally, here is the one that will be everyone’s favorite, everyone who loves doing prospect lists, their darling.

McGarry is the one, outside of two other prospects we haven’t gotten to yet, with the stuff on the mound that can strike out hitters by the bushel. The one with the Rapsodo numbers that data driven pitching programs would salivate over if they had an arm like this. He’s going to be the one watched very closely once the season starts to see if his control issues are improving.

Because there are issues.

From Matt Gelb’s recent profile on McGarry, he showed a lot of plusses....and some worrisome issues as well.

McGarry, who hired Scott Boras’ agency to represent him, struck out 43 and walked 14 in 24 1/3 innings after the Phillies signed him.

Those strikeout numbers. And those walk numbers.

The issue with McGarry, insomuch as it is an issue, is that he has so much tantalizing stuff that you can’t look away without dreaming of what he might be.

That’s the kind of stuff that is really hard to teach, making pitches move like that. McGarry is doing it prior to big league coaching. We’ve heard about the improvements he has been making and it starts to become obvious why teams would be inquiring on him. If he can get that stuff under control, there is the possibility they could have found a top of the rotation starter on the cheap.

At worst, McGarry looks like he could dominate as a reliever. There might be some sentiment that if he does take that leap this year with his command, maybe the Phillies take a look for themselves at the big league level. What that role might look like would be ultimately up to the team, but for now, there is no reason to take him out of the rotation. He’s clearly going to be the one the team looks at to help their minor league rotation(s), so they may as well see if he can help there. If he is showing that starting just isn’t in the cards, they can quickly shift him to the bullpen and let him air it out. Unless that need arises, however, the team would be wise to leave him where he’s at.