The St. Louis Cardinals made a good choice picking right-handed pitcher Michael McGreevy with their first pick.
When the St. Louis Cardinals selected right-handed pitcher Michael McGreevy with the 18th pick of the 2021 draft, I was somewhat disappointed. I thought pitchers Ty Madden or Jordan Wicks would have been better choices. But as I looked deeper into McGreevy’s stats, the more I liked the pick.
I wanted the Cardinals to take a pitcher, as the pitching pipeline has dried up a bit in the minors for the Cardinals recently. The team stayed true to its usual draft strategy with pitchers, taking a college player with a high floor.
McGreevy, a 21-year-old from UC Santa Barbara, pitched out of the bullpen in his freshman year of college in 2019 and received a First Team All-Big West award. His 2020 season was a wash, as was pretty much everyone’s because of the pandemic, but he didn’t lose anything in 2021 and actually found another gear.
McGreevy’s 2021 stats include an 8-1 record, a 2.94 ERA and an astonishing K/BB ratio of 104 strikeouts to 10 walks in 88.2 innings. His bullpen stats in 2019 were good but not eye-popping, so he didn’t garner serious top-of-the-draft attention until this season.
If you haven’t guessed from looking at his stats, McGreevy possesses elite control. But he really took a leap forward with his strikeout ability and stuff in 2021, adding a few miles per hour to his fastball and improving his secondary pitches.
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McGreevy’s top comparison is Cleveland Indians ace Shane Bieber, who came out of the same college as McGreevy and also had outstanding command. According to Fangraphs, McGreevy was likely knocked down a few pegs because the sinker, a pitch that many sabermetrically inclined analysts look down on, is one of his primary weapons.
McGreevy likely won’t be a huge strikeout guy during his career, but if the Cardinals are able to keep a strong defense, he should be able to induce many ground balls and let the fielders do the rest.
McGreevy fits the Cardinals’ needs, not just as a pitcher, but as a control-oriented one. As fans know all too well, the Cardinals are having horrific control woes in 2021, and while McGreevy won’t arrive in the majors for a few years at least, a pitcher with elite control in the farm system is never a bad thing.
Although McGreevy would fit perfectly into the Cardinals plans right now, he obviously needs a while to develop and become a finished product. I think the Cardinals were able to balance a position of need while also taking one of the best players available. McGreevy has the build and the repertoire to stay in the rotation, and I’m excited to see what he can bring to the system.