Who does Michael McGreevy compare to?
The Michael McGreevy experience is likely to resemble the Dakota Hudson experience. Hudson, like McGreevy, struggled to generate strikeouts. Unlike McGreevy, Hudson exhibited subpar control. He issues too many base hits and too many walks. However, for a while, Hudson was a viable major-league pitcher. His lifetime ERA of 3.84 suggests that, with a really good defense behind him, he's still capable of producing serviceable results. It should also be noted that people too quickly forget the good days of Dakota Hudson's career.
As a rookie in 2019, Hudson started 32 games and recorded 174.1 innings of 3.35 ERA baseball. It wasn't pretty, but he got the job done. Across his career, Hudson has outperformed his FIP by nearly a full point. Is he lucky? Or does he just pitch in a way that's difficult to properly quantify using FIP? Hopefully, McGreevy will find a similar sneaky success.
He has a few things working in his favor though. He's better than Hudson at eliciting whiffs. His slider is better than any of Hudson's secondary pitches were. He also, as previously stated, possesses far better control. McGreevy won't issue a ton of free passes the way Hudson did. Lastly, McGreevy has just a bit more velocity. It's that velocity that MLB Pipeline's evaluators believe is key. They explain, "Much will come down to McGreevy’s velocity. If he can squeeze out an extra half or even full grade on his sinker, then the reality of him becoming a strike-throwing No. 4 starter comes into clearer view." Thus, McGreevy's ceiling likely resembles the best of Dakota Hudson.
He could eat innings, help alleviate the stress placed on a bullpen, and rack up quality starts. It may not always be pretty, but he should be able to get the job done. McGreevy's solid slider and fastball means that, on a really good night, he'll also be capable of more than just eating innings. He'll occasionally turn in premium starts. He's going to make a very nice back-end starter.
What does all of this mean for McGreevy in 2024? He's likely to start in AAA. The Cardinals rotation plans are pretty set at the moment. Sonny Gray, Kyle Gibson, and Lance Lynn will likely occupy the three recently vacated spots. However, if any of them falters, the Cardinals will likely look to in-house solutions first. McGreevy will certainly receive opportunities to compete for a spot should it open. His primary competition comes in the form of Gordon Graceffo, Adam Kloffenstein, and Sem Robberse. The Cardinals will probably give the first start to whoever has pitched best to that point in the season. Several other options to consider include Matthew Liberatore, Drew Rom, and perhaps even Tekoah Roby, though he's probably a long shot.
I think McGreevy will at least reach the majors at some point in the upcoming season. Whether he does so as a starter remains to be seen. If he adds just a few more ticks on his heater, he could greatly increase his chances of sticking at the major league level. Should he debut in the bullpen, he may be able to find a home there. His ability to induce ground balls at a high rate could be a skill the Cardinals value highly, as he could help clean up the messes made by other pitchers on the staff. Regardless, 2024 is a huge season for McGreevy. Perhaps with a great spring, he could even open the season on the big league roster!