While almost everyone is talking about new Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Hanley Ramirez in the wake of his trade from the Miami Marlins, there were a few other players involved as well. Perhaps the one that baseball fans know the least about is minor-league reliever Scott McGough.
McGough was packaged along with pitcher Nathan Eovaldi in the trade with Ramirez and reliever Randy Choate going to the Dodgers. Due to the fact that Ramirez is a three-time All-Star and was once considered one of the best players in baseball, most believe that the Dodgers easily won this trade and essentially ripped off the Marlins.
Perhaps that will be the case, but both McGough and Eovaldi are young pitchers with some potential, so time will tell whether the Marlins conceded Ramirez too easily.
Here is a complete breakdown of where McGough is currently, where he has been and what he has the potential to become in the future.
McGough was a star shortstop as a high schooler before making the full-time transition to pitcher with the Ducks. McGough served as a reliever and had solid sophomore and junior seasons, as he put up a 2.45 and a 3.59 ERA respectively with a total of nine saves.
His collegiate performance was enough to increase his draft stock by 41 rounds, as the Dodgers selected him in the fifth round (No. 164 overall) of the 2011 draft.
With that said, there isn't anything inherently special that sets McGough apart from the field. He has average size at 6'0" and 170 pounds, he is right-handed, and although he throws with good velocity, pretty much every young pitcher has to be able to do that these days.
Minor League Performance
McGough's performance improved in a big way after the promotion, as he amassed a 2.21 ERA, eight saves and 25 strikeouts in just over 20 innings. It seemed like McGough was possibly on the fast track to becoming a key reliever in the near future, but things have gotten much tougher in 2012, as McGough was promoted again to High-A Rancho Cucamonga.
He continues to show some flashes of dominance with 48 punch-outs in 47 innings, but he is also allowing nearly a hit per inning, along with a walk every other inning. McGough is allowing entirely too many baserunners, and that has contributed to his mediocre numbers.
He is 3-5 with a 3.99 ERA this season, and while that wouldn't be too shabby at the major league level, a 22-year-old fifth-round pick should be doing far better in A-ball.
What level will McGough reach during his career?
He has some good stuff, so he may be able to continue advancing based on that alone, but his control is spotty at best, and I have to believe he would get eaten alive by big-league pitchers at this point. My gut feeling is that McGough is little more than a career minor leaguer who was a throw-in as far as this deal goes.
I would like McGough's chances better if he were a lefty, but he faces an uphill climb as a run-of-the-mill right-hander.
Relievers have a long shelf life, however, and teams tend to go through tons of different ones every season. Because of that, McGough may be able to see some time in the majors a few years down the road if he makes marginal improvements.
I don't see him becoming a closer or a bullpen staple by any means, though, so I'm not entirely sure what intrigued the Marlins so much about him.
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