WELCOME TO THE DIRTY FLIRTY.
These are my top 40 prospects in The Cardinals organization, aside from the players that I’ve already covered in The Dirty Annexes. This little ditty here is the preface to all of the post in our Dirty series. So, if you’ve read this once then you don’t need to read it again!
A warning to those looking for Lars Nootbaar, Scott Hurst, Junior Fernandez, Johan Oviedo, Jake Woodford, Edmundo Sosa, and anyone aside from Angel Rondon that has already made a major league debut: That’s not really my bailiwick, as I’m sure you’ve heard enough about those guys from more qualified outlets already. Most of those guys have exhausted their prospect status, anyway.
A reminder that this is an exercise in futility, ranking prospects. It’s a landscape that is ever-changing and developing. We are almost always talking about kids that are just starting to understand both themselves and their bodies, while learning the most difficult and nuanced sport in the land. You never know when someone is going to start doing 200 pushups per day on their way to postseason glory.
I ask for your thoughts and feedback. I ask that you have fun. I ask that you remember that I’m a moron. Most importantly, I ask that you take all of the prospect rankings from every outlet in the spirit of what they are: a snapshot of that moment, with a bent towards understanding what might come.
#10: RHP Michael McGreevy
21 Years Old
Drafted in the 1st round of the 2021 draft
Palm Beach and the Florida Complex League
Look at the baby face on this kid. Looks like a headshot his agent would give to a movie producer before he auditions for a role in a Sandlot remake.
The truth is, I don’t think that I care as much about Michael McGreevy as I should. That should show you how daft I am. What I care about is that, in part, Michael McGreevy allowed the Cardinals to select Joshua Baez with their 2nd pick in the 2021 draft and Alec Willis – to a lesser degree – with their 7th round selection.
Well, maybe I care more than I am leading on. It might sound crazy, but I was telling some of my associates leading up to the draft that I thought that McGreevy was the ultimate Cardinals selection. I had a feeling that they’d select him with their first-round pick. I wish that I would have said it during the draft day PaD instead of beating around the bush about it and just hinting at my inclination. I AM A LEGEND I AM YOUR GOD WORSHIP ME SLUTS.
OK, I’m definitely being more dismissive of McGreevy than I should be for the sake of the narrative. As I’ve stated in a few other write-ups, there are some typical characteristics of an early-round draft pick during the Randy Flores administration. They are almost always high-character kids. If they are pitchers, they tend to be young for their age group. Flores is also careful, usually, in drafting players that have relatively untaxed arms. In the last couple of drafts, we’ve also seen Flores key in on pitchers that are starting to exhibit spikes in their velocity. Mr. Flores also loves himself some hard-working team leader-types, as well as a kid who can find his way onto an honor role. McGreevy fits all of these characteristics and traits, and the INCREDIBLE BROOKE GRIMSLEY'S tweet/video below will give you an idea of how charming this young man is, as well. All of these things are why I just had a feeling that they were going to draft McGreevy.
A bit of a late-surging prospect towards the end of the 2021 scouting/draft cycle, McGreevy deserved to be drafted in the area that the Cardinals drafted him, even if he wouldn’t have been my selection. There are a couple of things about this young man, aside from the intangibles, that get me really excited.
First, it’s the part of what he does that got the most attention when he was drafted: McGreevy throws strikes. It could be said that he throws strikes more efficiently than any of the draft prospects from the 2021 draft. Over 183.1 college innings, McGreevy only walked 30 batters. In 95.2 innings during his 2021 season, McGreevy only walked 10. In juxtaposition to all the troubles that the 2021 St. Louis Cardinals pitching staff had, McGreevy seems like the ultimate beacon of hope for a strike-weary organization. I have my issues with the quality of strikes that he throws, and I think that is reflected in the somewhat high homers allowed number that he had in his final collegiate season, but a strike is a strike is a strike, and strike-throwing is something that makes me very happy.
The other thing that got a ton of attention was that McGreevy comes from the same college with a similar “strikes-first” approach as Guardians’ RHP Shane Bieber came from. Much like with Bieber, McGreevy really started to show off with an increase in velocity during the end of his time in college without compromising his ability to throw strikes. While Bieber didn’t throw strikes at the same rate that McGreevy did, Bieber was noticeably better at keeping the ball in the park. From talking to some people that I trust and that aren’t afraid of maybe being a little more critical, Bieber also displayed better command.
It’s also well documented at this point that McGreevy was able to keep his velocity gains – a lively fastball in the mid 90’s – deep into his starts during the 2021 season. Maybe the best way for this construction worker to describe McGreevy is to state that he has as solid of a foundation as you could hope for out of a young pitching prospect.
Now, this is the crux of Michael McGreevy as currently constructed. Yes, he throws a lot of strikes. However, I'm of the opinion that he gets away with leaving more over the plate than you'd expect. He helps himself by not throwing it middle-middle, but it’s not as “on the black” as someone like Bieber did. Sometimes it’s not about the number of strikes, but the quality of strikes that you are throwing. In college, you can get away with some stuff. Especially in the Big West. I always caution people not to pay too much attention to the stats of a pitcher in their MiLB entrance season, but we started to see some of these concerns that I have manifest in limited affiliated innings in 2021.
Don’t let this get you down on McGreevy. I obviously have my concerns and I can’t wait to see how it plays out with him, but there is a lot to love. First, I love that he has time and pitch-control on his side. I do believe that the control that he demonstrates will lead to command with time because of his age and his baseball IQ. The thing that I love the most about McGreevy is his arm speed. I immediately begin to imagine a scenario in which he could climb quickly through the minors as a bullpen option if the Cardinals were interested in that (they aren’t and probably shouldn’t be yet, and that is the right move). I love the gif below, and I wish that we had this of every pitching prospect on the list. ProPlayAI is an awesome service that can tell us some pretty awesome things about how a kid throws. Everything that they say in the tweet below is dead-on.
The other really awesome thing about McGreevy is that he has a really solid feel for his curveball, which reeks of plus with its heavy downward movement. His fastball and his curveball work extremely well together because of his arm speed and his motion, and that obviously bodes well for his future with these two pitches. There are conflicting reports about his slider and change. More aggressive evaluators in the pockets of agents would tell you that both pitches are average right now for McGreevy. Some of those services would even tell you that his slider is the best of his off-speed offerings. I do understand why someone would think this. I’ve been told – and I believe from watching – that they both lack the consistency of anything more than an “average” grade now, even though it’s easy to see how they both could be above-average pitches in the future. It would make a lot of sense to see his changeup develop into a consistent plus offering because of his arm speed and the sinker-matching fade that McGreevy puts on the pitch. Often times, people get extra-aggressive grading breaking pitches when they are thrown for strikes, sometimes ignoring what kind of strikes they are. They’re certainly “Big West above-average” pitches now, and that is a great start.
A few years back, I wanted the Cardinals to draft Elon’s George Kirby instead of Kentucky’s Zack Thompson with their first-round pick. This was mostly because I could see Kirby growing into more velocity and with a better, deeper, and more consistent repertoire than Thompson. Kirby also displayed better command than Thompson back then. Kirby was projected as more of a “high-floor” prospect and Thompson more a “high-ceiling” prospect, although it was really splitting hairs on both, in my opinion. McGreevy has a chance to be a combo of the two if he can continue to add/maintain velocity and convert his control into command. He's obviously an incredibly athletic kid, and the gains that he's made at such an early age tell us how committed to the profession he is. All of this hints at high-caliber long term success.
While Ty Madden, Trey Sweeney, Gunnar Hoglund, or Ryan Cusick would have been my selection here over McGreevy, McGreevy has a sky-high ceiling, a pretty high-floor, and he allowed the Cardinals to do more with their draft. So far, the jury is still very much out on how Randy Flores has drafting pitching. If you were to grade it right now, you might compare it to what the Cubs did during their "dynasty." McGreevy’s development potential could be a big coup and a needed step in the right direction for the Cardinals brass.
As I just take a screenshot straight from their website, I can’t begin to stress loudly enough the important role that FanGraphs plays in the statistical side of what I do with these write-ups. Please subscribe to their service BY CLICKING THIS LINK.
As always, thank you to THE PALM BEACH CARDINALS TWITTER FEED for giving us some actual footage. More, please.
In addition, you all know how important and valuable @cardinalsgifs is to the pictures that fire up these articles. I wouldn’t do the write-ups if it weren’t for him.
Thank For Reading!!