Scouting Mets' Prospect #20: Blake McGinley

The New York Mets drafted Blake McGinley out of Texas Tech University in the 21st round of the 2001 draft. Despite being such a late round pick, McGinley has posted some of the most impressive career stats in the Mets' system. Ranking #20 in our Top 50 Mets' Prospects, here's a scouting report on McGinley.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Blake McGinley
Position: Relief Pitcher
DOB: August 2, 1978
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 175
Bats: Right
Throws: Left

Growing up in Bakersfield, California, Blake McGinley was a standout pitcher for North High School. Playing just two years on the varsity team, McGinley compiled a remarkable 23-3 record. As a senior, McGinley went 13-1 with a 1.20 ERA and had 135 strikeouts in 88 innings pitched, leading North High to the conference title and to the second round of the state playoffs. He earned All-District First Team honors and was named the league's Most Valuable Player for his efforts before going on to attend Bakersfield Junior College. As a freshman at Bakersfield JC, McGinley had a respectable college debut, going 5-3 with a 4.21 ERA but had a shoulder problem that kept him from posting similar success he had in high school. He followed it up with a tremendous sophomore year, earning the team's Most Valuable Player award as he went 8-4 with a 3.30 ERA and 107 strikeouts in 109 innings pitched before transferring to Texas Tech University.

McGinley had a so-so debut with the Red Raiders in 2000, going 5-4 with a 5.61 ERA before his breakout year as a senior in 2001. In '01, McGinley went 4-3 with 8 saves and a 3.91 ERA, striking out 61 batters in 46 innings before the Mets took a chance on him in the 21st round of the 2001 draft. McGinley made his professional debut with the Brooklyn Cyclones after signing with the Mets in June of 2001. He immediately made a very good impression, going 5-0 with 4 saves while striking out better than 11.5 batters per nine innings in the NY-Penn League. After dominating the South Atlantic League in the beginning of 2002, McGinley had his first struggles as a professional when he made his Florida State League debut later that year.

Over his four years in the Mets' minor league system, McGinley knew he was going to have to prove himself each and every time on the mound. "I'm a 21st rounder and not many late picks make it all the way to the Majors", McGinley told NYfansonly.com. "I've just learned to be prepared mentally each day and I can't be scared out there. I know I have to get guys out if I'm going to make it", said McGinley. And that's just what McGinley has done. He boasts a very impressive 2.77 career ERA and a 1.05 career whip ratio in 289 innings pitched, allowing just 231 hits while striking out 331 batters. Says McGinley: "I just want to open somebody's eyes and get a chance at the Big Leagues. And do something with that chance once I get it".

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2004

Norfolk

3-3

2

26.2

30

7

28

4.05

2004

Binghamton

9-2

1

72.2

61

15

83

3.72

2003

St. Lucie

9-1

7

79.1

51

20

86

1.02

2002

St. Lucie

1-1

4

31.2

40

13

22

5.87

2002

Capital City

1-1

10

35.0

19

6

53

1.80

2001

Brooklyn

5-0

4

46.0

30

11

59

1.96


* Stats as of 10/1/04

Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup, Slider.

Fastball. McGinley has a "sneaky" fastball, meaning he's able to set up his fastball later in the count with early count breaking pitches. He throws a 4-seam fastball that sits in the 85-88 MPH and tops off at 90 MPH. He's not blessed with tremendous speed with his fastball but is more of a pitcher. He has been able to show people that you are better off with a slower fastball with better control than just being able to throw hard. He still likes to finish off hitters with his fastball after showcasing his fantastic breaking repertoire.

Other Pitches. McGinley has a big, sweeping curveball in the 70-74 MPH range and it serves as his #2 pitch right now. His circle-changeup is his best out pitch right now and McGinley is able to throw it consistently for strikes, averaging 75-80 MPH with his changeup. Up until the 2004 season, McGinley was mainly a three-pitch pitcher, utilizing just his fastball, curveball, and changeup. McGinley began adding a slider this past off-season, a pitch he rarely threw at all in the past. He throws his slider in the 78-82 MPH range and he has become more comfortable with it, so much so that he considers it his #3 pitch at the moment.

Pitching. McGinley is one of the smartest pitchers on the mound, period! Not blessed with the great stuff, McGinley has had unbelievable success in the minors because of his pinpoint control, great confidence on the mound, and the way he keeps hitters guessing. Whether inside or outside, up or down, McGinley uses the entire plate and has excellent command of his breaking pitches which helps him sneak his sub-par fastball by hitters. He's able to set up hitters with the best of them and is the epitome of a pitcher, not a thrower. He goes right after hitters and would rather give up a hit than serve up a walk. Despite not having a true "plus" pitch, McGinley changes speeds really well and has great location of his pitches. McGinley resembles Tom Glavine in his approach to pitching.

Projection. Despite not having the overpowering stuff scouts drool over, nobody can argue McGinley's success in his four years in the Mets minor league system. He has proven he can get guys out at every level and deserves a chance at a Major League bullpen. He projects to be a very good left-handed setup man or possible lefty specialist brought in to face the tough left-handed batters, much in the same role Mike Stanton served for the Mets the past couple of seasons. When drafted so late in the draft, one is expected to put up the numbers to get his chance. McGinley has done that. He has the look of Mike Remlinger on the mound for a good MLB comparison.

ETA. 2005. Either the Mets were extremely smart not protecting McGinley on the 40-man roster this past off-season or they didn't mind losing him in the Rule V Draft. The bottom line is he is still with the Mets and he, along with Royce Ring, is the closest left-handed reliever to the Majors. McGinley should battle for a bullpen spot with the Mets in Spring Training. If he does not make the Big League club out of Spring Training, he'll go to Norfolk to set up for the Tides and could be on the Norfolk-Flushing shuttle in 2005.

Relief Pitchers

2004 Team

Heath Bell

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Blake McGinley

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Royce Ring

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Kole Strayhorn AA - Binghamton Mets
Jeremy Hill AA - Binghamton Mets
Shane Hawk A - St. Lucie Mets
Matthew Lindstrom A - St. Lucie Mets
Carlos Muniz A - Capital City Bombers
Greg Ramirez A - Capital City Bombers
Celso Rondon A - Brooklyn Cyclones


Comments

The Mets are not abound with a ton of closer-type prospects in their farm system. The closer prospects with the highest ceilings appear to be Kole Strayhorn and Celso Rondon, that is if the Mets' don't convert a starting pitcher like Matt Lindstrom or Greg Ramirez into closers. They do have quite a few possible setup men and we'll go over some of the Mets' options below.

1) Heath Bell - Bell is mainly a two-pitch pitcher, throwing a plus fastball and plus slider with good command. After making some noise with the Mets in '04, Bell could find his way back to Shea in 2005.

2) Blake McGinely - McGinley, despite being a late round draft pick, has proven himself all along the way and has some of the best career numbers among all the relief pitching prospects for the Mets. He wasn't protected in the Rule V Draft and he's still in the Mets' organization. He deserves a shot at the Major League bullpen.

3) Royce Ring - Ring has a solid Major League fastball that sits in the 91-93 MPH range and can bring it as fast as 95 MPH at times. He mixes in a good circle changeup and solid curveball.

4) Kole Strayhorn - Has one of the more expanded repertoires for a relief pitcher, due in large part to his days as a starting pitcher. Like Ring, Strayhorn has a dominating fastball. He needs to improve his splitter and curveball to give him more options. Staying healthy has been an issue.

5) Jeremy Hill - Hill picked up the slack in the Binghamton bullpen, picking up ten saves and holding runs at bay with a 2.23 ERA for the B-Mets. Depending on what happens over the winter, Hill could find himself in a similar role with the Tides in '04.

6) Matthew Lindstrom - Nobody throws as hard as Lindstrom does in the Mets' organization...nobody! Lindstrom is a fascinating talent that is getting a chance to showcase his stuff in the Arizona Fall League this year. With a fastball that regularly sits in the 94-96 MPH range, he can top it off at 100 MPH at times. Used primarily as a starter up to this point, his future seems to be in the bullpen...possibly as a closer.

7) Shane Hawk - Hawk is a devastating reliever, especially to left-handed batters. A tall, lanky guy, Hawk was used as a closer in St. Lucie (somewhat) and Capital City. He projects to be a top-notch left-handed specialist out of the bullpen.

8) Carlos Muniz - The former Long Beach State star has progressed somewhat slowly as a closing prospect in the Mets' farm system. After saving 13 games for the Cyclones in 2003, Muniz combined to notch 10 saves between Brooklyn and Capital City in '04. At 23 years old (he turns 24 in March) he needs to be challenged.

9) Greg Ramirez - Ramirez has enjoyed success as both a starter and a reliever since being drafted out of Pepperdine in 2003. He led the Bombers with 10 saves in 2004 but also excelled when called to the rotation. Chances are his future is in the bullpen, possibly as an excellent setup man.

10) Celso Rondon - Rondon is an intriguing closer prospect. He has an MLB fastball and curveball. He picked up 12 saves for Brooklyn this past season and appears to be the front-runner for the closing duties in Hagerstown next season, if he's not selected in the Rule V Draft.

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