The Miami Marlins promoted left-handed pitcher Chris O’Grady to the major league roster last night and he’ll make his MLB debut this evening against Jeff Samardzija and the San Francisco Giants. Here’s a quick take.
O’Grady was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 10th round in 2012 from George Mason University. He was a reliever over four seasons in college and was particularly effective his senior year, posting a 1.22 ERA in 37 innings with 14 saves and a 51/20 K/BB.
He remained in the relief role in the Angels system and was reasonably effective, reaching Triple-A in 2015. He was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the December 2015 Rule 5 draft but did not stick on the roster and was offered back to the Angels. In 2016 he posted a 3.25 ERA in 96 innings between Double-A and Triple-A and saw action as a starting pitcher for the first time.
The Angels released O’Grady in spring training and the Marlins picked him up as a free agent. This has been a successful move: in nine starts and three bullpen outings for Triple-A New Orleans he has a 3.29 ERA in 55 innings with a 54/15 K/BB.
O’Grady is a 6-4, 225 pound lefty born April 17th, 1990. He isn’t a hard-thrower: his fastball is generally in the upper 80s with peaks at 90-91. He relies heavily on his cutter and sometimes throws it more than the fastball.
He also has a curveball and change-up; both off-speed pitches were considered below-average earlier in his career but he’s made enough progress with them to be a viable Triple-A starter. O’Grady has had persistent reverse platoon splits over the last three seasons, meaning he isn’t an ideal LOOGY. Using him as a starter in Triple-A made sense, in other words.
In the majors he projects as a fifth starter and will have to be fine with his command.