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MLB Rookie Profile: Chris O’Grady, LHP, Miami Marlins

Marlins lefty will make his MLB debut tonight against the Giants

Cincinnati Reds Photo Day
Chris O’Grady with the Reds from spring training 2016. Use your imagination and put him in a Marlins uniform.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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.