East Xtra: Plum grad getting a chance to show stuff with Marlins

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Scott McGough's first full season in professional baseball was eventful.

"It was wild, that's for sure," said McGough, a Plum High School graduate who laughed while recalling his year.

Yet it ended on a high note for McGough, a right-handed relief pitching prospect in the Miami Marlins' organization.

McGough shined in the Arizona Fall League last month and this, posting an outstanding 1.16 earned run average and holding opponents to a .222 batting average in 16 innings while facing many of the top prospects in baseball.

A 23-year-old right-hander, he appeared in nine games for Peoria and had no record. He allowed two earned runs and 12 hits with six walks and eight strikeouts.

"It was a great honor just to be asked to participate in the league by the Marlins," McGough said. "When you see that something like 85 percent of the alumni in the league have gone on to play in the major leagues, well, that's really amazing.

"It was a great experience from a competition standpoint because I got to face a lot of advanced hitters and even a few who have had some at-bats in the major leagues, and I also learned a lot when I was out there that should help me in the future. It was a very positive experience."

McGough's performance in the AFL added to his strong finish to the regular season with the Marlins' high Class A Jupiter minor league club in the Florida State League after being acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of a four-player trade on July 25.

In 15 relief appearances with the Hammerheads, McGough was 2-1 with one save and a 3.24 ERA.

The Marlins received McGough and fellow pitching prospect Nathan Eovaldi in exchange for All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez and left-handed reliever Randy Choate.

The chances for a prospect being upwardly mobile in the Marlins' organization are far greater than playing in the Dodgers' system.

As evidenced by its recent trade that shipped All-Stars Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle to the Toronto Blue Jays, Miami is again undergoing a rebuilding project. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are in win-now mode as they are projected to have the highest payroll in the major leagues next season at more than $200 million.

"It was crazy," McGough said. "One day, you're on the West Coast and playing for one organization and then the next day you're on the East Coast and playing for a new organization and learning all-new teammates, coaches and front office people.

"I didn't expect it, certainly, but it was exciting and I think it will be a good move for my career."

The Dodgers drafted McGough after his junior year at the University of Oregon in the fifth round of the 2011 amateur draft and gave him a $150,300 signing bonus after he starred as a reliever for the Ducks and set the school record for most games pitched in a season with 31 as a junior in 2011.

McGough is spending the winter working out in Eugene, Ore.

In his first professional season, McGouth went a combined 1-5 with a 2.77 ERA with short-season Class A Ogden and low Class A Great Lakes.

He was bumped up to high Class A Rancho Cucamonga in the California League last season and was 3-5 with five saves and a 3.99 ERA in 35 games before being traded.

McGough was one of the top players in the WPIAL during his senior year at Plum in 2008. He was noted more for his play at shortstop for the Mustangs as he hit .413 with 27 stolen bases in his final season and was drafted in the 46th round by the Pirates.

"A lot of things have happened since high school and it's all been great," McGough said. "I've had a lot of fun and I'm very thankful to be in this position."

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