Coming off of a strong 2016 in AAA, as well as a solid fall in the AFL, Kyle McGrath could find himself in the San Diego Padres’ bullpen come April.
It is no secret that the San Diego Padres need pitching help. With the future of Edwin Jackson and Clayton Richard uncertain, and injuries stalling development, San Diego has to find some sort of reinforcement to come in.
Many will look towards free agency, or demand a trade in order to address this issue. There have already been rumors, as the team has already been linked to Derek Holland. While this may be an effective way to make an addition, fans shouldn’t overlook those in the minors who could make an immediate impact.
Kyle McGrath is a 24-year-old left-hander who is on the rise in the Padres’ organization. Last season, he rose from high-A all the way to triple-A. The bulk of his time was spent in AA San Antonio, where McGrath turned in a 1.29 ERA in 48 and 2/3 innings.
The next step is AAA, where the southpaw pitched in just one game in 2016. But with the current state of the Padres’ pitching staff, could he rise to the majors sooner than expected?
In the Arizona Fall League, McGrath pitched 17 innings, finishing with a 3.71 ERA. He struck out eleven and walked three, a strong performance. While this is a small sample size, it reveals the young relief pitcher’s readiness for the big stage.
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Entering Spring Training, there will be many spots up for grabs. Due to the lack of stability, McGrath may find himself sneaking in. After all, he is one of the better options who isn’t currently on the 40-man roster.
As a career reliever, McGrath doesn’t have to make this challenging transition. Since the Padres hope to have him in their bullpen for years to come, there is no reason to hold back. If the southpaw can continue to grow at the pace he has, rising straight to the major leagues is far from out of the realm of possibility.
If McGrath were to make the Opening Day roster, he would have to really impress in Spring Training. After all, the lefty is not exactly on the team’s roster. Still, he will certainly have the opportunity needed. Since the Padres will be seeking help in their bullpen, and they may not sufficiently meet this need during the offseason, they may be more willing to take a chance on McGrath.