Scott McGregor is a 28-year-old, right-handed pitcher that hails from Liberty Township, Ohio by way of the University of Memphis. He is next on our list of non-roster invites to spring training for the Washington Nationals.
The St. Louis Cardinals drafted McGregor in the 15th round (445th overall) in 2008. His start in the rookie leagues for the Cardinals was unremarkable. He scattered through three clubs and only made a handful of starts. In 2009, Scott McGregor got his first real chance at the minor league level with the Class-A Quad Cities River Bandits. Over 115 innings, McGregor showed similar numbers to his college days with a 5.56 ERA and a 1.452 WHIP.
McGregor is not a power pitcher who strikes out a lot of people, as evident by his strikeouts per nine innings hovering at five for most of his minor league career. He relies on location and defense, which may be lacking at the lower minor league levels, to get people out and drive down his ERA.
In 2010, McGregor moved up to A+, playing for the Palm Beach Cardinals. Halfway through the year , he earned a promotion to the AA Springfield Cardinals. He posted similar stat lines at this level but seemed to flourish a bit with better defense behind him as his BABIP and ERA both dropped.
The injury bug bit McGregor at the end of the 2010 campaign, as he had to undergo Tommy John surgery causing him to miss all of the 2011 season. In the following year, he saw limited innings as the Cardinals’ farm system attempted to ease him back into regular use.
These two seasons set McGregor back significantly.
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He doesn’t have the overwhelming stuff to power his way through the minors and burst on the scene like Giants’ reliever Hunter Strickland, for example. McGregor needed time in the minors to perfect his mechanics and location before stepping up to the major league level. His Tommy John surgery could not have come at a worse time for his development.
McGregor didn’t start to see real work until the 2013 season with Springfield and then the AAA Memphis Redbirds. His numbers in 2013 reflect the primary challenge McGregor faces for the remainder of his career. Most players need adjustment from league to league, McGregor’s ERA jumped 2 points from AA to AAA, but since the surgery threw off his development, he doesn’t have a lot of time left to adjust and improve.
Last season, the Cardinals released McGregor after he posted a 5.56 ERA over 111.5 innings. He signed a minor league deal with the Nats on December 26, 2014.
McGregor does not project to contribute much to the Washington Nationals major league squad this year. I do not expect him to be a part of the September call ups unless he vastly improves in Syracuse. Plus, his age puts him at the risk of not make the majors at all.
General Manager Mike Rizzo has a habit of betting on injured players, but I think McGregor may be past his breakout years to be anything more than an extra arm in spring training.