McCaughan was drafted by the Mariners in 2017 in the 12th round out of Long Beach State and has had a pretty good minor league track record despite not being a top-ranked prospect. The right-hander quickly moved up the ranks and has thrown 10 games in Tacoma this season.
Darren McCaughan’s quick rise in the Seattle Mariners farm system
After being drafted in 2017, Darren McCaughan went straight to Arizona and threw 12 innings in nine separate appearances. He posted a 3.75 ERA and notched two saves.
He then started the 2018 season in Modesto and appeared in 25 games, all as a starter. He posted a 3.05 ERA before being sent to Triple-A towards the end of the season. That wasn’t a typo… He skipped Double-A in 2018. McCaughan started two games in Tacoma and posted a 3.48 ERA.
And then in 2019, he was with Arkansas for 17 starts and posted an amazing 2.89 ERA before going back up to the Rainiers where he struggled. He started nine games in Tacoma and finished with an 8.06 ERA. But he did have one complete game.
Finally, this season, he started just one game for Arkansas before being bumped up to the Rainiers again. This go around, he has a 3.97 ERA in 10 starts. He has struck out 46 batters in 59 innings and opponents are hitting .242 off of the Seattle Mariners prospect.
Pretty solid resume right? What’s interesting is that Darren McCaughan hasn’t been a well-recognized name in the farm system. Part of that might be because of his overall stuff and ceiling, but he has made improvements since joining the Mariners. The former 12th round pick came in with a mid-80s fastball and he has increased that velocity to a consistent low 90s fastball. Sounds like Ljay Newsome right?
What’s Darren McCaughan’s role with the Seattle Mariners?
I don’t expect Darren McCaughan to suddenly become a Top 10 prospect but he doesn’t have to make an impact. He has clearly been effective in Triple-A and deserves this call-up. I don’t think the Seattle Mariners plan on keeping him in Seattle for very long once Jake Fraley returns and other pitchers get healthy, but he has a chance to prove himself.
McCaughan is still young despite accumulating lots of innings in Tacoma compared to our other pitching prospects. He could be a great back-end guy for the Mariners in a couple of years if he continues to develop.
UPDATE: As far as today goes, Darren McCaughan is expected to follow the opener: Keynan Middleton in today’s game against the Rockies.