One of the ways the Seattle Mariners have been very successful in the MLB Draft the last several years has been drafting pitchers and then developing them into highly regarded prospects and above average Major League starters or relievers. This has been one of the reasons that the organization has been able to climb out of their rebuild and why the club won 90 games in back-to-back years. Is it possible that the Mariners found a hidden gem in this years draft in third round pick Teddy McGraw?
Teddy McGraw is a 6-foot-3 210 pound right-handed pitcher from Wake Forest. McGraw spent his freshman year coming out of the bullpen for Wake Forest but he did not get a ton of work and did not have impressive numbers. However in his second season in 2022 he started 12 games and made three relief appearances and had a much better season.
He pitched 70.2 innings and had a 4.08 ERA with 67 strikeouts and 38 walks. He then followed that up with two good starts in the Cape Cod League where he showcased his stuff. Joe Doyle of Future Stars Series said that McGraw has a "sublime feel for a 4-pitch mix has evaluators drooling." He has both a two-seam and four-seam fastball that are complimented by a high spin slider as well as a changeup. Below is a highlight of his arsenal.
Having a four pitch mix is a plus for a pitching prospect because it increases his chances to be a starting pitcher in pro ball and eventually in the big leagues. Some starting pitchers have been able to have success with just two pitches, but if a young pitcher can have multiple offerings it gives hitters more to think about when they are in the box.
The reason that the Mariners were able to draft the talented Wake Forest righty in the third round is because he comes with some injury concerns due to having Tommy John surgery in high school and then having to have another elbow surgery last winter. He did not pitch in 2023 because of this injury.
The hope is that McGraw can return from injury and start to deliver on some of the promise that he has in the minor leagues because there is certainly upside in the 21-year-old. MLB.com said that, "He may have more upside than fellow Wake Forest right-hander Rhett Lowder". Lowder was picked seventh overall by the Reds and if the Mariners can get someone better than Lowder who went toe-to-toe with number one overall pick Paul Skenes in the College World Series then they hit a home run.
MLB.com also said that the New York native could have been a first round selection if he was healthy. That is certainly encouraging for Mariners fans and it should have them excited that they might have another mid rotation starting pitching prospect in the minor leagues.
For those concerned about McGraw being drafted after not pitching due to Tommy John surgery, the club did the same thing when they drafted Bryan Woo in 2021. He pitched in the minor leagues for only a year and a half before being promoted to the Mariners rotation and I would say that he has turned out incredibly well so far. If the Mariners can do the same thing again with McGraw that would be incredible.
The Mariners might have found their next development gem in Teddy McGraw. He has the stuff to be a big league starting pitcher and had the potential to be a first round pick before his injury. If he can recover well from his elbow surgery that he had before this season then watch out for him in the minor leagues with the Mariners as he hopefully works his way towards the big leagues.