Michael McGreevy was a two-way player in high school and viewed shortstop as his primary position. His skill set intrigued the University of California, Santa Barbara, causing the coaching staff to recruit the San Clemente, California, native as a two-way player.
But McGreevy’s status as a two-way player didn’t last long. As a freshman, the UCSB coaching staff felt pitching was McGreevy’s best position. Once McGreevy started focusing exclusively on pitching, his “career took off,” he said.
Now less than three years later, McGreevy is drawing attention from major-league teams. McGreevy has experienced an uptick in fastball velocity this spring, resulting in scouts projecting McGreevy as a likely first-round pick in July’s MLB draft.
“It has been my dream for as long as I can remember,” McGreevy said. “I think the biggest thing for me is just not comparing myself to other pitchers in the draft. I caught myself doing that early in the season. For me, I just need to take it day-by-day and focus on improving.”
As a freshman in 2019 at UCSB, McGreevy worked exclusively as a reliever. He posted a 1.94 ERA with 53 strikeouts and 13 walks allowed in 60 1/3 innings in 29 appearances.
Last year, McGreevy transitioned to a starting role at UCSB. McGreevy was nearly unhittable in the pandemic-shortened season, recording a 0.99 ERA with 26 strikeouts and seven walks allowed in 27 1/3 innings in four starts.
McGreevy has carried that success over into his junior year this spring. An increase in fastball velocity and refinement of his secondary pitches also has allowed him to dominate opposing batters. He has a 2.84 ERA with 100 strikeouts and eight walks allowed in 82 1/3 innings in 13 starts.
McGreevy’s success and potential on the mound have caused him to rapidly move up draft boards this season.
McGreevy is a 6-foot-4, 215-pound right-handed pitcher who throws a two-seam fastball, changeup, slider and curveball from a three-quarters arm slot and repeatable delivery.
His two-seamer is his best pitch. He came into college with a four-seam fastball but switched to a two-seamer due to its natural movement. McGreevy throws his two-seamer low in the strike zone and gets into trouble when he misses up in the zone.
His fastball sat 90 mph his freshman year. After adding 15 pounds in the offseason, McGreevy has increased his fastball to the mid-90s this season.
McGreevy uses the same grip for his slider and curveball. When he uses his spike slider, he gets out in front of it and throws it like a fastball. He throws his slider as hard as he can, and it tunnels well off his fastball. His slider is his best secondary pitch.
His spike curveball is a respectable offering that he mixes in, while his changeup is an improving pitch that he occasionally uses.
McGreevy’s top traits are his command and control of his pitches. He throws a high percentage of strikes and rarely issues walks.
“I have just been a pitcher who attacks the strike zone my entire career, even going back to high school,” McGreevy said. “I’m not going to ignore the fact that I give up hits, but I would rather give up seven hits and no walks than give up three hits and four walks.
“I want hitters to earn their way on against me, and I have no problem if they get hits off me. I think I can limit the damage well. Going after it and attacking the strike zone gives my team the best chance to win. I just hate walks with a passion.”
In the offseason, McGreevy wants to add more strength to his frame with the hope of increasing his fastball velocity even more.
He also wants to refine his secondary pitches, especially his changeup. His goal is to throw his changeup with more depth and horizontal break, he said.
“I want to add more weight and put on more muscle,” McGreevy said. “With the results I have seen over the last year, I want to go back and hit the gym hard so I can add more velocity. The changeup is always going to be the biggest work in progress. Just getting that to an elite level is something I want to work on in the offseason.”
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for six years. He has interviewed 253 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.