14. RHP Trevor McDonald
Acquired: 2019 draft (11th round)
Future Value: 40+
Entering the 2019 draft, right-handed prep pitcher Trevor McDonald was expected to go off the board sometime between the third and fifth round. When the first day of the draft passed and his name wasn’t called, many assumed he was going to honor his commitment to South Alabama.
McDonald first emerged as a prospect during his junior season. He made waves by striking out 88 batters and posting a 1.49 ERA. At the time, his main tool was pitchability and an advanced feel for a breaking ball that he paired with a high 80s fastball that touched 91 mph.
This past offseason, he took a break from pitching and instead focused on resting his arm and bulking up. After adding 20 pounds, he maintained 91-93 mph velocity throughout most of his starts while touching 95 mph. He also maintained the advanced feel for his curveball and it continued to look like a potential plus pitch. He also began throwing the occasional changeup, but it is far behind his other two pitches.
The biggest remaining question marks surround his delivery which has led some to believe he is destined for the bullpen.
While some may be concerned that he won’t have the velocity to shift to the bullpen, an industry source noted: “[McDonald] has high extension, which adds deception and makes his velo play up.”
Due to the draft bonus finagling, McDonald had to wait longer than most other prospects to sign, so he was behind in starting his throwing program. He did debut in the AZL and looked good, but he only made three appearances.
McDonald will assuredly begin his career as a starter and if he can hold his gains in velocity he has the makings of a mid-rotation arm. However, if his velocity regresses and he fails to develop a third pitch, he may be relegated to a long-relief role.