Normally, 11th-round picks like San Francisco Giants right-hander Trevor McDonald don’t immediately jump onto organizational prospect rankings. Then again, most 11th-round picks don’t receive an $800,000 signing bonus.
As a youngster, San Francisco Giants prospect Trevor McDonald remembers playing third base at a small youth baseball field in Mississippi.
The other team had a runner on third base and his dad called out from the stands: “Don’t let that guy get home!”
Young Trevor listened. When the runner broke for the plate, he did his best University of Alabama linebacker impression, chasing the runner down and tackling him to the ground.
According to an interview with Around the Foghorn, that is McDonald’s first memory on a baseball field. Luckily for San Francisco Giants fans, he eventually got the hang of the sport. In fact, he pretty quickly fell in love with it.
“I’ve played baseball ever since I can remember,” McDonald said. “My dream was always to play in the pros, I’ve always been the kind of person to chase their dreams and put in a lot of work to make them happen.”
He quickly reaped the rewards of his hard work at the onset of his high school career. By the end of his freshman year, McDonald had asserted himself as one of the better pitchers on the George County High School roster.
In the fall before his junior season, he committed to play collegiate baseball at the University of South Alabama. For some, an early commitment can lead to a loss of motivation, but that was not the case for McDonald.
That spring, he emerged as one of the best high school pitchers in the state. In 12 appearances (seven starts), he struck out 88 batters in 70.1 innings while logging an exceptional 1.49 ERA.
Still, he aspired to do more.
In one game during that standout junior season, McDonald squared off against J.T. Ginn, one of the top high school pitchers in the nation. Ginn would eventually go No. 30 overall in the 2018 MLB draft to the Los Angeles Dodgers, though he opted to honor his commitment to Mississippi State rather than beginning his pro career.
“A bunch of scouts were there watching him and I felt like I had gotten myself on their radar a little bit that night,” McDonald said. “My hope was if I could develop myself a little more I could bring that attention back.”
He knew what he had to do.
“I was just 165 pounds and knew I needed to put on some weight if I was going to develop more,” McDonald said.
Fully invested in maximizing himself as a prospect, McDonald “took the entire offseason off from ball and just grinded in the weight room and put on 15-20 pounds” ahead of his senior year. Once his senior season started to approach, he started throwing bullpen sessions with his dad to get back up to speed.
“My dad thought I was throwing a bit harder and he went and got a pocket radar and realized I had added some velocity,” McDonald said.
After sitting in the upper 80s and only occasionally touching 90 mph as a junior, he was up to 91-93 mph regularly and touching 95 mph. The results matched his improved stuff in his final high school season, as he struck out 105 batters in just 51 innings, vaulting up draft boards in the process.
As the 2019 MLB draft approached, McDonald began to weigh his options. It’s a hectic time, and luckily he had a number of close advisors to made things a bit less overwhelming.
Considered an early Day 2 prospect by most outlets, he had yet to hear his name called when Round 10 concluded and the second day of the draft wrapped.
However, early on Day 3, the San Francisco Giants selected him in the 11th round and later signed him to an $800,000 signing bonus that was in line with his pre-draft prospect status.
Along with the jump in velocity, McDonald remains confident in his secondary pitches. In fact, in his interview, he referred to his slider, which he learned while practicing with his older brother’s high school baseball teams, as his out pitch.
While some scouts are skeptical of his three-quarters delivery, he pairs a curveball and changeup with the fastball and slider we’ve already mentioned, and that repertoire has the San Francisco Giants brass believing he can stick as a starter.
The first step in his development comes with a familiar focus.
“[This offseason the Giants want me] to gain some body fat percentage,” McDonald said. “They’re saying that’ll help a lot in maintaining velocity and staying longer in games.”
Alongside staying in the weight room and keeping his arm ready, McDonald also has to focus on what he eats.
“I have a high metabolism so I can be eating all day.”
His body’s ability to burn off calories is not unlike his drive to succeed. Taking an offseason off from pitching and dedicating it to putting on weight was a bold move for a high school junior. To McDonald, though, it seems like just another step in his career.
As a high school pick, McDonald has a long path ahead to reaching his ceiling. With that said, his consistent development as an amateur gives scouts plenty of reason to believe in him.
After all, for as long as he can remember, he’s been ready to tackle whatever is put in front of him.
Find out where Trevor McDonald ranks among the San Francisco Giants top prospects in Around the Foghorn’s most recent updated prospect rankings.
All high school statistics courtesy of MaxPreps.com