Phillies’ Griff McGarry Poised To Take Off With Command Improvements

Griff McGarry spent the final month of the 2022 season working out of the bullpen, but don’t get any ideas about the 23-year-old righthander’s future role.

“He’s 100% a starting pitcher,” Phillies farm director Preston Mattingly said. “There’s not a question in any of our minds.

“He’s a guy with elite stuff—an elite fastball, elite breaking balls and a developing changeup. We think he’s a guy who can navigate through lineups.”

McGarry was the Phillies’ fifth-round pick in 2021 out of Virginia. He was a wiry, power-armed righty who flirted with no-hitters when he was throwing strikes and had trouble staying in the rotation when he wasn’t.

In his first full pro season in 2022, McGarry racked up big strikeout numbers at High-A Jersey Shore and Double-A Reading. Late in the season, speculation arose that he could be fast-tracked to Philadelphia and be used out of the bullpen.

McGarry was indeed on the team’s radar for such a role. That’s why he was moved to the bullpen and promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley in September, “just to see if he could be an option,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said at the time.

Mattingly did not deny the club gave McGarry a look in the bullpen for that reason but said innings management was also part of it. An oblique strain early in the season and a blister issue late prevented McGarry from getting to 100 innings, a preseason goal.

He finished with 87.1 and allowed just 53 hits while striking out 130 and walking 53.

McGarry will spend part of the offseason working out at Cressey Sports Performance in Florida. The goal is to add more strength to his 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame and prepare himself for an innings jump next season and possibly a spot in the majors.

Phillies fans have heard about the late-life, triple-digit fastball and wipeout breaking ball. They’re eager to see it up close.

“It’s never going to be a question about the stuff with Griff,” Mattingly said. “It’s just a matter of him continuing to improve his command and putting himself into counts where he can leverage that stuff.”

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