Like David Price and Wade Davis, Jacob McGee is yet another promising, young pitcher in the Rays system. However, the southpaw, like Davis, is finding Double-A to be a little bit more challenging than A-ball.
Born in California, McGee attended high school in Nevada and was drafted in the fifth round of the 2004 draft. He spent two seasons in Short Season Ball and averaged about 7.5 H/9 and 9.5 K/9 during that time. As a 20-year-old, McGee spent a full year in Low-A ball and allowed 6.92 H/9 and 4.37 BB/9. He also struck out 171 batters in 134 innings (11.49 K/9).
He then put up similar numbers the next year High-A ball, although his walk rate dropped significantly to 3.01 BB/9. He earned a late-season promotion to Double-A and held his own with rates of 7.33 H/9 and 11.57 K/9. He averaged more than five walks per nine innings, though.
McGee returned to Double-A this season and is doing OK, but his strikeouts are down: 8.22 compared to a career average of 10.43. His hit rate remains good at 7.26. It’s no surprise that minor league hitters struggle to make good contract against McGee, who has a fastball that can touch the high 90s and solid secondary pitches (a slider and change-up). He has done a nice job of holding right-handed batters to a .236 average this season and lefties are at .213.
At only 21 years of age, McGee remains a very promising prospect and has the potential to be a No. 2 starter at the major league level if he can improve the command of his secondary pitches.