The last day of the annual MLB winter meetings is generally filled with all the excitement of a Sunday morning at a frat house after a killer bash. The first three days were filled with all sorts of fireworks as record-setting contracts for Stephen Strasburg, Gerrit Cole, and Anthony Rendon we announced on each day. If you were hoping for exciting Cubs news, well, you’re in the right place!
Or are you?
The apex of day 4, at least so far, is the Rule 5 draft, which wrapped up this morning. To get a primer on what that is, well, here you go.
The Cubs ended up losing some dudes to other teams but whatever. I’m here to give you heads up to a goddamn monster.
The Cubs added a 6’8″, 235lb, 26 year old relief pitcher named Trevor Megill.
Megill was a 7th round pick of the Padres in 2015. He was a victim of a deep Padres system that simply didn’t have room to add him tot heir 40-man roster. So, the Padres’ loss can become The Cubs’ gain.
First, the bad. Megill is not anyone’s idea of a blue-chip prospect. Last May, he couldn’t crack Fangraphs top-55 Padres prospects list. The most innings he had pitched in any year as pro going into last year was in the 30s. Yet, somehow, he still wound up making it all the way to AAA last year. At three stops along the way, he threw 60 innings of decent relief? So, why should we get excited?
The Padres seem to have a way of developing pretty decent arms on the cheap. The Cubs have already taken advantage of this with their acquisitions of Rowan Wick and Brad Wieck, who seem to have the makings of some pretty good relief arms. Now, we can probably add this Megill behemoth to the list.
Last year in AAA, Megill threw 50 innings of 4.47 ERA with a WHIP of nearly 1.5. Big deal. However, it’s really important to keep in mind that this came in the PCL. Colin Rae, who spent the year in Iowa last year, finished 2nd in the PCL in ERA. He allowed 3.95 earned runs per 9 innings. That 4.47 ERA isn’t too shabby for that league.
However, it’s when we dig deeper that we can begin to feel some optimism.
Megill’s “troubles” last year were mostly driven by a .414 BABiP. His K-rate of 32.3% (12.7K/9) and an 8.6% BB-rate (3.4 BB/9) produced a 3.46 FIP, which is, indeed, something to be optimistic about. His groundball rate was about 43%, which is a little low, but he does a good job suppressing HRs, he allowed fewer than 1HR/9IP.
I’m not sure anyone is anointing him the next great relief ace in baseball but this is a guy who can certainly help a Cubs bullpen that will need it going into 2020.