9-30-21 By Craig W. Toth (aka @bucsbasement on Twitter)
The Bradenton Marauders captured the Low-A Southeast League Championship with a sweep of the Tampa Tarpons nearly a week ago. After the rain held off the long enough, the Greensboro Grasshoppers fell to the Bowling Green Hot Rods in the deciding game five of the High-A East League Championship Series. Meanwhile, the Indianapolis Indians have four games remaining in their season thanks to the new “Final Stretch”; introduced just this year to give all Triple-A teams a couple extra weeks full of games. Now as far as the Altoona Curve and the majority of their players are concerned, their season officially ended almost two weeks ago at this point.
Obviously, this doesn’t account for the eight Curve players that received end of the season promotions to the Indians; along with Roansy Contreras, who made his much anticipated Major League Debut for the Pirates just yesterday, However, for all intents and purposes, when the lights went out at People’s Natural Gas Field, about 25 young men were sent packing; with the possibilities of the Fall Instructional League, numerous Foreign Winter Leagues or the Arizona Fall League on the horizon. None of which are guaranteed.
One such player was the Curve’s Pitcher of the Year, Trey McGough. Yes, the local boy from Johnstown, Pennsylvania; who I am guessing many Pirates Fans didn’t know about before this year, and maybe some still don’t.
Originally drafted in the 24th Round of the 2019 MLB June Amateur Draft from the less famous Mountaineers of West Virginia-Mount St. Mary’s University-McGough began his professional career with the Advanced Rookie Level Bristol Pirates before returning to the land of John Denver in order to join the Short Season Low-A Black Bears to close out the season. And, while his first taste of the Minors was not necessarily ideal as he saw his ERA jump from 1.04 to 7.04 with the promotion, there were still some positive signs-like his 41 strikeouts to 9 walk ratio-that he could potentially build upon; which is exactly what this young man did.
To begin the 2021 season, McGough found himself in a not so friendly pitching environment, with assignment to the High-A Greensboro Grasshoppers; yet he did let this bother him in the slightest. In 6 appearances, including one 5 inning start, and across 18 innings of work he earned a 2.00 ERA and a .889 WHIP before being promoted to Altoona; ultimately settling right into the regular rotation; as well as getting his own shersey, with $5 from each one sold going to his charity of choice-Buddy’s Christmas Wish List. They sold out pretty quickly if you were wondering.
For McGough it was a welcomed homecoming from the get-go as his hometown is only about a 50 minute drive from the ballpark; allowing family and friends to attend his nine starts at PNG Field.
On the season, McGough would make a total of 18 starts for the Curve; posting a 3.41 ERA and a 1.158 WHIP by mixing his low 90’s fastball seamlessly with a deceptive changeup, as well as a nice healthy curve.
Even so, after all this success, McGough didn’t get the call for his second promotion of the season; granted I would attribute this more to the 113 innings he already pitched this year than anything else. Which would also more than likely play into a full off-season to recoup and getting ready for 2022; hopefully, in an Indianapolis Indians jersey, even though it is a little bit further of a commute for his mom and dad.