The Boston Red Sox have such an impressive and eclectic group of prospects in its minor league system that it can be difficult to keep track of all the aspiring young ballplayers. Obviously, the best way to stick out in such a crowd is by producing on the field. Pitcher Michael McCarthy is trying his best to do just that, and prove he eventually belongs in the major leagues.
The slender right-hander attended Liberty High School in Brentwood, California before heading off to college at the University of Redlands (Division III). He became a stand-out hurler there but had aspirations for bigger things and transferred to Cal-State Bakersfield following his sophomore year.
The change in venue agreed with McCarthy, who ended his collegiate career on a high note, going 8-6 with a 1.62 ERA in 17 games (16 starts) as a senior in 2011. He also struck out 116 in 127.2 innings and established himself as a viable professional prospect. The Red Sox came calling in the 14th round of the that year’s draft, and after quickly signing; he embarked on the start of his career.
Now 26, McCarthy is in his fourth season in the Boston organization and has made steady progress with each passing season. He made it to Double-A last year, and has remained there to start the 2014 season.
In 85 career games (29 starts) as a pro, he has posted a 14-13 record with a 4.29 ERA and 8 saves. He also has an impressive 201/71 strikeout/walk ratio in 260 innings. More details of his statistics are available at BaseballReference.
Working primarily as a starter this year, McCarthy is 2-2 with a 4.72 ERA in 6 games (5 starts). According to SoxProspects.com, he possesses an “average fastball and a nice splitter.” Having already established he can hang as a pro, he now just needs to establish the consistency to catch the right people’s eye to land a chance in the majors.
2014 could well be a big season for the pitcher in terms of what direction his career will take. Make sure to keep up with his progress as the long summer gets under way. In the meantime, find out a little more about him courtesy of the interview he granted this site earlier this winter.
Michael McCarthy Interview:
Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?: Growing up, I didn't have just one favorite but enjoyed an array of players such as Cal Ripken Jr., Bill Mueller and John Smoltz. I always felt like these guys played as hard as they could, and I modeled myself after them.
How did you end up choosing to attend Cal State-Bakersfield?: I started at the University of Redlands where I had an academic scholarship and was planning to attend med school. CSU-Bakersfield had opening enrollment in the fall and had just lost a pitcher, so things came together at the right time.
How did you first find out that the Red Sox were interested in you?: I was at a game that Jim Woodward came to. He told me he liked how I threw and had interest in me playing for the Red Sox. He came out to watch me a couple more times over the three-month season.
Who was the first well-known member of the Red Sox you met after you signed, and what was that like?: Rich Gedman was the hitting coach in Lowell and is well known throughout New England. A great man and helped get me started on the right foot.
What current pitcher would you say your style/type of skills is most similar to?: I see myself being similar to Koji Uehara and Tim Hudson. High 80s fastball with a good split. Quality control and someone who will do whatever the team needs of them.
What pitches do you throw, and what parts of your game do you think you need to work on most?: I throw a four-seam, two-seam and cut-fastball. I also throw a split, curve and slider.
Besides the travel, what are the toughest parts of a professional season?: A big challenge is the toll the game takes on your body. Day in and day out you have to maintain your physical and mental strength so you can play each day with the highest quality possible.
Are you surprised by the attention the Red Sox organization gets from fans, the media, etc? How has any extra attention affected you?: I was somewhat surprised at first but as I met people from New England I quickly realized how they viewed their sports teams. It is more than just a game; it is a way of life and something that binds us all together. I am proud to be a part of that bond and take a lot of pride in representing the Red Sox brand to the best of my ability.
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