He’s not a name that you will remember in the morning. For the teams he’s played for, he was considered the real deal. But when that tag is applied to any prospect, there might be disappointments.
He was drafted in the 17th round of the 2002 MLB Draft by the Chicago Rockies. In 2004, he had 202 strikeouts in 172 innings of work, leading the minor leagues. Scott Lovekamp, current scout of the New York Yankees said, “He’s got exceptional command for a tall guy. He creates such good angles and works down in the zone.”
But that was in 2005. On April 21, 2011, Brandon McCarthy is finally living up to what everyone wanted to see, him pitch.
It seems like decades ago when everyone first saw McCarthy. A young, highly touted pitcher for the Chicago White Sox making his major league debut against the in town rivals, Chicago Cubs. That would the most actions McCarthy would see with the Sox, as he was used as a reliever afterwards.
In December of 2006, he was traded to the Texas Rangers, in a deal that Sox fans first regretted, but now love. Current left-handed starter John Danks was in the deal that sent McCarthy to Texas. After that, McCarthy seemed to disappear from the radar. He batted with injuries throughout the season. In 2007, he dealt with a stress fracture in his right shoulder blade. That put his career on hold for 2 months.
But it never got better for McCarthy. 2008 was met with inflammation in his right elbow, his throwing elbow. He missed most of the 2008 season. 2009, he pitched to a 7-4 record, with a 4.62 earned run average. The strikeouts disappeared that he displayed years before hand. 2010 marked the end of McCarthy’s days as a Ranger. He spent most of the season in the minors or on the disabled list.
But he was given an opportunity. He pitched in the Dominican Winter League, dazzling like he used to. 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA in four starts.
The opportunity was in California, where McCarthy hales. The Oakland Athletics signed him to a 1-year deal, not knowing what they would receive. In 4 starts this season, McCarthy has pleased the A’s more than his contract says.
In his first start at Toronto, he looked like the old McCarthy. He surrendered 5 runs (4 earned) in 8 innings of work. He received a no decision. But he returned with vengeance against the Minnesota Twins. He received a victory, his first since 2009.
But finally, on April 21, 2011, Brandon McCarthy pitched like everyone thought he’d pitch every time on the mound. With a new arm slot, more of a ¾ delivery, McCarthy has found the old self. The former top prospect in baseball. He received a loss, but pitched a complete game, surrendering one run on 4 hit. The only thing standing in the way of victory: Felix Hernandez.
The A’s might have found a diamond in the rough. Or maybe that steal at the garage sale. Either way, Brandon McCarthy has dusted his past and is planning for the future: a main stay in the Oakland Athletics talented rotation.