In the 20th round, the Mets selected Thomas McIlraith, a junior from the University of Oklahoma, with the 599th pick of the draft. The righty is fairly unknown to most college baseball fans--he was a 2015 transfer from Midland College and threw only 12.2 innings this season, failing to make much of an impression by posting a 6.39 ERA.
At Midland, McIlraith hadn’t been much more successful. While you expect players of any sort of caliber to play well at a junior college, McIlraith had his fair share of struggles, losing his job as Friday night starter, and otherwise proving to be just too hittable. It should be noted that Midland College had a good team during his tenure, going to the Juco World Series both seasons he was there. Still, it’s reasonable to expect a better performance than what he’s shown thus far.
But while the Mets aren’t betting on McIlraith’s performance, the scouting reports are a little more encouraging. He’s solidly built at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, and he typically throws in the low 90s with a fastball that has a little bit of sink to it. His breaking ball, a short slider is fringe-average, but his best secondary pitch is a hard split he’ll throw in the mid-80s. It has some nice downward bite to it, and when he locates the pitch well it’s effective.
And that’s why the performance hasn’t been there: command. McIlraith just doesn’t have the ability to locate with enough skill to make his average stuff play up. The results are fastballs that miss the corners and splits that don’t get buried in the dirt. It’s made him at once more hittable than he should be and more wild.
He brings a short arm action, and houses it in a windup that offers some deception. He could probably maximize his stride a little more, and starting his momentum toward the plate a little earlier could help, but the mechanics are mostly clean.
A good bet to sign, he has the size to start, and if he improves the command, it’s a real possibility, but a career as a reliever is a safer bet.
Finally, this is it for the full-length draft reports. On Monday, we’ll be switching to shorter capsules.