After a rocky start to his D-backs career, Scott McGough has truly become a surprising lock-down presence coming out of the bullpen.
McGough came into notice with his unfortunate back-to-back homer blown save against San Diego in April but has since become a reliable late-inning reliever for Arizona. The D-backs' bullpen woes appeared to have been back in full force for the 2023 season. Since then, McGough has looked to reverse that narrative.
McGough's last earned run came against the San Francisco Giants. Since May 12th, McGough has steadily lowered his ERA to a respectable 3.03, allowing 0 runs in 10 appearances. In those 10 appearances, he has allowed only 5 total base hits and 7 walks, with an impressive 21 Strikeouts in only 14 innings (via MLB.com). His season WHIP sits at a mere 0.89, and it just seems to get lower with each appearance.
But it's not just the flashy stats that McGough brings to the table. The D-backs' bullpen has had its fair share of blown games, often due to overwork. While GM Mike Hazen has brought in a few reinforcements to the bullpen, the D-backs' starters have struggled to consistently go more than 6 innings per start.
McGough, despite allowing a game-losing unearned run in Oakland, has shown the ability to go multiple innings consistently, late into the game. Five of his last nine appearances have been more than a full inning, and his efficiency in those innings is what keeps his arm fresh and ready to be available often.
McGough's arsenal of pitches doesn't appear to be anything special, relying mostly on 4 seam fastballs and splitters. However, he ranks in the 93rd percentile in chase rate, 86th in strikeouts, and 81st in whiffs (via Statcast). Some argue that he should be given more save opportunities with his nearly untouchable splitter, but McGough has excelled in the setup role thus far.
First impressions are often correct, but Scott McGough has certainly been able to turn his season around since his disastrous start. His late-inning appearances have become quick and efficient, and he's becoming an excellent setup man for the D-backs' closer rotation.