If you’ve been holding your breath on the compensation for George Springer, you can exhale - the Astros used their extra pick on Ball State senior righty Chayce McDermott, an athletic hurler with unique upside for a signability play.
Brother of the Grizzlies’ Shaun McDermott, Chayce has been a bit inconsistent as a college player, but has an array of tantalizing traits that make him an intriguing pick in this range. As you might expect, he’s a very good on mound athlete, and is able to manage a big delivery with a long stride length effectively. Already a decent strike thrower, there’s potential for McDermott’s command to continue to improve despite the fact that he’ll soon turn 23.
Scouts have long expected velocity from McDermott, but it didn’t really start to show until 2021, as he typically worked in the 89-92 range historically. The fastball started to come on this past year though, and we saw him into the mid-90s with relative regularity. His sturdy 6’3” frame and full-body delivery suggest that he should be able to hold that kind of heat consistently. The fastball also has some pretty solid life to it, hardly a surprise as his overall spin feel is excellent.
While the potential for command gains and heat go a long way, the separating trait for me with McDermott is the breaking stuff. We haven’t seen an especially high degree of consistency with it yet, but McDermott has shown enough proficiency with both his slider and curveball that I think both make the cut in the pro game. The curve is an old school 12-6er with tons of depth, and while the command of the pitch still needs work, I think it fits as a tertiary weapon. The slider has more power but still sports good bite, and likely represents the go-to secondary at the next level. He’ll also mix in his share of changeups, and it has shown at least solid average, so I have him as a four pitch guy as a pro.
McDermott will need to iron out his fine command a bit to stick in the rotation in the big leagues, and while his age affords him less time to do so, the standout on-mound athleticism gives him a puncher’s chance. Even if that doesn’t work out, the fastball-slider combo should translate very readily to the bullpen, and the depth of his arsenal would give him a chance to be a multi-inning guy. I think it’s a great pick to follow up two prep selections, as McDermott’s senior status should make him inexpensive, but there’s still upside here.