Chris McMahon enters the summer of 2017 as the top ranked prospect in Pennsylvania by both Perfect Game and the 42nd best prospect in the US. He is also ranked as the 15th best prep right-handed pitcher in the nation.
In the past, players who are ranked this highly as high school players are typically chosen in the first 3 rounds of the MLB draft, unless they have signaled that they are likely to go to college instead. Those players tend to fall to the second half of the forty-round draft.
McMahon stands as an exciting example of a player who really developed during high school. In 2014, as a 5’9”, 145 lb rising sophomore, Chris was in a Perfect Game showcase hitting 77-81 mph on his fastball, which placed him in the 74th percentile of the Perfect Game database amongst his peers. He got a solid, yet unspectacular 7.5 grade during this showcase.
In the fall of 2015, he jumped to 6’2” and was topping out at 90 mph as a junior. In addition to his growth spurt, he had been using cross-over symmetry bands since Freshman year 1-2 times a day to help develop his arm strength.
After this velocity jump, Chris received interest from high-level Division I NCAA baseball programs, and verbally committed to a baseball powerhouse, the University of Miami, as a junior.
By the summer of 2016 he was topping out at 94-95 he was invited to some of the biggest pro scouting events, the East Coast Pro Showcase and Area Code Games. Though Chris was initially anxious being watched by so many scouts “once you throw that first pitch, it all goes away.”
Now, it’s a common occurrence for the high school pitcher. When I went to watch him in April 2017, pitch there were easily 10 pro scouts at his high school game.
McMahon, like many top prospects, is an excellent two-way player for his high school team at West Chester – Rustin High School in West Chester, PA. However, going forward he clearly favors pitching over being a position player. “Not only do I think I’m a better pitcher, I just love pitching, having the ball in my hands, having control of the game and control of what I do,” McMahon said.
He has been working on his change-up since last summer and is also tweaking and working to improve his curve ball. He hasn’t needed more than his fastball until this past year where he can’t just rely on his velocity.
Though his favorite professional team is the Phillies and Chris remains a big Philly sports fan, obviously, given his commitment to the University of Miami, he is also a big fan of Florida, which should be exciting to Marlins fans.
Here’s a link to Chris’ pitching performance from 5/8/17. He topped out at 94 mph and threw a no-hitter against another excellent local high school team. Over twenty MLB scouts were present.
I asked Chris if he had any suggestions for other high school players who are college and/or pro baseball prospects. “Enjoy it. Just worry about the baseball part first. If you worry about the other stuff (what the scouts think), your performance won’t follow.” Clearly, McMahon has a good head on his shoulders and a lot of talent to go along with that. His future looks bright, and it will be exciting to watch what happens on June 12th, when the MLB draft arrives.