Marlins right-hander Zach McCambley (@ZachhMcCambley on Twitter) joins Ely Sussman and Ethan Budowsky for the 2021 season premiere of Earning Their Stripes on the Fish Stripes podcast. The franchise’s third-round selection in the 2020 MLB Draft, McCambley discusses the top highlights of his career thus far, working with his new teammates and coaches, results from last fall’s Florida Instructional League and his expectations for the upcoming major league spring training camp, plus much more.
Enjoy Episode 32!
McCambley spent three seasons at Coastal Carolina University. The program won a NCAA national championship in 2016, though as McCambley tells us on the pod, he committed there before that milestone.
McCambley identifies his February 17, 2018 relief appearance as his “most memorable game” with Coastal (2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K). The Chanticleers walked off in extra innings against a highly ranked Oklahoma Sooners team, and the then-18-year-old freshman earned his first collegiate win.
“I really think that I was just starting to go up” before the 2020 season was halted by COVID-19, McCambley says. “The first four games that I had this past year, they were probably the best I’ve ever thrown at college.” He struck out 31% of batters faced and averaged 99 pitches per outing.
A top-30 Marlins prospect in the eyes of both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline, McCambley pairs a 92-95 mph fastball with a plus curveball. To succeed in the pros, especially in a starting role, he understands the importance of developing his changeup to complement those weapons:
“The third pitch is the biggest priority for me. In every bullpen, we’re making sure that we’re keeping the command right...You go to the field and you see the (batting) cages and you see the major league guys—you really need something to get their timing off. Now it’s more of a real thing for me, this changeup. It’s made a ton of progress.
“The biggest thing with the changeup is just the feel for it. You gotta have a feel for it. It’s not necessarily how you throw it—it’s more about the reps. And that’s what they’ve been preaching to me, Scott (Aldred) and Reid (Cornelius). We work on it every single day. I’d say that I throw the changeup multiple times a day probably six days a week...It’s gonna just take me to the next level.”
McCambley previously played with fellow Marlins draftee Kyle Nicolas in the 2019 Cape Cod League. They’re now housemates in Jupiter and regular throwing partners. McCambley has been assigned uniform No. 96 for spring training while Nicolas will wear No. 97.
Barring any more surprise non-roster invitees, McCambley will be the youngest Marlins pitcher participating in major league camp. Fittingly, he’ll turn 22 on May 4, which Baseball America reports will be Minor League Baseball’s season opener for Low-A, High-A and Double-A affiliates.
Fish Stripes is ranked by Feedspot as the world’s No. 2 Miami Marlins podcast (trailing only the pod that’s produced by the franchise itself). Our programs include The Offishial Show, Marlins Barbecue, Earning Their Stripes and Big Hall Talk. All new episodes are posted to FishStripes.com/podcasts. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean, Megaphone or wherever you normally get your pods from.