Earning Their Stripes welcomes a special guest: Marlins right-hander Andrew McInvale. In an interview with Ely Sussman (2:40), McInvale describes his rise from late-round draft pick to the Double-A level, being traded over from the Blue Jays organization, adjusting to COVID-related lifestyle changes and game cancellations, and which pitching staff role suits him best entering 2022.
Enjoy Episode 43!
McInvale was the least-established name involved in the June 29 trade that sent Corey Dickerson and Adam Cimber to Toronto and Joe Panik to Miami. The Marlins essentially “bought” him from the Blue Jays by taking responsibility for approximately half of the money that was owed to Dickerson and Cimber.
A former 37th-round draft pick out of Liberty University, McInvale received a rather aggressive promotion to Double-A New Hampshire in May and had been performing well there at the time of his acquisition. He relies heavily on his mid-90s fastball and slider. His “newest development” is a changeup intended to neutralize left-handed batters.
To the best of my knowledge, McInvale was the only pitcher in 2021 to throw an “immaculate inning” with any of the Marlins’ full-season minor league affiliates. With Pensacola hosting the Montgomery Biscuits on August 13, he worked a perfect fifth inning, striking out the side on nine pitches (all strikes).
“After that outing, I really did see a turn in my performance and my confidence on the mound,” McInvale says. “I kinda went on a roll from there.” Over his last eight appearances of the regular season, McInvale struck out 45.9% of all batters faced while surrendering only one run (0.87 ERA).
Even during what was admittedly an inconsistent year, the stat that sticks out most about the 25-year-old is this: he allowed the sixth-lowest line drive rate among all MiLB arms with at least 40 innings pitched (per FanGraphs). He’s got a desirable combination of being able to miss bats and suppress quality contact.
A Blue Wahoos teammate of recently traded Kameron Misner and Kyle Nicolas, McInvale foresees quality big league careers for both of them. Following their departures, he advocates for right-handers Zack Leban and Zach McCambley to get more respect on Marlins top prospect lists.
The Marlins have an interesting call to make on where to assign McInvale for the start of the 2022 season. They could potentially have him repeat Double-A or bump him up to Triple-A Jacksonville. That likely hinges on what other pitchers come and go from the organization during the rest of the offseason and how far the righty reliever progresses on his offspeed pitch development.
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