The Pittsburgh Pirates have re-signed right-handed pitcher Travis MacGregor to a minor league deal. The 2016 second round draft pick became a minor league free agent after splitting the 2022 season between Altoona and Indianapolis.
The 25-year-old MacGregor was at the top of his prospect game during the first half of the 2018 season, but multiple trips to the disabled list led to him missing most of the second half. That was followed by Tommy John surgery, with the timing causing him to missing all of 2019. He then had to sit out the 2020 lost minor league season. By the time he returned to action in 2021, it was over 32 months since he last appeared in a regular season game.
MacGregor struggled as a starter during his return, skipping from Low-A in 2018, to Double-A in 2021. He had a 6.25 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP in 90.2 innings, though he had 88 strikeouts.
He moved to the Altoona bullpen in 2022, where he went on a dominating streak that earned him a mid-season promotion to Indianapolis. He had a 1.50 ERA, a .192 BAA, and 41 strikeouts in 30 innings over a 5 1/2 week stretch from early May through mid-June.
MacGregor’s ERA shot up to 7.25 during his Triple-A time. His 5.22 season ERA and 1.48 WHIP, came with 103 strikeouts in 81 innings.
He should have a chance at a spot with Indianapolis. He was showing real promise in Altoona last year, but his time with Indianapolis included mostly poor outings mixed between scoreless appearances. If he could limit those games, he becomes a potential middle inning bullpen piece. He has the pitch mix of a starter, adding a cutter to a fastball/slider/changeup mix in 2022, but he also hits 97 MPH out of the bullpen, looking sharper in extended relief outings.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
This one makes sense. The Lolo re-signing did not!!
Good move by both parties. It sounds as if he made big strides forward in 2021 after missing almost 3 years. Wish him the best!
Looking at the stats from the 2021 season, this kid showed a lot of heart and character just to get through the season. After missing 2+ seasons and jumping from A to AA, as mentioned, his ERA numbers by month were 2.63 in May, 4.30 in Jun, 8.57 in Jun, 11.88 in Aug, before dropping it down to 3.31 in Sep.
The Pirates are converting him to a left handed hitting outfielder.
Wait??!! They signed a NON left handed pitcher??