Justin Upton Can’t Jump, But Margevicius Made One Massive Leap

Justin Upton Can’t Jump, But Margevicius Made One Massive Leap

Angels slugger Justin Upton may miss half of the 2019 season, as Jeff Fletcher tweeted Friday that Upton is expected to miss 8-12 weeks. This comes as very unwelcoming news as he is one of the most consistent sluggers in the game today, averaging 32 HR 94 RBI 87 R and 10 SB a year since 2016 and hitting .258/.338/.490. He also had one of his best seasons of his career in 2017, as he surged to 5.2 Wins Above Replacement (7th among outfielders and the second best mark of his career). His string of six straight seasons with 25+ home runs and five straight seasons with 80+ runs batted in may be in jeopardy, but no matter what, the Angels will certainly appreciate his bat coming back into the lineup around mid-season.

Did the Padres really need another young rookie/prospect to jump on everybody’s radar? 22-year-old right-hander Nick Margevicius skipped right over Double-A and Triple-A pretty much entirely last year after making just nine starts at High-A Lake Elsinore and pitching in the playoffs for his organization’s Double-A squad, the San Antonio Missions. He made his major league debut last night against the San Francisco Giants and went five strong innings, giving up only one run on three hits while walking none and striking out five, although he did hit two batters. He picked up the loss as the Pads couldn’t back up his strong performance.

Nick Margevicius – Photo courtesy of Hayne Palmour IV/San Diego Union-Tribune

Margevicius was drafted in the 7th round as the 198th overall pick of the 2017 draft and was largely left off of everybody’s top prospect lists. According to John Eshleman of 2080 Baseball, Margevicius “has the qualities of a finesse lefty”, as he noted that;

– his fastball sat 88 to 90, touching 91 with above-average arm-side movement and riding life when up in the zone; projects as an average pitch
– he throws an infrequently used cutter to righties in the mid-80’s
– his best offspeed pitch is his curveball with 11-5 shape and ability to locate it to both sides of the plate, but lacks power and sharpness, hindering it’s bat-missing ability
– has a playable, low-80’s changeup with moderate fade

Margevicius has put up the following numbers since being drafted; 14-9 3.00 ERA 32 starts (two relief appearances) 183 IP 61 ER 187 H 11 HR (.5 HR/9) 25 BB (1.2 BB/9) 208 K (10.2 K/9) 1.16 WHIP and 8.3 K/BB. Those are dominant numbers, although similar to Shane Bieber’s struggles at times last year, Margevicius simply avoided walks by pounding the strike zone. Bieber probably would have benefited more from throwing less pitches in the strike zone and trying to get more swings and misses. He would have issued some more walks, but ultimately would have thrown less hittable pitches in the strike zone, possibly resulting in a lower ERA. I see Margevicius largely in the same boat; if he follows this mantra (as well as Bieber), he could see more walks, more strikeouts, and a lower ERA. It should be a sound trade-off.

Featured Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez

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