Michael McGreevy
Michael McGreevy pitching for the Gauchos. (Photo courtesy of UCSB Sports Information)

UCSB sophomore pitcher Michael McGreevy was chosen in the first-round of Sunday’s Major League Baseball draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, becoming only the second Gaucho ever taken in the first round.

McGreevy, the 18th overall pick, is now the second-highest UCSB draft pick in program history, behind Dillon Tate, who was the fourth overall pick in 2015. Tate pitches for the Baltimore Orioles.

McGreevy, a 6-foot-5 right hander, was a combined 16-3 with a 2.33 ERA for the full 2019 and 2021 seasons and the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He was an all-Big West First Team selection in 2019, when he went 5-1 as a reliever with six saves and a 1.94 ERA. He then became a starter.

In 2021, McGreevy was 9-2 with a 2.92 ERA, and an astounding 10.45 strikeout-to-walk ratio, on 115 strikeouts against only 11 walks. He ranked second in the nation with a 0.97 walks allowed per nine Innings average in 2021.

His fastball has reached 97 mph, with potential for more, and has a slider, curveball and changeup, according to an assessment of what attracted the Cardinals from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“I would rather have guys get hits off me instead of walks,” the new Cardinal recruit said. “Walking is not competing out there.”

Michael McGreevy

Michael McGreevy (Photo courtesy of UCSB Sports Information)

Cardinals assistant general manager Randy Flores, the director of scouting who made the pick, said he sees McGreevy bulking 230 pounds from his current 215, with resulting increased velocity.

“What we were intrigued (with) is that he reeks of athleticism and of being a starter,” Flores told the Post-Dispatch. “What I mean by that is he sustained velocity, he threw 100 innings, coming out of a pandemic, and in doing that, he almost has a phobia of walking batters.”

McGreevy was undrafted out of San Clemente High School, where he played shortstop.

Originally recruited as a two-way player, McGreevy quickly became a full-time pitcher in his freshman season at UCSB in 2019. He made 29 appearances on the mound, posting a 5-1 record with six saves, 53 strikeouts, and a 1.94 ERA. He allowed just 13 earned runs and and the same number of walks.

Michael McGreevy

Michael McGreevy was the 18th overall pick in Sunday’s MLB draft.  (Submitted photo)

He became a starter in 2020, going 2-0 in four starts and a 0.94 ERA in the pandemic-shortened season. When that season ended, he worked on strength conditioning.

“I knew there was a lot more velocity in there,” McGreevy said.

This season, McGreevy set a Gaucho record with 15 strikeouts in a 4-1 victory over Cal-Poly on April 30.

UCSB coach Andrew Checketts also coached Cleveland All-Star Shane Bieber.

“Shane was just like Mike when it came to walks,” Checketts told Orange County Register columnist Mark Whicker. “He would shake off pitchouts sometimes. Mike is big, physical and hard-throwing. He’ll get stronger, like Shane did.”

McGreevy becomes the 50th player drafted by an MLB team in the Checketts era and is the 38th chosen since 2015. Both marks pace the Big West.

Selections will continue Monday with rounds 2-10, while rounds 11-20 will take place on Tuesday.

The Cleveland Indians chose UCSB sophomore left-hander Rodney Boone in the eighth round of the Major League Baseball draft on Monday. 

In a standout 2021 season, Boone was named co-Big West Pitcher of the Year, while also earning Second Team All-American and First Team All-West Region. The Orange native went 11-4 with a 2.31 ERA in 16 starts, striking out a school-record 128 in 97-1/3 innings.

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Dennis Moran, Noozhawk Correspondent

Noozhawk correspondent Dennis Moran can be reached at sports@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.