Jameson McGrane came out of nowhere in 2018 with a deadly but uncontrollable arsenal.
This offseason, Marlin Maniac has truly gone off the deep end in our year-end coverage of every player to appear in the 2018 system. 286 players played at one of the Miami Marlins eight levels of baseball in total, and McGrane is the 263rd that we’re writing about.
Jameson McGrane is a 6’4″, 190 lb. right-handed hitting and throwing relief pitcher from Potomac, Maryland, population 44,965. No major leaguers have ever come out of the town, although two have been drafted. Outfielder Derek Hacopian (23rd round, 1992, Cleveland Indians) and pitcher Harris Fanaroff (50th round, 2010, Washington Nationals).
McGrane caught on with the Florence Freedom in the independent Frontier League, and struck out 19 while allowing just two hits in nine innings. The Marlins were paying attention.
Born on June 25th, 1992, McGrane signed his first affiliated deal just prior to his 26th birthday with the Miami Marlins, on June 17th, 2018. The next day, he was sent to the rookie-level GCL Marlins, in the Florida-based Gulf Coast League. He pitched one perfect inning that day, striking out two and earning the save in a 6-3 victory against the GCL Nationals.
Four days later, the Miami Marlins promoted McGrane to the short-season-A Batavia Muckdogs, in the New York-Penn League. On July 3rd, he struck out three over two hitless innings, allowing a walk in a 5-4 victory against the West Virginia Black Bears. He appeared in five games for them, striking out nine in 6 1/3 innings. He only allowed one run on one hit over that time, holding batters to a .056 average, but he also walked seven during that time for a middling 1.263 WHIP.
On July 13th, McGrane was promoted again, to the full-season-A Greensboro Grasshoppers in the South Atlantic League. In his debut two days later, McGrane entered a contest in the ninth inning, trailing the Asheville Tourists 10-5. He then surrendered three runs in his inning of work, as the Hoppers dropped a 13-6 decision.
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Four days after that, yet another promotion was in the works for McGrane. He joined the high-A Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League. In his two games, he struck out three in 1 2/3 innings, allowing no runs, a walk, and two hits. He would spend the rest of the season, starting in August, back with the Muckdogs.
In eight more appearances with Batavia to close out the season, McGrane was 3-0 with two saves and a 1.56 ERA. In 17 1/3 innings of work, he struck out 24 batters and walked 13. The Miami Marlins released him on January 31st, 2019.
In total, McGrane walked 24 batters in 121 plate appearances for a 19.8 percent free-pass rate. He also got 39 batters to whiff, a 32.2 percent strikeout rate. In the end, his wildness outstripped his potential, especially when considering his advanced age at the outset of his career. Now a free agent, he is free to continue with any organization, affiliated or otherwise.