After signing as a 31st round draft pick in 2008, Magill showed steady improvement heading into 2013 and finally established himself as a legitimate prospect. The 23 year old had posted a 3.75 ERA in Double A Chattanooga in 2012, including a career high 10.3 K/9 rate. He began his 2013 campaign well, striking out 23 batters over his first four starts in Triple A Albuquerque.
Then, he got the call. The call that every minor leaguer waits for and, most of the time, never gets. He was going to the show. He packed his bags and headed to Los Angeles to make his major league debut.
Matt’s first start went well enough, as he allowed just a pair of runs over 6.2 innings, striking out 7. His second start, however, was a disaster and foreshadowed the rest of his turbulent season. He didn’t get out of the second inning, allowed five runs and walked four. To his credit, he bounced back over his next two starts, including a five inning, one run effort on May 19. But the writing was on the wall, and he was sent back to Albuquerque.
Even though he would eventually be recalled to the Dodgers, Magill would never recover from being thrown out of his rhythm. He’d walk 15 batters in his only other two major league starts before heading back to the minors. After another pair of starts in Albuquerque, he developed tightness in his forearm that landed him on the disabled list. He’d make a rehab start in rookie ball before returning to Triple A and finishing the season there.
2014 Outlook: Chris Jackson, who covers the Isotopes for the Albuquerque Examiner, stated that he believed Magill’s struggles were mostly mental, a result of Matt being thrown out of his routine and struggling to find consistency in his preparation and environment. Being shipped back and forth between LA and Albuquerque could do that to anyone.
What Matt must do in 2014 is establish some sort of consistency in his ability to throw strikes. While Jackson said he didn’t notice anything different mechanically about the right-hander, Magill will still need to be diligent about repeating his delivery. He’ll head back to Triple A to attempt to re-establish himself as the promising young starter he still can be.
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