Phillies promote pitching prospect Griff McGarry to Double A Reading

The Phillies made a significant minor-league transaction on Saturday.

Pitcher Griff McGarry, the team’s fifth-round pick in last year’s draft, was promoted from High A Jersey Shore to Double A Reading. The power-armed right-hander will start for Reading sometime mid-week at Richmond.

Double A is the level where prospects are often separated from suspects, and it’s not uncommon for players to make the jump from Double A to the majors.

As this season continues to unfold, McGarry could be a guy who could ascend to Philadelphia, possibly as a reliever, if the team is looking for a strikeout arm and infusion of power.

The 23-year-old University of Virginia product made 12 starts for Jersey Shore and allowed just 33 hits in 46⅔ innings while striking out 82 and walking 24. He struck out 34 batters in 17⅓ innings in his last three starts. He capped that run with six shutout innings at Wilmington on Wednesday night. He allowed just one hit, walked four and struck out 11 in that outing.

Control can be an issue for McGarry — it was in college — but when he’s on, he’s electric with a lively fastball that reaches triple digits and a hard slider.

“We know Griff’s got a great arm,” manager Rob Thomson said Saturday.

Could an arm like that be tempting for a team in a race?

“Yeah, sure,” said Thomson, careful not to raise any unreasonable expectations. “He’s got a really good arm and he is a really good prospect, so you never know.”

Ultimately, McGarry will determine how fast he gets to the majors with his performance. But his combination of maturity — he’s 23 and very bright — and pure stuff has put him on the map for a team that would consider any edge it could get as it tries to snap a 10-year postseason drought.

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