Scott McGough

From BR Bullpen

Scott McGough.jpg

Scott Thomas McGough

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Scott McGough made his major league debut in 2015. After appearing in 6 games that season, he was out of the majors until resurfacing in 2023.

Amateur Career[edit]

He is the son of Tom McGough. Scott hit .413 as a high school senior and stole 27 bases. A shortstop, he was named All-Area by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and taken in the 46th round of the 2008 amateur draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. McGough went on to college instead.

As a freshman, McGough was 1-0 with a 5.21 ERA in 18 games for the University of Oregon. He also started five games at shortstop and was 3 for 18 at the plate. In the Northwoods League that summer, he went 5-4 with a 2.54 ERA. He improved to 5-2, 2.45 with four saves as a sophomore, walking only 14 in 58 2/3 IP. He spent the summer with Team USA. In their main event, the 2010 World University Championship, he was roughed up for two hits, a walk and a run in his only inning; only Sean Gilmartin had a worse ERA for the US. McGough fell to 3-6 with 5 saves and a 3.59 ERA his junior year, striking out 62 in 57 2/3 IP. He pitched in 31 games, a school record.


McGough was taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth round of the 2011 amateur draft. The scout was Henry Jones. He made his pro debut on June 22nd of that summer with the Ogden Raptors. He went a combined 1-5, 2.77 in his first season, also spending time with the Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League. All 26 of his appearances were in relief and he picked up 10 saves between the two teams, striking out 33 in 26 innings. In 2012, he was assigned to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the California League to start the year, and went 3-5, 3.99 in 35 relief appearances, with 5 saves. On July 25th, he was traded to the Miami Marlins along with Nathan Eovaldi in return for Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate.

Majors and Japan[edit]

McGough made his major league debut for the Marlins on August 20, 2015, as a relief pitcher against the Philadelphia Phillies. He replaced Brad Hand in the top of the 7th with a comfortable 8-1 lead, but proceeded to give up 3 runs on 5 hits in two-thirds of an inning before being replaced by Bryan Morris. Miami held on to win, 9-7. In six games, he had no decisions and an ERA of 9.45 in 6 2/3 innings.

Following this brief taste of the majors, he went back to the minor leagues from 2016 to 2018, pitching at both the AA and AAA levels. He was claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles in April of 2016 and pitched for both the AAA Norfolk Tides and AA Bowie BaySox that year, and for those two teams again in 2017. He had some success in AA that year, going 1-3, 1.95 for Bowie, with 13 saves in 27 appearances. He then signed with the Colorado Rockies for the 2018 season and spent all of it in AAA with the Albuquerque Isotopes. He was 7-3 with 1 save in 43 outings, but with an ERA of 5.55

The Yakult Swallows then signed him, and he collected 18 holds and 11 saves in 65 appearances with a 3.15 ERA. McGough ranked 7th in appearances (9 behind Edwin Escobar) and 7th in saves (between Geronimo Franzua and Taichi Ishiyama). He was also selected into the 2019 NPB All-Star Game, and he pitched a shutout inning with 2 strikeouts against Eigoro Mogi and Shogo Akiyama in Game 1. Ishiyama took his closer spot in 2020, and McGough collected 23 holds with a 3.91 ERA in 50 games. He was 5th in holds, between Hiroto Fuku and Yuhei Takanashi.

McGough then represented the USA in the 2020 Olympics, and he debuted against South Korea. Relieving Nick Martinez in the 6th inning, he fanned Baek-ho Kang and Hyun-soo Kim, then retired Jung-hoo Lee to end this inning. McGough relieved David Robertson in the next game against Japan, and he retired Masataka Yoshida but walked Seiya Suzuki. Hideto Asamura's single sent Suzuki to third, and Yuki Yanagita's grounder drove in the game-tying run. McGough struck out Ryosuke Kikuchi and ended his work, but Japan still beat the USA with Takuya Kai's walk-off single.

Succeeding Brandon Dickson in the 7th inning against Dominican Republic, McGough surrendered a single to Melky Cabrera then retired Charlie Valerio and Jeison Guzmán. Yefri Pérez added another single, and McGough struck out José Bautista to end this inning. He then relieved Ryder Ryan in the 7th inning against South Korea again, and Kun-woo Park hit a leadoff single. Ji-hwan Oh doubled and Park scored due to Jack Lopez's error, and McGough struck out Kyoung-min Heo. However, he then gave up a single to Hye-seong Kim, and Anthony Gose replaced him; he struck out the next two batters. In the Gold Medal Game against Japan, McGough relieved Ryan in the 8th inning, but he struggled again. Tetsuto Yamada hit a leadoff single, Hayato Sakamoto bunted and Yoshida added a single. Yamada scored due to Lopez's error. Mcgough then walked Suzuki, Sosuke Genda bunted and he forced Yanagita fly out to end his work. Japan won Gold in the event.

In 2021, McGough collected 31 saves and 14 holds with a 2.52 ERA in 66 games as the closer of the Swallows. He collected 10 holds in June, and he broke the team record for most saves in a month. McGough was 2nd in appearances (tied with Katsuki Matayoshi) and 3rd in saves (between Ryoji Kuribayashi and Raidel Martínez). He relieved Matayoshi in the 7th inning of the 2021 NPB All-Star Game1, and he retired Hotaka Yamakawa and Takeya Nakamura. However, McGough then surrendered three straight singles to Shogo Nakamura, Hiroto Kobukata and Takashi Ogino, and Nakamura scored. McGough struck out Ryoya Kurihara to end this inning. He pitched a shutout inning in each of the 2021 CLCS Game 1 and 2 to help the Swallows advanced to the 2021 Nippon Series, and McGough relieved Noboru Shimizu in the 9th inning of Game 1. However, Kotaro Kurebayashi hit a leadoff single then PH Adam Jones drew a walk. Shuhei Fukuda bunted, and McGough failed to get Kurebayashi in third. Yuma Mune then drove in 2 runs, and Yoshida hit a walk-off double. McGough bounced back, getting a save with a shutout inning in both Game 3 and 4. He then gave up a game-winning pinch-hit solo home run to Jones and got the loss in Game 5, and he relieved Kazuto Taguchi in the 10th inning of Game 6. McGough completed 2 1/3 shutout innings, and he got the win thanks to Shingo Kawabata's clutch RBI single. The Swallows beat the Orix Buffaloes in 6 games, and McGough won his only Nippon Series title.

McGough improved in 2022, and he attended the 2022 NPB All-Star Game; he pitched a shutout inning in Game 1. He ended up collecting 38 saves with a 2.35 ERA in 55 games, and he ranked 2nd in saves (2 behind R. Martinez). In the 2022 Nippon Series, he relieved Shimizu in the 9th inning of Game 1, and he allowed two men on with one out in the 9th but recovered to strike out RF Yutaro Sugimoto and PH Yuma Tongu to notch the save. McGough then succeeded Shimizu in the 9th inning of Game 5, but he gave up a walk to Ryoichi Adachi. Fukuda bunted, Masahiro Nishino then hit a comebacker to McGough. However, he committed an error while trying to pass first, and Adachi scored the game-tying run. McGough then struck out Keita Nakagawa, but Yoshida crushed a walk-off 2-run home run and McGough got the loss. He was the first reliever to have 3 losses in Nippon Series. He then allowed 2 runs in 2/3 of a inning in Game 6, and the Buffaloes beat the Swallows in 7 games.

Following his success in Japan, he signed as a free agent with the Arizona Diamondbacks before the 2023 season. The D-Backs were hoping that he would become the team's closer, and while he did record 9 saves, his numbers overall were disappointing as he went 2-7, 4.73 in 63 games. He made one start and did strike out 86 batters in 70 1/3 innings. His last appearance came on September 14th, however, as he was placed on the injured list with shoulder inflammation three days later, and he thus missed Arizona's unlikely run to the World Series. Paul Sewald, acquired at the trade deadline, had been anointed as closer by then, but he would still have played a role had he been healthy.

With the introduction of the universal DH in 2022, instances of pitchers coming to bat in a game became extremely rare, but it happened to McGough on April 3, 2024 and moreover, with the game on the line. This was a result of the Diamondbacks using all of their backup infielders before SS Geraldo Perdomo injured his knee on a play in the 10th inning of a game against the New York Yankees. When Perdomo left the game, the D-Backs had no choice but to move DH Ketel Marte to shortstop, thus forfeiting the use of the DH for the remainder of the game. And of course, Perdomo's old spot, now occupied by McGough came up in a critical situation in the bottom of the 11th, with Arizona trailing, 6-5. Yankees manager Aaron Boone had issued an intentional walk to Gabriel Moreno to load the bases and bring the pitcher to the plate, knowing full well that Arizona had no more position players left on its bench. McGough, whose last professional plate appearance had been with Yakult in 2019, struck out on four pitches to end the game.


Further Reading[edit]

  • Steve Gilbert: "Bases loaded, 2 outs in the 11th and here comes ... the pitcher?! D-backs' reliever strikes out in 1st career PA to end loss to Yanks",, April 3, 2024. [1]

Related Sites[edit]