Right-hander Mac Sceroler has got a decent four-pitch mix and an uncle who has helped shape his career and is well known to Orioles fans. He had a strong 2019 season, but when spring training begins, the 25-year-old will be trying to make the jump from the high Single-A Florida State League to the American League.
One of the O’s two Rule 5 picks, along with right-hander Tyler Wells, Sceroler was the No. 5 pick of the 18 major league-phase players taken. The Orioles selected him from the Cincinnati Reds, who took him in round five of the First-Year Player Draft out of Southeastern Louisiana in 2017. He is the nephew of MASN broadcaster and former Orioles pitcher Ben McDonald. With Daytona in 2019, Sceroler went 5-4 with a 3.69 ERA. In 117 innings he walked 29, fanned 127 and posted a 1.11 WHIP.
For his career, he is 9-16 with a 4.07 ERA in 56 games, 47 starts. But with fewer than 200 career innings in full-season ball, he’ll try to make the O’s roster come opening day and skip over two levels. As a Rule 5 selection, he would have to stick on that roster all year or be sent back to his former club.
“I don’t really think I have to do anything different, other than what I did in 2019,” Sceroler said during a Zoom interview yesterday with O’s media. “You know, just talking to some guys, some coaches and the front office, they liked what I did back in 2019. A lot of people, trying to make jumps like this, they tend to kind of overdo it and be somebody who they’re not. So, I think the thing with me I have to understand: I just need to continue to do what I did in 2019.
“Being that 2020 was a lost year for development, you know, that was my Double-A year. So, it was really unfortunate to lose that whole entire year altogether. But I’ve been working hard and continuing to try and progress. So, we’ll see how it pays off.”
Sceroler said he did throw bullpens and some live batting practice sessions this year as he worked out with other pro players at his local high school.
He said many of his conversations with O’s staff thus far have centered around one theme.
“I’ve been communicating with the front office a little bit, and they are very big on analytics now,” Sceroler said. “I’ve had a few conversations and we talked analytics. I learned some stuff about me that I didn’t know. I’m super excited to learn more about me I didn’t know, if you know what I mean.
“They pretty much told me they had looked at my TrackMan data and they like how my fastball-curveball combo plays. I’m assuming that will be something I continue to work on as my career progresses. I just need to learn more and more every day, and talking to all these coaches with helpful information, all that will help me continue to enhance my career.”
Baseball America rated Sceroler as the No. 138 draft prospect for the 2017 draft, and the Reds made him the overall No. 137 pick, signing him to a bonus of $297,500. Baseball America’s draft scouting report noted that Sceroler was selected in round 36 by the Phillies in 2016, but didn’t sign. His fastball was said to sit at 92, 93 mph, touching 95.
“First, (establish) the fastball,” he said in scouting himself. “If you can’t locate the fastball, up and down, in and out, nothing else really plays. For me, if I have my fastball working, then I can throw my curveball, which plays off the fastball.”
The family connection with McDonald has been well noted since the O’s added Sceroler. McDonald talked more about that in this entry.
“It’s been really cool for our family, being that Ben is almost a legend over there in Baltimore,” said Sceroler (pronounced suh-ROLL-er). “But, super excited for this opportunity and it’s been a pretty cool past week for my family. I knew my name was in the conversation with the Orioles and a few other teams. You never really know for sure until it happens. Me and Uncle Ben, we got talking a little bit about the Orioles and just how good of an organization it is to be in right now with all the opportunity going around. Super excited to get to camp and get this thing rolling.”
If Sceroler makes it as an Oriole, he and McDonald will be together at Camden Yards again. It will take the kid back to his youth and playing catch in the yard.
“Absolutely, 100 percent,” he said. “There are photos of me as a toddler with an Orioles hat, Orioles jersey, standing in Camden Yards. So my mom and dad - we’re a pretty close-knit family - they traveled around to see Ben play and they carried me along with them. Growing up, he was my first pitching coach, obviously. But he’s been very helpful throughout my whole career - high school, college and now professionally. You know he has that good insight that not many other people have. He’s been through everything that I want to go through. So, he’s a good person to lean on, especially at a time like this.”