McCarthy talks playing in Wilmington, bullpen roles, Wawa

Though he was drafted by the KC Royals in 2013 (16th round), it has been a fairly quick rise for right-hander Kevin McCarthy.

After pitching at rookie level Burlington after signing, McCarthy missed most of last season (pitched in just two games at the beginning of the season) after having his second ACL surgery (his first came while at Marist).

Blue Rocks reliever Kevin McCarthy pitching on July 26, 2015 (Jen Nevius).

Blue Rocks reliever Kevin McCarthy pitching on July 26, 2015 (Jen Nevius).

This season, McCarthy started in Low-A Lexington, but lasted just six appearances, where he was a perfect 2-for-2 in save opportunities.

Since joining High-A Wilmington in early May, McCarthy has pitched in just about every role coming out of the Blue Rocks bullpen. Lately, he’s been pitching multiple innings (two-plus innings in four of his last five appearances), but he has also saved games (4-for-5 in save opportunities) and had short stints (six outings of less than two innings).

“I have no preference really,” said McCarthy after his latest relief outing on Sunday. “Just try to come in and get quick outs.”

On Sunday in relief of starter Brooks Pounders, McCarthy entered the game in the 7th inning with runners on the corners and one out. Though he allowed an RBI single on the first pitch he threw, he settled down to retire the final eight batters he faced (2.2IP, H, 0R, 0BB, K).

Check out video of his lone strikeout (Cleveland prospect Clint Frazier):

Any extra adrenaline coming into games with men on base? “Oh yeah, always.”

 

I mentioned earlier about McCarthy having ACL surgery at Marist. He spent three years at the NY college. “I loved it there. Leaving was tough, but I think it’s worked out.”

The criminal justice major has no clue how he would use that knowledge if he wasn’t playing baseball.

 

If you follow McCarthy on Twitter, you know he has a pretty creative handle (KMAC_n_cheez15). Was it hard to come up with it? “Not much thought went into it.” Is it just me that had trouble coming up with a creative handle (and mine isn’t creative at all)?

If you follow him on Twitter, you also know that he likes stopping at Wawa, which for those not from up East, is kind of like a mini-mart with freshly made sandwiches and most are open 24 hours (and some have gas stations).

Blue Rocks reliever Kevin McCarthy pitching on June 26, 2015 (Jen Nevius).

Blue Rocks reliever Kevin McCarthy pitching on June 26, 2015 (Jen Nevius).

When entering Wawa, what is the first thing he grabs?

“Buffalo chicken hoagie.”

 

The New York native is enjoying the chance to play close to home. “It’s awesome. Every off day, I’m usually able to get home.”

Outside of being close to home, what does McCarthy like best about playing in Wilmington?

“The fans. We get a great crowd every day. It’s fun playing in front of them.” The Blue Rocks are third in the Carolina League in terms of average attendance per game (4,161).

 

Get out to the ballpark on Friday night because that is probably the next time McCarthy will pitch. The Blue Rocks use their bullpen strangely, with most pitching multiple innings and only pitching once every five days (like the starters).

UPDATE: Well, McCarthy didn’t pitch on Friday night, mainly because he was promoted to Double-A NW Arkansas!

Best of luck because you definitely deserve it.

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About Jen Nevius

I first became a KC Royals fan way back in 1995 when I attended my first Wilmington Blue Rocks game. I fell in love with minor league baseball then and began following the Royals as former Blue Rocks clawed their way to the big leagues. 3+ years ago I started covering the Royals for Aerys Sports, but since the site has been shut down, I am going out on my own.
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