Pitcher James MacArthur was included in Philadelphia’s 40 list in November.

Wanting to take the next step in his professional career, MacArthur will get to the opening day of Reading Friday when the Fightin Phils start their season against Somerset at FirstEnergy Stadium at 6:45 p.m.

Pitcher James MacArthur (left) and catcher Logan O’Hop are the “Reading Fighting Phils” battery, the probable battery of the opening day. (BIL URICH – READ ALLO)

“I’m just looking forward to taking the ball every five days and trying to get better this year,” MacArthur said. “Play games for a long time and get better every day.”

Right-hander MacArthur made his Double-A debut last year, scoring 2-6 with a 4.48 ERA in 19 games, 15 of which kicked off. He knocked out 78 reflectors in 74 працы innings. He has had 2.23 ERAs in his last nine appearances.

“He’s a guy who really got a lot better last year,” said Reading manager Sean Williams. “He’s playing (and) striving to win.”

MacArthur made five starts in the Arizona Autumn League – where teams are sending many of their top prospects – in 2022, but with difficulty, releasing an 8.10 ERA. However, he attracted attention by making 18 strikeouts in 16 ⅔ innings as well because of his size (6-7, 230 pounds) and the quality of his fields on low-speed fields.

“It’s really good competition, so you have days when they get you, and you have days when you get them,” MacArthur said. “It gives you a lot of confidence that you belong there and you have to play with those calibers.”

MacArthur impressed Phyllis so much that they added him to the list of 40 people on 19 November. According to MLB.com, it ranks 21st in Philadelphia’s agricultural system.

“It shows that all the hard work you put into it all pays off a little bit,” MacArthur said of earning a spot on the 40th man. “(There are) still a lot of work to be done and that gives you some motivation going forward.”

This spring MacArthur played twice with relief in the Grapefruit League games, allowing one run in 2 ⅔ innings.

“(He had) a good spring,” Williams said. “He’s learning to serve.”

MacArthur was selected by Philadelphia in the 12th round of the 2018 draft after three seasons at Ole Miss. He dominated his first season at the beginner and singles levels, scoring a 0.54 ERA in 10 games.

MacArthur split the time between Single-A Lakewood and High Single-A Clearwater in 2019, gaining 3-7 with an 4.95 ERA in 25 appearances. He did not play in 2020, as the lower league baseball season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I learned that it doesn’t really matter where you are, you just have to show up every day and try to get better,” MacArthur said. “I’m just grateful for the opportunity and want to use it to the fullest.”

MacArthur’s quadrupedal repertoire is fixed at a speed of 92-95 miles per hour and a sweeping reptile. He said he is working on a more consistent location in the strike zone, which will be the key to its success in 2022.

“(If) you put the whole package together, it’s pretty special,” Williams said. “It’s very important for him to learn to serve and attack these strikers, because if he does, it’s really good.”

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