With Tommy John surgery in the review mirror, Oneonta High School alumnus Teddy McGraw is set to open his freshman collegiate baseball season with Division I Wake Forest on Friday, Feb. 18.
“I’m super-excited. I’ve been waiting to play in a meaningful game for almost two years now. We’ve got a really good team and high expectations, so it’s going to be a lot of fun and I really couldn’t be more excited,” McGraw said.
“It’s been a lot of fun. It’s great to play against this kind of competition. We have a lot of good players here, ACC players of the year, All-Americans, you just can learn and get better every day which has been awesome,” he added.
McGraw was rated as a top-500 prospect nationally and the No. 25 recruit from New York in the class of 2020 by Perfect Game, a baseball recruiting service.
“What makes Teddy special is, one, what type of person he is. He’s a great young man, humble yet determined and hardworking, with God-given talent to throw the ball 95 mph — it’s a pretty good combination,” Oneonta Head Coach Joe Hughes said.
“It’s kids like him that you cheer for and hope the best for them. He’s a better person than he is a baseball player — and he’s a great baseball player, so those type of guys you really pull for,” he continued.
While at Oneonta, McGraw was a three-time all-state baseball honoree.
As a freshman and sophomore, McGraw served as a late innings reliever for the Yellowjackets, a role he said he will continue at Wake Forest.
“At a younger age, we kind of knew he had a special gift ... so we didn’t want to push him too hard, too fast, too early, with a number of innings, so in his freshman/sophomore year, he was predominantly a full-time closer for us,” Hughes said.
Still, McGraw missed his senior baseball season for Oneonta because of a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, resulting in Tommy John surgery.
“It was certainly a long recovery and COVID-19 made it a little longer. It’s been something I didn’t want to go through obviously, but I’m glad to be in the position I am in today,” McGraw said.
“I think the hardest part is that some days your arm is going to feel great and you know everything is going to be so positive, and then some days your arm is going to feel terrible — and it’s just so easy to get down on yourself and start to question things, and I think that was probably the hardest part for me,” he continued.
Despite the injury, McGraw received Division I offers from Binghamton, Notre Dame and Wake Forest, ultimately choosing to play for the Demon Deacons.
McGraw said a lot of his success comes from his former Yellowjackets teammates, including Tanner Beang and John Mikolaicyk who play Division I baseball at St. Rose and Hofstra, respectively, as well as Ryan Packard.
“We’ve pushed ourselves the last five years to give this baseball thing our best shot, and we push each other and I think without them, I don’t know where I’d be,” McGraw said.
In the summer of 2020, McGraw returned to the diamond for the Amsterdam Mohawks in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. McGraw pitched to a 1-1 record with a 4.36 earned run average, striking out 18 in 10.1 innings while holding opponents to a .194 batting average.
Since arriving at Wake Forest, McGraw said he has been trying to emulate and learn from his upperclassman teammates, so he is in the best possible position for success.
“I just try to play to my strengths,” McGraw added.
The Demon Deacons are set to open their season at home against Northeastern on Friday, Feb. 19.