The Scouting Skinny: Brendan McKay
McKay is an interesting case. At the beginning of the season, the preference for McKay was as a left-handed pitcher. A “bigger Ted Lilly” one scout called him, saying he’d be, at worst, a “solid #3” for a long time. McKay, who should win his third straight John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, has done nothing but raise expectations this season. As a pitcher, he’s thrown 67.0 innings and struck out 95. Opponents have hit only .172 and his WHIP is 0.84. While other top college throwers came out of the gates slowly, McKay had performed at a very high level all season until giving up nine earned runs over his last two starts.
How much should be made of those two starts? McKay has still struck out more than a batter an inning and given up less than a hit and walk per inning pitched. If it’s me - and nothing alarming has happened with his velocity or delivery, and by all accounts, it hasn’t - I’m putting very little stock into two less-than-ideal starts.
The thing that makes McKay so intriguing is that along with being arguably the best pitcher in college baseball, he is also arguably the best hitter in college baseball. Everyone knew he could hit - he hit .326 for the Collegiate National Team last summer and hit over .300 in both seasons at Louisville - but he took it to another level this spring. Currently slashing .390/.511/.747 (1.258), McKay has evaluators reconsidering what his long-term positional home should be.
Sorry guys, it won’t be as a two-way player. But you’re not getting this exclusive newsletter in your email to tell you that. You’ve read national media that says they’d take McKay as a first baseman. Others say pitcher.
It’s conceivable that the Twins select Brendan McKay next month as a “pitcher/first baseman” and truly mean it. You can bump McKay up as a pitcher because if that doesn’t work, he can be a big-league hitter. You can bump McKay up as a hitter because if that doesn’t work, he can be a big-league pitcher. Or as one Twins source told me, it’s “kind of like having a chip on red and black.”
The Twins have long had a philosophy of trying to take the best player regardless of position. This is a case where Brendan McKay might just be the best player in the draft regardless of his position. If that’s what the organization truly decides, they will take Brendan McKay, best player available, and figure out the rest later.
- brvama, Siehbiscuit, Cory Engelhardt and 2 others like this