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Article: Twins MLB Draft Preview: Brendan McKay, SP/1B

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#1 Cody Christie

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 08:30 PM

Since 2010, the Twins have selected three college players in the first round, right-handed pitcher Alex Wimmers, shortstop Levi Michael and left-handed pitcher Tyler Jay. Wimmers and Michael have failed to transform into MLB regulars. Jay was drafted with the hopes of being a top tier starter. This spring the Twins announced he will be used as a relief pitcher moving forward.

Today's profile looks at one of the players expect to come off the board with a top-three pick. His college experience and skills on both side of the ball make him an intriguing prospect. Will he be the Twins' choice at number one?WHO IS HE?
McKay is a left-handed pitcher and first baseman from the University of Louisville. He was originally drafted in the 34th round of the 2014 draft by the San Diego Padres. His commitment to Louisville was strong and that decision seems to have paid off. McKay is 6-2, 220 pounds and was born on December 18, 1995.

WHY THE TWINS WILL DRAFT HIM
McKay has been a legitimate two-way threat during his collegiate career. As a freshman, he hit .308/.418/.431. He followed that up by hitting .333/.415/.513 as a sophomore. On the mound, he was even more impressive. Over 97 innings during his first year, he posted a 1.77 ERA with a 117 to 34 strikeout to walk ratio. He avoided a sophomore slump with a 2.30 ERA and a 128 to 42 strikeout to walk ratio over 110 innings.

During his junior campaign, McKay has made huge strides at the plate. He's combined for a 1.159 OPS and 17 home runs which is more homers than his first two seasons combined. On the mound, he ranks in the NCAA's top-10 for strikeouts despite having pitched fewer innings than all but one the other pitchers in the top-10.

MLB.com columnist Jim Callis told USA Today that he doesn't believe there has been a prospect who was equally highly regarded as both a pitcher and a hitter as McKay since Dave Winfield out of the University of Minnesota in 1973. Winfield, a Minnesota native, went on to a Hall of Fame career as a hitter and that comparison could make the Twins want to pull the trigger on McKay.

WHY THE TWINS WON'T DRAFT HIM
As the season has stretched on, McKay has seen some wear and tear from playing on both sides of the ball. His fastball has dropped to 88-91 mph but he has also been working on adding a cut fastball. He hasn't been able to refine pitching or hitting since he has been spending time doing both. His velocity isn't overwhelming and it's not hard for big league teams to find a first baseman/DH who can hit for power.

McKay's stock has definitely dropped as the spring has progressed. He doesn't have the athletic ability of some other top college picks from recent years like Kris Bryant or Dansby Swanson. If McKay's future is on the mound, there are better pitchers the Twins will look at before taking McKay. Baseball America also thinks McKay would be better suited to be part of a National League organization. This would allow him to continue to pitch and hit on a regular basis.

Even with a slow end to his spring, McKay is still one of the first names Commissioner Manfred will announce on June 12. Will he be trading in a Cardinals jersey for new Twins digs?


Other draft-related articles:
Twins Daily Draft Preview
Royce Lewis
Pavin Smith
10-Round Mock Draft

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Cody Christie
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#2 David HK

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 10:23 PM

"Since 2010, the Twins have selected three college players in the first round, right-handed pitcher Alex Wimmers, shortstop Levi Michael and left-handed pitcher Tyler Jay."

 

My question to this method is, "How's that workin' out for ya?"

 

The last 10 years or so, maybe the only #1's that have been or look promising are Bux, Gordon (Looking good so far), and Berrios-- all HS picks.  Oh, yes, and some cat named Aaron Hicks back in '08.  I seem to remember a guy by that name...

 

There's no guarantee a #1 pick will pan out, but Geez Louise, the Twinks' record of #1's have really not been too productive in this millenium so far, 2001 excepted.

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#3 Cody Christie

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 06:20 AM

 

"Since 2010, the Twins have selected three college players in the first round, right-handed pitcher Alex Wimmers, shortstop Levi Michael and left-handed pitcher Tyler Jay."

 

My question to this method is, "How's that workin' out for ya?"

 

The last 10 years or so, maybe the only #1's that have been or look promising are Bux, Gordon (Looking good so far), and Berrios-- all HS picks.  Oh, yes, and some cat named Aaron Hicks back in '08.  I seem to remember a guy by that name...

 

There's no guarantee a #1 pick will pan out, but Geez Louise, the Twinks' record of #1's have really not been too productive in this millenium so far, 2001 excepted.

It's a new front office with a different approach to drafting. Some of the scouts are the same but it's the dawn of a new era. Levine and Falvey know this pick could define their tenure as a front office duo. There needs to be a balance between risk and reward. You can't strikeout on the number one overall pick.

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#4 Lonestar

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 06:54 AM

Many get distracted by the fact that McKay is currently a two-way player. One thing they get distracted from is what he could become as a pitcher if that was all he focused on. Operative words = "could become".
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#5 Cody Christie

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 07:14 AM

 

Many get distracted by the fact that McKay is currently a two-way player. One thing they get distracted from is what he could become as a pitcher if that was all he focused on. Operative words = "could become".

I tried to allude to that in the article. I feel like he could become a much better at being a hitter or a pitcher if he focused on one and not the other. It's too hard to be a two-way player as a professional. 

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#6 Cap'n Piranha

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:12 AM

I'm completely fine with the Twins taking McKay in the first round.



As long as its with pick 35 or 37.
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#7 Vanimal46

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:18 AM

I have zero interest in this guy at #1 overall. 

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#8 gunnarthor

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:36 AM

I'm definitely more on Wright or Gore but I also don't have access to what Lavine has. It's possible our scouts think he's gonna be a great LH bat or pitcher once he concentrates on one.  I think he's a bit risky though. I want a pitcher and Wright checks all the boxes for me. But if McKay comes cheap enough where the Twins could add someone like Baz at 35 ... maybe I'm ok with that.

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#9 Willihammer

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:40 AM

I was higher on McKay a month ago but today I'd pass. The velo drop around 55-60 pitches is a real problem IMO. Gotta be able to log innings to be a front of the rotation guy. I worry he'll end up a Gibson-like 4-5 or in the pen because of that.

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Well, there's that.

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#10 Don't Feed the Greed Guy

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 09:33 AM

 

I'm definitely more on Wright or Gore but I also don't have access to what Lavine has

Yep. From my chair, 30,000 feet above all the data that scouts have, I am looking forward to how FaLvine "spin" http://m.mlb.com/glo...tcast/spin-rate this draft pick, after the selection is made. I am fascinated by how the decision will be made, from an analytical perspective. Since Falvey and Levine have arrived they have tinkered with the roster, making small moves, rather than big splashes. Here's an excellent article on how they have painted over Terry Ryan's tableau with small strokes rather than with a broad brush http://www.twinkieto...ill-smith-twins

 

It will be a treat to see how this all plays out, and why.


#11 Winston Smith

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 09:59 AM

My guess is the Twins will be suprised that the guy they pick 1/1 was there!

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If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.

 

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#12 Cody Christie

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 10:10 AM

 

I'm completely fine with the Twins taking McKay in the first round.



As long as its with pick 35 or 37.

I enjoyed this comment more than I should have

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#13 Cody Christie

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 10:36 AM

It's interesting to consider how much someone's stock can change in one spring. Many fans would have be fine with him being the first pick earlier in the year. He will certainly be a high pick but I think he has shown enough flaws that it's the right (or Wright) move to pass on him.

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#14 Cody Christie

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 11:12 AM

Will fans be upset if they take McKay?

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#15 Vanimal46

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 11:22 AM

I would be. As Willihammer posted, the velocity dip after 55-60 pitches isn't good. The velocity in general 88-91 isn't exciting. If he forgoes pitching all together, then they just spent the #1 overall pick on a 1B/DH type. 


#16 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 11:23 AM

Me personally, no.I'm leaning towards Wright, but I don't have the data the Twins have. 


#17 Cody Christie

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 11:46 AM

 

I would be. As Willihammer posted, the velocity dip after 55-60 pitches isn't good. The velocity in general 88-91 isn't exciting.

 

Seems "blah." I feel like even with his two-way ability, he won't be more than a back-end starter or long reliever. His bat has been good this year but previous years he wasn't anything exciting at the plate. 

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#18 Cody Christie

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 11:47 AM

 

Me personally, no.I'm leaning towards Wright, but I don't have the data the Twins have. 

Even though we don't have the same data as the Twins, it's easy for fans to find out that he has struggled to keep his velocity up into the late innings. It would have been nice for him to concentrate on being a pitcher or a hitter and not doing both. 

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#19 Thrylos

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 11:47 AM

 

"Since 2010, the Twins have selected three college players in the first round, right-handed pitcher Alex Wimmers, shortstop Levi Michael and left-handed pitcher Tyler Jay."

 

My question to this method is, "How's that workin' out for ya?"

 

Cannot compare late first round picks to an 1-1 pick.Period.

Edited by Thrylos, 06 June 2017 - 11:47 AM.

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#20 gunnarthor

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 02:00 PM

 

Will fans be upset if they take McKay?

Probably a little but I really don't know enough to be upset.




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