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The Bard’s Take: 2017 MLB Draft - Brendan McKay

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Looking at another two-way player that profiles as a first round pick in either capacity, this one - left-handed.

Name: Brendan McKay

Age: 21 (December 18, 1995)

Height: 6’ 2”

Weight: 220 lbs.

School: Louisville

Position: LHP/1B

Like Hunter Greene, Brendan McKay is another two-way player, able to do great things with the bat or off the mound. McKay’s bat is a bigger threat than Greene’s, although McKay would most likely be positionally limited to first base or possibly left field. While Greene is a right-hander, McKay is a lefty. Greene’s projected ceiling is higher on the mound, but McKay still profiles as a potential middle-of-the-rotation starter. Unlike Green, there are still teams looking at drafting McKay for his bat, making it more difficult to peg how he is selected.

Grades:

Pitching: (Present/Future)

Fastball 55/60 | Curve 55/60 | Changeup 40/50 | Control/Command 45/55 | Mechanics 60/60

Hitting: (Present/Future)

Hit 40/60 | Power 45/50 | Speed 30/30 | Glove 50/55 | Arm 60/60

Those scouting Brendan McKay as a pitcher are looking at a lefty that throws 90-94, with some reports stating he has reached back for as much as 96. McKay does not wow anyone with a single standout pitch. Instead, he commands his low 90s fastball very well for his age to both sides of the plate and already has a great feel for how to mix up his pitches to include his curveball, which is his best offering, coming in around 80-82 mph. His changeup is still a work in progress (inconsistently 83-85 mph) and will need to improve to be big league average. Most scouts seem to agree that he will be able to get there though, as he already has very smooth, repeatable, and non-stressful mechanics. There is plenty to dream on in McKay as a pitcher.

There are still teams scouting McKay as a hitter as well. Some scouts believe his future in the box is greater than his future on the mound. Those that believe in his makeup and ability to refine a third pitch see things the other way. In a draft where advanced hitting is at a premium, McKay offers one of the best bats in the draft. McKay is known for front-loading his swing, sometimes allowing too much of his weight to shift towards the pitcher. When he is on though, he is a line drive machine, hitting bullets that will clear plenty of outfield fences. Given his lack of speed, there are some who would like to see him tap into his power and lift the ball a bit more, but his strong command of the strike zone and great bat control will probably keep teams from trying to tinker with him too much. Coming out of high school, McKay was not known as much of a defender. That has changed. He is now considered a very good defender at first base. His lack of speed has contributed to some limits in his range, and almost certainly keeps him from ever transitioning to left field. However, a team desperate enough for his bat might be able to get by with him out there.

Brendan McKay on the mound:

Brendan McKay in the box:

The Take:

There is a fairly big split on just how Brendan McKay should be drafted. There is a much higher ceiling to be realized with his bat, however the safer bet for reaching the majors lies with drafting him as a pitcher. The biggest thing that can probably be said about McKay is that he is so well-rounded, that he is probably the safest bet to reach the majors and make an impact of some sort, to be found in the entire draft. The most common comp for McKay seems to be that of a left-handed Mike Leake. Many mock drafts have the Twins taking McKay 1-1 over Hunter Greene, providing them with a higher floor and developmental flexibility. Only one of the major mock drafts has him going as deep as the third pick.

Chance of reaching the Diamondbacks at number seven, potentially even lower than Hunter Greene’s. If the Twins don’t take McKay, it is difficult to see the Reds passing on him as well.