Brendan McKay has made two appearances on the mound in his professional career. The Tampa Bay Rays draft pick has been absolutely impressive in that time.
It did not take long for Brendan McKay to rate amongst the top prospects in the Tampa Bay Rays system. As a first baseman, McKay has earned raves for his excellent swing and ability to hit the ball to all fields. Viewed as a player who could develop into a .300 hitter with the ability to hit 20 or more homers in the majors, McKay is an impressive prospect just as a position player.
But there is more to McKay than his ability at first. He was also an excellent left handed pitcher in college, good enough where it was not a given that he would be drafted as a first baseman. Indeed, when the Rays selected him with the fourth overall pick, he was allowed to attempt to become a two way player.
Thus far, that decision to let McKay on the mound has looked good for the Rays. He has impressed during his time with the Hudson Valley Renegades, looking comfortable on the mound. Thus far, in his five innings, he has allowed yet to allow a run, with seven strikeouts and four total baserunners. Even though it has just been two games, McKay certainly looks like a top prospect on the mound.
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According to the scouting report at MLB.com, McKay actually grades out the same as a pitcher and a hitter. He has three solid pitches, and although he lacks elite velocity, McKay’s command makes him a weapon on the mound. It is also thought that, if he focused on pitching exclusively, McKay’s fastball would gain some velocity, improving from the low to mid 90s.
Right now, McKay is still finding his place as a hitter. In his 64 plate appearances, he has produced a .200/.297/.327 batting line, hitting two homers and a double. He has also struck out 20 times in those 64 plate appearances while drawing eight walks. Yet, for as overmatched as he has been at the plate at times, McKay has been equally dominant on the mound.
The Tampa Bay Rays are giving Brendan McKay a chance to be a two way player. Based on the early returns, his adaptation to the professional ranks, at least on the mound, is going quite well.