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Tampa Bay Rays: Brendan McKay gets the call to the show

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ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - MAY 11: A general view after Yandy Diaz #2 of the Tampa Bay Rays hit a 3-run homer off of Nestor Cortes Jr. #67 of the New York Yankees in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Tropicana Field on May 11, 2019 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays won 7-2. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - MAY 11: A general view after Yandy Diaz #2 of the Tampa Bay Rays hit a 3-run homer off of Nestor Cortes Jr. #67 of the New York Yankees in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Tropicana Field on May 11, 2019 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays won 7-2. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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Brendan McKay is slated to make his Major League debut this Saturday at the Trop against the Texas Rangers.

After an 18 inning marathon versus the Twins on Thursday, the Tampa Bay Rays were in need of some reinforcements on the bump. It was anticipated that there would be a roster shuffle in preparation for the weekend series against the Texas Rangers, but it was unknown if Brendan McKay would be part of that shuffle.

Now we know that the Rays’ #2 prospect has received the call to make his Major League debut this Saturday.

Saturday will mark the beginning of what Rays fans hope to be a long and illustrious Rays career for Brendan McKay who’s promotion to the show comes only 5 weeks after he made the leap from Double-A Montgomery to Triple-A Durham.

Despite the rapid ascent through the upper levels of the minor league ranks, he has dazzled at both levels, combining for 1.22 ERA over 66.2 IP. He stifled opponents’ bats all season long, holding them to a .166 AVG.

Here is the breakdown of his performances at each level in 2019:

Double-A:

8G/7GS // 41.2IP // 1.30 ERA // 62K/9BB // .172 AVG

Triple-A:

5G/4GS // 25 IP // 1.08 ERA // 26K/6BB // .155 AVG

MiLB Career:

38G/34GS // 165 IP // 1.85 ERA // 212K/34BB // .179 AVG // 0.83 WHIP

McKay is ranked the 24th best prospect in the sport by Baseball America and MLB Pipeline ranks him as the third-best left handed pitching prospect.

Since being drafted 4th overall by the Rays in the 2017 MLB Draft, McKay has dominated minor league hitters at every level. Now, he will look do the same on Saturday against a very potent Texas lineup. With a strong debut, McKay may force himself into a Tampa Bay rotation that is limping towards the all-star break.

The 23 year-old southpaw will feature a four pitch mix that includes a fastball, curveball, changeup, and cutter.

MLB Pipeline on his four pitch mix:

"McKay operates with a 92-95 mph fastball and commands it exceptionally well against hitters on both sides of the plate. Both his curveball and cutter project to be above-average pitches, with the latter currently ahead of the former, and he’s developed good feel for a changeup as a pro after using it sparingly in college."

A two-way player, McKay has turned it around at the plate in Durham hitting .265 with 4 bombs in only 49 at-bats. In Double-A, he hit .167 with no homers in 78 at-bats. If he is here to stay, we could also see McKay get his first major league at-bat this home stand, possibly as a pinch hitter.

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A process that started with Willy Adames last season, McKay’s arrival is the next step in what is expected to be a prolonged stretch of exciting and high profile debuts in Tampa Bay.

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