Tampa Bay Rays: Top 8 Candidates for 2020 Rotation

Blake Snell (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Blake Snell (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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Brendan McKay (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

6. Brendan McKay

Brendan McKay made his debut with the big club last season. Mckay is loaded with talent and potential, bringing his near 90mph cutter and 82mph curveball to the Rays.

There are some questions as to whether or not there’ll be a spot in the rotation for him on Opening Day as the Rays have one of the deepest starting pitching arsenals they’ve had in recent memory.

Brendan McKay was recently rated as the third-best left-handed pitching prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com.

That same article listed McKay as the favorite among the group to win the Rookie of the Year honors. Despite the starting pitching depth, prognosticators seem to think that McKay’s talent is too good to be overlooked in 2020.

Whether it’s an injury or poor performance, an opportunity to be presented to McKay in 2020. He didn’t quite make the debut he wanted last year, but he showed the Rays he had nothing more to prove in the minors. McKay pitched between AA-AAA last season and was a man among boys.

Over 73.2 innings, McKay posted a 1.10 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 102 Ks, 2.2 BB9, and a measly 0.4 HR9.

McKay’s major-league debut was dynamite. He pitched 5.1 perfect innings and ended with six innings, three strikeouts, one walk, and one hit.

Looking at his numbers from last season with the Rays, in his 49.0 innings, he struck out 10.29 per nine while walking less than three hitters per nine. He was more prone to homers than he has ever been as a professional pitcher, but his 1.47 mark was high enough in that small sample size we can assume there was some bad luck involved. McKay’s 5.14 ERA was over a full point higher than his FIP in 2019.

He ended the season one inning short of exceeding his rookie eligibility limits. There’s a chance he could open the season back in Triple-A Durham and come up later in the year when needed.

Steamer currently has McKay projected for just 16 starts and 92.0 innings in 2020.

Will the Rays send him down for more seasoning to begin the year while players like the one on our next slide open the season at the backend of the rotation?