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2017 Phillies Draft Preview: Brendan McKay, 1B/LHP

MLB: Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

So this year’s draft could end up being very odd and perhaps historic. A High School RHP has never gone first overall in the draft and many people currently project Hunter Greene (whom I profiled a few months back) as the #1 overall pick. Well, of course, that’s if he goes as a Pitcher. High School Shortstops have gone #1 overall before. I think to most following the draft closely they’re aware Greene’s maybe a fringe First Rounder as a Shortstop, so he’d be a Pitcher. The Second Overall pick is really starting to look like Louisville’s Brendan McKay. Unlike Hunter Greene, McKay’s a legit top 10 prospect as both a hitter and pitcher. On top of that there are 4 other guys who are legit First Rounders this year who are also slashes capable of being selected for either role. Of course, the idea of guys good enough to be selected in the First Round for either role aren’t new, current Giants Ace/power hitter Madison Bumgarner was a legit top of the First prospect in either role. I can’t remember a time when there were half a dozen such guys though.

Anyway, back to "Two-way" McKay, this will be a fairly quick profile because, barring injury I think the chance he lasts past the top 5 picks are single digit percentage. He’s too fascinating not to write about at all though. He’s 6’2" and ~220lbs. He has the potential to be a legitimate .300 hitter with good pull power. He’s a good defender at First Base, though his Power will be a bit average for the position, he probably still rates about a 60 on Power. This spring McKay went rather Beast Mode on the NCAA as a hitter (.404/.522/.673), but there are some concerns that he may be a bit like Current Phillies farmhand Kyle Martin, who mashes Homers more on brute strength than elite bat speed. That leads to some concern he may end up a good AVG, good Fielding First Baseman with Average Power.

As a Left Handed Pitcher though McKay could move very quickly. He has a 90-94 mph Fastball with some movement, probably the best Curveball in this draft (similar to Kyle Wright, he throws a Knuckle or Spike Curve. Unlike Wright, yet, McKay can rather masterfully dance it around the Strike Zone or bury it in the dirt.) and a Changeup that improved enough this year, that it may also be in contention for best in this draft. He delivery is Swiss watch levels of repeatable and his Command is, again, likely the best in this draft class. And if he’s gone beast mode as a hitter, he’s gone Hulk smash as a Pitcher with 13 K/9 and 2 BB/9 with a 0.81 WHIP.

While there are some, fairly minor questions about his bat (his bat will almost certainly play, but perhaps more John Olerud and less Prince Fielder), there are really no questions about him as a Pitcher. His ceiling is probably #2 to borderline #1 Starter, but his floor is probably #2 to borderline #3 Starter. That’s a pretty safe delta. OF course, if he blows out his arm, you still have John Olerud.