The Tampa Bay Rays are ready to give a young two-way prospect a chance at the big leagues, as Brendan McKay, the fourth overall selection in the 2017 MLB Draft, has been called upon to make his debut on Saturday, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
McKay, who ranked #23 on MLB.com’s Top 100 prospects list, is expected to make at least two starts, once on Saturday against on the Texas Rangers and the next on Friday against the New York Yankees. It has yet to be determined how many at-bats McKay will get as a hitter, but he is expected to get a few in his stint on the major league roster.
Since his debut in the minors in 2017, McKay has been extremely dominant as a starting pitcher, as he has pitched to the tune of a 1.85 ERA across 38 games, with 34 of those beings starts. In 2019 alone, McKay boasts a 1.22 ERA in 13 games, making 11 starts and 2 relief appearances, between AA Montgomery and AAA Durham. As for his bat, he has struggled offensively in the minors, as he has only slashed .216/.348/.356 in 541 plate appearances. Despite the struggles, he showed some promise with his bat in AAA Durham, as he slashed a respectable .265/.400/.551 with 4 home runs and 10 runs batted in across 60 plate appearances.
The 2017 Baseball America College Player of the Year from Louisville has the traits of a middle of the rotation starter in the majors, with plus control and the ability to manipulate his pitches. He possesses a fastball that can sit around 92-94 MPH, with the ability to go higher when needed, a cutter that has become a plus offering, as well as a change-up and curveball that he can locate well. He’s seen as a better pitching prospect than a hitting prospect, which is obvious given his struggles at the plate through his minors career, but the Rays have not given up on the two-way possibility just yet. There is a chance, however, that he could focus solely on pitching in the short-term future.