The 4th overall pick in the 2017 Draft after a legendary two-way career at Louisville, the Rays have made good on their promise to allow McKay to develop both as a hitter and pitcher.
I didn’t see him pitch this series, as McKay threw his side session before the first game of the series and played DH/1B the rest of the week. McKay’s patience has long been one of his calling cards offensively, but I saw him push to the point of passivity. As he climbs the ladder, pro pitchers will be able to fill the zone more and more reliably—even in High-A, McKay will frequently fall behind in the count given the amount of pitches he takes. This causes him to take more defensive swings to keep at-bats alive, taking away some of his power. The swing is more level and fundamental than it is loose or quick, and he struggled to fight off fastballs in on his hands. McKay is the rare prospect who needs to get more aggressive at the plate, not less. Once he makes that adjustment, there are plenty of tools to hit: he’s compact to the ball, uses both fields, and can go both ways with power. Defensively, he’s a soft-handed first baseman with good instincts, though his size and range limit him to a 1B/DH role.
It’s tough to evaluate McKay fully as a hitter given the unique nature of his schedule. Tampa Bay has been cautious about his workload, but there is so much time dedicated to pitching, he hasn’t had a chance to fully focus on himself as a position player. The ingredients are here for an everyday first baseman, though that seems to be more of a backup plan—McKay’s ceiling is higher on the mound, where a good mix of size, stuff, and pitchability give him mid-rotation upside.