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Rays promote two-way prospect Brendan McKay to Charlotte

One of the Tampa Bay Rays’ most intriguing prospects is moving on up.

Brendan McKay, the team’s first-round draft pick last year who steps in the batter’s box when not pitching, was promoted Monday from Low-A Bowling Green to Advanced-A Charlotte.

The 22-year-old is proving he deserves the call-up with his bat and his arm.

McKay’s mowed down just about everyone he’s faced at Bowling Green, limiting opposing hitters to a .096 average while producing a 1.09 ERA and 0.41 WHIP over six starts and 24 2/3 innings pitched. That hot early season start also includes 40 strikeouts and is an improvement from his impressive, brief professional debut in the short season New York-Penn League.

McKay plays first base or bats as the designated hitter when not on the hill. The offensive numbers aren’t quite as attention-grabbing, but the former University of Louisville star continues to advance.

McKay showed his patience and plate discipline at Hudson Valley last year with an on-base percentage 117 points greater than his batting average (.349 and .232). That’s continued with the Hot Rods. McKay’s batting .254 over 63 at bats and owns an eye-popping .484 OBP thanks to 28 walks. That’s seven more than last year in half the at bats and his strikeout rate is down, as well.

McKay is one of the Tampa Bay’s brightest organizational stars, according the MLB.com. He’s one of three Rays ranked in the top 25 on the league’s 2018 Prospect Watch list. At No. 24, McKay is behind older prospects Willy Adames (No. 22, SS/2B) and Brent Honeywell (No. 18, RHP). The Rays farm system also includes Jesus Sanchez (No. 53, OF), Jake Bauers (No. 59, OF/1B) and Christian Arroyo (No. 80, 3B/SS).

One of the best parts about McKay’s promotion to the Florida State League’s Charlotte Stone Crabs is that he’ll within driving distance to watch live many days. The Stone Crabs announced that he’ll be with the club today for a four-game home series against the Lakeland Flying Tigers. Charlotte (18-18, 4th place in the FSL South) stays home for three more games from Friday-Sunday against Jupiter before coming to Tampa for three against the New York Yankees’ affiliate.

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