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Sign-ability Concern, Rays Draft Brendan McKay 4th Overall

Photo by Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays selected 1B/LHP Brendan McKay with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft.

Many experts had Louisville stud LHP/1B Brendan McKay as the first name being selected on Monday night. Before the first name was even announced, we received word that it would not be McKay’s name called.

According to Jim Callis of, the Minnesota Twins did not make an agreeable offer to the two-way senior.

McKay spoke about the reports of sign-ability concerns and confirmed that money was the reason for turning down the Twins.

“They had offered a number that we that felt we could get a better offer from another team,” McKay said during a conference call.

“It ultimately came down to another team was able to give a better offer so we went with that, I’m happy the way things worked out.”

After the Reds and Padres passed, the Rays found themselves in position to select the Pennsylvania native. Commissioner Rob Manfred made it official by announcing the “first baseman” as the fourth overall selection.

SVP/GM Erik Neander and Dir of Scouting Rob Metzler discuss McKay

Sign-ability concerns?

McKay did not shy away from the question of sign-ability and he openly admitted that money was the reason. Now, does that mean that they Rays are in a difficult position? Director of Scouting Rob Metzler is “optimistic” that the club can come to terms with McKay.

Two-way potential

The Twins, Reds, and Padres had all looked at McKay as a pitcher-first type of prospect. The Rays and Braves were the more-likely landing spots for his services in the batters box.

FanGraphs provides a pretty nice scouting report on McKay…

Sturdily built and athletic lefty with a good arm action and repeatable delivery. McKay commands his low-90s fastball to both sides of the plate and has a mature ability to locate his fastball and future above average curveball to various effective locales. Arm action portends changeup projection (it already flashes at least average) and he’s working on a cutter, but his velo has been down recently. Offensively, McKay has an easy, lofty swing and at least plus raw power and teams are intrigued by what he might do if focused on hitting full time.

Based on the words of the Rays brass, the team appears to be completely onboard with McKay’s ability to both pitch and hit in the minor leagues. Obviously that may change. Neander later confirmed that, if he plays both ways, the left-hander will require a modified schedule.

McKay and his Louisville Cardinals teammates are on their way to Omaha for the College World Series. Given the work-load and investment, it would not be surprising if the Rays use McKay sparingly for the remainder of the year.

Check out some Brendan McKay Scouting Video here.


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