Player: Billy McKinney
Drafted by: Oakland Athletics (No. 24 Overall)
DOB: 8/23/1994 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6'2"/195 lbs
School: Plano West HS (Plano, TX)
College Commitment: TCU
In a draft with Clint Frazier, McKinney appears to have the best pure hit tool of any high school hitter right now. That isn't to say his ceiling is as high as Frazier's—it isn't—but he has a better idea what he is doing today.
McKinney has also been lauded for his passion and drive on the field—two elements of the game that tend to get overlooked. For a young man to come into the game with the ability to hit, desire and the work ethic to keep getting better, it is hard to root against him.
He had a breakout performance at the Perfect Game National Showcase last year, where his bat and beautiful, simple left-handed stroke really captured your attention.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is average, with the current score first and projected score second.
Excellent feel for hitting as an 18-year-old; simple, quiet swing generates plus bat speed through the zone; bat control is well above-average; will hit a ton of line drives and could grow into more pop; swing can get a little long thanks to hand position and load time; easy plus projection with experience.
Carries 195-pound frame very well already, with the potential to add a little more bulk without sacrificing athleticism; plus bat speed and load generate present power; will bring more home-run power to the table with time and experience; doesn't project to have typical corner outfield power, but he will get enough extra-base hits to stick.
Plate Discipline: 40/60
Always has a good idea at the plate; lacks awareness of off-speed stuff currently, but that will come in time with experience and pitch recognition skills; natural feel for hitting leads him to make consistent, hard contact; will need time, but he certainly has all the makings of a plus all-around hitter.
Below-average speed already and likely won't stay at that level as he ages; athletic body but not conducive to quick running times; instincts on the basepaths are fine and can help lack of speed; has to play corner outfield spot with a chance he could end up at first base due to limited speed.
Lacks upside with the glove; limited arm strength and accuracy; speed limits range; decent instincts in the outfield; doesn't read ball well off the bat; will take awkward routes but can make most plays; likely fringe-average defensive outfielder.
Fringy arm strength; accuracy isn't very good; throws with a lot of air under the ball; will have to start in left field due to lack of arm; could become a first base-only player, but has athleticism to stay in the outfield.
MLB Player Comparison: David Murphy
Projection: Average corner outfielder with good batting average and some pop in his bat.
MLB ETA: 2018
Chances of Signing: 70%
McKinney's natural hitting ability, along with his smooth swing from the left side and solid ceiling, will make it very difficult for him to honor his commitment to TCU. It also helps that he has pushed himself into the first round and the big money that comes along with it.
Ultimately, finding a high school hitter who is as advanced as McKinney with the potential to be very good with the bat in the pros, McKinney should not and will not escape the clutches of Major League Baseball.