The Rays drafted 1B/LHP Brendan McKay with the fourth overall selection in the 2017 MLB Draft, and the more tape you watch of him, it’s easy to see why.
One such case is an interview he had during a practice ahead of the College World Series, which continues this weekend for McKay and his Louisville Cardinals.
The video goes through the thought process through the draft and how the Rays will "let him experiment" with both. We love that word, experiment!
In the interview Brendan McKay mentions that he knew after the 2nd pick that he was going to Rays, as well as the financial drama associated with McKay’s advisors (agent, family) being unhappy with the Twins contract offer at 1/1 overall.
Check out the tape here:
Listening to him speak, you can take away 5 key elements to the player:
First, he's extremely mature.
In our MLB Draft reaction episode of The Hit Show, McKay’s cool, calm, and collected demeanor was discussed extensively, and in this video that’s on full display.
Second, he doesn't have a chip on his shoulder about anything.
The Twins clearly tried to get McKay to sign for a below-slot value, but instead of being slighted when the Twins thought he wasn’t worth the assigned value, he took it in stride.
Third, he's intelligent and seems to already be working with various approaches at the plate, dependent on how he feels their approach to him is.
His advanced feel for hitting was a key attribute in his draft profile.
Fourth, he seems ready to prove to everyone that you can in fact do both, hit and pitch, for an MLB team on a regular basis while performing at an above-average level.
McKay relayed something similar in his interview with MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo:
What’s your biggest strength as a player?
“Just the calmness and level-headedness of not getting too upset when things don’t go my way. Every day, you’re not going to have your stuff on the mound or at the plate. You’ve just got to go through it thinking, ‘alright, it’s not my day physically or mentally,’ but you’ve got to grind it out and do what you can do with what you’ve got for that day. If you’re not swinging it well, just doing as much as you can in the dugout and on the field to lift others up who may be struggling with you. Just trying to get them going with you.”
Fifth, and lastly, he can handle the press questions extremely well.
This is an important element for a player who’s not only one of the top selections in the draft, but a player who is about to be known for something unique. Remaining a dedicated two-way player will certainly put him in the spotlight, but in every facet he appears ready to shoulder that load.
You can watch Brendan McKay play ball this weekend when on Sunday, June 18th, his Louisville team goes up vs Texas A&M at 1pm ET on ESPN.