The highlights keep coming for a packed Rays system as two more prospects receive honors from MLB Pipeline, as they ranked Matthew Liberatore and Brendan McKay among the top left-handed pitching prospects in baseball.
McKay comes in as the 3rd best LHP prospect, moving up from his 5th place ranking last season. McKay was also named one of the prospects with the best control as well as the prospect with the highest floor of the group, the safest bet to at least succeed in the majors in some capacity.
Highest Floor: McKay
McKay has had considerably more success as a pitcher than a position player as a pro and ostensibly stands to reach the Majors faster in that role. While nothing he throws is truly overpowering, McKay can dissect the zone with precision using his entire arsenal, inducing a healthy mix of whiffs, weak contact and very few walks. Altogether, it gives McKay a safe floor as at least a backend starter at the highest level.
McKay has been trying to succeed as a two way player, but an injury plagued and week offensive 2018 campaign may derail those hopes. He is certainly a strong pitcher who can carve through opposing lineups, that could move quickly through the Rays system should he choose to forgo the bat and choose to pitch exclusively.
MLB Pipeline’s Top 10 LHP Prospects
- Jesus Luzardo, Athletics
- MacKenzie Gore, Padres
- Brendan McKay, Rays
- A.J. Puk, Athletics
- Justus Sheffield, Mariners
- Adrian Morejon, Padres
- Matthew Liberatore, Rays
- Logan Allen, Padres
- D.L. Hall, Orioles
- Ryan Weathers, Padres
Matthew Liberatore, meanwhile, made his professional debut this past Summer and played over two levels (Gulf Coast League and the Appalachian League).
It was an impressive showing for Liberatore as he showcased his plus curveball (which ranked among the best among the prospects), striking 29.1% of the 127 hitters he faced, and grading out as a 60-pitch.
MLB Pipeline continues their prospect rankings tomorrow as they’ll move behind the plate. Ronaldo Hernandez, the Rays top catching prospect, could make an appearance.