Well all know the saying, there is no such thing as a pitching prospect (TINSTAPP), but boy, Triston McKenzie is a player worth getting excited about.
McKenzie cruised to an easy victory in Thursday’s prospect voting, raking in 75 percent of the votes to claim the title of No. 2 prospect in the Cleveland Indians farm system.
If one looks at the statistics on McKenzie, the result of yesterday’s vote is not a surprise whatsoever.
Standing 6 foot 5 and weighing 165 pounds, the lanky right-hander led all of minor league baseball in strikeouts in 2017 with 186 whiffs in 143 innings pitched, good for a nasty 11.7 K/9 ratio that is usually reserved for top-end closers. He has three pitches, a fastball, curveball and change-up and all are labeled plus, with his curveball now ranked as the best in the Indians farm system by Baseball America.
McKenzie spent the entire 2017 season with the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats, and while there were multiple opportunities for him to be promoted to Double-A, the Indians chose to be patient with him, instead having the then-19-year-old make adjustments as he repeated starts against hitters in the Carolina League, eventually leading the Hillcats to a championship.
McKenzie calmed concerns about his frame and durability by not missing a start in 2017, averaging 5.7 innings per start in 25 starts in just his first full season. His longest start was 7.0 innings, a distance he reached eight times. He had six starts with 10 or more strikeouts as well.
The former first round supplemental pick was named to the Carolina League All-Star Team, was a member of Team USA in the Futures Game and was named the Carolina League Pitcher of the Year.
He is expected to begin the 2018 season in Double-A Akron, which is typically considered the most difficult transition for minor league players.
WHO SHOULD BE THE NO. 3 PROSPECT FOR 2018?
Greg Allen, CF (Age 24)
2017 (AA) 303 PA, .264/.344/.357, 2 HR, 21 SB, 7.3 BB%, 18.2 K%, 96 wRC+
2017 (MLB) 39 PA, .229/.282/.343, 1 HR, 1 SB, 5.1 BB%, 20.5 K%, 63 wRC+
Missed half of 2017 with a broken hamate bone, but was able to impact the Indians during September call-ups with great defense and baserunning.
Bobby Bradley, 1B (Age 21)
2017 (AA): 532 PA, .251/.331/.465, 23 HR, 3 SB, 10.3 BB%, 22.9 K%, 116 wRC+
A powerful bat that has leaned toward being a Three True Outcome player in the past. Saw his walk rate and strikeout rate both drop in 2018.
Willi Castro, SS (Age 20)
2017 (A+): 510 PA, .290/.337/.424, 11 HR, 19 SB, 5.5 BB%, 17.6 K%, 115 wRC+
One of the younger players at his level each season. Hit more home runs last year (11) than his first three professional seasons (10).
Yu-Cheng Chang, SS (Age 22)
2017 (AA): 508 PA, .220/.312/.461, 24 HR, 11 SB, 10.2 BB%, 26.4 K%, 110 wRC+
Displayed a significant power surge in 2017 in his Double-A debut, but at the cost of increased strikeouts and a major drop in batting average.
Nolan Jones, 3B (Age 19)
2017 (A-): 265 PA, .317/.430/.482, 4 HR, 1 SB, 16.2 BB%, 22.6 K%
Took a leap in his Low-A debut showcasing improved power, an elite eye at the plate and reduced strikeout percentage. Defense at third base needs work.
Who should be the No. 3 Indians prospect?
This poll is closed