They might use him as a hitter, or they might use him as a pitcher. Either way, Tampa Bay picked up one heck of an athlete in the first round of the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft.
With the fourth overall pick, the Rays selected Brendan McKay from Louisville. A first baseman and a right-handed pitcher, McKay has won the John Olerud award the last three years. The award is given annually to the best two-way player in college baseball. At the plate this season, McKay hit .343 with 17 home runs (four of which came in one game vs. Eastern Kentucky), 56 RBIs, 13 doubles, and 54 runs scored. On the mound, he was 10-3 with a 2.34 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 104 innings of work. McKay’s glove work also should not be overlooked as he had a .984 fielding percentage. Your text to link…
But the honors do not stop there. Baseball America selected him as its National Player of the Year, and he is also a finalist for the Dick Howser Award for college baseball’s top player. No surprise, he was voted the ACC Player of the Year. Before this season, McKay was an All-ACC First Team selection in 2015 and 2016, landed on a number of All-American teams, and was selected as the Collegiate Baseball Freshman of the Year. McKay’s selection by Tampa Bay comes as Louisville gears up for the College World Series.
The Rays have had a pretty decent track record with Number One draft picks. B.J. (now Melvin) Upton had a very productive time with the team before moving on to the Braves, Padres, and now Blue Jays. Evan Longoria is considered the face of the franchise, and David Price was a four-time All-Star and a Cy Young winner during his time in Tampa Bay.