Baltimore Orioles: Five Prospects Facing Key Seasons In 2019
By Nick Stevens
Ryan McKenna is on the national radar now, is he a future regular in the outfield at Camden Yards?
The 2018 season down on the farm was the season of Ryan McKenna. A 5’11” centerfielder, originally drafted out of high school in the 4th round of the 2015 draft, McKenna’s bat finally broke out in 2018 with the A+ Frederick Keys. A .241 hitter in short-season and .256 hitter in full-season A ball, Mckenna hit .377 with the Frederick Keys, posting a 1.023 OPS, a 192 wRC+, and an astronomical .467 on-base percentage in 67 games.
His eight home runs with the Keys show his power potential at the plate, although that number is aided by Harry Grove Stadium’s propensity to give up the long ball. His walk and strikeout rates, however, cannot be attributed to any park factors. McKenna increased his walk rate to more than 12%, while dropping his K-rate by 12%, down to just 15% in High-A ball. The high walk rate stuck with him after making the move to AA Bowie in the second half of the season.
McKenna slashed .239/.341/.338 in 60 games with the Baysox, adding three home runs, eight doubles, and two triples in 213 at-bats. It was a big drop off from his first half of the season, however, he made the jump to AA at just 21 years of age and he showed everyone that can excel against elite competition with a tremendous showing in the Arizona Fall League.
The outfield prospect hit .344 with a .474 OBP, 10 extra-base hits, and a 16/14 K/BB ratio in 61 at-bats against some of the best pitching prospects in the game. Multiple scouting outlets believe McKenna can be a top of the rotation bat for the Orioles and a big year with the Bowie Baysox will prove them right. His defense is solid, the speed is elite, and his pitch selection has become very impressive. Baltimore needs help in the outfield and it could very well come in the form of Ryan McKenna.