Billy McKinney is a rare, polished high school hitter with few holes in his overall game. He would be a good draft candidate for the Astros in rounds 2-5.
Billy McKinney is similar to a high school prospect I previously profiled: Cord Sandberg. Both have sweet lefty swings and a great work ethic. McKinney isn't quite the athlete Sandberg is, and he doesn't have as desirable of a frame, but he's a more polished hitter, and doesn't have a football scholarship hanging over his head (like that's a bad thing).
At 6'1", 195, McKinney is a bit undersized, but doesn't have many holes in his game. He's already an average-to-above average runner and thrower, with room to grow. He's never going to steal 50 bases, or have a cannon arm, but I believe both tools are sufficient enough for him to stick in right.
The selling point for McKinney is his bat. Some scouts at the Under Armor All-American Game called McKinney's swing "the best" amongst all the prospects, which included top picks Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier. McKinney's swing is pretty – it really is. It's quick, easy, quiet, and smooth. I think he has the chance to develop into a very good hitter. However; I don't see a lot of projectable power in his swing. He doesn't use his lower body much, and doesn't cock his hips on every swing.
The thing I like most about McKinney is that he's less risky of a high school prospect than most. He doesn't have star potential, but I'd bet on him making the Majors, regardless. Fun fact: he volunteers at his local hospital.
For the record, every single draft pick has the floor of "never makes the Major Leagues" – I thought I'd throw that out there. As far as a realistic Major League floor for McKinney, it's a fourth OF, bench player. Think along the lines of J.B. Shuck, with a more power and propensity to strikeout.
I think a guy like David Murphy is a good comp for McKinney. It's unlikely McKinney ever develops an elite tool, but there's definitely upside for five average tools. Ideally, McKinney would be able to play all three outfield spots, be a 15-20 homer threat every year, swipe 15-20 bases, play pretty good defense, and bat around .280.
Projected Draft Round
The following is where the major outlets have him ranked as a player among other draftees: Keith Law (UR), Baseball America (49), MLB.com (UR), Minor League Ball (UR). McKinney could go as early as the first round, and as late as fourth or fifth. I wouldn't complain if the Astros targeted him at 2.1, but 3.1 would be even better.
College Commitment: TCU, Will He Sign?
There seems to be a lot of uncertainty surrounding McKinney's college commitment. From what I gathered, he's focused on his life, first – baseball second, which leads me to believe he would err on the side of college. A pretty penny could lure him away, though.
Billy McKinney is a 2013 OF/1B with a 6-1 195 lb. frame from Plano, TX who attends Plano West HS. Strong compact athletic build, live bodied actions. 6.91 runner, good arm strength, very accurate on line throws. Left handed hitter, very sound swing mechanics, easy bat speed, slight uppercut with extension and lift, back spins the ball, ball jumps hard, looks to pull and drive the ball, gets the ball up in the air. Good student.
McKinney is one of the most advanced all-around hitters in the country to go with his lean frame and solid-average speed. He has shown an ability to handle the bat and good plate discipline with an efficient, clean swing from the left side. He handles both velocity and offspeed pitches equally well and shows solid power to the gaps.
Below is my own personal Big Board, based on the prospects profiles thus far:
2013 Big Board (3/10/13)
- Phillip Ervin, OF, Samford
- Alex Balog, RHP, San Francisco
- Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Tullahoma HS (TN.)
- Trevor Williams RHP, Arizona State
- Cord Sandberg, OF, Manatee HS (FL.)
- Billy McKinney, OF, Plano West HS (TX.)
- Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Elk Grove HS (CA.)
- Justin Williams, OF, Terrebonne HS (LA.)
- Ryon Healy, 1B, Oregon
- Cavan Biggio, 3B, St. Thomas HS (TX.)
- Casey Meisner, RHP, Cypress Woods HS (TX)