True or false, the best thing about Brendan McKay is he sounds like what a dad in the 1990’s would’ve called two different characters on 90210. Gonna go with false, but a fantasy baseball ‘pert has the prerogative to change his or her mind. On a side note that’s only tangentially related (like the rest of this will be related), McKay is the fourth guy this offseason who either just kept or lost rookie eligibility. McKay threw 49 innings, and the cut-off is 50. Interesting side note there, Tangent Grey. Brendan McKay is a two-way player from the Rays; imagine if the Rays were short for Ray Searage. *insert GIF of Rays fans King Tommen’ing out of a window* Thankfully, it’s not and the Rays, I’m told, are good with pitchers, but how are they with hitters? Fine, but they’re like a guy who lives in a refrigerator in Home Depot. They have a ton of tools at their disposal but there’s an overload of tools with way too many options, and they’re always giving us the cold shoulder. (You thought the refrigerator was unplugged — ha!) If hitting and pitching made Ohtani a unicorn, McKay is a commitaphobe unicorn. Capable of doing the two-way thing, but either he or the Rays don’t seem committed to having him hit, so I don’t plan on projecting him for hitting. Maybe he gives a handful of homers in under 100 ABs, but you’re not really drafting him for that. Picture Michael Lorenzen without having the whole ‘pitchers hit’ thing. Sorry for those of you having Siri read you this, picture/pitcher prolly confused the shizz out of you there. So, what can we expect from Brendan McKay for 2020 fantasy baseball?
Brendan McKay was called up in June when calls for his promotion from fantasy baseballers (<–my mom’s term!) became just too much and Kevin Cash was like, “Fine, you guys!” Why, that is an obvious lie; Kevin Cash is a fantasy baseballer’s nightmare, due to platoons, Openers, Middlers, and just overall stubbornness to go for real baseball wins and not fantasy ones. Dubya tee eff, my dude. Cash ruins everything around me, fantasy baseball streams get the money! It is true, however, fantasy baseballers were anxiously calling for McKay’s promotion for about a month before fruit ripened into fruition. In 49 IP, McKay ended up going 2-4/5.14/1.41/56. Of course, it’s fine to write off wins and ERA. His 4.03 FIP told a more promising story. His .331 BABIP showed some unluckiness, along with his 64% LOB. His numbers respectively should’ve been closer to .290 and 75%. The BABIP can help his WHIP lower, and his under-3 BB/9 should preclude an insane WHIP. Also, not pulling its weight on the WHIP was a terrific K/9 of 10.3. You strike out guys and have neutral luck and, well, the worst WHIP for a guy with an under-3 BB/9 and over 10 K/9 was Matthew Boyd with a 1.23 WHIP. Pretty much common sense here, if you’re not allowing baserunners through Ks, your WHIP comes down, and it doesn’t take a whole day to recognize sunshine. Boyd is not the most analogous, though, because his 11.56 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 were much better than McKay’s. The closest pitcher to McKay’s ratios is even better, it’s Patrick Corbin. Now, of course, I’m not saying that’s who he’ll be. I mean, he could be, but McKay gave up way too many homers (1.5 HR/9). Thankfully, this was never his problem in the minors. In fact (Grey’s got more!), McKay’s 47% ground ball rate in Triple-A tells a totally different story than his 35% rate in the majors. This is gonna come as a shock after spending 300 words talking about his previous season, but I don’t think it’s indicative of future value for McKay. He looks headed to becoming a fantasy #2 to (stutterer!) #3 starter with #1 upside. It’s hard to not love 10.5 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 potential and I won’t try. For 2020, I’ll give Brendan McKay projections of 8-7/3.87/1.18/131 in 112 IP with upside and possible use as a Opener or Middler at times to keep his innings down.