With just 10 Triple-A games under his belt, New York Yankees outfield prospect Billy McKinney has already started to turn heads.
Since being called up to the highest level of minor league baseball from Double-A Trenton, the 22-year-old owns a .395/.439/.789 slash line with four home runs and an OPS of 1.228 in 10 games.
In his latest showcase, McKinney lined a home run on Sunday afternoon in the fourth inning off Zach Eflin — his fourth in eight games — to continue his breakthrough that began all the way back when he arrived at Yankees’ camp as a late invite after first baseman Tyler Austin broke a bone in his left foot.
With the Big Boys in the spring, McKinney slashed .400/.500/.880 with three home runs in 25 at-bats to truly showcase his ability in front of the Yankee brass. With that, the future of the kid comes into focus. If McKinney continues to perform at a high level in Triple-A, there are a couple of ways the Oakland Athletics’ first-round pick of the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft’s season could play out.
One is, of course, more injuries. DL stints for Aaron Hicks and Dustin Fowler forced top outfield prospect Clint Frazier into the Bronx and if McKinney, who already turned heads in Tampa, continues to rake, his promotion shouldn’t be too far-fetched.
The second option points to McKinney making his way into another organization. The lefty has already been involved in two blockbusters — traded from the A’s to the Cubs in the Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija deal in 2014 and then from the Cubs to the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman deal last year — and is Rule-5 draft-eligible at the end of the 2017 season.
McKinney will need to be added the 40-man roster or any team could take him from the Yankees for virtually nothing. All in all, McKinney’s stock is unquestionably up from last year thanks to the show he’s putting on in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. And whether it’s with the Yankees or not, it could help him crack The Show sooner rather than later.