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Luke-OH

Ryan McKenna 2019

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3 hours ago, Ruzious said:

I like Wilkerson, but no.  He doesn't hit well enough to be a super-anything - though he does hit lefties pretty well.  Utility players actually do grow on trees.  Shake one, and you'll see.  If McKenna has any legit chance to become a starter, you don't protect Wilkerson over him.  

He is terrible against lefties and he has had to play against them a lot since we didn't have any CF options.  He has a .772 OPS against RHP.  He is also a better infielder than he is an OF.  He can play a solid 3B, 2B, all the OF positions, hes got some pop, and he  is an Emergency pitcher.  He should not have been playing against LHP at all this year.  I think he earns a roster spot for next season where he will be used properly as IF/OF/PH depth, especially if Villar, and/or Mancini is traded. 

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7 hours ago, Luke-OH said:

I get what you are saying but McKenna and Rickard are kind of on different ends of the Rule 5 candidate spectrum. Rickard was older, not toolsy, regarded as a corner OF defender, and had an extremely strong year in the minors. McKenna is two years younger, more raw power, more bat speed, more glove, more arm, more speed, CF defense, but had a lackluster year in the minors.

GCL (18) .265/.366/.324/.689 in 41 PAs
ABE (19) .241/.320/.309/.629 in 252 PAs
DEL (20) .256/.331/.380/.712 in 530 PAs
FRE (21) .377/.467/.556/1.023 in 300 PAs
BOW (21-22) .234/.327/.357/.684 in 817 PAs

Seems to me that outside of 300 PAs in Frederick and a good AFL season that year, he's been very, very pedestrian. While he has tools to be a good defensive outfielder, he also has had several repeated bone headed plays that ended up getting him benched this year. 

While I see the tools, his struggles picking up spin has limited his game power and consistency at the plate. Is McKenna a guy you keep running out there and give PAs and see what you got, sure. Is he a sure fire everyday big leaguer, I'm not so sure. 

Not to nitpick, but I think Rickard actually has a better arm, but they are similar. 

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7 hours ago, DirtyBird said:

Trumbo is coming off the 40 man. Davis, Smith Jr., Wilkerson and Williams could all easily be removed from the 40 man.

Mountcastle and Diaz are the only position players that will definitely be added. Maybe Cumberland gets protected? But I would protect McKenna over any of the guys listed above.

So would I. As I said, i haven't done the analysis who needs to be protected who's not on yet but there is definitely a ton of guy you could remove without concern.

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6 hours ago, ScGO's said:

He is terrible against lefties and he has had to play against them a lot since we didn't have any CF options.  He has a .772 OPS against RHP.  He is also a better infielder than he is an OF.  He can play a solid 3B, 2B, all the OF positions, hes got some pop, and he  is an Emergency pitcher.  He should not have been playing against LHP at all this year.  I think he earns a roster spot for next season where he will be used properly as IF/OF/PH depth, especially if Villar, and/or Mancini is traded. 

My mistake - meant to say good against righties while historically bad against lefties.  But with a 25 man roster, even a utility guy has to go against lefties sometimes.  Being versatile is great, but being good is better.  

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The same scout said outfielder Ryan McKenna played a big league center field, but was ill-suited for the power game.

“He’s afflicted with the launch-angle syndrome,” the scout said. “It’s not for him.”

I’ve heard that same observation about a few other players in the system who weren’t taking advantage of their line-drive strokes and kept hitting long fly-ball outs.

https://www.masnsports.com/school-of-roch/2019/10/this-that-and-the-other-189.html

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27 minutes ago, Frobby said:

The same scout said outfielder Ryan McKenna played a big league center field, but was ill-suited for the power game.

“He’s afflicted with the launch-angle syndrome,” the scout said. “It’s not for him.”

I’ve heard that same observation about a few other players in the system who weren’t taking advantage of their line-drive strokes and kept hitting long fly-ball outs.

https://www.masnsports.com/school-of-roch/2019/10/this-that-and-the-other-189.html

But if they:

1- Get a bit stronger

2- Get to use the super balls used in AAA and the MLB regular season

Maybe those balls go out?

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1 hour ago, Frobby said:

The same scout said outfielder Ryan McKenna played a big league center field, but was ill-suited for the power game.

“He’s afflicted with the launch-angle syndrome,” the scout said. “It’s not for him.”

I’ve heard that same observation about a few other players in the system who weren’t taking advantage of their line-drive strokes and kept hitting long fly-ball outs.

https://www.masnsports.com/school-of-roch/2019/10/this-that-and-the-other-189.html

I'm all about launch angle and hitting fly balls, but I agree, it's not McKenna's game. COC makes good points, but in McKenna's case it makes for holes in the swing that pitchers can exploit. His abilities are probably better suited for turning outs into singles and singles into doubles rather than selling out to try to get to maybe average raw power in game. 

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2 hours ago, Luke-OH said:

I'm all about launch angle and hitting fly balls, but I agree, it's not McKenna's game. COC makes good points, but in McKenna's case it makes for holes in the swing that pitchers can exploit. His abilities are probably better suited for turning outs into singles and singles into doubles rather than selling out to try to get to maybe average raw power in game. 

I agree with this completely, I also think this applies to so many people in the league. There is such an infatuation with homeruns nowadays.

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1 hour ago, tarheeloriole said:

I agree with this completely, I also think this applies to so many people in the league. There is such an infatuation with homeruns nowadays.

The thing is that for most MLB players, it helps their overall batting line to try and hit the ball in the air more. It’s not one sized fits all though and it’s not going to work for everyone.

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13 hours ago, Can_of_corn said:

But if they:

1- Get a bit stronger

2- Get to use the super balls used in AAA and the MLB regular season

Maybe those balls go out?

I was thinking the same thing. But I think we could cling to that hope about any middling prospect. 

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14 hours ago, Luke-OH said:

The thing is that for most MLB players, it helps their overall batting line to try and hit the ball in the air more. It’s not one sized fits all though and it’s not going to work for everyone.

Am curious your opinion...

Mine was generally that hard contact is the hardest skill to teach, and that transferring from contact to power was easier than the opposite. When you have a straight power approach and you're on, it's glorious. However, when you're not in a groove, it gets really ugly. I don't recommend that approach for pretty much anyone. Even supremely talented hitters like Giancarlo Stanton can lose value quickly when they lose the line drive approach to their game. Alternatively, when you're making hard line drive contact regularly, it's easier to let yourself go and crush some balls, IMO. It's when you do too much of that approach that your swing starts to develop real holes. Well, this is all my personal experience, at least.

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1 hour ago, LookinUp said:

Am curious your opinion...

Mine was generally that hard contact is the hardest skill to teach, and that transferring from contact to power was easier than the opposite. When you have a straight power approach and you're on, it's glorious. However, when you're not in a groove, it gets really ugly. I don't recommend that approach for pretty much anyone. Even supremely talented hitters like Giancarlo Stanton can lose value quickly when they lose the line drive approach to their game. Alternatively, when you're making hard line drive contact regularly, it's easier to let yourself go and crush some balls, IMO. It's when you do too much of that approach that your swing starts to develop real holes. Well, this is all my personal experience, at least.

It absolutely does create more holes which is why the strikeouts are up at every level of baseball. The thing is, the analytics approach is that the net gain of power offsets the drop in average and rise in strikeouts.

I'm not sure it's a cookie cutter approach though and that's what worries me a bit. After talking with some scouts, they believe McKenna and Diaz are two guys this approach hurt.

There are things to like about McKenna tools wise, but he's got a lot of holes in that swing and he's either struggling to pick up spin or he's selling out too early which leaves him vulnerable to breaking and off speed pitches.

 

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6 minutes ago, Tony-OH said:

It absolutely does create more holes which is why the strikeouts are up at every level of baseball. The thing is, the analytics approach is that the net gain of power offsets the drop in average and rise in strikeouts.

I'm not sure it's a cookie cutter approach though and that's what worries me a bit. After talking with some scouts, they believe McKenna and Diaz are two guys this approach hurt.

There are things to like about McKenna tools wise, but he's got a lot of holes in that swing and he's either struggling to pick up spin or he's selling out too early which leaves him vulnerable to breaking and off speed pitches.

 

I completely agree with the bolded. The first part is a generalization about analytics. Power can offset a drop in average and rise in k's for certain profiles, but the power has to be real for the math to work. As you and others have pointed out, McKenna doesn't seem to have that power.

I'm a little surprised on Diaz though. Maybe I'm looking at him through orange colored glasses, but in between injuries, I think he really started to impress by the end of this year. IDK. Maybe it's a selective memory that I have. I'll look forward to seeing what you guys write up in more depth.

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21 hours ago, LookinUp said:

I completely agree with the bolded. The first part is a generalization about analytics. Power can offset a drop in average and rise in k's for certain profiles, but the power has to be real for the math to work. As you and others have pointed out, McKenna doesn't seem to have that power.

I'm a little surprised on Diaz though. Maybe I'm looking at him through orange colored glasses, but in between injuries, I think he really started to impress by the end of this year. IDK. Maybe it's a selective memory that I have. I'll look forward to seeing what you guys write up in more depth.

Just based off watchIng a few at bats this spring, I’d certainly say that Diaz has the ability to hit the ball a long way when he connects.   From everything I’ve read, he’s not expected to be a huge power guy in the majors, but he certainly profiles to have more power than McKenna.    
 

From a developmental standpoint, I think it’s arguable that even though launch angle becomes important, the first order of business is to learn how to make hard contact consistently.    Once you’ve mastered that, then worry about launch angle and making power/contact tradeoffs.     That’s probably why you often hear that power is the last tool to develop.    It’s not that the raw power wasn’t there, but there are other tools that need to be polished first, at least for most players.   

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