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Ryan McKenna as a 4th Outfielder


BRobinsonfan
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I'm pleasantly surprised with Ryan McKenna so far this year.  After being dismal at the plate last year he's been a modest but consistent offensive contributor.  So far, in a very small sample size, he's hitting .318 in July.  He's no power threat, but it's nice to see our 4th outfielder not be an automatic out at the plate. He's also hitting left handers (.250) and right handers (.258) equally so you don't have to worry too much about who's on the mound when you bring him in.  With his speed and defensive, he seems like a good tool to be able to bring in off the bench.   I'm curious as to what others think about his value as a 4th outfielder going forward?    

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McKenna has become a solid 4th outfielder and Brandon Hyde and crew have done a good job picking good matchups for him to improve his likelihood of success.

He's got elite speed and he plays very good defense with the ability to play all three outfield spots. His play the other night coming in from RF and making that nice running catch to save runs shows his value. Santander comes nowhere near making that catch.

Offensively, he is what he is and that is a limited offensive player. His wOBA (.290) is not awful (.311 is MLB avg) but he's outperforming his xwOBA (.232) suggesting he's been lucky so far to put up the meager numbers that has. His avg EV (83.5) is the lowest on the team even below Chirinos. His walk rate has fallen to 5.8% because pitchers know they can challenge him and he won't hurt them much.

In the end, he's similar to Mateo in that his value is in his defense and speed but Mateo is a better hitter and plays a more premium position at SS.

With Stowers, Cowser and Vavra (Vavra could very well be his replacement) ready in the near future, he's going to have a hard time keeping a roster spot in a year or two. 

#scoutingreport

 

 

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First of all, I like McKenna as a defensive replacement and pinch runner.  He’s filled a useful role on this team.

However, I fear his improved offensive slash line, in a pretty small sample, Is illusory.   His strikeout rate (36.5%) is basically unchanged from last year, but his BABIP has shot up from .311 last year to .412 this year.   His .290 wOBA greatly exceeds his .232 xWOBA, which is actually quite a bit worse than last year’s .281.   So, it appears he’s been quite lucky this year and that’s why his numbers are better.   Last year he was a little unlucky.   

So, I think he’s basically the same player as last year, just with somewhat better luck on balls in play.   

PS - Tony posted similar thoughts as I was typing this.  

 

Edited by Frobby
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McKenna is a good 4th OF, and he has value. Whether he has a place on the Orioles sort of comes down to roster construction:

C : Rutschman, back-up

1b: Mountcastle (bc he can't play anywhere else, and I don't think he's going anywhere)

OF: Hays, Mullins

are your more locked in spots, you then have 8 spots for: Urias, Matteo, Vavra, Gunnar, Westbrook, McKenna, Stowers, McKenna, Santander, Mancini 

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1 hour ago, DirtyBird said:

He needs more AB's.

No, he really doesn't.  His bat isn't good enough to be taking constant ABs from Hays, Mullins or even Santander.  And nor do I want him taking at bats from Stowers when/if he's called up to replace one of the main 3 starters.  McKenna is good as a 4th OF, is a good defender, etc.  But the bat just doesn't play as much more than that.    

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9 minutes ago, forphase1 said:

No, he really doesn't.  His bat isn't good enough to be taking constant ABs from Hays, Mullins or even Santander.  And nor do I want him taking at bats from Stowers when/if he's called up to replace one of the main 3 starters.  McKenna is good as a 4th OF, is a good defender, etc.  But the bat just doesn't play as much more than that.    

What leads you to believe Stowers will be a better major league hitter than McKenna?

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8 minutes ago, DirtyBird said:

What leads you to believe Stowers will be a better major league hitter than McKenna?

Simply the unknown.  At this point we pretty much know what we've got with McKenna.  Yeah, he's only 25 so there is SOME room for growth, and he is hitting better this year than last year, though in about 1/2 the at bats at this point.  Stowers is an unknown really, as he only had 8 PA during his small cup of tea in the majors (don't get me started on how I think they under used him during his short time up) but otherwise all we have to go on is his AAA numbers, which are good.  Of course McKenna had very good AAA numbers also, so clearly that doesn't always translate.  Point being I'd rather see Stowers get ABs over McKenna as I feel we already have a good handle on what kind of a player McKenna is going to be in MLB, while the jury is still completely out on how Stowers will perform.  Maybe McKenna will out perform Stowers.  Likely he won't IMO.  But the only way we can find that out is to start giving Stowers consistent ABs once he's brought up.  

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14 minutes ago, DirtyBird said:

What leads you to believe Stowers will be a better major league hitter than McKenna?

Based on their minor league stats I don't think there's any doubt about that.  Stowers has an .845 OPS in the minors compared to McKenna's .761.  Stowers has 50 home runs in just 929 AB's compared to McKenna's 41 in 2,101 AB's.  Stowers has moved quickly through the minors while McKenna has spent 7 years working his way up while Stowers is basically Major League Ready after just 4 years.  

 

 

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Just now, BRobinsonfan said:

Based on their minor league stats I don't think there's any doubt about that.  Stowers has an .845 OPS in the minors compared to McKenna's .761.  Stowers has 50 home runs in just 929 AB's compared to McKenna's 41 in 2,101 AB's.  Stowers has moved quickly through the minors while McKenna has spent 7 years working his way up while Stowers is basically Major League Ready after just 4 years.  

 

 

McKenna was 2 years younger than Stowers at every level.

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32 minutes ago, DirtyBird said:

What leads you to believe Stowers will be a better major league hitter than McKenna?

It’s highly likely he will be.   He’s got a better MiL track record, has more power by a lot, better bat speed.  

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1 minute ago, Frobby said:

It’s highly likely he will be.   He’s got a better MiL track record, has more power by a lot, better bat speed.  

Who has better AAA numbers?

Aside from the season where McKenna struggled at AA, he has been better than Stowers in MiL at a younger age.

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4 minutes ago, DirtyBird said:

Who has better AAA numbers?

Aside from the season where McKenna struggled at AA, he has been better than Stowers in MiL at a younger age.

McKenna was 24-25 in AAA.   Stowers was 23-24.   The number of PA McKenna has had in AAA is a pretty small sample.  I have more confidence that Stowers’ numbers actually mean something.  

I already made it clear, in another post, that you don’t know how Stowers’ AAA numbers will translate to the majors.   Certainly McKenna’s haven’t.   But I think Stowers has the better chance.   
 

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Yeah, Stowers definitely has the better MiLB resume.  Doesn't mean it will translate.

McKenna I think has been as good as can be expected.  He still can't hit high velocity MLB fastballs which I think is always going to limit how good he can be.  Back in the old days of 10-11 man bullpens he'd be a very valuable guy to keep on the roster.

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