TCN 2014 Cardinals Prospect #25: Ian McKinney

The former Florida prep left-hander had an impressive rookie-ball debut. Today's report is FREE!

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2013 and career stats)

2013 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NA LHS 11/18/1994 5-11 185 L L 2013 5th

School: Boone High School, Orlando, Fla.

Selected 2013 stats

GCL 1 0 0.89 3.10 10 5 0 30.1 23 7 0 12 24 1.03 0.217 0.267

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (30): 2013 fifth-round prep left-hander Ian McKinney was ranked high for someone who hasn't been in the Cardinals organization all that long, coming in at #30 in the voting on by the community.

McKinney is one of many left-handers from this year's draft class. For a while, it felt like the Cardinals were drafting lefty after shortstop again and again just to fill two organizational weaknesses. That kind of approach to the draft - looking for a specific player at certain position or pitcher standing on a certain side of the mound – can be very risky.

Being a high-schooler, McKinney's logical destination initially was the rookie-level Gulf Coast League. There, McKinney joined more highly-touted pitching prospects Rob Kaminsky, Steven Farinaro, and Mike Mayers from the 2013 draft, all of whom received a bigger signing bonus than did the fifth-rounder. But that didn't stop McKinney from being one of the more effective pitchers on the GCL Cardinals staff. He had a team-best 0.89 ERA over 30 1/3 innings.

McKinney is said to be able to command a fastball that can touch 90, with two breaking pitches (curve and slider), along with a change-up. With four pitches, he should be given some time to develop as a left-handed starter. If that doesn't work out, he can always be tried as a left-handed specialist. With his best pitch being a slider, it is a great weapon as most lefty-hitters struggle most against it.

McKinney should start in Johnson City next year. - DTFlush234

Brian Walton (25): I may be stretching a bit by placing McKinney as aggressively as I did. He does not have a particularly big body or a mid-90's fastball (at least not yet). What he did do, however, is adapt very quickly to the professional game right out of high school.

McKinney was the fourth pitcher and third left-hander taken by the Cardinals in the 2013 draft, but at just 18 years of age, he was arguably the most effective of any newly-drafted organization hurler this season.

The Orlando native gave up a run in his first professional appearance, a one-inning relief outing on July 6, and two runs to the Marlins in a four-inning start on August 24.

In the eight appearances between, totaling 25 1/3 innings, McKinney was unscored upon. Even more impressive was the fact that his streak included three consecutive starts against the league's top offensive team, the Nationals. That club steamrolled its opposition to the tune of the best winning percentage of any domestic team in minor league history at .845 and not surprisingly, won the GCL championship.

During that period, McKinney yielded 15 hits and 10 walks, for a WHIP just below 1.00. His overall WHIP was still solid at 1.13. Lefties hit only .043 against McKinney and no one took him deep all summer long.

There is a long road and plenty of competition ahead, but McKinney deserves notice for his solid 2013 accomplishments out of the gate.

In his own words: In October from the Cardinals instructional league camp, McKinney spoke about the draft, his 2013 season and more. Click here for the interview, exclusively for subscribers to The Cardinal Nation.

Our 2014 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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