#7—BIlly McKinney

NorthSiders Report continues its Top 50 Prospect Countdown with outfielder Billy McKinney. Acquired from the A’s with Addison Russell in the Jeff Samardzija deal, the 20-year-old is the Cubs best left-handed hitting outfield prospect and should start year in AA.

Name: Billy McKinney
Position: OF
Age: 20 (8/23/1994)
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 195 pounds
How acquired: Trade with Oakland along with SS Addison Russell, RHP Dan Straily and cash for RHP Jeff Samardzija and RHP Jason Hammel

2014 Teams:
Stockton Ports, California League, High A (75 G, .241/.330/.400, 10 HR, 33 RBI); Daytona Cubs, Florida State League, High A; (51 G, .301/.390/.432, 1 HR, 36 RBI)

Prior to Cubs
Considered one of the top high school bats in the 2013 draft, McKinney prepped at Plano West High School and hit .372 with a .585 OBP, 36 walks and only 6 K as a senior. Oakland used their first-round pick, #23 overall, to select McKinney. Two weeks after the draft and a $1.8 million bonus, the A’s had their top pick in uniform in the Arizona Rookie League. Making his debut June 20 against the Giants, McKinney went 3-for-6 with a double and a RBI. He slugged his first pro homer July 30 against the D-backs and hit .320/.383/.414 with 2 HR, 20 RBI, 7 SB in 206 plate appearances. McKinney finished up 2013 in the New York Penn League with Vermont, batting .353/.405/.559 in nine games with 6 RBI.

2014 Season
After an impressive spring training, the A’s promoted McKinney to the High A California League for his first full season. One of the younger players in the league, McKinney hit .241/.330/.400 in 75 games but smacked 10 homers, including a pair in his second game. McKinney played his final game in the A’s organization on July 3 against Lancaster and learned he was traded to the Cubs the next day. In his Cubs debut for Daytona on July 7, McKinney went 1-for-3 against Lakeland (Tigers) and appeared in 51 games for the D-Cubs. While he only hit one long ball in the FSL, he did bat .301/.390/.432 and was a key offensive piece in the D-Cubs second half title. In the post-season, McKinney’s first, he went 6-for-21 (.286) with four runs, a double, and a RBI.

2015 Outlook
Besides the bat, McKinney’s doesn’t have a tool that jumps out with an average arm and speed as well as defensive skills; but when you put them all together, along with his make-up and work ethic, you get a good prospect with great potential. You need to remember McKinney would be a sophomore year in college, and instead the 20-year-old will be facing AA pitching. At the plate, McKinney does a good job of squaring up the ball and hitting to all fields, although most of his power is to right field. He shows an advanced approach at the plate and can play all three outfield positions. His bat and the ability to hit for power will go a long ways in determining his potential as an everyday MLB outfielder, but he’s the top left-handed hitting outfielder in the system and at the very least, provides a future platoon option.

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