Prospect Profile: Garth McKinney

If there is one thing the Tigers system continues to lack, its a surplus of power hitters. Well, Garth McKinney has that one tool that the Tigers are so desperately in need of; the question is whether or not he can bring the rest of his game around to get up to that level.

Garth McKinney
Position: Outfielder Height: 6-3 Weight: 210
Born: 5/7/1982 Bats: Right Throws: Right

Taken in the 29th round of the 2001 draft as a draft-and-follow player, McKinney returned to Walters State Community College, posting such impressive numbers, the Tigers had no choice but to try and sign him. In his final year at Walters State CC, McKinney was among the national leaders in nearly every offensive category despite suffering a broken wrist near the end of the season. Finishing the year with a .473 batting average, 15 homeruns, and 67 RBI, Garth was one of the top junior college players in the nation in 2002. After recovering from his wrist injury, McKinney made a brief appearance in the Gulf Coast League in 2002, posting only modest numbers. McKinney started his 2005 season in much the same fashion as he ended the 2004 season; striking out at unbelievable rates. As the season progressed, although his strikeouts remained high, McKinney progressed, getting on base more, and consistently driving the ball out of the park.

Scouting Report
McKinney came into the Tigers organization with a reputation as a player with tremendous power potential, reasonable speed, and a very strong arm. While the power potential came to fruition during the 2004 season, McKinney again struggled to make consistent contact, striking out at some rather incredible rates. His strike zone judgment and willingness to take a walk has continued to improved over the course of his professional career, but there is still room for improvement. McKinney has shown streaks where he is capable of putting all of his tools together for weeks at a time, demonstrating the potential he has. Defensively, Garth has been strong. He reads the ball well off the bat, takes direct routes while tracking fly balls, and has displayed a strong, accurate arm from the outfield. McKinney has a lot to improve in his offensive game. If Garth can begin to make more consistent contact, while maintaining his ability to drive the ball, he could move quickly.
























Health Record
Having fully recovered from the broken wrist that cut short his final season at Walters State, McKinney has maintained a clean bill of health as a professional. With no other injuries in his history, McKinney appears poised to continue his development without worry at this point.

The Future
If the gains seen during the second half of 2005 become the norm for McKinney, he could become more widely recognized as a legitimate outfield prospect. After the All-Star break, Garth demonstrated better pitch recognition, a willingness to hold out for "his pitch," and if possible, even more power. The 2006 season could see a spike in McKinney's numbers due to the tighter home field dimensions in Erie. If his plate discipline holds, and he continues to hit with authority, he could see a glimpse of Toledo next season. In the long-term, McKinney could develop in a similar fashion to Cincinnati's Wily Mo Pena. He may not have the same overall ceiling, but the low average, incredible power, and very good defense are calling cards of both players.

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