Yankees: McKinney Could Be The Steal In The Trade For Torres

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

 Yankees’ prospect Billy McKinney continues to shine in the opportunities he’s been given this Spring Training. Could he be a ‘diamond in the rough’ as part of the Chapman trade that sent Torres to the Yanks?

Last July, the Yankees made a deal with the Cubs who sent their top prospect, shortstop Gleyber Torres, to New York in return for Aroldis Chapman. Included in the deal as well were Adam Warren and prospects Rashad Crawford and Billy McKinney. McKinney, who was not the centerpiece of the trade, is a first round pick.

Selected by the Oakland Athletics in 2013, he was traded to the Cubs the very next season. McKinney has done fairly well in the minor leagues. He was quickly promoted from Single-A to Double-A in just 29 games during the 2015 season.

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Unfortunately, his season was ended early due to a hairline fracture in his knee. Fast-forward to McKinney being traded to the Yankees, and he somewhat struggled in Trenton. His average dropped to .234 and only hit three home runs in 35 games.

How Do The Yankees Fit McKinney In?

It seemed like he was going to start the season back in Double-A, but he was given an invite to Spring Training. In his few appearances, McKinney has hit four home runs, has averaged .412, and has an OPS of about 1.6. While he is also fairly good defensively, there is just a glut of outfielders in the Yankees system.

I don’t expect to see McKinney on the Opening Day roster, especially not over Clint Frazier. But, he has outlasted the first round of cuts in Spring Training and continues to shine. McKinney hit another bomb in today’s game against the Orioles, making it his 3rd.

While his ceiling is not as high as Frazier or even Torres, he is another talented prospect the Yankees have in an already deep prospect pool. Should he continue to do well in Spring Training and avoid getting cut early, it’s possible he starts the year in Triple-A.

I don’t see McKinney starting in the outfield anytime soon, not as long as Hicks and Judge are playing well and Gardner is still here. And of course, if Frazier isn’t starting, McKinney won’t either.

It’s possible that he becomes a bench option somewhere down the road. Perhaps even a look as a designated hitter in the future because he does have power when he connects. It’s of course very possible for this to be just a ‘flash in the pan’ and McKinney doesn’t pan out.

But, if his performance so far is indicative of his future value, the Yankees may have struck gold with more than just Torres.