Last year Michael McKenry turned into a real bright spot for the Pittsburgh Pirates. No one really expected him to come out of nowhere and have a pretty fantastic season.
Michael McKenry is a lot like Josh Harrison in my mind, though he has been much more successful.
McKenry is generally derided to a point by the blogs because of what he is. A workman-like, hardnosed, hustle player. A guy who makes his living by grabbing his lunch pale and giving you an honest days work. A fan favorite, and specifically a Yinzer favorite, he has grown his legend though dramatic hits, and tough, steelworker type play on the field.
I’m not sure why a lot of people dislike players like that, but they do. See McKenry didn’t show up on prospects lists or anything like that so he is generally disregarded.
That said he posted a 1.7 WAR last season in a part time role.
|PIT (2 yrs)||146||14||50||.229||.301||.390||.692||93|
|COL (1 yr)||6||0||0||.000||.111||.000||.111||-68|
So should he get a chance to start? No.
You see I am a fan of hardnosed play, love it. But I don’t allow that to obscure the facts. One of those is that ultra-low batting average. McKenry has never really hit for average in the minors, and I question whether he can consistently get on base at the .320 clip he did last year with such a low average.
That said he does have room to improve that average and get it closer to his minor league numbers. That definitely wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility. That said he had some very, very big problems last year outside of the low average.
First was his home/road splits. McKenry was fantastic on the road, awful at home.
That is troubling.
Arguably more troubling is his second and first half splits. It would appear that he was exposed with more playing time. This is something that generally isn’t talked about by his fans.
So what is McKenry? McKenry is a backup that may have some upside, but even that is debatable. McKenry will make the team, there is little question of that. McKenry is an asset at this point and until Tony Sanchez proves himself as anything else he has no business unseating someone who has had even a modicum of recent success at the MLB level.
McKenry actually does have an option left, but I think it’s much more likely that gets used if he turns into a basically useless player this year and needs to be removed. Unlikely as he will be the backup.
McKenry should see at bats though, he will be a cog, just not the main one. There is no need to completely take him out of the offense and if Russell Martin struggles I expect to see a healthy does of McKenry, if Hurdle has the balls.
Don’t forget to enter our contest for the Evgeni Malkin Bleacher creature!!!!!
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