JUPITER, Fla. — Lefthander Ian McKinney from Boone High in Orlando has a knack for coming up clutch in big games.
Last year at the World Wood Bat Championship, we wrote that, “Goliath Goes Down In Jupiter” when the Cardinals Scout Team lost to Central FL PG Royal. The metaphorical “David” in that matchup was McKinney.
This year, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound McKinney is on the Cardinals Scout Team/FTB Chandler and dominated the Atlanta Blue Jays in the second round of the playoffs. He tossed four no-hit innings, but did allow an unearned run with three walks and eight strikeouts. The mercy rule was enacted and the Cardinals beat the Blue Jays 9-1 in five innings.
“He was on a younger team last year and played with us all summer and beat us last year when that team’s first three hitters were (Albert) Almora, (David) Dahl and (Jesse) Winker,” Cardinals Scout Team/FTB Chandler head coach Jared Goodwin said. “He actually threw in the night game on Sunday last year, too. So, he’s been pretty good on that day.”
McKinney sat in the 88-90 mph range for his first two innings of work, but settled into the mid-to-upper 80s. He hides the ball really well and repeats his athletic, compact delivery. McKinney has a curveball and a slider, but threw a curveball tonight. McKinney uses a spike curveball grip and the pitch sits in the 79-80 mph range with some slurvy movement. His best pitch was his nice, fading changeup around 80 mph. He showed the confidence to double-up and even triple-up on the pitch.
The pitch is something he’s been working on lately.
“Last weekend I was kind of iffy on my changeup, but I changed my grip on it and it seemed to work really good and had good drop on it,” McKinney said. “I had a circle grip, but I went to a two-seam grip and it just flowed off my finger pretty nice.”
McKinney, who is committed to Central Florida, is working to get stronger to add velocity and control his curveball better.
“He’s got good pitchability and he’s kind of a bulldog out there,” Goodwin said. “He got a little erratic in the third inning and then in the fourth inning just comes back and gets back aligned and lets that changeup work. It’s a good pitch . . . He’s a very consistent guy. He typically can throw all offspeed to the arm side, which is good against those righties, and really bury the fastball in. When you can do that as a lefty, especially throwing mid-to-upper 80s, with more to come, it’s usually pretty easy to get outs. This is a pretty typical outing for him.”