- Full name Michael Charles McKenry
- Born 03/04/1985 in Knoxville, TN
- Profile Ht.: 5'10" / Wt.: 205 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Middle Tennessee State
- Debut 09/08/2010
- Drafted in the 7th round (198th overall) by the Colorado Rockies in 2006 (signed for $135,000).
Organization Prospect Rankings
A freak injury slowed McKenry down late in the 2009 season after he made significant progress the last couple of years. USA Baseball had selected him to be one of its catchers for the World Cup in Europe, but the day before he was to leave Tulsa he was hit in the ear by a bat on a backswing, giving him a concussion and requiring stitches in his ear. He also had a negative reaction to the local anesthesia, but he has a clean bill of health for the 2010 season. Typically a slow starter, McKenry gets himself in trouble offensively when he becomes home run happy and tries to pull everything, opening up too quickly. At his best, though, he has a quality line-drive stroke and uses the middle of the field. He's also willing to work counts for walks. McKenry handles pitchers well and has strong makeup, intelligence and work habits. He moves well behind the plate and has a strong arm. When he focuses on his footwork and technique he can slow a running game. He sometimes tries to be too quick with his throws, wrapping his arm behind his head. He threw out 33 percent of basestealers last season. He has such a thick, strong body that it can inhibit him behind the plate and at bat, and he has well below-average speed. McKenry is ready for Triple-A and is knocking on the big league door, though his best role may be as a highenergy backup. The Rockies added him to the 40-man roster for the first time in November.
McKenry has shown steady improvement in his three pro seasons, and capped off his rise into legitimate prospect status when he was one of the stronger offensive players in the Arizona Fall League. He followed up a team-high 18 home runs at high Class A Modesto by finishing second in the AFL with nine homers. McKenry has been a quality defensive catcher since his youth, and has only added to that reputation, throwing out 46 percent of opposing basestealers in 2008. He moves well behind the plate, likes to work a pitcher through a game and has a plus arm, augmented by a quick release. Now the offense is starting to come, too. In two years in full-season leagues he has shown legitimate power. He quickly gets into hitting position and plants his front leg firmly. McKenry can get in a hurry at the plate and will chase pitches. He needs to make more consistent contact to turn into an everyday catcher in the big leagues. Some scouts question his athleticism and consider him a bad-body player. McKenry is moving a step at a time, and that means Tulsa for 2009. He has the defensive ability and mental toughness to ensure at least a backup job in the big leagues. If he becomes more disciplined at the plate, he has the potential to handle starting duties on a contender.
McKenry was a bit disappointed that he slipped to the seventh round in the 2006 draft, but signed quickly because he was the first catcher the Rockies drafted that year and he figured that meant he'd get plenty of playing time. He was correct and capitalized on that opportunity in his first full season. He made the South Atlantic League's midseason and postseason all-star teams, and he earned the same honors in Hawaii Winter Baseball, where he hit .281 with five homers. McKenry has a good all-around game. While Asheville's McCormick Field is a nice hitter's park, his 22 homers were eight more than any other player on the club and he showed power in Hawaii as well. He has a good idea of the strike zone, draws walks and doesn't panic when he gets behind in the count. Though he has below-average speed, he runs better than most catchers. Roving catching instructor Marv Foley worked with McKenry on his mechanics, helping him shorten his arm action in the back and finishing his throws better rather than hurrying them. Though he's still straightening out his footwork, he has a strong arm and threw out 34 percent of basestealers in 2007. His receiving skills are solid as well. He's ready to move up to high Class A.
Minor League Top Prospects
Hank Conger was the TL's all-star catcher, but McKenry had a better OPS (.831 to .792) and played a league-high 102 games behind the plate, throwing out 33 percent of basestealers while committing only one passed ball. McKenry was scheduled to play in the World Cup, but right before the tournament a foul ball hit him in the ear, requiring him to get stitches and giving him a concussion. Defense comes first with McKenry, but it's more because of his plus makeup, intelligence and work habits than his pure tools. He has an average arm and good hands, but he has such a thick, strong body that it inhibits his catch and release. The tightness in his upper body also hurts him in the batter's box, where his swing is strong but can get jerky. Still, most observers think he should be able to hit .260-.280 with good power in the big leagues. Others see a player who's already maxed out and has to work too hard in every phase of the game to make it as a full-time starter. Even then, though, he could provide an energy boost to a team as a backup.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Colorado Rockies in 2010
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Texas League in 2009
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Colorado Rockies in 2009
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Colorado Rockies in 2008
- Rated Best Strike-Zone Discipline in the Colorado Rockies in 2008