Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 149 of 286. For the first 100, click here.
Ryan Chandler McKay is a 6’4″, 195 lb. right-handed relief pitcher from Melbourne, Florida. Melbourne has also produced two major leaguers to date, infielder Larry Wolfe and knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.
The Miami Marlins chose McKay in the 11th round of the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft, out of Satellite HS. Selected with the 326th overall pick, McKay would be the 11th such player to make it as far as the majors. Brandon Woodruff (2014, Milwaukee Brewers, 1.0 career WAR) is the only player to finish with a WAR rating of one or greater to date. I’m sure McKay aims to challenge that number. You can follow him on Twitter @ryan_mckayy.
After coming to terms with the Miami Marlins for a $300,000 signing bonus, McKay reported to the GCL Marlins, in the rookie-level, Florida-based Gulf Coast League. He got into 10 games, and walked more than he struck out, 21-to-17 in 34 2/3 innings. He pitched to a 4.15 ERA and a frightening 1.817 WHIP.
Nevertheless, McKay was promoted to the short-season-A Batavia Muckdogs to start the 2016 campaign. In 11 games, all starts, he went 1-4 with a 5.31 ERA and a 1.615 WHIP. Going by GameScore, his best start of the season was a June 28th, 3-1 victory against the West Virginia Black Bears. McKay earned his only victory of the season that evening, striking out three over five shutout, two-hit innings.
McKay rejoined the GCL Marlins on August 20th that year, and allowed 11-of-25 batters to reach base over 5 2/3 innings.
2017 would see McKay spend the entire campaign back with the Muckdogs. The coaching staff changed tactics for him and used him entirely in relief, pitching him 17 times through the season. He struck out 18 in 30 innings, walking 11 and pitching to a 1.400 WHIP with a 4.50 ERA.
To start 2018, the Miami Marlins promoted McKay up two levels, to the high-A Florida State League with the Jupiter Hammerheads. Although it was a small sample size, McKay put up great numbers, striking out 10 and walking two over seven innings and allowing only one run. Here’s McKay pitching for the Hammerheads, courtesy of 2080 Baseball.
Dropped back to the Muckdogs on June 17th, McKay struck out five in 4 1/3 innings, but also allowed four runs. At the beginning of July, the Miami Marlins sent him to the single-A Greensboro Grasshoppers in the South Atlantic League.
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On July 19th, McKay faced six batters over two perfect innings, collecting three strikeouts and a save in a 1-0 win against the Delmarva Shorebirds. In five weeks with the Hoppers, he closed out with a 9.53 ERA over 11 innings.
Sent down for another round with Batavia, McKay allowed just one hit and struck out 11 over his first 8 1/3 innings. In 23 games across all three levels, he allowed an opposing slashline of .284/.348/.404 in 155 plate appearances.
As McKay stands poised to begin his fifth professional season, he’s again rostered with Batavia, but shouldn’t stay there too long. Expect him back in Jupiter or maybe with the Clinton LumberKings in the single-A Midwest League before too long.
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