Brady McConnell was one of the KC Royals’ top picks in the 2019 MLB Draft. As he enters year two in the minors, he’ll be faced with some high expectations.
The 2020 season, for both the KC Royals and their minor league affiliates, is currently on hold. When baseball returns, though, we’ll get a firsthand look at the next wave of Kansas City Royals talent. Until then, let’s continue to evaluate some of the most notable names in the farm system.
Brady McConnell was drafted by the Royals in the second round of last year’s MLB Draft. He played at the University of Florida and put together quite the impressive season in his final slate of games as a college player. Posting a .332/.385/.576 line with 15 home runs in 59 games, the jack-of-all-trades infielder displayed all of his abilities both at the plate and at on defense.
McConnell was the Royals’ No. 7-ranked prospect in the MLB Pipeline list a year ago, and they cited his power potential and athleticism as two good traits that play into his game. This year’s rankings peg him at No. 15 after a less-than-ideal 2019 season in the minors.
Idaho Falls was not kind to McConnell, as he hit just .211 and struck out 66 times in 38 games. He suffered a concussion in August and on the year, he just didn’t produce at the level the team would have hoped. His approach at the plate will need some fine-tuning but he certainly has the tools to become a solid MLB player, whether that’s at shortstop or somewhere else. Here are some possible outcomes for McConnell:
The physical tools are solid enough for McConnell to stick at shortstop. There are worries that he may have to move to second base or the outfield but with a refined technique and a bit of added athleticism over the offseason, he comes back and holds down the position on defense.
At the plate, he hits well enough and shows enough of his raw power to earn a promotion to the MLB in a couple of years. His ceiling as a player remains relatively low, but his floor is raised significantly. McConnell becomes an everyday player for the Royals, hitting somewhere between .260-.280 and playing reliable defense.
McConnell’s 2019 struggles carry into 2020. His bat doesn’t improve and he continues to look lost at the plate as his strikeout numbers remain extremely high. The raw power potential alone isn’t enough to keep his status as a prospect afloat and a position change is required as a result of some poor defense at short. He drifts into the bottom third of the KC Royals prospect rankings.
Most likely outcome:
A middle ground between the aforementioned two outcomes is realistic. McConnell won’t be a star at the next level but with some seasoning in the MiLB, he could work out some of the kinks in his game and become a reliable starter. That probably won’t be as a shortstop, but that’s okay. With some decent power and a respectable approach at the plate, along with good speed, McConnell gets promoted in 2022 and joins the next wave of KC Royals.
Brady McConnell was one of the fallers in this year’s prospect rankings for the Royals. He’s got a lot to prove in 2020. If he wants to stick around long-term, his numbers have to rebound quickly. His last season at Florida provides more than enough hope that things will begin to look up in the near future, though.
Keep a close eye on McConnell once the 2020 minor league season begins.