Billy McKinney was acquired by the Yankees from the Cubs as part of the Aroldis Chapman deal, but he has seen his prospect luster fade over the last two seasons. Perhaps McKinney's best tool is his strike-zone judgment, as he drew 59 walks in 123 games in 2016 at Double-A Tennessee and Trenton. However, he hit just .246 with four home runs and four steals over that span. The 22-year-old lefty has never stolen more than eight bases in a season, while clubbing just 11 home runs combined over the past two seasons. If McKinney cannot hit closer to .300, as he did in 2015, his upside is extremely limited, as he does not possess plus power or plus speed on the basepaths. McKinney may be a better real-life player than fantasy contributor, but the Yankees can afford to send him back to Double-A to begin 2017 with the hope that he will push his way to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre over the course of the year.
McKinney was reassigned to minor league camp Friday, Brendan Kuty of The Star-Ledger reports. The former Cubs farmhand could still eventually become a major league starter but suddenly looks a bit lost in the shuffle as part of a stacked group of Yankees outfield prospects. He'll look to rediscover his groove over the course of the season following a .417/.517/.917 spring that included three home runs and seven RBI in 29 plate appearances. McKinney probably will begin that quest at Double-A Trenton.
McKinney served as a pinch-runner and played right field in his return from illness Wednesday, going 0-for-1 in his only at-bat. The Yankees eased McKinney back after he missed a few days with an illness. The 22-year-old is impressing this spring, slashing .429/.529/1.000 in 11 at-bats, although he is still slated to start the year at Double-A.
McKinney missed the team's last spring training game after coming down with the flu, the New York Post reports. It sounds like the bug might be making its way around the team, as pitcher Luis Cessa was also scratched with the flu. McKinney was part of the return from the Cubs when the Yankees dealt Aroldis Chapman last July, and the 22-year-old is expected to begin the year back with the Double-A squad.
McKinney received an invite to spring training as a non-roster invitee on Sunday. McKinney spent the second half of his 2016 season with Double-A Tennessee, slashing .234/.310/.375 over 143 plate appearances after being traded from the Cubs to the Yankees. Despite his spring training invite, the 22-year-old is expected to open the season in Double-A again.
McKinney was traded to the Yankees on Monday as part of the deal that sent Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs, MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman reports. McKinney, who was traded to the Cubs back in 2014, will head to New York along with Gleyber Torres, Adam Warren and one other player. The 21-year-old outfielder has spent all of 2016 with Double-A Tennessee, posting a .252/.355/.322 slash line with only one home run and 31 RBI in 88 games. McKinney will most likely head to Double-A Trenton.