Potential No. 1 pick Brendan McKay protected from throwing in practice

Brendan McKay might end up going first overall in the upcoming MLB draft, and the job of Louisville Cardinals’ manager Dan McDonnell is to get him there healthy.

The left-handed McKay – the best two-way player in college – pitches and play first base. Of course, the hazard of playing two spots is that McKay also practices twice as much, honing his craft at both positions.

That’s why, earlier this week during drills at first base, McDonnell took it upon himself to take the ball from McKay and make the throw back to the catcher for him, in order to protect the pitcher’s arm. That way, McKay could work defensively on his glove without risking damage from extra throwing.

“He hates it,” McDonnell told Chad Graff of Twin Cities Pioneer Press about McKay’s feelings toward the precaution.

McKay is slashing .379/.498/.733 in 161 at-bats with Louisville so far this season while also posting a 1.92 ERA over 75 innings.

Currently listed as the second-best draft-eligible prospect by MLB.com, the 21-year-old lefty is unsure of which position he wants to play once drafted.

“If you could figure out a way where guys could do both pitch and hit,” McKay pondered, “it could create something new in Major League Baseball.”

With the draft just a month away, McKay’s most legitimate competitor for the first overall selection is another two-way player – shortstop and right-handed pitcher Hunter Greene. While the 17-year-old Greene has displayed immense promise, he’s still in high school, so McKay may have a leg up in development.

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