#19 PuRP Michael McKenry got his first look at Major League Baseball last year during the month of September. After being added to the 40 Man Roster at the previous Reserves Deadline to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, McKenry became the first of our up and coming catching prospects to make that roster, and of course, the Rockies themselves. His playing time, however, did not demonstrate a great deal of eventful occurrences.
McKenry made it into five games from September 8-30, always as a pinch hitter, making four outs, one walk and staying in to catch the end of the game only once. On October 3rd, the final game of the season, he was granted his only MLB start at catcher thus far. He was slotted into the 3 spot in the batting order, and went 0-4 with strikeouts on all four at bats. Likewise with his offense, he did not get a chance to showcase any defensive skills, as not one runner attempted to steal during his 9 innings at catcher, and the most significant defensive play he had to make was throwing a dropped third strike to fellow catcher Chris Iannetta who was manning first base at the time. (For another amusing catcher note, McKenry's opposing catcher during that October 3rd game was now-Rockie Matt Pagnozzi).
Without anything of significance really gleamed in McKenry's small sample size at the majors, we can instead look at McKenry's 99 games at AAA Colorado Springs for some interesting info. Perhaps the most notable thing about his year at AAA was the extreme variance in his home/road splits. Unfortunately, because Minor League Splits went away and none of the other major stat databases track minor league splits, I couldn't find the exact numbers there to place into the article, but they were most definitely significant, moreso perhaps than even many of the Rockies' struggles on the road last year. Defensively, McKenry made only seven errors at the catching position last year, but threw out 29% of base stealers, his lowest full-season career rate. Career rates in the minors are not always quite as meaningful, considering the variance between experience levels and physical environments, but you want to see at least a little consistency.
Grade: IC - It would be wrong of me to grade McKenry for the brief time he spent with us at the MLB level, so he is ruled an incomplete. However, were I to assign a grade to his minor league year, it would probably be between a C and a C-. It was a down year for him in more areas than it wasn't, but I do not feel he damaged his potential to become an MLB level backup catcher.
2011: McKenry will be competing for the backup catcher job to Chris Iannetta, likely the second favorite for the job behind only Jose Morales. With Wilin Rosario's rehab going well and Jordan Pacheco being a hitting machine everywhere he goes, McKenry is losing time to break into the majors with the Rockies. Don't read into that statement too much; I'm hardly arguing he's lost the chance, particularly against Rosario as McKenry as a hypothetical backup to Rosario would make sense. However, McKenry's value as a future contributor is slowly being outrun by value as a potential trade chip to bolster an organization's catching depth. Don't expect such a thing until we have a better idea of where Rosario will be this year, but assuming no setbacks, McKenry will likely find himself losing playing time at AAA that way by midseason, so I wouldn't rule McKenry out as a trade option by the deadline this July.