AFL: Brett McKinney Adds a New Pitch This Fall

Glendale lost 8-6 on Wednesday afternoon in the Arizona Fall League. Tomorrow’s game wraps up the fall season. It was a quiet day for Pirates’ players in the AFL, as Brett McKinney’s inning out of the bullpen was the only action. Steven Brault finished his season yesterday on a strong note, and Thursday we could see appearances from Trevor Williams and Tyler Eppler, along with Reese McGuire trying to cap off his solid fall.

After Surprise put up seven runs in the second inning, Glendale went to Brett McKinney to start the third frame. Making his last appearance of the fall, he allowed one run on three hits, no walks and he picked up two strikeouts. McKinney threw a total of 21 pitches, 14 for strikes.

PITCHf/x was available for this game and they had McKinney sitting 94-95 with his fastball. He is very inconsistent with the velocity on his fastball, hitting 97 at times, while bottoming out at 90 mph, which is a large range for a reliever. The pitch has a tendency to get flat and that leads to hard contact, even at the higher speeds. This fall, the Pirates decided to add a cutter to his arsenal.

The cutter on Wednesday was 90-92 and he used it ten times with mixed results. He gave up a double on one and a couple were balls in the dirt, but he also used it to end the inning on a ground out. McKinney threw 20 fastballs/cutters and just one curve, which was laced for a single on a 1-2 pitch.

With the addition of a new pitch that he used often, you could imagine that there were some mixed results during his fall season. He ended with a 6.23 ERA in 8.2 innings over nine appearances, allowing 13 hits, four walks and he struck out eight batters. McKinney served up three homers, all to right-handed hitters. He had a rough time in Altoona this year after a mid-season promotion, posting a 7.50 ERA in 24 appearances. The addition of a cutter should help him out, giving a new look to batters who were sitting on his fastball.