SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly junior center fielder Alex McKenna, who in September was listed No. 11 among eligible outfielders for the draft by D1Baseball.com and in January was ranked No. 39 in the web site's Top 100 College Prospects, is ranked No. 10 in a statistical analysis of the top hitters in Division I baseball.
The analytics included plate discipline (strikeouts and walks percentages), hitting ability (batting average on balls in play, on-base percentage and slugging percentage) and game power (isolated power, home run percentage). Players' scores were weighted by their school's strength of schedule to correct for varying levels of difficulty within Division I.
Data was taken from the 2016 and 2017 NCAA seasons as well as the 2017 Cape Cod League season.
"This year, the college hitter making a leap (in the draft order) could be Alex McKenna," wrote Jan Moffett of D1Baseball.com. "McKenna is currently regarded as a second/third-round prospect. He has posted similar, albeit better, slash lines at the same age for both his college team (.314, .389/.452) and Cape Cod (.298/.346/.403) than did Adam Haseley at Virginia and on the Cape.
"Even more interesting, from a pure scouting perspective, they are both instinctive, similarly built (6-1, 195 pounds) and similarly tooled players (50/55 arm, 55 defense, 55 run, 50/55 hit)," Moffett added. Haseley might have slightly more present game power (45/50), while McKenna draws present power grades that range from 40 to 50 depending on which scout you ask.
"But McKenna is a looser-bodied athlete whose power may arrive later, and some scouts project him to have 55 future power. Overall, they are both college center fielders who may shift to a corner in the future."
Ranked No. 1 is Seth Beer of Clemson, followed by Jeremy Eierman of Missouri State and D.J. Artis of Liberty.
A third-team Preseason All-American by Baseball America, McKenna was listed No. 47 in Baseball America's Top 100 college prospects for the 2018 Major League Baseball draft. On Wednesday, College Sports Madness placed McKenna on its Preseason All-America fourth team.
The Cal Poly baseball team's Ozzie Smith Most Valuable Player Award for 2017, McKenna was Cal Poly's top hitter with a .360 average en route to a spot on the All-Big West Conference First Team.
He finished first in the Big West in at-bats (236) and plate appearances (264) and was second with his 85 hits, missing Cal Poly's all-time top 10 by one. McKenna also contributed 11 doubles, five home runs and 31 RBI, stole 13 of 19 bases and did not commit an error in 145 fielding chances.
McKenna led the team with 30 multiple-hit games, including a four-hit contest against Cal State Fullerton, and 10 multiple-RBI games. Over his final 31 games this season, McKenna hit .396 (55-for-139) with 20 multiple-hit contests, elevating his batting average 51 points.
Drafted in the 38th round by the Minnesota Twins after his senior season at Alemany High School, McKenna played for Yarmouth-Dennis in the Cape Cod League last summer.
Cal Poly opens its 2018 season with four games in the Surprise Tournament at the spring training site for the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers in Surprise, Ariz. The Mustangs face Oregon State, Gonzaga (twice) and New Mexico.