From Rox to Sox: Michael McKenry

By: Wessel Brocken

Red Sox Nation, meet Michael McKenry, your new triple A catcher. The Red Sox acquired him yesterday by dealing AA pitcher Daniel Turpen to Colorado. I decided to write an article on McKenry, since no Red Sox fan knows anything about him, including me.

McKenry hit .384 with 18 homers as a high school sophomore (Farragut Highschool, Tennessee), .407 with 14 home runs as a junior and .455 with 11 jacks as a senior. He finished second all-time in Tennessee high school history in career homeruns and RBI. He was All-State each of his last three years.

As a college freshman (Middle Tennessee State University), McKenry struggled, batting .167/.267/.299. He improved as a sophomore, batting .328/.409/.617 and made All-Sun Belt Conference. His progression continued into his junior year when he hit .390/.494/.676 with 58 RBI in 55 games. (..)

Drafted in the 7th round by Colorado in 2006, Michael played five years in the Rockies farm system. He began his professional career much like he did in college. Slowly. He only hit .216/.303/.339 for the Tri-City Dust Devils in his first season. Apparently he made some adjustments however, since he made major improvements in 2007. With the Asheville Tourists, who play in the same league as the Greenville Drive, he batted .287/.392/.539 with 35 doubles, 22 home runs and 90 RBI. He was 4th in the South Atlantic League in slugging and led Rockies’ prospects in homers and slugging. He was named to the South Atlantic League All-Star team as a catcher. Baseball America rated him as the best defensive catcher in Colorado’s farm system.

In 2008, McKenry produced at a .256/.360/.468 rate for the Modesto Nuts (High A) with 18 home runs and 75 RBI. Baseball America named him the #9 prospect in the Rockies system and their best defensive catcher. He also made the Arizona Fall League All Prospect Team.

New Red Sox AAA Catcher, Michael McKenry

An excerpt from a scouting report by BA (2009): ‘’McKenry has been a quality defensive catcher since his youth, and he has only added to that reputation, throwing out 46 percent of basestealers in 2008. He moves well behind the plate, likes to work a pitcher through a game and has a plus arm, augmented by a quick release.’’

Michael raised his batting average and OBP in 2009 with AA Tulsa while hitting for less power

(.455 SLG %), but still a respectable number for a catcher. He was initially on the USA roster for the 2009 Baseball World Cup, but was replaced by Lucas May right before the tournament began.

2010 was a bit of an struggle for McKenry. He only played in 99 games. As a matter of fact, he has never played more than 113 games. In AAA, he hit .265/.328/.424, his worst year since 2006. He also made his Major League debut in 2010, going 0-8 with one walk in six games.

Meanwhile, AAA catcher Mark Wagner was designated for assignment yesterday to make room for McKenry on the 40 man roster.

I don’t know if we can consider Michael McKenry still a prospect; I think he’s a post-prospect, being 26 years old. McKenry will join Luis Exposito and Paul Hoover (who I expect to get released), in triple A Pawtucket. McKenry will be the first to get a call up if Saltalamacchia or Varitek gets injured. He’s a solid defensive catcher with a gun for an arm. He’s no slouch at the plate either.

Well, at least he’s better than Mark Wagner.


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