McKay Signs Free Agent Deal with Texas
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After closing out a stellar senior season leading the Big 12 Conference in doubles (22) while posting the fifth-best batting average (.346) and the second-most total bases (122) in fewer games played among league leaders, Kansas outfielder Connor McKay turned his focus to Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Amateur Draft in early June.
The Colorado native is no stranger to the three-day event that encompasses 40 rounds as he was selected in the 24th round in 2011 by the Colorado Rockies out of high school, but opted to come to Kansas and play for head coach Ritch Price and the Jayhawks.
However, this time, it was 40 rounds and the 2015 All-Big 12 First Team selection didn’t hear his name.
“I was absolutely devastated McKay didn’t get drafted,” Price said. “To put together one of the best seasons offensively in the Big 12 and be honored by the league’s coaches as a first-team selection, I was stunned his name didn’t get called.”
It wouldn’t be until June 22 that McKay’s dream of playing professionally became reality as the Texas Rangers signed him to a free agent deal and a minor league contract with their short-season A team, the Spokane Indians.
“When I got the news about McKay I was absolutely thrilled,” Price said. “I want to personally thank Dustin Smith, our area scout for the Texas Rangers, for giving McKay the opportunity to play professional baseball. He had an outstanding 2015 season and I know he has the skillset to play a long time professionally.”
McKay wasted no time proving his worth. Hours after his contract became official, McKay suited up for his first game as a professional and found himself in the six-hole in Monday’s lineup at designated hitter. His 2-for-5 effort at the dish helped pace the Indians to an 8-3 victory over Hillsboro. McKay drove in two runs with two outs by way of a RBI-single and a solo shot in the seventh.
“I was supposed to play (Sunday), but it was Father’s Day and the paperwork didn’t go through,” McKay said to the Spokesman-Review. “I’ve been waiting for the call, just like anybody else is, and I was fortunate enough for the (parent-club Texas) Rangers to give me the call.”
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