Exclusive: Alex Mckenna, a Prospect on the Riseby Jamie Gatlin September 1, 2021 0 comments
Over the last few years, the Houston Astros have struggled to develop top 100 prospects. While Houston currently has the 29th best system, they have some talent getting closer to the majors. One player on the rise is outfielder Alex Mckenna. The 23-year-old has battled injuries in the minors but has been impressive in 2021.
In the fourth round of the 2018 MLB Draft, Houston selected Mckenna with the 132nd overall pick. For the California native, it was a day he will never forget. “The week before the draft, I had gone to some of the major league ballparks to do BP,” said McKenna. “It was like 10:30 am when I got woken up to a phone call that I had been drafted. An hour later, my roommate got picked up by the Mets in the sixth round. It was cool to share that with him and my family.”
Following a strong college career, Mckenna hit .311 in his first minor league season. In 44 games, he had 28 RBI’s and showed some power with 17 extra-base hits. Although the 23-year-old could not replicate his success in 2019 due to injuries, it was a season in which he learned a lot. “My main takeaway was that my body wasn’t ready for a 140 game season like it needed to be,” said Mckenna. “I tried to pour more energy into that. The weight room, mental, and nutrition are just as important. At this level, you have to separate yourself and do all the little things because pitchers are less likely to make mistakes.”
— Astros Future (@AstrosFuture) July 5, 2021
Making the Best of 2020
Through 65 games this year, those adjustments have paid off. In 137 at-bats, Mckenna has posted a .270 average with 38 RBI’s. He has also hit a career-high 14 home runs and stolen eight bases. His impressive campaign has moved the Cal Poly product up on the Astros top prospect list from 28 to 18. Although the 2020 minor league season was canceled, Mckenna made the best of the time off.
“I spent Lot of time during the Covid season developing more strength and speed”, said Mckenna. “There was more time to focus on that than I would have during the season. I learned how to elevate the baseball and how my body moves more, which set me up for the year that I have had so far. It’s been cool to see the results of all the work that I put in.”
As the 2021 campaign winds down, Mckenna has had his most successful season to date. His rise in the Astros rankings has also provided optimism for the future in Houston. Despite his success, the talented outfielder will still be highly motivated in the spring.
“I want to continue to push the envelope,” said Mckenna. “Trying to find little things here and there that I can get better at. It’s going to be a shorter offseason, so I have to maximize the time I have. I feel like I’m getting to know who I am as a player, and now it’s just refining the skills and finding a way to be more consistent.”
With the majors getting closer, the Astros outfielder will continue to study what has made other players successful. “I take a lot of pride in my defense, and Mookie Betts is one guy that sticks out”, said Mckenna. “I like to watch what other guys do and apply it to my own game.”
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Main Image Credit: From Google Images