Chicago Cubs: Five prospects set to break out in 2015

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3. Billy McKinney, OF

Probably best known as the “other guy” in the Cubs mid-season trade with the Oakland Athletics last year where they acquired Addison Russell, Billy McKinney is a talented prospect in his own right.

McKinney was drafted out of high school as a first round pick (24th overall) by the A’s in the 2013 draft. He is a smooth swinging outfielder, who has played some center field, but is likely best suited as a corner outfielder.

He does not have elite-level speed or power, but McKinney is at least average in both of those departments. His value comes from advanced contact abilities and great strike zone recognition. He also does a great job of pitch recognition, and is a productive hitter with two strikes.

McKinney did struggle a bit in High-A last season hitting .264/.354/.412 with both the Cubs and A’s. However, he did perform better after being traded (.301/.390/.432 in 210 at-bats) and did play in a pitcher-friendly league.

McKinney is a very patient hitter, whose discipline and contact abilities will likely carry him to the big leagues. He will probably start the season at Double-A, where he will be very young for the league at 20-years-old.

While playing with the Cubs’ major league team in Spring Training, McKinney has already had a hot start to his season. With his advanced abilities as a hitter, I expect McKinney to perform well at Double-A, and become a highly ranked prospect as the year goes on.