Triston McKenzie is the most highly touted pitching prospect in the Cleveland Indians organization. The Tribe’s #3 prospect continues to dominate at every level in the minor leagues. The 19-year old was drafted by the Indians as the 42nd overall pick in the 2015 draft. After splitting the 2016 season between short season A with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and low A with the Lake County Captains he spent the entire 2017 season with the high A Lynchburg Hillcats. In 25 starts McKenzie posted a 12-6 record with a 3.46 ERA. In 143 innings he walked 45 and struck out 186 batters. He was particularly tough on right handed batters holding them to a .175 average with 122 strikeouts. His most dominant start came on May 9th vs the Carolina Mudcats. In 6 innings McKenzie allowed no runs and only one base hit while striking out a season high 14 hitters. He only allowed four or more earned runs in 6 of his 25 starts. McKenzie also recorded eight or more strikeouts in 13 of his 25 starts.
McKenzie boasts a mid 90’s fastball to go along with a curveball while occasionally mixing in a changeup. As with most young power pitchers he can tend to get a little wild at times. What sets McKenzie apart in addition to his raw talent is his understanding of the game and how to pitch. He has a great feel for how to attack opposing hitters. Even on days that he doesn’t have his best stuff he finds a way to work through it and still get batters out.
The 6’5″, 165 lb skinny as a rail young man is still growing into his frame. He continues to work hard on a daily basis with strength training to help him grow physically as a pitcher. McKenzie tends to lose four to five MPH on his fastball as he gets late into starts. The strength training will help him maintain his velocity late in games as well as add overall velocity to his fastball. He projects to top out in the high 90’s once he breaks into the major leagues. The future is bright for the young right-hander as he should be a top of the rotation starter at the major league level. He will most likely begin the 2018 season at AA Akron with the Rubberducks.