It took only four games for Brendan McKay to blast his first home run as a professional.
The former Louisville first baseman and pitcher did so Thursday night, hitting a solo shot to right field for the Hudson Valley Renegades, the Tampa Bay Rays’ short-season Class A affiliate. The Rays selected the two-way star with the No. 4 pick in the 2017 MLB Draft.
“It’s nice to get back to playing and everything. It’s just hard trying to get back into whatever roll you had going on before,” McKay said to milb.com. “Trying to adjust to how things are a little different here in pro ball.”
McKay went 11-3 with a 2.56 ERA and a Louisville-record 146 strikeouts in his final season. He matched the impressive work on the mound at the plate, hitting .341 with 18 homers, 15 doubles and 57 RBIs to win the ACC player of the year award. He ended his career at Louisville with 32 wins a 2.23 ERA and a school-record 391 strikeouts. He hit 28 homers, 48 doubles and knocked in 132 runs as a batter.
McKay was a three-time winner of the John Olerud Award, given annually to the best two-way player in college ball. Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball magazine both chose him as their 2017 Player of the Year.
McKay signed for a then-record signing bonus of $7,007,500. The record was broken by Hunter Greene, the Cincinnati Reds’ pick at No. 2 overall. He signed for $7,230,000.