Who is Billy McKinney? How good is he for the Yankees?

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Billy McKinney, an outfielder, signed a deal with the Yankees on December 19, 2022. They sent him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre following a MiLB contract. This depth-building exercise is an indication that Brian Cashman, the Yankees general manager, is doing everything he can to put together a team that can make a bid to win the World Series.

Billy McKinney looked good, powerful, and an option who could fill the left field. The Yankees were glad to have him back? Maybe not in hindsight. McKinney has played in the Major Leagues for the last five years, with six different teams. He has played in 263 games at the MLB level. Only two of those games were in the pinstripes. Those were also McKinney’s first two games in the big leagues.

Billy McKinney was once considered a top-100 prospect and a possible future center fielder. Now, he plays mostly in the corners of the outfield and sometimes at first base.

In 2016, the Yankees got Billy McKinney from the Cubs. He was part of the trade that sent closer Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs. That was the trade that brought Gleyber Torres, an infielder, and Adam Warren, a right-handed pitcher, to the Bronx.

In 2018, Billy McKinney played his first two games for the Yankees and went 1-for-4. Before the 2018 non-waiver deadline, the Yankees sent McKinney and infielder Brandon Drury to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for left-handed pitcher J.A. Happ.

In 2020, the Blue Jays let Billy McKinney go. The Milwaukee Brewers picked him up, and the next year, they sent him to the Mets in a trade. McKinney played in 39 games for the Mets and hit .220 before New York traded him to the Dodgers before the trade deadline in 2021.

Billy McKinney, who was 28 at the time, played for the Oakland A’s in 2022. He played in 23 games and hit .096. The A’s picked McKinney in the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft. Over his career, McKinney has hit .206.

2023: In Pinstripes

Billy McKinney’s 2023 season with the New York Yankees was marked by a transition from a minor league contract to a brief stint in the major leagues, followed by a trade to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Initially signing a minor league deal with the Yankees on December 19, 2022, McKinney began the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, showcasing notable performance with a batting average of .274, an on-base percentage of .388, and a slugging percentage of .511 over 40 games. His output included 9 home runs and 25 RBI, demonstrating power and productivity at the plate.

On June 7, 2023, McKinney was called up to the major leagues following an injury to Aaron Judge. Over 48 games with the Yankees, he managed a batting average of .227, an on-base percentage of .320, and a slugging percentage of .406, contributing 6 home runs and 14 RBI. Despite being a left-handed hitter in a lineup craving for such profiles, McKinney’s performance was characterized as unspectacular, though he did provide some depth. His tenure with the Yankees culminated with a 0.4 fWAR, indicating a slightly above-replacement level contribution during his time in the majors.

McKinney’s offensive statistics in 2023 included a 101 wRC+, evidencing his capacity to create runs at a rate slightly above league average, particularly against right-handed pitching. His disciplined approach at the plate was highlighted by an 11.6 percent walk rate, showcasing his ability to manage the strike zone effectively. However, his offensive game showed significant limitations, with a particular ineffectiveness against non-fastball pitches and a marked one-dimensionality in facing right-handed pitchers exclusively.

Despite a career-high in quality of contact, as evidenced by an impressive barrel percentage and expected slugging (xSLG), McKinney’s extreme splits and inability to effectively handle a diverse pitching repertoire limited his impact. His defensive contributions were mixed, with some highlight-reel plays offset by a negative overall assessment according to Outs Above Average metrics.


After the season, McKinney was removed from the Yankees’ 40-man roster and elected free agency, only to re-sign with the team on a minor league contract. However, his time with the Yankees came to an end when he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates on December 14, 2023, for cash considerations.

What do you think about the Yankees acquiring Billy McKinney? Leave your comment below.

Standard Batting

6 Yrs311915818106171365348642832400.2090.2840.390.6748231945274
162 Game Avg.1624774265589193184521431250.2090.2840.390.6748216623142
Baseball Reference

Postseason Batting

2021Did not play in series
1 Yr (2 Series)411000000000100000000000.00%
1 NLWC100000000000000000.00%
1 NLDS3110000000001000000000000.00%
Baseball Reference

Career Graph

Errors Committed as RF (s.1901)Double Plays Turned as RF (s.1901)
2019 AL 3 (4th)2022 AL 1 (4th)
Baseball Reference

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