McKinney becomes first Pelicans alumnus to make MLB debut in 2018

Outfielder is 170th player to play in both Myrtle Beach and major leagues

By Scott Kornberg / Myrtle Beach Pelicans | March 31, 2018 5:08 PM

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (March 31, 2018) - Former Myrtle Beach Pelicans outfielder Billy McKinney made his major league debut Friday with the New York Yankees at Toronto's Rogers Centre. McKinney is the first Pelicans alumnus to debut in The Show this season, and the 170th, including rehabbers, to both don a Myrtle Beach jersey and play in the big leagues.

A native of Plano, Texas, McKinney grounded a single to right field in his first career at-bat. The left fielder finished 1-for-4 in the Yankees' 4-2 victory over the Blue Jays.

A first-round pick (24th overall) by the Oakland Athletics in 2013 out of Plano West Senior High School in Texas, McKinney was traded to the Chicago Cubs along with infielder Addison Russell and right-handed pitcher Dan Straily in the deal that netted the A's right-handers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel .

McKinney began the 2015 season with the Pelicans, batting .340/.432/.544 with five doubles, two triples, four home runs and 25 RBIs in 29 games before earning a promotion to Double-A Tennessee. On July 25, 2016, McKinney was acquired by New York along with right-hander Adam Warren and former Pelican infielder Gleyber Torres and Myrtle Beach outfielder Rashad Crawford in exchange for left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman .

The No. 19 prospect in the Yankees' system according to, McKinney spent the 2017 season with both Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre, slashing .277/.338/.483 with 29 doubles, seven triples, 16 homers and 64 RBIs in 124 games.

The 2018 season will be the 20th season for the Pelicans franchise and fourth as the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. For tickets visit, call (843) 918-6000, or visit the Pelicans Box Office.

ABOUT THE PELICANS: The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs and play their home games at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The park has ranked in the top eight in all of Minor League Baseball by Stadium Journey in six of the last seven seasons. The same publication also placed the Pelicans in the Top 100 Stadium Experiences and the best in the Carolina League for six of the past seven seasons as well. In June 2017, TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark won the 2017 Certificate of Excellence award. The Pelicans have won four Mills Cup Championships, including claims to back-to-back titles in 1999 and 2000, and again in 2015 and 2016. The Pelicans have made 11 postseason appearances behind 13 half-season Southern Division championships, including the first half of the 2015 season, second half of 2016 and first half of 2017. For more information on the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, please contact the Pelicans at (843) 918-6000 or emailing

View More