McConnell keeps rolling for Chukars

Royals second-round pick homers, drives in four runs

Brady McConnell set a University of Florida record for shortstops with 15 homers this season. (Allison Curry)

By Katie Woo / | June 28, 2019 11:59 PM

Brady McConnell has had quite the start to his Minor League career.

The Royals' second-round pick in this month's Draft homered, drove in four runs and reached base four times as Rookie Advanced Idaho Falls rolled to a 14-2 victory over Great Falls on Friday night at Melaleuca Field. McConnell has hit safely in all six games as a Minor Leaguer.

Video: Chukars' McConnell smacks a three-run home run

Batting in the three-hole as the Chukars' designated hitter, McConnell began his night flying to right field in the first inning. That turned out to be the only time the Voyagers retired him.

The University of Florida product capped a seven-run second in dramatic fashion, hammering the second pitch of the at-bat from right-hander Carter Love over the left-center field fence for a three-run dinger, his second as a pro.

His approach? Simple. "I just saw a fastball and got around on it," McConnell said.

That same approach worked an inning later, when Idaho Falls produced another seven-run frame, as McConnell delivered a two-out RBI single off White Sox fourth-round pick Rigo Fernandez to extend the lead to 11-1. He walked in the fifth and seventh innings, giving him a .375/.500/.688 slash line in four Pioneer League games.

Gameday box score

"I'm staying relaxed and staying with the approach I had in college," McConnell said. "I'm not trying to do too much. I think that's why the success has been there."

After a freshman year plagued by injury, McConnell enjoyed a breakout sophomore campaign for the Gators, swatting a .332/.385/.576 slash line with 15 homers and 48 RBIs in 59 games. The 21-year-old Pennsylvania native was selected 44th overall by Kansas City, and debuted in the Rookie-level Arizona League, where he homered in his third professional plate appearance.

Since joining Idaho Falls on June 22, McConnell has played shortstop once, but expects to see his playing time in the field increase soon.

"I should be playing in the field more often now, but [being the designated hitter] is definetely a little different," he admitted. "I'm used to being out there, but it does help me focus on my at-bats a little more."

2019 MiLB include

McConnell posseses 50-grade hit and power tools, but his highest skill -- running -- is 60. There is talk that he may slot in at second base when he's not at shortstop. 

Michael Emodi and Jose Marquez paced the Chukars' offense, with Emodi going 4-for-5 with two doubles and Marquez turning in a pair of two-baggers. Juan Carlos Negret launched his second homer, a solo shot in the second inning.

For Great Falls, Sam Abbott lofted an RBI double in the top of the second to put the Voyagers on the board. Luis Mieses had two hits and scored once.

Katie Woo is a contributor to Follow her on Twitter @katiejwoo. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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