In his first relief outing of 2021, Cleveland Indians hurler Triston Mckenzie — A Bro U Need to Know — picked up where he left off after a strong impression in the COVID-shortened 2020 season.
Mckenzie, who eventually projects as a starter, entered the game in relief in the 6th inning of Monday’s game against the Kansas City Royals, immediately striking out two of the top power hitters in the Royals lineup, Catcher Salvador Perez and Jorge Soler, whom he sat down twice.
The rest of the outing was just filthy. He gassed 5 batters in his 3.2 innings of work, holding Kansas City to only one run on just two hits.
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 5, 2021
In 2019 McKenzie was ranked the number one prospect in the Indians farm system. The 6’5 righty was originally drafted in the Lottery Round A of the 2015 draft out of Royal Palm Beach High School in Royal Palm Beach, Florida.
He played in the 2017 MLB Futures game where he got out the only batter he faced.
McKenzie battled injuries the next two years in the minors, delaying his debut and not giving him a chance to be a part of a few Indian playoff runs that surely required his services, during that time. Through all of the adversity, he remained a class act.
He made one of the more dynamic his major league debuts on August 22nd, 2020 against the Detroit Tigers, whiffing 10 batters in 6 innings, which was second-most all-time in Indians history for a pitcher making his first start.
He finished last year with a 2-1 record posting an impressive 3.24 era and striking out 42 batters in 8 games.
We know he’s got the goods and now that he’s healthy expect him to make a name for himself on the MLB pitching circuit.
Mckenzie became a sponge while in a veteran Indian rotation that featured former Cy Young winners Trevor Bauer and Shane Bieber and veteran arm Carlos Carrasco.
Despite pitching like he knows he belongs at this level, Mckenzie also understands that he has much to improve on and will have his share of challenges during his official rookie season in 2021.
“With every pitch, there’s always going to be room for growth, there’s always going to be room for development. I think with new pitches like my slider this year there’s definitely a lot of that. I’m confident where it was at and I think I have kind of the right idea on where I want it to be in the future” McKenzie told cleveland.com.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 5, 2021
It appears at least early on this season that McKenzie will be featured in a role out of the bullpen. His potential dominance can stop games from getting out of hand as he did today when he entered in the sixth and stifled the Royals.
Such outings are important to him eventually earning a rotation spot down the road.