We have all pictured ourselves running out of the tunnel of Citizens Bank Park in front of 40,000 screaming fans. For Jake McKenna, this dream just became one step closer to reality. As a lifelong Phillies fan and nervous MLB prospect, Jake found his home as he transitions to the next level. The lefty pitcher out of Ocean City High School in NJ agreed to a contract with the Phillies after going undrafted in the recent draft.
“It means everything to me,” Jake told CBS Eyewitness news. “Ever since I started playing baseball I wanted to be a Phillie and now that’s becoming a reality.”
McKenna stands 6’7, weighs 220 pounds, and is known best for his poise on the mound. Ranked as the 434th overall prospect according to Baseball America, McKenna would’ve likely been picked around the 14th round in the traditional style and length of the draft that the MLB has held in past years. He agreed to the maximum $20,000 signing bonus and will join the Phillies minor league system once baseball can be played.
It seemed to be a no-brainer to agree to a contract with the Phillies. McKenna passed up on a scholarship to Saint Joe’s as well as contract offers from several other teams. The final decision came down to the Royals, who dominated undrafted free agent signings, and the hometown Phillies who had the lead from the beginning. McKenna’s fastball comes in between the upper 80’s and lower 90’s, and he also has a reliable breaking ball. He always seems in control of the situation on the mound and has proven that the spotlight does not scare him throughout his young career.
In addition to McKenna, the Phillies reached agreements with several other undrafted pitchers:
- Chase Antle, RHP, Coastal Carolina University
- Jordan Fowler, LHP, University of Central Missouri
- Jonathon Hughes, RHP, Georgia Tech
- Sam Jacobsak, RHP, Northeastern University
- Noah Skirrow, RHP, Liberty University
- Billy Sullivan, RHP, University of Delaware
- JP Woodward, LHP, Lafayette College
As we can see, the Phillies have attempted to make the most of the new style of the draft by adding as many quality arms from the free-agent pool as possible. From being a fan and season-ticket holder of the Phillies to becoming their latest signing, it must be surreal for Jake McKenna. It is a feel-good story for a kid that seems to have a great head on his shoulders, and it will be exciting to watch him progress when baseball returns.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports