Phillies undrafted free agents: Local left-hander Jake McKenna signs


When the shortest MLB draft in history ended over the weekend, all teams were able to begin negotiating with undrafted free agents, signing each to a maximum of $20,000.

The Phillies quickly reached a deal with left-handed pitcher Jake McKenna, a local kid from Ocean City HS in New Jersey.

McKenna is a 6-foot-7 southpaw and lifelong Phillies fan. He chose the Phillies over other teams because he grew up watching them.

"I've been thinking about this ever since I started playing baseball. We've had season tickets forever. It's insane," McKenna said Sunday.

Baseball America every year ranks the top 500 draft prospects. This year, McKenna ranked 434. The 434th pick would have come in about the 14th round had it been a normal draft.

"Throwing from a high overhand slot, he produces forced riding action on his 12-to-6 curveball that has a chance to be above average in the future," Baseball America wrote of McKenna.

"His fastball has sat in the high 80s, but he has gotten up to 91 on it at times — it’s likely a fringe-average pitch for now. His strike-throwing ability suffers due to his robotic delivery, but with his great makeup he should be able to fix any issues with continued development at the collegiate level."

Instead, McKenna will attempt to fix those issues in the minor leagues. He had committed to St. Joe's but will instead join the Phillies' farm system.

"Everyone was tearing up, it was a really good moment," he said. "I didn't know how to react. Inside, I was freaking out but I was kinda calm on the outside. It was crazy."

Per Baseball America, the Phillies have also signed Central Missouri left-hander Jordan Fowler and Northeastern right-hander Sam Jacobsak.

Fowler (6-3/180) went 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA in six starts this season. Jacobsak (6-5/200) had a 3.65 ERA and 0.99 WHIP with more than a strikeout per inning in four starts.

They made four picks in the 2020 draft:

• Right-handed pitcher Mick Abel, the first high school arm selected.

• College shorstop Casey Martin, a potential third-round steal.

• South Florida pitcher Carson Ragsdale, a tall right-hander who impressed this spring.

• Georgia Tech outfielder Baron Radcliff, owner of some of the best raw power in the draft class.

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