Triston McKenzie
22-Year-Old PitcherRP
Injury Back
Est. Return 2/1/2020
2020 Fantasy Outlook
When McKenzie went down in early March with an upper-back strain, it was expected that he would be able to ramp back up in about six weeks. He never ended up pitching in a competitive setting in 2019. McKenzie also missed the first two months of 2018 with a forearm injury, so that leaves him with a total of 90.2 innings pitched over the past two years. The missed time obviously dings his shine, but the Indians were never going to lose McKenzie to the Rule 5 draft -- his addition to the 40-man roster in November was elementary. His fastball and curveball have both shown tremendous potential, McKenzie can change speeds and he gets good marks for command. The Indians will just be hoping for better health in 2020. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a contract with the Indians in 2015 that includes a $2.31 million signing bonus.
Shielded from Rule 5 draft
PCleveland Indians
November 20, 2019
McKenzie (back) was added to the Indians' 40-man roster Wednesday.
McKenzie missed the entire 2019 season with a back injury, so he is a very risky commodity right now in dynasty leagues. That said, he was considered one of the Indians' top prospects a year ago, so it's not surprising they protected him from the Rule 5 draft. He should spend most, if not all, of 2020 in the upper levels of the minors.
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Triston McKenzie
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
There were some minor developments in 2018, but for the most part the story with McKenzie has not changed. No. 2/3 starter upside is still apparent and he is still capable of hiding behind a light pole. Forearm soreness sidelined him for the first two months, but once he built up his workload to 90-plus pitches on July 3, he was his dominant self over his final 11 starts (2.09 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 65 strikeouts in 64.2 innings). McKenzie's strikeout rate dipped below 32% (to 24%) for the first time since he was in short-season ball in 2016, but he threw a lot of strikes and held opposing batters to a .191 AVG. While his wiry 6-foot-5, 165-pound frame leaves many questioning whether he can handle a starter's workload, his length allows him to get excellent extension on his high-spin 92-94 mph fastball. He also boasts a plus curveball and improving changeup. The Indians have impressive rotation depth, but McKenzie will be waiting at Triple-A if a need arises.
On paper, McKenzie looks like a future frontline starter. His 186 strikeouts ranked second in the minors behind Alec Hansen, who is three years older than McKenzie and did a lot of his stat padding at Low-A. While he has a legitimate chance to actualize his No. 1 starter potential, McKenzie needs to add strength to his slender frame in order to maintain plus velocity on his fastball deep into outings. His curveball is a true putaway pitch, and his changeup shows signs of getting there as well. He also has a chance to have plus command by the time he reaches the majors, so there are a lot of future 60s on his scouting report. McKenzie will be inhaling calories this offseason in an attempt to show up to camp with a sturdier build. There are those who won't buy into his frontline potential until he shows it over a full season in the majors, and he is at least a year away from getting that opportunity.
It is hard to watch McKenzie pitch or look at his production relative to age and level and not get a little hyperbolic when projecting what he will be in five or six years. He pitches with a grace and precision that is uncommon for young pitchers with his long levers and high-end stuff. The fastball is more of a low-90s mph offering presently, but his 6-foot-5, 165-pound frame screams projection, and most evaluators anticipate a velocity jump as he matures. As with most 19-year-old hurlers, his changeup is still a work in progress, but his curveball is already a weapon, and both pitches have the potential to be plus offerings in time. Perhaps even more impressive than his arsenal is how well he harnesses it, surrendering just 62 hits and 25 walks through 95.1 innings of professional ball. He could spend most of his age-19 season pitching at High-A Lynchburg, and with another big year he will be poised to enter 2018 as one of the top five pitching prospects in the game.
More Fantasy News
Status uncertain
PCleveland Indians
July 25, 2019
McKenzie (back) remains on the 7-day injured list at Double-A Akron, and his status for the rest of the season is uncertain.
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Shut down for six weeks
PCleveland Indians
March 12, 2019
McKenzie will be shut down for six weeks with an upper back strain, Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
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Shut down with back strain
PCleveland Indians
March 9, 2019
The Indians announced Saturday that McKenzie has been shut down from throwing due to an upper-back strain.
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Shut down for playoffs
PCleveland Indians
September 10, 2018
McKenzie will not pitch in the minor-league playoffs due to general fatigue, Jordan Bastian of reports.
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Dominant in Tuesday's start
PCleveland Indians
July 4, 2018
McKenzie tossed six shutout innings and struck out four Tuesday in Double-A Akron's 3-0 win over Altoona. He gave up one hit and one walk in the 91-pitch outing.
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