On Friday evening the Philadelphia Phillies traded veteran infielder Howie Kendrick to the Washington Nationals. In exchange, the Phillies receive minor league pitcher McKenzie Mills and international bonus pool money. Here’s a quick take on Mills, the newest member of the Phillies farm system.
McKenzie Mills, LHP: The Nationals drafted Mills in the 18th round in 2014 from high school in Marietta, Georgia. After some initial struggles in rookie ball he took a step forward in 2016, posting a 3.71 ERA in 53 innings in the New York-Penn League with a 46/28 K/BB. 2017 has been even better: 12-2, 3.01 ERA in 18 starts, 105 innings in Low-A with a 118/22 K/BB.
Mills is listed at 6-4, 205, born November 19, 1995. As noted he’s in the midst of a breakout season with substantial gains in all metrics. His fastball has increased from the upper-80s when he signed into the lower-90s now, and both his curveball and change-up flash above-average. He’s cut his walk rate in half compared to last year thanks to improved mechanics.
Mills is a fly ball pitcher and can be vulnerable to home runs when he makes a location mistake, but overall he’s improved remarkably over the last two years and is a nice acquisition for the Phillies.