This is the last installment of my interviews from my trip. A huge thanks to Myrtle Beach and Tennessee for being so accommodating and allowing me to speak with these humble players. If you missed any of the other interviews be sure to take a look at them (Jemier Candelario, Chesny Young, Corey Black). With so many top Cubs prospects promoted, McKinney has crept his way into the top five prospects in the system conversation. Compared to his past minors numbers, McKinney has struggled since his promotion to AA, however, he has shown he can make adjustments and I expect him to do that throughout the course of the season.
Teddy Eley: Hey Billy, so you’ve just been recently promoted and are still just 20 years-old, how’s the adjustment been for you in AA?
Billy McKinney: You know it has been awesome, the team has been great and have greeted with open arms, so I’m looking forward to having a good year here.
TE: In terms of talent, it is said that the jump from High-A to AA is the hardest outside of reaching the majors, how has the jump been for you?
BK: There are great players and everything, but I just try not to think about it and play my game.
TE: Since you were traded last year has there been any organizational philosophies shifts between the A’s and Cubs?
BK: They both do a great job with their minor league talent so I just trust them with whatever they tell me to do.
TE: About that, have the Cubs made any major adjustments to your swing at all.
BK: No, they’ve just helped me work on getting better in every aspect of the game.
TE: Compared to players your age you seem to have a plan at the plate when you go up, other players tend to be over-aggressive and swing at the first pitch, do you come to the plate with an idea of what you want to do?
BK: Yeah that’s what I definitely learned last year, being at High-A, I learned how important the approach is and try to stick to it regardless of whether it’s working or not [in that game]. If there’s a different scenario I’ll change it.
TE: Regarding those changes, does it just depend upon scenarios that are going on in the game?
BK: Yeah I try to do whatever helps the team. A man on second I try to move him over however I can.
TE: Is there anyone on the Smokies that has really impressed you in terms of their work ethic?
BK: I guess you got to go with Albert [Almora], he has a great work ethic, Schwarber does, and everyone on the team has a good work ethic to be honest. Granted, I’m not around the pitchers much, but position player wise everyone really has a plan especially since this is AA everyone has a plan and an approach and it has been impressive.
TE: And in terms of Myrtle Beach and Tennessee, have you adjusted well to the changes in clubhouse?
BK: The clubhouses have been great, it’s definitely been fun so far here and it was a blast in Myrtle, my teammates have been great. It was fun with those guys in Myrtle for sure.
TE: Alright, thanks for the interview and good luck the rest of the season.
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