Pitcher? Hitter? Both? MLB draft marked by 2-way players like former M’s star John Olerud

Like former WSU and Mariners All-Star John Olerud, many of the top prospects in this year’s MLB draft are enticing two-way gems who could force teams to make a tough choice

NEW YORK (AP) — Brendan McKay’s fastball-firing left arm has made him the possible No. 1 overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft.

Thing is, so has the Louisville slugger’s bat.

The Cardinals star is one of college baseball’s greatest two-way players, a rare talent who has given big league ballclubs a tough question to consider: Do they take McKay as a pitcher, hitter — or both?

“That remains to be seen, whether or not someone can do that,” said Minnesota Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey, whose team picks first in the draft that starts Monday night. “I’m not necessarily saying it’s impossible, but the amount of time, if you talk to any of these guys, that they put in on either the hitting side or the pitching side, to double that, no one’s figured out a way to make more than 24 hours in a day.

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“If someone figures that out, maybe we’ll have an opportunity, but it’s a challenge.”

With McKay, though, a team might be willing to find out. He won his third straight John Olerud Two-Way Player award on Monday after hitting .343 with 17 home runs and 56 RBIs for the College World Series-bound Cardinals. He’s also 10-3 with a 2.34 ERA on the mound.

Two-way players in high school and college aren’t uncommon in the draft, with Seattle native and former Mariners’ All-Star Olerud, Dave Winfield, Ken Brett, Jason Jennings and A.J. Reed among the big names whom major league teams had to make a call on. But this year’s draft class has a handful expected to be selected early.

In addition to McKay, California high school shortstop and right-handed pitcher Hunter Greene has piqued lots of interest from teams picking early, including the Twins.

“There are a lot…

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