Written by Corbett Smith
Plano West center fielder Billy McKinney named Dallas-area Baseball POY
Billy McKinney was a key part of Plano West’s state tournament run in 2010 as a freshman, batting cleanup en route to SportsDay newcomer of the year honors.
Heading into his senior season as one of the best high school hitters in the nation, he just wanted to make the playoffs.
“That was my goal,” McKinney said. “This year, it was a surprise to me. I knew we had some young guys coming in we’d have to teach, but our senior class was pretty good.”
Both McKinney and Plano West made out like bandits.
Plano West (23-13-1) won a share of the District 10-5A title, advancing all the way to the 5A Region II semifinals before falling to eventual champion The Woodlands.
“The thing about our team was that we had a rough start, but once we got into district, we got hot, real hot,” McKinney said. “We kept that rolling.”
McKinney hit .372, with 15 extra-base hits and 27 runs scored — solid but not overwhelming stats. It was a product of how opposing coaches and their pitchers largely stayed away from the left-handed center fielder. On April 6, he was walked five times in a district game at Plano. In 130 plate appearances, he walked 36 times, contributing to an outlandish .585 on-base percentage.
While that could have been frustrating, it might have led his selection by the Moneyball-driven Oakland Athletics, picked 24th overall in the first round of the MLB draft.
“I think that was a big thing why the A’s might have drafted me,” McKinney said. “They look at on-base percentage so much.”
Originally signed to play at TCU, McKinney signed a professional contract on June 14, agreeing on a $1.8 million signing bonus. He called the draft experience “just another step in the process.”
“My goal has always been to be a big league ballplayer,” McKinney said. “If that happens, great. If not, I can say that I’ll give it my all.”
Follow Corbett Smith on Twitter at @corbettsmithDMN