Phillies: Jake McKenna grew up fan of Cole Hamels, 2008 run

Cole Hamels #35 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Cole Hamels #35 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) /

Phillies undrafted signee Jake McKenna names his favorite player growing up

With the five-round 2020 Major League Baseball Draft concluded, the Philadelphia Phillies are still able to add to their minor-league system this June.

As part of what calls an “one-off amateur signing season,” any undrafted amateur player is free to sign with any team of their choosing for a $20,000 signing bonus.

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The Phillies reportedly inked three such players over the weekend, including 2020 Ocean City High School graduate LHP Jake McKenna. The 18-year-old southpaw recently told KYW Newsradio’s Dave Uram that his hometown team signing him is “unbelievable.”

“I’ve been thinking about this moment ever since I started playing baseball,” says McKenna, whose family has had Phillies season tickets and were at Citizens Bank Park to witness first-hand the 2008 World Series championship run.

Cole Hamels: A ‘left-handed pitcher, just like me’

McKenna’s favorite player growing up? No other than a fellow left-handed pitcher: 2008 World Series Most Valuable Player, Cole Hamels. He was just 6 years old when Hamels helped the team defeat the Tampa Bay Rays.

“[He is a] left-handed pitcher, just like me,” he told Uram. “I just always respected the way he played and how he never showed any emotion on the mound.”

“He was just always very dominant.”

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Given the uncertainty of a minor-league season, the McKennas say the Phillies will begin hosting Zoom calls with him in the next couple of weeks, and hope there will be an instructional league this fall in Clearwater.

The 6’7″ McKenna had previously committed to play for St. Joe’s University. Last year, he tossed 8 1/3 innings and struck out 18 batters, while allowing just two hits, three runs (one earned), and 13 walks.

It will be great to see a hometown player work his way through the Phillies’ system over the next few years. If he develops into anything like the southpaw Hamels was, new scouting director Brian Barber would surely be pleased.