Phillies prospect Jake McKenna wants to pitch alongside Aaron Nola
Jake McKenna, a 2020 Ocean City High School graduate, recently signed with the Philadelphia Phillies — one of eight pitchers to do so after not being picked in last week’s five-round MLB draft.
The 18-year-old southpaw grew up a fan of the Phillies and regularly saw games at Citizens Bank Park. He says he has been thinking about this moment ever since he started playing baseball, and grew up fond of fellow left-hander Cole Hamels in the 2008 World Series championship run.
Fast-forward 12 years later, and now McKenna finds himself on the same journey in the organization that Hamels began in 2002, also out of high school. He already as a goal in place to someday pitch along side current Phillies ace Aaron Nola in the starting rotation.
“He’s a stud and hopefully I get to meet him one day and hopefully be right next to him in that starting [rotation],” McKenna said Thursday morning alongside his parents in a live CBS3 segment.
McKenna, 6-foot 7, was committed to play at Saint Joe’s University. He also drew interest from the Milwaukee Brewers, Kansas City Royals and Miami Marlins, according to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. Instead, he joins the Phillies, and says he is staying prepared for whenever play resumes amid the pandemic by training, throwing, and lifting.
McKenna’s parents call this opportunity a “dream come true” for their son. When they first received the news that he would be donning Phillies red, McKenna says the moment was so special and his family “started going crazy.”
“Then we had to dial it down a little bit … I can’t even describe it. I kind of blacked out,” he says.
McKenna has a ways to go, but it would be something special to see him meet his goal and one day pitch alongside Nola in the starting rotation at Citizens Bank Park.