Top 100 Prospect Billy McKinney joins Smokies

Tennessee Smokies logoBy Andrew Green

The Chicago Cubs announced a series of transactions that impacts their Double-A affiliate Tennessee Smokies roster prior to tonight’s contest against the Montgomery Biscuits at Smokies Stadium.

Outfielder Billy McKinney has been transferred to Tennessee from High-A Myrtle Beach. Prior to this season, the 20-year-old was rated by Baseball America as the No. 84 overall prospect in the game, in addition to the sixth-best prospect in the Chicago Cubs organization. The California native was acquired by the Cubs from the Oakland Athletics in a trade along with former Smokies shortstop Addison Russell on July 3, 2014, in a deal that in part also sent former Smokies right-hander Jeff Samardzija to Oakland. McKinney was selected by the Athletics in the first round (24th overall) of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Plano West High School in Texas.

McKinney joins Tennessee after posting a Carolina League leading .340 batting average (35-103) in 29 games with the Pelicans, adding 19 runs, five doubles, two triples, four homers and 25 RBI this season. The outfielder earlier this week was also honored as the Carolina League’s Player of the Week after hitting .433 (13-30) with nine runs, four doubles, two triples, one homer, 12 RBI and eight walks in nine contests. Included in that span were five multi-hit games, while the outfielder also drove in a run oin eight consecutive games between May 4-9.

In a corresponding move, outfielder Pin-Chieh Chen has been transferred from Tennessee to High-A Myrtle Beach. The 23-year-old has recorded a .247 mark (24-97) in 28 games for the Smokies this season, along with 15 runs, five doubles, three triples, one homer, 12 RBI, 15 walks and a .354 on-base percentage.

In addition, the Cubs have announced infielder Wes Darvill has been transferred to the Smokies from High-A Myrtle Beach. Over his 20 games with the Pelicans this season, the 23-year-old has accumulated a .220 batting average, adding nine runs, four doubles, one triple, one homer and five RBI. The Canada native previously played in 39 games for Tennessee in 2014, compiling a .231 cip (28-121) with one homer and 13 RBI.

The Cubs have also announced infielder Dustin Geiger has been released. The 23-year-old played in 13 games with the Smokies this season, and did not record a hit in 16 at bats with the club, while driving in one run. Geiger entered this season with a career batting average of .254 (387-1523) with 197 runs, 95 doubles, five triples, 50 longballs and 234 RBI in 419 minor league contests.

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