Showcase | Story | 1/10/2020

McNair Shows Out At Main Event

Blake Dowson        
Photo: Brennon McNair (Perfect Game)
It has been three years since 2021 prospect Brennon McNair showed up to his first Perfect Game event, the 2017 National Underclass East Showcase, held in January of that year.

At that point, having turned 14 years old about three months prior to the showcase, McNair stood at 5-foot-4 and weighed 120 pounds. Part of his scouting write-up at that event noted that he had a “lean, slender build…and room to continue to fill out physically and add strength.”

Three years later, as he showed up at the 2019 National Underclass Showcase-Main Event at the end of December, McNair was almost unrecognizable.

“I have done a whole lot of work,” McNair said. “I’ve done a lot. My personal trainer [helps me]. I got with him about two years ago and he’s helped me lift weights and doing things you would not even dream of. I don’t know how he comes up with what he’s got me doing. But he’s why I’m as strong as I am today.”

A quick Twitter search and you will see McNair leaping up a flight of stairs holding anything from medicine balls to 45-pound plates. He has put the work in since his first showcase, and it has showed.

The results have come as well.

McNair, who lends his talents to the Louisiana Knights organization during the summer, stands at 6-feet now, and has filled his frame out to 175 pounds of pure muscle. He knows how that translates to the baseball field, too.

“My arm strength, bat speed, and most importantly, my running speed,” he said.

After having ran an 8.55 60-yard dash as a 14-year-old, he improved to a 6.90 time at the Main Event a few weeks ago, a top-60 finish among hundreds and hundreds of top prospects in attendance. He improved his 10-yard split time to 1.59 from 1.89 in 2017, and after having thrown 65 mph across the infield three years ago, he was clocked at 86 mph in Fort Myers at the Main Event.

His bat speed metrics were just as impressive, with his max barrel speed ranking in the 87th percentile at the event and his impact momentum in the 90th percentile. His hardest exit velocity of the event, at 91 mph, ranked in the 96th percentile.

He was also named to the Top Prospect List at the Main Event.

“I’ve been doing so much work,” McNair said. “I wanted to prove that through all the numbers. I’ve been working so hard and I just wanted to see what I could do and show that at some point I can make it to the big show.”

He wasn’t in the weight room working on getting taller, of course, and standing at 6-feet is much more advantageous on the baseball field than the 5-foot-4 he used to measure up to.

But adding that much height in a short amount of time isn’t all fun and games (although, yes, McNair has had plenty of fun playing in plenty of baseball games during his growth spurt). There’s an adjustment in a swing that needs to be made when you add eight inches onto your frame in three years.

It didn’t happen overnight for McNair, so the adjustment came gradual along with his growth.

“As you get older and bigger, you have to make certain adjustments [to your swing],” he said. “That comes with growing.”

McNair, a Magee, Miss. native, committed to play his college ball at South Alabama in late August of 2019, a few weeks after attending another Perfect Game showcase, this one the 2019 Gulf Coast Prospect Showcase in Hoover, Ala.

He put together a great performance at that event as well, with scouts raving about his defensive work at shortstop and the power he showed at the plate.

“Primary shortstop who flashed a great feel for the infield with a very quick first step…When he gets extended, he showed big pop to the pull side while he sprayed the baseball to all fields as well,” part of the report reads.

South Alabama gets McNair one step closer to his ultimate goal, the Big Leagues, and that’s why he is choosing to play there.

“I know if I go there, it’s the best way for me to get drafted at a high level,” he said. “I know they can get me there.”

And, of course, South Alabama Head Coach Mark Calvi and staff get an outstanding shortstop that is still filling into his body and improving by the day.

McNair takes pride in being a shortstop, but not just for the deep throws in the hole or quick transfers at the bag that gets his pitcher two outs on one pitch.

It’s the leadership qualities that he says have to go along with the position that he has always been drawn to. He’s the quarterback out there.

“You’ve got to be a leader to play shortstop,” he said. “I try to be a good leader, and I like to be in charge of things. It’s fun getting with a group of guys and we don’t know each other that much, but being with them and getting chemistry with them, that’s great. The shortstop is the man on the field, and I want to be that man.”

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