After being limited by injury to just nine games as a Florida freshman, McConnell rebounded in 2019 as a Draft-eligible sophomore to hit .332/.385/.576 with 15 home runs. His performance in college baseball’s best conference (Southeastern) and the fact that McConnell was a highly regarded prep prospect prompted the Royals to draft him in the second round and offer him first-round money ($2,222,500) to sign. A quick stop in the Rookie-level Arizona League to begin his pro debut was followed by a promotion to the Pioneer League, where McConnell produced uneven numbers (.667 OPS, 39.1% K%) before suffering a concussion in late August that kept him off the field during fall instructional league.
McConnell's offensive profile stands out the most. The 6-foot-3 infielder has a knack for barreling up the baseball from the right side of the plate, with power that has begun to emerge in concert with his physical gains. He will need to refine his approach and trim some of the swing-and-miss from his game to reach his ceiling, but club officials believe he has the physical tools and remaining projection needed to become an average hitter with at least average power. He is a good athlete and plus runner but is unlikely to steal many bases as a pro due to a lack of explosiveness.
The jury is out on whether he can stick at shortstop, and a 16-error pro debut didn’t help to sway opinions in his favor. Some scouts believe he’ll eventually move over to second base, while those who think his actions and hands are what's holding him back believe he'd be best off in center field, where his athleticism would play well. The Royals sent him out as a shortstop and will likely give him every opportunity to stick there.