Tampa Bay Rays: 2019 Top 15 Pitching Prospects

By Austin Reimann
Brent Honeywell (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Brent Honeywell (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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TAMPA, FLORIDA – (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA – (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Shane McClanahan, LHP, 21

One of the Rays first round picks in 2018, the electric southpaw features a fastball that can reach triple digits.

Height/Weight: 6’1″ / 175

Drafted: | Signed: 1st, 2018 (31st) | $2,330,100

School: University of South Florida

Pitch Grades (Via FanGraphs):

FB: 60/65

CB/SL: 50/55

CH: 45/50

FB velocity: 92-95, T-100+

While he may have control issues, the  upside surrounding Shane McClanahan sure is intriguing. If he can hone his craft we could be looking at a Noah Syndergaard comp, if not, then McClanahan could be pitching out of the pen. FanGraphs ranked him as the 20th best prospect in the system and Baseball America rated his fastball as the best I the system.

Off-speed: If his curveball/slider continue to improve the Rays could have something really special with McClanahan. He has enough feel for his changeup already to use it in a starter role. FanGraphs had this to say about his off-speed pitches when he made a name for himself against North Carolina, “flashed an above average slider and changeup along with enough feel to project as a starter.”

Delivery: This is where things start to get a little messy. His delivery has always proven problematic and it has led to one of the major concerns surrounding McClanahan, his command. At times his delivery can be calm and repeatable and at times he will slip into a delivery pattern where he is falling off aggressively, especially on fastballs.

2018 Numbers at GCL and Princeton:

7IP // 0.00 ERA // 13K/1BB

Thoughts: It goes without saying that raw stuff as good as McClanahan possesses from the left side is rare. But, as BA talks about the southpaw, “McClanahan isn’t without warts, however, as he already had Tommy John surgery, which sidelined him during the 2016 season, and is regularly erratic to the plate. McClanahan has a history of being more of a thrower than a pitcher at this point, with more than five walks per nine innings through his first 10 starts in 2018.”

Best case scenario, he is atop the rotation and dominating with a lethal fastball/slider/changeup combination. Worst case scenario as FanGraphs says, “the pessimistic case is that what we saw down the stretch is indicative of a future as a streaky power reliever with limited feel.” Either way, his stuff was way too good to pass up if you’re the Rays.

I don’t know what to expect, but the lack of maturity and pitch-ability does concern me. If he can’t grow as a pitcher mentally, then we will very likely see him in the pen. He has the stuff to be a really good starter but it will come down to command and maturity, both will come in time… hopefully.