MLB announced the All-Star teams this evening on the ESPN All-Star reveal show and the very first player named, one of eight pitchers heading to their first AL All-Star team, was Tampa Bay Rays Sugar Shane McClanahan.
McClanahan, who went to school at the University of South Florida in Tampa, is in his sophomore season after making his MLB debut in the 2020 World Series against the Dodgers. Now in his age-25 season, McClanahan has become the favorite for the AL Cy Young award. 'Sugar' Shane is pacing the Junior Circuit in strikeouts (141), ERA (1.73), ERA+ (206, 100 is league average for reference), WHIP (.815) and hits per nine (5.9). His strikeout-to-walk ratio is 7.42, averaging more than seven Ks for every BB surrendered. He's also averaging over six innings per start.
The record isn't spontaneous, at 9-3 at the break, but in a game where wins and losses are considered an inadequate way to judge a pitcher, and rightfully so as the statistic doesn't provide ample context, one has to assume that McClanahan is the frontrunner to start the game. No pitcher has been better at run prevention, pitching deeper into ballgames, striking out hitters and limiting baserunners. To say he's been the total package for Kevin Cash and the Rays would be an understatement.
Congratulations to McClanahan. Other first time selections including former Tampa Bay Rays Travis d'Arnaud and CJ Cron among at least thirty players elected to their first All-Star game, with more expected to join them. 37 players were All-Stars for the first time in 2021, the current MLB record. That number last year including Joey Wendle and Andrew Kittredge, who were added after the original roster reveal.
Rays Colored Glasses will continue to update you should any more Rays be elected as roster replacements in the coming days.
Follow me on Twitter: @TheJameus.