Shane McClanahan had his MLB debut for the Tampa Bay Rays on April 29. A top prospect with two nasty pitches, he showed future Cy Young potential in the outing.
Shane McClanahan had developed a big time following in the minor leagues.
Besides a brief cameo in the postseason, we heard about his stuff early on in his young career. A left-handed pitcher with the 100-plus MPH fastball and a slider that could touch 90? Count me in. His first start in the MLB delivered as advertised.
One inning into his first start and Shane McClanahan already broke Statcast. Those 92s and 93s are sliders. The Rays rookie is primed to be the hardest-throwing left-handed starter in big league history. pic.twitter.com/C9mizrS8gT— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 29, 2021
Jeff Passan really broke it down perfectly. There are just not very many human beings who can throw the ball quite as McClanahan can. The videos of the pitches themselves make it seem even more unbelievable.
Shane McClanahan, Unfair 101mph Fastball Movement. 😳 pic.twitter.com/QblvS2qcR0— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 29, 2021
That was the first batter he faced in the game. McClanahan struck him out at 101 MPH trailing away.
One thing that made McClanahan’s debut so fascinating was his stuff looks like it could dominate both righties and lefties. He’s got two elite-level pitches. The first is a four-seam fastball with a two-seam, side-to-side movement. Trailing away from right-handed batters at over 100 MPH is virtually unhittable. His second pitch might be even better.
Shane McClanahan, Absurd Sliders. 😯 pic.twitter.com/DOfsoLQX88— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 29, 2021
Looking at the pitch, that’s a slider that is hitting 92 MPH. It’s his biggest punch-out pitch that can break away from lefties and absolutely put right-handed batters in the torture chamber. His final line is nothing to scoff at – two runs, five hits over four innings – there’s plenty to feel great about. First, McClanahan threw a ton of strikes. 42 of his 59 pitches were for strikes in his debut, 15 of which were swinging strikes and led to five punch-outs with no walks. Friedman also shows the two pitches side-by-side to get the batters’ perspective.
Shane McClanahan, 101mph Fastball and 92mph Slider, Overlay (two different ABs).— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 29, 2021
Approaching both of those pitches is incredibly difficult. McClanahan is proving that his stuff has Cy Young-level potential with two elite pitches in his arsenal.
The second positive is that his third pitch is starting to come along. He’s been developing a changeup that tops around 90 MPH and has a slight dip to its movement. He felt comfortable enough to throw 11 changeups and it looked good. It was his one mistake in the game, however, as McClanahan hung one changeup in the middle of the plate which veteran star Matt Chapman took out of the park.
The changeup is still in development, but it’s promising that McClanahan feels good throwing that pitch against even one of the better hitters in baseball.
After the game, A’s manager Bob Melvin was certainly impressed with McClanahan’s stuff on the mound. He said, “It feels like (Tyler) Glasnow all over again. He’s going to be pretty good.”
That’s huge praise from the opposing manager, but one thing is clear: McClanahan looks the part of a future ace for the Tampa Bay Rays.