2018 MLB Draft Profile: LHP Shane McClanahan, University of South Florida

Shane McClanahan.

Our next 2018 MLB Draft profile is on a pitcher with some of the best stuff in the draft. It’s South Florida’s Shane McClanahan.

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Previous profiles:

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Vitals
6’2, 188 pounds
Position: Pitcher
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
DOB: April 28, 1997

Location
Tampa, Fla.
Year: Redshirt Sophomore

Rankings
2080 Baseball
: 2
Baseball America: 8
ESPN: 15
FanGraphs: 32
MLB.com: 14
Perfect Game: N/A
Scouting Baseball: 12

Slot recommended bonus (No. 30): $2,275,800

Note: All information of draft prospects compiled from Internet sources, scouting reports and video.

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If you look a couple of the rankings above, you might be wondering why I’m writing about McClanahan. Well, the ESPN and MLB Pipeline rankings are probably more accurate, while FanGraphs is the lowest on him at present. His No. 2 ranking by 2080 was from midseason, but he has that kind of talent.

McClanahan has dominated the American Athletic Conference in 2017 and ’18. He has a 14.8 K/9 this season and 13.5 in his brief USF career. The biggest area of concern is his walks, as he has nearly a 5.0 BB/9, causing some to see the bullpen in his future. But there’s no doubt he has bat-missing stuff.

A smaller-framed, hard-throwing lefty, McClanahan is armed with a consistent high-90s fastball that touches 100 somewhat regularly. It features some natural arm-side movement, but at that velocity, it doesn’t need to have that much movement. He’s able to throw it as hard as he does because he gets incredible extension despite his small frame. His best offspeed offering is a changeup that has flashed plus potential. It sits in the mid-80s and features good fade down in the zone and he’s able to maintain his arm speed, making it look like a fastball out of his hand. He also has a mid-80s slider that is average with a chance to improve with professional instruction.

The issue with him — and partly why he’s falling as the draft draws closer — is the fact he has a bit of a high-effort delivery that features a fast arm and a low three-quarters release point. Because of that, he has inconsistent command/control. And if that weren’t enough, he’s already a Tommy John recipient, as he missed the 2016 season recovering from the procedure. That probably makes him more attractive to a team like the Dodgers. In recent years, they have taken chances on college pitchers who have undergone TJ surgery — Walker Buehler (2015); Jordan Sheffield, Mitchell White & James Carter (2016) and Morgan Cooper & Andre Jackson (2017). But if he were to incorporate his lower-half a bit more, that could help keep his arm healthy.

Video

Videos courtesy of Baseball America, FanGraphs and 2080 Baseball.

Once seen as a potential Top 10 guy, pitchers like McClanahan are no strangers to falling come draft day. His performance of late hasn’t helped matters (26 earned runs in his last 35 innings). There are definite concerns about his future, but the arm talent might be unmatched in the entire draft class. If you’re looking for a comp, maybe something between Brandon Finnegan and Blake Snell, but McClanahan has more velo than either of those two southpaws. He has the ceiling of a No. 2 starter if he can stick in the rotation and throw strikes. If not, he could be a solid yet frustrating back-end starter or potentially dominant late-inning reliever.

He still has two more years of eligibility, but it’d be surprising if he goes back to school because he’d be risking more than he stands to gain. If the Dodgers pop him at No. 30, they might have to go a little over slot to make a deal happen. But they aren’t averse to doing that.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.