Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays

Rays rookie pitcher Shane McClanahan is killing it in his major league debut

Long a team that finds value in places other teams won’t, the Tampa Bay Rays have unearthed another pitching gem.

With attendance and revenue issues even in a normal environment, the Tampa Bay Rays have to do more with less, find value in atypical places and do unconventional things. The success they’ve had proves they’re good at it too.

The Rays drafted left-hander Shane McClanahan in the first round (31st overall) of the 2018 draft out of the University of South Florida. He uniquely made his major league debut in last year’s postseason, with five runs allowed (four earned) over 4.1 innings out of the bullpen.  A 3.17 ERA with a 11.8 K/9 rate over 127.2 minor league innings stands as a better sample of his talent. He was widely ranked as a top-100 prospect in baseball heading into this season.

If the 2020 minor league season had happened, McClanahan would have likely started in Triple-A before perhaps making his major league debut before he actually did.

The Rays have found another pitching gem

McClanahan was recalled from the Rays alternate training site to make his first major league start against the Oakland Athletics on Thursday. The first inning went quite well, with strikeouts of Mark Canha and Ramon Laureano.

Through four innings, McClanahan allowed two runs on five hits with five strikeouts, no walks and one wild pitch. Of his 59 pitches, 42 went for strikes with 15 swinging strikes and nine called strikes. He did not come back out for the fifth inning, suggesting his pitch count was set at 60.

McClanahan has already made his case to stick around in the Rays’ rotation though, with calculated management of his usage in terms of pitch count and times through the order sure to come for a time. A new pitching gem has been unearthed in Tampa Bay.

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