The flamethrowing lefty had arguably the best raw stuff of any college pitcher in the 2018 Draft, but control issues and inconsistent performances last spring dropped him to the 31st overall pick. He looked as advertised across a two-inning instructs look, flashing numerous plus pitches with plenty of present wildness and inconsistency.
McClanahan pitched from an upbeat semi-windup, landing closed and turning away at the top of his delivery. He finishes with some effort and pulls off-line, two factors that detract from his ability to locate. His fastball sat 95-to-96 mph and touched the 97-98 mph range, though its movement was inconsistent: variables in McClanahan’s delivery cause him to both run and cut the heater depending on how closed he is at release. His command grades near the bottom of the 20-80 scale, though he’s athletic enough to improve both the quality and consistency of his strikes with mechanical adjustments. A hard, slurvy breaking ball in the low-80s had sharp three-quarters slant, though he rarely landed the pitch for strikes. His changeup graded as another pitch that flashed above-average potential, same as the fastball and breaking ball. Thrown at 84-to-87 mph and sold like the fastball, McClanahan gets devastating separation and dive action on his changeup at times.
The stuff is hard to argue, with 70-grade velocity backed up by two secondary pitches that have swing-and-miss upside. That said, McClanahan’s control has a long way to go in order to fit a starter’s profile at the big league level, and he was wild enough in my look that I wondered if he’s even ready to begin 2019 in a full-season affiliate’s rotation. The Rays will give him every chance to start, and there’s still time to reach a mid-rotation ceiling if he can throw more strikes. If not, it’s easy to envision McLanahan’s power stuff from the left side making an immediate impact from the bullpen.