Tampa, FL – Coming into the season, University of South Florida LHP Shane McLanahan is considered a top 5 2018 MLB Draft prospect. Both MLB.com and Baseball America have praised his stuff and expect him to go early in the first round with MLB comparing him to Chris Sale.
McLanahan, drafted by the Mets in the 26th round in 2015, opted to attend USF, and missed his first season recovering from Tommy John. The 6’2, 188 lb. lefty was stellar in 2017 striking out 104 hitters in 76 IP. Solidifying himself as the top LHP in college baseball, McLanahan was everything that I had heard about in dominating a tough UNC lineup Friday night, February 16th.
Scouts were buzzing and checking each other’s guns when McLanahan hit 100 mph in the first inning. His ability to mix his pitches and spot his FB inside to both lefties and righties were equally impressive. However, before we anoint McLanahan as the second coming of Sale, there are flaws in his game.
Mechanically, McLanahan is a max effort guy with a low 3/4 arm slot. Often his arm drags behind his hips causing an inconsistent release point on his FB. He has poor balance through the motion, falling off toward third every time. There were spurts within innings where he would completely lose command. Five walks and one hit batter led to McLanahan constantly working out of the stretch and his 113 pitches through his 6 IP is a heavy workload for someone with such talent. However, he always worked out of jams he created, keeping UNC off the board before exiting after the 6th.
Now that the “bad” is out of the way, let’s get back to anointing him as the next Chris Sale. McLanahan’s FB sat at 94-97. When he didn’t overthrow it the Tarheels had no chance to hit. Pitching off the third base side of the rubber, he located the FB to all 4 quadrants of the zone. The ball explodes out of his hand with movement. His slider is tight with 2 plane tilt that he used inside to righties early before backdooring them later. MLB.com talks about his changeup as being plus and future grade 60. The change up is thrown hard at 88 and looks more like a 2 seam FB. Thrown at a RHB’s hip, the pitch consistently tailed back over the corner for a strike.
For the night, McLanahan threw 133 pitches/70 strikes. 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 5 BB (1 HBP) and 11 K. He got stronger as the game went a long without losing velocity on the FB.
I would grade McLanahan with a future value of 60 on the 20/80 scale. FB 70, SL 55, CH 65, with command of 45. The command can improve as he cleans up his mechanics. Below is a video of his warm up and 1st two innings of work.
USF won the game 4-3 on Friday. The offense was led by Alec Wisely (2-2, 2 RBI 2 BB) and Graham Hoffman (2-3, 1 RBI). UNC sophomore Michael Busch hit a 3 run HR in the 7th off Wisely to bring UNC within 1 before USF LHP Andrew Perez threw 1.2 IP to close out the game for his first save,
Article featured image of Shane McLanahan – credit Jason Woodell (@JasonAtTheGame)