The Rays are adding top left-handed pitching prospect Shane McClanahan to their postseason roster, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. They’ll need to make a 40-man roster move to formally select the 2018 first-rounder’s contract.
McClanahan, 23, was selected with the No. 31 overall pick out of the University of South Florida. He split the 2019 season across three levels — Class-A, Class-A Advanced and Double-A — while pitching to a combined 3.36 ERA with 11.5 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and 0.52 HR/9. He currently ranks 79th on Baseball America’s end-of-season Top 100 prospect rankings and 99th at MLB.com. FanGraphs isn’t quite as bullish, listing him 10th within his own organization.
Armed with an upper-90s heater, a plus breaking ball and a potentially average changeup, McClanahan has the potential to eventually slot into the Rays’ rotation. That almost certainly won’t be his role this postseason, as he’ll likely instead give Kevin Cash a hard-throwing lefty with whom opposing advance scouts may not be especially familiar. MLB.com’s report on McClanahan gives him the upside of a No. 3 starter or better while noting that the effort in his delivery gives some scouts pause in projecting him as a starter. Even if the ’pen is his home in the long run, McClanahan’s power fastball and plus curve give him the tools to serve as a formidable relief weapon with Tampa Bay.
McClanahan won’t gain any big league service time for the days spent on the Rays’ postseason roster, but he’ll be added to the 40-man roster sooner than was necessary to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft and now firmly put himself in position for a big league opportunity early in the 2021 campaign. The Rays may still want to see McClanahan get some work in Triple-A next season, but a strong showing during a deep postseason run could also force the organization’s hand.