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Shane McClanahan Has The Weapons To Succeed

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With six pitchers ranked among the organization's top 10 prospects, the Rays' next wave is coming.

Lefthander Shane McClanahan has as good an arm as any of them.

The 2018 second-round pick out of South Florida signed late and worked just seven innings over four games in his pro debut. He made rapid progress in 2019 by pitching his way from low Class A Bowling Green to Double-A Montgomery, where he made four starts.

Overall, McClanahan went 11-6, 3.36 with 154 strikeouts in 45 walks in 120.2 innings. His strikeout rate of 11.5 per nine innings ranked top 10 in the minors.

"We thought pretty highly of him coming in, and he certainly lived up to those expectations and exceeded some in many ways,’’ vice president Carlos Rodriguez said. "We’re really excited.

"One of the goals was for him to be able to control the strike zone a little bit better. There were a few tweaks that our pitching coaches, Dewey (Robinson) and all the guys, spent a lot of time trying to clean up, to help him become a little more efficient with the delivery, allow him to manage the effort level and get deeper into games.’’

With three plus pitches—fastball, changeup and curveball—McClanahan got better as the season went. And his confidence grew with it.

"The stuff, especially early on, was so big,’’ Rodriguez said. "A lot of it was harnessing the stuff in the zone, being more efficient in some ways. And I think he got better and better throughout the course of the season. Certainly he handled the challenges and the change in levels exceptionally well."

McClanahan worked more than six innings just three times, and five or fewer 13 times in 24 outings.

At some point next season, Rodriguez said, the Rays will evaluate McClanahan's future role, whether starter, bulk-inning pitcher or even high-leverage reliever.

"Right now he has the weapons to turn a lineup over multiple times," Rodriguez said, "and weapons to get both lefthanders and righthanders out.

"Hopefully we can get him to continue to harness that and execute pitches. We feel like he could be an impactful major league pitcher.’’

COOL RAYS

— With the departure of senior vice president Chaim Bloom to run the Red Sox, the Rays promoted Peter Bendix from director of baseball development to VP, joining James Click and Carlos Rodriguez as a trio of execs working under general manager Erik Neander.

— Tom Foley, who joined the Rays in 1996 as they were first assembling their organization and spent 16 years as a major league coach and the last two as a special assistant, retired on Oct. 31. Foley, 60, said he wanted to spend more time fishing, playing golf and with his grandkids.

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Midwest League Top 20 Prospects For 2019

Baseball's two bet farm systems—the Rays and Padres—showed off impressive talent in the Midwest League.

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