McClanahan is the best the Rays have had

by Gary Shelton on July 19, 2022

in general

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

He is not the first young thrower of flame in the history of the Tampa Bay Rays. He is not the first all-star. He is not even the first all-star starter.

Shane McClanahan is simply the best.

The greatness of McClanahan, named to start tonight's All-Star game for the American League, will be determined by time. Greatness always is. It's a formula of impact times longevity, and at 25 years old, McClanahan has a lot of work to do in his career.

But for half a season, do not mistake what you have seen from McClanahan. He has been dominant. He has been special.

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Oh, there have been some good pitchers along the way for the Rays. James Shields. Matt Garza. David Price. Blake Snell. Charlie Morton. But none of them have been as good for a half-season as McClanahan.

Over the history of the Rays, there have been two other Cy Young winners, Price in 2012 and Snell in 2018. Price also had a good year in 2010, when he was the only other All-Star starter in the history of the franchise.

Both Price and Snell pitched more innings to date than McClanahan. Price was 11-4; Snell was 12-5.

But there the comparisons end.

ERA?: McClanahan’s is a microscopic 1.71. Price was at 2.82, Snell at 2.27.

Strikeouts?: McClanahan has blown the other two out. He has 147 strikeouts. Snell had 134. Price had 105.

Walks? McClanahan has walked just 19 batters this year. Snell walked 47 in his first half. Price walked 37.

So is greatness guaranteed? Not necessarily. Price made a lot of money, but he hasn't been the same pitcher since his Cy Young at 26 (since then, he's had two top 10 finishes). Snell has 18 wins in his last four seasons since winning the Cy at age 25.

The lesson is simple. A pitcher throws as hard as can for as long as he can.

For McClanahan, that includes tonight.

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