There’s two types of people who play fantasy baseball: The winners and the losers–Nah, I’m kidding. There’s two types, but not winners and losers. Well, actually, there are those two types, but there’s two other types I’m talking about. The two types are dummies and those who listen to me! Sorry, another goof. It’s just that setup of “there’s two types” is just so juicy, like my ass in these sweatpants. There might be 5,000 types who play fantasy baseball, I don’t effin’ know, but two of those types are ones who know what they’re doing, and are open to suggestions and those not open to suggestions. The latter group is pretty large. They’re the group that thinks they’re smarter than everyone else. Fantasy sports attracts a lot of them. Nature of the beast, really. I predict the ones not open to suggestions are going to look at Shane McClanahan‘s exit velocity, and HardHit% and state they are out on him. That will be backed in their mind by his very awful 4.57 xERA. I also predict there will be a lot of contrarian ‘perts out there who are out on McClanahan for this same reason. Like there’s something under the hood on McClanahan that they’re wary of. Under the hood, how’sever, is a freakin’ Corvette engine and I’m wearing skinny jeans and a B.U.M. Equipment sweatshirt! Now let’s get in this puppy and go vroom vroom! By the way, if anyone out there is building a Zamboni-type vacuum that is ride-along, you can call it a Vroom Broom. I give you permission. I had dreams of building one, but I’m not sure I’m going to get to it.
In the other group of people who play fantasy baseball, there’s gonna be a lot of people who love Shane McClanahan. As mentioned before, sometimes it’s less about whether a fantasy baseball sleeper is essentially unknown or not for a post and more about how much I like a guy and how he’s still going at a discount, even if that discount may not be from like, “At pick 547, I took Johnny Cueto, and maybe he can bounce back.” Shane McClanahan is just dead sexy and I want to talk about that vroom vroom. So, what can we expect from Shane McClanahan for 2022 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
Psyche! Before we get into the Shane McClanahan sleeper post, just wanted to announce that I’ve finished my 2022 fantasy baseball rankings and they’re all available on our Patreon. Anyway II, the Shane McClanahan sleeper:
Last year in 123 1/3 IP, Shane McClanahan went 10-6/3.43/1.27/141 with a 10.3 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9. That was working off a 97 MPH four-seamer, 89 MPH slider, 83 MPH curve, and very occasional change. So, strikeout pitcher with three dynamos and one backdoory sucker that’s young and ready to get some. But wait there’s more! McClanahan had a 45.5% ground ball rate, that was 33rd in the league, when sorting by 120+ IP, and the 20th lowest fly ball rate at 29.5%. In his home park, he can prolly get away with less butter, but you butter, you butter, you butt without all those ground balls? Yes, but he’s still sitting down guys with ease. Wouldn’t even bother with a random 120-ish IP from a rookie if it didn’t track from his minor league play, but, of course, it does.
So, about the HardHit% that has the “too cool for school” fantasy baseballers out. It’s not ideal. It’s also not the end-all. With slightly more HardHit% given up is Blake Snell, Gausman, Scherzer, Robbie Ray, Stroman and the list goes on. You throw hard and people hit it hard. There’s guys like Matt Harvey, Andrew Heaney and other garbage purveyors in the HardHit% list, so it’s a thing, but it’s not everything. McClanahan’s fastball gets hit (.316 xBA), but as long as he doesn’t become predictable, he can throw his slider or curve (.221 and .212 respectively) and put away anyone. Plus, if he’s getting hit hard on the fastball but it’s on the ground? Meh, who cares. Single him up, as divorce attorneys say.
My biggest concern is his fastball velocity tailed off as the season went on. Could it be due to fatigue (pronounced fay-tee-gay, it’s Italian)? Yes, plus it’s encouraging that his velocity returned in September and October. Oddly enough, when his velocity was at its lowest, his results were still great in July and August. Maybe not oddly enough since he’s still hitting 96.5 MPH on his four-seamer. Honestly, I’m not sure how much “being in the weeds to figure out Shane” matters in the end, because he had a 14.8% SwStr% and that was 9th best in the majors. That stat is hard to fake. Gerrit Cole had a 14.5% right behind him, and Shane had eight aces sit in front of him. Corbin Burnes was best, Kershaw, Scherzer, Robbie Ray, Gausman, etc. etc. etc. If Shane McClanahan’s getting that many guys to swing and miss? He’s a top starter. For 2022, I’ll give Shane McClanahan projections of 14-8/3.43/1.17/189 in 163 IP with a chance for more.