High on Shane McClanahan – October 2, 2021 AL Notes
Shane McClanahan (SP-TB) allowed 1 run on 3 hits and no walks while fanning 3 Yankees over 3 IP to close out his 2021 regular season on Friday night. The 24 year-old southpaw fired 28 of his 43 offerings for strikes in the contest. It was a quality rookie campaign for McClanahan, who had never thrown a pitch above the Double-A level in his career before 2021; he tossed only 18.1 IP in Double-A back in 2019. The lefty finishes the regular season with a 3.43 ERA, 10.3 K / 9, and 2.7 BB / 9 across 25 starts (123.1 innings). His 3.22 xFIP indicates that he was every bit as good as the ERA suggests, if not a touch better. McClanahan can get hit hard (45% hard-hit rate per Statcast), but the control is decent for a hard thrower (97 mph average heater) and he does induce grounders at a solid 46% clip. His bread and butter is, of course, a nice swinging-strike rate (15%), as he does a decent job of getting hitters to chase (35% o-swing%) and they do not make a lot of contact ( 70%) against him. Other than the hard contact, a knock on McClanahan is that he generally did not pitch deep into games in 2021, rarely firing more than 5 IP in an outing; that, however, can likely be to some degree chalked up to load management on the part of the franchise given that he had never before surpassed 70 IP in a professional season. He should be a solid # 2-3 type in 2022 with a chance to offer ace value.
Anthony Santander (OF-BAL) landed on the IL with a sprained knee earlier this week, which means that his 2021 campaign is over. The 26 year-old missed multiple chunks of time in 2021 because of injuries and a trip to the COVID-19 IL, and so he finishes with just 438 plate appearances in which he hit .241 with 18 homers and 50 RBI. It was a fairly disappointing performance after Santander batted .261 in 2019 and 2020 while logging an ISO of .314 last season (just .192 in 2021). His strikeout rate did climb to 23% this season (15% in 2020), but it’s worth noting that his hard-hit rate, per Statcast, climbed north of 40% for the first time in his career, to 43%. Santander swings and misses at roughly an average rate (just under 12%), but, as has always been the case, he has swung at pitches outside of the zone fairly often (37% o-swing%); part of the average dip possibly has to do with him making a bit less contact on those swings at pitches outside of the zone (68% in 2021) compared to 2019 and 2020 (74% and 73%, respectively). At any rate, Santander’s fantasy value will likely be limited by his impatience at the dish, which includes a tendency to chase pitches. He certainly offers 25+ homer potential, but it’s difficult to see him being anything more than average in the batting average department and he offers no value in terms of speed.
Zack Greinke (SP-HOU) continued his work to return from the IL (neck soreness) on Thursday, throwing 2 scoreless IP in Triple-A rehab assignment in which he allowed 1 hit and fanned 2. Greinke struggled mightily over his last 3 MLB starts before landing on the shelf, allowing 18 earned runs over 13 innings of work. One can not help but wonder if Father Time is catching up to Greinke, for his 4.11 ERA across 29 starts (168.2 innings) in 2021 is his highest in over a decade. And his 4.24 xFIP indicates that the ERA was about right, and his highest xFIP since 2006. After logging a K / 9 between 8 and 9.6 each year from 2017 to 2020, Greinke logged just a 6.2 figure in that department this season. His walk rate (1.9) was still very good, but also his highest since 2017. Fortunately for Greinke, big-league hitters still struggled to make much hard contact against him (35% per Statcast). At any rate, fantasy owners should expect nothing from him during the last few days of the season as Manager Dusty Baker indicated that the veteran could work out of the bullpen during the playoffs and his recent Triple-A appearance precludes another start before regular season’s end .
Bailey Ober (SP-MIN) landed on the IL on Tuesday because of a hip issue, effectively ending his rookie season. The 26 year-old showed that he can offer fantasy value in his MLB debut, logging a 4.19 ERA, 9.4 K / 9, and 1.9 BB / 9 across 20 starts (92.1 innings). His 4.00 xFIP indicates that the ERA was right about where it should be. Ober should be a solid option as a mid-rotation type SP for fantasy in 2020 given his excellent command and solid-but-not-impressive ability to miss bats (11% swinging-strike rate). His stuff is not exactly overpowering (92-mph average heater), but he effectively mixes that offering (58% usage) with a slider (18%), change (13%), and curve (11%). For the right draft price, he could offer # 3 SP value, but the lack of top-end strikeout ability will likely limit his fantasy value while his extreme flyball approach (just a 33% groundball rate) will translate to some homers; good thing most of those should be of the solo variety given his ability to minimize free passes.
Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. (OF-TOR) remained out of the lineup against Baltimore on Friday as he continues to deal with a finger injury sustained just over a week ago. Gurriel returned to action earlier this week and went 0-4 in a pair of contests before ending up back on the bench and being considered day-to-day. The 27 year-old has put together a fairly productive 2021, mustering a 111 wRC + across 533 plate appearances as he’s hit .280 with a career-high 21 homers and 84 RBI. He does not fan often (19%), but he also does not walk much (6%), and his 42% hard-hit rate per Statcast – while solid is a career low. That should not exactly be surprising, as 2021 is the first season in which Gurriel has logged more than 350 plate appearances. He does not swing and miss a lot (11%), but does have a tendency to chase (37% o-swing%), which does not bode well for productive contact.
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