Shane McLanahan of the University of South Florida has been lights out to start the season. The redshirt Sophomore has thrown 18 IP with 32 K’s and 7 BB. 5 of the free passes came on opening night against University of North Carolina. While Fordham and Columbia, the next two opponents he dominated are not in the class of the Tarheels, McLanahan has been even more impressive, harnessing his plus stuff while improving his control. I want to take a look at his pitch sequencing against Fordham.
Compared to the first start against UNC, McLanahan’s velo was down but his movement and control were much improved. There could be numerous factors for the velo. The likelihood for the slight dip is the stadium gun vs. the scout’s gun. I had full access to a gun during his first start. I did not against Fordham. However, there were times that I saw a 2 mph variance between the stadium gun and other’s guns.
With that being said, let’s dive right in. Strikes will be italicized. Swinging strikes will be italicized and bolded.
Top of the 1st
Billy Godrick, RH: 90 low, 91 low, 93 outside, 92 middle, 91 middle, 91 middle-in: Strikeout looking
Jake Baker, LH: 92 low-away, 89 middle in, 91 middle up, 95 middle up: Strikeout swinging
Alvin Melendez, RH: 82 middle, 96 away, 95 up and away, 95 away: Strikeout swinging
**Mostly fastballs away to righties. After starting the game with 3 straight balls, did well locating the FB. The 82 middle to Melendez was a tight slider with 2 plane tilt to get ahead in the count.
Top of the 2nd
Justin Bardwell, RH: 91 middle, 94 low and away, 96 up and away: Weak groundball contact – 3 unassisted.
Matt Tarabek, RH: 83 middle, 94 away, 96 low, 81 low and away, 94 low and in: line drive double to LCF.
Nick Labella, RH: 90 low, 92 inside, 95 middle, 95 middle away: Flyout to RF – Tarabek scored. Run unearned. Had advanced to 3rd on passed ball
Jake MacKenzie, RH: 95 middle in, 85 low and in, 91 middle, 81 middle in: Strikeout swinging
*** Showed Bardwell varying FB location for easy out. The Tarabek at bat was a fascinating sequence. After getting ahead on a plus slider and 94 on the black, Tarabek worked the count back to 2-2. The 81 low and away was another plus slider that just missed backdooring for a backwards K. The 2-2 FB caught too much plate and Tarabek just dropped the head and roped a double.
More importantly, after using FB’s primarily in the 1st, McLanahan started using the slider as a get over strike one and then showed the hitters a biting slider riding in on them. The Slider to Tarabek that barely missed was his first attempt to backdoor a RHB.
Top of the 3rd:
C.J. Vazquez, RH: 93 middle: Bunt attempt. 1-3 putout
Domenico Doria, RH: 93 middle, 93 away, 97 middle up: Strikeout swinging
Billy Godrick, RH: 83 away, 79 low and in, 92 away, 95 middle up(foul), 81 away: Weak oppo GB contact. 3-1 putout
**After throwing Godrick 6 fastballs to start the game, McLanahan spotted an 83 mph CH on the black for strike one followed by the slider in. Once he got to two strikes, he was able to backdoor the slider for weak contact.
We are also seeing the trend that when McLanahan gets to two strikes, he adds a little giddy-up to the FB. This leads me to believe that he is taking a bit off early in the count to get ahead. He did not do this against UNC.
Top of the 4th:
Jake Baker, LH: 82 low and away, 91 outside, 79 middle, 94 outside, 81 middle: Strikeout looking
Alvin Melendez, RH: 92 middle, 86 away, 94 away: Weak contact – pop out to 2B
Justin Bardwell, RH: 85 middle, 94 in the dirt, 93 middle in, 85 low: Strikeout
*** Back to back easy innings. Once again, second time through the order, McLanahan utilizes the SL and CH early in the count. This time, instead of ramping up the FB with 2 strikes, he elected to go off speed to 2 of the 3 hitters for strikeout. The 81 mph slider to Baker was absolutely filthy.
Top of the 5th:
Matt Tarabek, RH: 84 middle: Weak contact – Fly ball to LF
Nick Labella, RH: 84 up and away, 90 low and away, 91 middle, 86 outside, 92 middle (foul), 93 up: Hard pull line drive to LF for a single.
Jake MacKenzie, RH: 79 inside, 90 middle, 84 low and inside, 90 middle, 93 low and away (wild pitch), 80 middle, 95 inside: Groundball to 3rd. 5-3 putout
C.J Vazquez, RH: 77 low and in (ball in dirt), 90 low and in, 91 middle, 94 middle: Groundball to SS. E-6 – Labella scores
Domenico Doria: 93 middle, 93 middle, 96 up, 95 up: Strikeout swinging
**McLanahan started to lose his feel for the zone a bit in this inning. He got Tarabek out in front of a first pitch CH but Labella was able to work the count to 3-1 and sit on a FB for a hard single. The WP and the error definitely hurt but I noticed that with runners on base, McLanahan starts to lose his command just enough that he allows contact when he really needs a strikeout. Although the Doria at bat showed an angry McLanahan that just elevated heaters.
Top of the 6th:
Billy Godrick, RH: 85 up and away, 93 middle, 93 away, 96 up and away, 94 up and in, 92 low and away: Strikeout swinging
Jake Baker, LH: 95 away, 80 low and away, 96 away: Weak contact – lazy flyball to LF
Alvin Melendez, RH: 93 middle, 86 middle: Weak GB to SS – 6-3 putout
*** Nice rebound inning for McLanahan.
Overall, I came away extremely impressed with his command and the life on his pitches. All three had movement. He was able to locate his FB at all four quadrants of the zone and his CH and SL were nice wrinkles that allowed him to get ahead early and to induce weak contact. His slider was plus with 2 plane tilt. I like his ability to take miles per hour off the FB and locate for strike one and the add 4-5 mph when putting guys away.