Rated by Baseball America as one the top 200 players available for the MLB First-Year Player Draft, it’s not a matter of will Cape Coral’s Shane McClanahan get drafted.
It’s the when that will play a large role in whether he opts to start his pro career, which he says he’s ready for, or continues his education and gains more seasoning at the college level.
Yet, the left-hander, who saw a significant jump in velocity that left scouts salivating, doesn’t plan to be pacing around his living room when the first 75 picks are announced Monday nor Rounds 3-10 on Tuesday. The final 30 rounds continue on Wednesday.
“Not many people get to go through this,” McClanahan said. “I just want to enjoy the process and not worry about it. It’s a fun thing. It shouldn’t be something that stresses you out. It’s something you’ve worked your whole life for. It should be fun and exciting, not stressful and chaotic.”
Depending on how you look at it, next week will be the end of a significant chapter of McClanahan’s ascent to his ultimate dream or the start of another three or four years at the University of South Florida.
McClanahan concluded a stellar high school career last month with the district champion Seahawks, finishing 7-3 with a 1.15 ERA and 91 strikeouts. Opponents hit just .118 against him.
Most importantly, the 6-foot-2, 175-pound prospect’s fastball jumped from the 84-87 miles per hour range to 88-92. He’s developed a curveball with a sweeping break, a slider and a circle change-up.
Scouts flocked to Seahawks games where he raised his stock with each start as he learned to pitch rather than just throw at a glove.
“When scouts look at him they see projectability,” Cape Coral coach Michael Gorton said. “Shane’s tall and lanky and they can see him putting on 25 to 30 pounds. He’s also a kid who is always willing to learn and ask questions.
“It shows he’s willing to put in the the work. It’s a really endearing quality.”
Under the advisement of his parents and advisor, he won’t retain an agent until he signs a pro contract. McClanahan, who de-committed from Charleston Southern and signed with USF, spent a good portion of his spring filling out questionnaires and taking phone calls from pro clubs. They were interested in gaging where his head was at.
Over the last month, McClanahan has heard plenty of projections as to what round he’ll be taken, but didn’t feel comfortable sharing. With MLB moving to a hard slotting system with signing bonuses in 2012, where he is drafted matters more than ever.
“Draft day is just a crazy day,” McClanahan said. “Predictions are just predictions. They can be wrong or they can be right.
“I’m really hopeful I can sign this year and start my pro career. I’m very optimistic, but it’s a crazy day. If it doesn’t happen, USF is where I’m going to be.”
As for what it will take for him to forgo a collegiate career, McClanahan, who has a rare full scholarship waiting for him at USF, was vague.
“The dollar amount would have to be large enough to take me away from three or four years of education and further development as a baseball player,” he said.
He’ll have a better idea about his future in the coming days.
Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft
Monday: Rounds 1-2, plus competitive balance and compensatory picks (1-75 total), 7 p.m., MLB network, mlb.com
Tuesday: Rounds 3-10, 1 p.m., mlb.com
Wednesday: Rounds 11-40, noon, mlb.com
Other Lee and Collier County prep players who have a chance to get drafted:
•CF Garrett Zech, Naples
•3B C.J. Alexander, Bishop Verot
•RHP Thaddeus Ward, Bishop Verot
•C Michael Rojas, Gulf Coast
•LHP Michael Zimmerman, Gulf Coast