SWFL native comes from baseball bloodline, has chance with Tampa Bay Rays

Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Professional pitcher Shane McClanahan, a Southwest Florida native and a prospect with the Tampa Bay Rays organization of Major League Baseball. Credit: WINK News.

A Southwest Florida native is back home to play in our area while working toward a spot in Major League Baseball.

You could say baseball runs in Cape Coral native Shane McClanahan’s blood, a Tampa Bay Rays prospect pitcher.

“My dad played in high school; he was a catcher. My uncle played in the Giants organization; he was a left-handed pitcher too. My grandpa played; he was a pitcher,” McClanahan told WINK News.

But McClanahan learned quickly, good bloodlines do not guarantee success.

“There’s been a lot of bumps along the way,” McClanahan said.

After graduating from Cape Coral High School in 2015, McClanahan turned down a chance to sign with the New York Mets.

“I didn’t think I was ready out of high school; I was young; I was really immature,” McClanahan said. “I knew I had a lot more in the tank.”

Instead, Mcclanahan went to the USF, only to hurt his elbow. And surgery cost him his freshman season.

“I think I learned more that year of sitting out than I have been probably my 18 previous years of playing the game,” McClanahan said. “I learned I really liked baseball. I’m gonna do everything I can to stay in the game.”

Not only is he in the game now, McClanahan has a chance to jump up to the MLB.

The Rays drafted him in 2018, and he’s done nothing but impress the team ever since.

After six weeks with the Charlotte Stone Crabs, the Rays moved McClanahan up to Double-A baseball in Montgomery, Alabama.

Now, McClanahan is pitching for a spot with the Rays.

If he doesn’t earn a spot in Tampa, McClanahan will likely start the season with Triple-A baseball’s Durham Bulls in North Carolina. Those are the same Durham Bulls featured in the Kevin Costner film, “Bull Durham,” also starring Susan Sarandon.

“I’m just working on staying a little bit more consistent, you know, setting up pitches because hitters are getting pretty darn good the higher levels you go,” McClanahan said.

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