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College | Story | 2/16/2018

Opening day heat from McClanahan

Vincent Cervino        
Photo: USF Athletics

Perfect Game College Player Database

During the season Perfect Game scouts will be traveling to some of the top series to watch the very best players in college baseball. Those observations, captured with both written notes and video, will be shared in the College Player Database as linked above, notes that can also be accessed on the players' individual PG profile pages. Throughout the season select reports will be shared in feature format to promote the players, the teams and college baseball as a whole.

Shane McClanahan, LHP, South Florida

With nearly 100 scouts in attendance, redshirt sophomore Shane McClanahan showed why he is considered to be a legit 1:1 prospect for the 2018 MLB Draft, and also why he is considered to have some to have the filthiest pure stuff in the class. The southpaw for USF is listed at 6-foot-2, 188-pounds with present length and broadness to the frame indicative of future strength gains. Even with room for more added strength he is still a very good athlete and repeats his up-tempo delivery very well on the mound. 

The stuff is the natural place to gravitate to with McClanahan as there is a very real possibility for three plus or better pitches. The fastball is what he is known for, and thanks to his 70-grade arm speed, McClanahan can run the fastball into the mid-90s with relative ease. On Friday night, McClanahan worked anywhere from 90-97 mph consistently and can gear up to get the pitch to touch 98 and 99 mph, even touching 100 mph on some guns. McClanahan has great life and angle on his fastball, but what made the pitch so impressive was his ability to sequence and add and subtract. In the third inning, he sat at 90-92 mph with the first two outs and then went 97-97-98-98-99 to K a lefthanded hitter. 

Both secondary offerings showed plus at some point or another, however, the consistency of the pitches causes some concern. The slider was a power breaking ball, up to 86 mph early on and comfortably in the 81-84 mph range as the game progressed. The pitch, when its at its best, was used against lefthanded hitters to buckle their knees on the front door or get them to bite low and away. Conversely, the changeup was an effective pitch against righties, up to 87 mph with significant run to the arm side. McClanahan threw the changeup with conviction and similar arm speed to aid in the deception. 

As for the concerns with McClanahan, there is a good amount of violence to the delivery when he amps up the velocity. Obviously, 99-100 mph will require some violence, however, McClanahan is such a good athlete that he can carry his velocity well into games; the last pitch he registered was a fastball for a strikeout at 97 mph, a pitch commanded well to the outer half. 

The control issues are also somewhat of significance, as McClanahan walked five batters and hit another in his six innings of work. There is an element of "effectively wild" to his game, and while more strikes would be beneficial, he still was hitting spots as the command was pretty good and it's not hard to see him improving in that category.

Despite the nitpicking the bottom line is that McClanahan is athletic and has a special left arm which led to 11 strikeouts against the preseason No. 7 team in the nation to open the year, North Carolina, and it's not a stretch to say that he has the best overall stuff in the country. This was certainly the look of a 1:1 performance and McClanahan will continue to be in the running for the No. 1 overall selection in June.

Luca Dalatri, RHP, North Carolina

Luca Dalatri did a pretty good job opposing Shane McClanahan on Friday night to open the 2018 season, all things considered. A Freshman All-American a season ago who went 7-3 with a 3.34 ERA serving as UNC's Saturday starter, Dalatri has moved up to the Friday role now that J.B. Bukauskas has taken his game to the pros. Dalatri didn't get every break to go his way in this contest, but he showed a strong command profile as well as feel for a complete repertoire and threw a good amount of strikes. 

The sophomore righthander has a physical build, listed at 6-foot-6 and 256-pounds, with a very low effort level through the point of release. The mechanics themselves are very straight forward for Dalatri and while he has a bit of a deeper takeback he is on time and repeats the mechanics well. On the first pitch of the game Dalatri double-pumped and showed he is willing to tinker to try to mix up the opposing hitters' timing. 

Dalatri showed four pitches during his start against the South Florida Bulls, including a curveball that he went to a few times early on and then abandoned in favor of the slider. The curveball was in the mid-70s with sharpness and consistent 11-to-5 shape. As the progressed he favored his slider which showed solid average at times, particularly when he was burying it in the dirt with right-on-right matchups. The pitch had some bite and showed two-plane movement. 

Dalatri showed a fourth pitch in the form of a changeup that he threw occiasionally but the fastball was his go-to pitch. He threw his heater in the 88-92 mph range and topped out at 93 flashing some sinking life. He got an inordinately high number of swings and misses on the pitch, in the double digits, and hid the ball extremely well through release. The fastballs weren't overpowering but they were effectively being swung through all evening.

While Dalatri got roughed up a bit, giving up three earned runs off of six base hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings of work, he still showed the makings of a quality starter and struck out six during that time, proof that he has the stuff in addition to the track record to bounce back effectively.

Josh Hiatt, RHP, North Carolina

Providing two scoreless innings of relief for the Tar Heels, striking out four of the seven batters he faced, was redshirt sophomore Josh Hiatt. The righthander stands at a listed 5-foot-11 but is able to run his fastball into the low-90s and boasts one of the best off-speed pitches in the collegiate game.

Named a Freshman All-American a season ago, Hiatt has a very short but quick arm action with some effort at release and is very effective in a relief role. The draft-eligible righthander's fastball worked at 90-92 mph and topped out at 93 mph with significant run to the arm side, especially when locating to the arm side of the plate. Hiatt also mixed in a tight-spinning slider in the mid-70s with sweeping break that ran away from righthanded hitters with 9-to-4 shape. 

However, the bread-and-butter pitch for Hiatt was his changeup. The pitch is one of the best off-speed pitches in the college game and showed plus, with even plus-plus potential. The changeup worked at 85-88 mph with significant sinking life, and what stood out was how much confidence Hiatt had in it. He was not afraid to go right-on-right with the change and even got a significant number of swings-and-misses with the offering.

Predicted to be one of the stronger relievers in college baseball as a Preseason All-American that saved 13 games a year ago, Hiatt showed in the opener that the changeup is a legit difference maker for the 2018 season and beyond.

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