Kyle McClellan joins the Texas Rangers. Without his St. Louis Cardinals baggage, who is he?

Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

Kyle McClellan is no longer a hometown favorite—he joined the Texas Rangers on a minor league contract.

Kyle McClellan won't be blocking anybody or overrated by anybody in particular now that he's a (minor league) member of the Texas Rangers. He won't have Tony La Russa's confidence, and he won't have that vague I'm-the-dependable-one reputation, around the team and the fanbase, that comes with having a low BAbip and not striking anybody out. He won't even be a Hometown Favorite. So: Who is he? What's left?

1. A really low BAbip. For his career, across 1612 plate appearances, Kyle McClellan's batting average against on balls in play is just .270. That will—has, in fact—paper over a lot of mistakes, although it's hard to come up with any reasons why it would be an organic part of his pitching.

2. A neat reverse split. I love these, probably more than I should. McClellan's performance against left-handers to date is almost entirely responsible for that low BAbip—they've hit just .211/.295/.341 against him, or .233 on balls in play. McClellan has two really effective off-speed pitches, a curveball and a changeup, and he doesn't throw a slider, so this is easy enough to rationalize.

And while I wouldn't try to make a right-hander with a good changeup an ersatz left-handed specialist, exactly, I would, if I were a bullpen-loving manager, try to make sure he faced slightly more than his share of lefties.

3. A swingman, which makes it harder to see just where he fits on any given team. As a reliever McClellan had flashes of above-averageness, and it seems like adding replacement-level-starter to his resume would improve it, but it's easier to see McClellan latching on in the back of the bullpen somewhere and riding a low BAbip into a set-up job than it is actually making 15 starts anywhere else.

4. A guy who looks competent. This is how he won a job in St. Louis in the first place; it's how he provided some really valuable relief innings; it's how he hung around past his expiration date. And it's probably how he'll slip back into the major leagues, if his shoulder is sound.

Kyle McClellan looks like a pitcher. He's got a bunch of pitches, his fastball is inconspicuous, and even when his command is not very good at all he appears to know where each individual pitch is going. A lot of it's an illusion; he's no more competent than the one-pitch reliever with the really high strikeout and walk rates, in terms of actual results. But it's his standout talent, and it's going to impress risk-averse managers until the day he retires.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Viva El Birdos

You must be a member of Viva El Birdos to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Viva El Birdos. You should read them.

Join Viva El Birdos

You must be a member of Viva El Birdos to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Viva El Birdos. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker