Sep 17, 2011; Philadelphia, PA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Kyle McClellan (46) delivers to the plate during the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Cardinals 9-2 to claim the National League East Championship. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers Sign RHP Kyle McClellan


The Texas Rangers have announced the signing of free-agent pitcher Kyle McClellan to a minor league contract. McClellan was also extended an invite to spring training. McClellan enters his age 29 season and has spent his entire career in the St.Louis Cardinals organization.

Kyle has spent the majority of his five year pro career in the bullpen for the Cardinals. In 2011 McClellan filled in for the injured Adam Wainwright until the club traded for Edwin Jackson. He spent the rest of the year throwing night after night in the bullpen until he felt soreness in his shoulder and elbow.

In 2012 McClellan started the year back in the bullpen for the Cards’. After 18 innings of relief Kyle felt pain in his shoulder and elbow. He had surgery on both in July of 2012. As of right now McClellan has begun throwing and fully expects to be ready to go when spring training begins in March.

Kyle has a career ERA of 3.69 over 378 innings. He has posted a 6.1 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and has allowed 1 HR/9 innings over the course of his career.  Because of McClellan’s history as being a good arm out of the bullpen and showing an ability to start games with some success, he could end up being a very nice cheap pickup for the Rangers. I see McClellan taking Scott Feldman‘s old job if he shows signs of being the pitcher he was before surgery.

Before the recent surgeries, McClellan’s fastball sat around 90 MPH with some sinking movement to it. His curveball was considered an easy plus pitch. Throughout McClellan’s career, according to Fangraphs.com, batters have hit for an average of .116 against the righty’s hook.

Bottom Line: McClellan is a low-low-low risk pickup for the Rangers. If all goes well McClellan will become a better and younger version of Scott Feldman. (Emphasis on better)

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  • Eric Reining

    I’m glad you ended it with the statement in parenthesis, because I had no idea through the italics that you were putting emphasis on the word “better”.

    As for this signing, it’s so meh that I don’t even know what to think. Scott Feldman was grossly under-appreciated in Texas, as he was third of all pitchers in fWAR in 2012, behind only Yu Darvish (5.1) and Matt Harrison (3.7).

    • http://twitter.com/C_Shearman Clayton Shearman

      I don’t think he was under-appreciated at all. He got paid $6.5 MM last year. That’s Matt Harrison’s and Colby Lewis’ salary combined basically. Fangraphs has a weird WAR scale for pitchers.

      • Eric Reining

        Fangraphs is a better scale than Baseball Reference. bWAR exclusively focuses on how many runners crossed home plate, which is why pitchers with higher WAR figures are ones with lower ERA’s. It’s WAR based on performance, not predictive value.

        fWAR incorporates xFIP and SIERA, which are basically two metrics which quantify the pitcher’s Fielding Independent Pitching (walks/strikeouts/home runs — which is xFIP) and their true talent level (SIERA).

        The reason Fangraphs is a more valuable tool — at least to me — is because it gives us a better gauge of what to expect moving forward. Predictive metrics like xFIP and SIERA help determine what the pitcher’s ERA should have been, while Baseball Reference is focused on what happened in isolation. We can’t draw a lot from that.

        Another reason why Fangraphs WAR is valuable is because it helps determine the worth of the player. Each WAR, according to Fangraphs, is valued at around $5.5 million, meaning if Scott Feldman produced a 2.3 fWAR, his true value was $12.65 million — almost double his $6.5 million price tag.

        • http://twitter.com/C_Shearman Clayton Shearman

          Fangraphs has lowered their value per WAR. its closer to 4.5 right now. I see why overall Fan-graphs has a better gauge on a pitcher’s WAR in a predictive sense. But when looking back at what a player was actually worth… I would go with bWAR. Using metrics to predict future performance… fWAR is a better all-around stat.

          Scott Feldman’s stats should have been above average, sure. But Scooter was a replacement-level player last yr. IMO

          Going by 2.3 fWAR he was worth $10.5 MM last year.
          I honestly wouldn’t have paid him half that much.

          • Eric Reining

            Fangraphs has lowered their value per WAR. its closer to 4.5 right now.

            That’s not true. It was $4.5 million in 2012. David Schoenfield of ESPN had an article at the beginning of the offseason saying the price of WAR (which is universal, not exclusive to Fangraphs) was at north of $5M.

            The Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton contracts (6/147 and 5/125, respectively) up the price of one win. With teams like Texas, LAA and LAD, about to embark on their new television deals, and with added revenue from nationally televised baseball games, the price is expected to be around $6M in 2013.

          • http://twitter.com/C_Shearman Clayton Shearman

            Going by WAR on Fangraphs, they use around 4.5, but it is probably lagging behind…

            Times are changing

          • Eric Reining

            It won’t update until the start of next year, because they wait for all the free agents to get paid. The number changes every year, usually.

          • Eric Reining

            That said, in regards to Feldman, he had bad luck. And, to be more accurate, everyone kind of hates him, anyway.

            His ERA in 2012 was 5.09; his xFIP was 3.87. Conversely, Matt Harrison’s ERA last year was 3.29; his xFIP was 4.13.

            Logic dictates that Feldman had poor luck, and Harrison had great luck. It’s conceivable that each pitcher should have had an ERA right around 4.00.

  • michaelstrawn

    Hey, let’s just add McCllellan to Colby, Feliz, Soria, Llindblom….maybe we can find some other cheap pitchers who are or have recently been injured and unable to, you know, actually pitch.

    I’m bein’ a smartass…..you can never have too many arms. And frankly, if two of these guys contribute significantly in 2013 it will be a win. If three are contributing beyond 2013 then it’s a really big win.

    I read an article a while back that said “the Texas Rangers are a big-market team that still operates like a small-market team”. That’s what they’ve done throughout this off-season and this is another move consistent with that approach.