Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 12/3/14
SETH McCLUNG RIGHT HANDED PITCHER Born: February 7, 1981 Height: 6’6″ Weight: 280 Bats: Left Throws: Right Drafted: 5th Round, 145th Overall, 1999 (Devil Rays) How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent High School: Greenbrier East HS (WV) Agent: Integrity Sports Agency WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES McClung was highly regarded, while he was coming up through the Rays’ system, due to a mid-90s fastball that reached 98-99.  His performance in the minors was uneven, probably due to questionable secondary stuff, and the Rays rushed him to the majors, skipping him over AAA.  He’s seldom pitched well in the majors, yet he was given several opportunities as a starter and one as a closer.  As a major leaguer his fastball sat around 93 mph and he threw a curve, slider and (rarely) change.  He’s a flyball pitcher and has had trouble with gopher balls in the majors.  He’s also typically had control problems and has not usually put up impressive K numbers.  He evidently hasn’t impressed people greatly since 2009; he missed all of 2010, was released in mid-season in each of the next two years, then pitched only in Mexico in 2013.  The Pirates signed him to a minor league deal for 2014, but did not extend him an invitation to spring training. 1999 R+:  2-4-0, 7.69 ERA, 2.21 WHIP, 45.2 IP, 9.5 BB/9, 9.1 K/9 McClung pitched mainly as a starter in his debut and struggled to throw strikes, although he did fan a batter an inning. 2000 A-:  2-2-0, 1.85 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 43.2 IP, 3.5 BB/9, 7.8 K/9 A:  2-1-0, 3.19 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 31.0 IP, 5.5 BB/9, 7.5 K/9 The Devil Rays sent McClung to short season ball and he pitched much better through eight starts.  The team moved him up to low A and, despite the good ERA, he mostly struggled in six starts, mainly with his control. 2001 A:  10-11-0, 2.79 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 164.1 IP, 2.9 BB/9, 9.0 K/9 McClung spent the season in low A and made significant strides across the board. 2002 A+:  3-2-0, 2.92 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 37.0 IP, 2.7 BB/9, 11.7 K/9 AA:  5-7-0, 5.37 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, 114.0 IP, 4.2 BB/9, 5.1 K/9 McClung got off to a fast start in high A, especially considering that it was the hitting-happy California League.  His walk and K rates were especially impressive.  After seven starts the Devil Rays moved him up to AA and he didn’t pitch nearly as well. 2003 MLB:  4-1-0, 5.35 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 38.2 IP, 5.8 BB/9, 5.8 K/9 McClung made the major league roster out of spring training.  He started off in the bullpen, then made five starts before he went out in May with elbow soreness.  He ended up having Tommy John surgery in June. 2004 A:  0-0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 9.1 IP, 3.9 BB/9, 9.6 K/9 AA:  1-1-0, 4.72 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 13.1 IP, 2.7 BB/9, 5.4 K/9 AAA:  2-1-0, 3.29 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 13.2 IP, 4.6 BB/9, 7.9 K/9 McClung came back from the surgery in mid-season and worked his way up through the minors. 2005 AAA:  2-0-0, 3.93 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 18.1 IP, 2.9 BB/9, 9.3 K/9 MLB:  7-11-0, 6.59 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 109.1 IP, 5.1 BB/9, 7.6 K/9 McClung opened the season in the major league bullpen.  He struggled to an 11.09 ERA through two months, and the Devil Rays sent him down to AAA.  He came back up at the end of June and joined the major league rotation.  He didn’t pitch well as a starter, struggling with his control and allowing 19 HRs in 90.2 IP as a starter. 2006 AAA:  1-0-5, 2.20 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 1.1 BB/9, 14.3 K/9 MLB:  6-12-6, 6.29 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, 103.0 IP, 5.9 BB/9, 5.2 K/9 The Rays again tried McClung in the rotation to open the season, but by mid-June he had a 6.81 ERA in 15 starts, with more walks than strikeouts.  The Rays sent him to AAA and converted him to relief, then brought him back up in August.  He eventually became the team’s closer.  He had a 4.43 ERA as a reliever and walked the same number he struck out. 2007 AAA (TB): 1-5-5, 1.99 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 58.2 IP, 6.6 BB/9, 10.4 K/9 AAA (Mil): 2-0-0, 1.42 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 19.0 IP, 2.4 BB/9, 11.8 K.9 MLB (Mil):  0-1-0, 3.75 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 12.0 IP, 3.8 BB/9, 8.3 K/9 The Rays sent McClung to AAA to open the season.  In late July they traded him to Milwaukee.  After a stint in the minors, McClung joined the Brewers and pitched out of the bullpen.  After struggling with his control in the minors, he mostly pitched well for the Brewers. 2008 MLB:  6-6-0, 4.02 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 105.1 IP, 4.7 BB/9, 7.4 K/9 McClung spent the season with the Brewers.  Starting in late May, he spent about two months in the rotation, but otherwise pitched in relief.  He had a 3.67 ERA as a reliever and 4.24 as a starter.  Overall, he continued to have control issues, but he allowed only ten HRs. 2009 MLB:  3-3-0, 4.94 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 62.0 IP, 5.7 BB/9, 5.8 K/9 McClung pitched in relief for the Brewers, although he missed two months starting in late July due to a sprained ligament in his elbow.  He wasn’t very effective, allowing a lot of base runners and walking nearly as many as he struck out.  He also allowed a HR every five and a half innings.  It’s surprising that his ERA was as low as it was and, in fact, his xFIP and FIP were significantly higher.  Milwaukee non-tendered him after the season. 2010 DNP McClung signed a minor league deal with the Marlins, but they released him at the end of spring training and he didn’t pitch professionally all year. 2011 AAA:  2-3-0, 5.19 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 78.0 IP, 3.9 BB/9, 5.7 K/9 Texas signed McClung to a minor league deal and assigned him to AAA, where he served as a swing man.  He didn’t pitch well, with a low K rate and a lot of hits allowed.  Texas released him in mid-July and he didn’t pitch again during the season. 2012 AAA (Mil):  2-13-0, 6.36 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, 103.1 IP, 5.2 BB/9, 7.0 K/9 AAA (ChiC):  1-2-0, 6.32 ERA, 2.17 WHIP, 15.2 IP, 5.7 BB/9, 9.2 K/9 The Brewers signed McClung to a minor league deal and he pitched mostly as a starter for their AAA team until the end of July, when the team released him.  The Cubs picked him up for the last two weeks of the minor league season.  He pitched poorly in AAA, allowing a lot of hits, walks and HRs (19). 2013 MEX:  1-1-5, 2.35 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 23.0 IP, 2.3 BB/9, 9.4 K/9 McClung pitched in relief for two different Mexican League teams. It’s a little puzzling why the Pirates would bother with McClung.  Unless you count his brief Mexican League stint, he hasn’t pitched even decently anywhere since 2008, and has never pitched well in the majors.  He might be best off going to AA rather than AAA for 2014. STATS Baseball Reference–Majors Baseball Reference–Minors Fangraphs MLB.com MiLB.com CONTRACT INFORMATION 2003: $300,000 2004: $302,500 2005: $320,000 2006: $343,000 2008: $750,000 2009: $1,662,500 PLAYER INFORMATION Signing Bonus: $350,000 MiLB Debut: 1999 MLB Debut: 3/31/2003 MiLB FA Eligible: 2014 MLB FA Eligible: 2014 Rule 5 Eligible: N/A Added to 40-Man: 2002 Options Remaining: 0 MLB Service Time: 5.111 TRANSACTIONS June 2, 1999: Drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 5th round, 145th overall pick; signed on June 21, 1999. 2002: Contract purchased by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. July 27, 2007: Traded by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to the Milwaukee Brewers for Grant Balfour. December 12, 2009: Non-tendered by the Milwaukee Brewers and became a free agent. February 2, 2010: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Florida Marlins. March 30, 2010: Released by the Florida Marlins. December 18, 2010: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Texas Rangers. July 13, 2011: Released by the Texas Rangers. January 10, 2012: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Milwaukee Brewers. July 30, 2012: Released by the Milwaukee Brewers. August 13, 2012: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Chicago Cubs. November 3, 2012: Became a free agent. November 20, 2013: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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