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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 20: Kade McClure

A cruise up the organization got stalled a bit in Charlotte.

Chicago White Sox v Kansas City Royals
Kade McClure offers a number of attractive characteristics for the White Sox, earning him an eventual majors bullpen role as a floor.
Ron Vesely/Getty Images

Kade McClure
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
6´7´´
220 pounds
Age: 26
2018 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 30
2019 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 44
2020 SSHP Top Prospect Ranking: 40
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 31
SSS rank among all right-handed starting pitchers in the system: 7

With a name that inspires multiple references from The Simpsons, Kade McClure has been one of the most effective pitchers in the White Sox system since he was drafted in the sixth round out of Louisville in 2017. In retrospect, it was a bit surprising that McClure lasted so long in the draft that year, as he combined to go 20-4 in his sophomore and junior starts, covering 33 appearances. During those two years spanning 181 innings, McClure limited opponents to just 130 hits and 56 walks while striking out 188. It’s possible McClure’s stock fell, as his numbers did decline a bit from his stellar sophomore campaign (when he went 12-0 with a rock-solid 2.54 ERA and 0.88 WHIP spanning 78 innings by allowing just 49 hits and 20 walks while fanning 27).

After being drafted, McClure combined with the AZL Sox, Great Falls and Kannapolis in 2017 to post an incredible 0.82 ERA and 0.55 WHIP in 10 relief outings, as he surrendered just three hits and three walks while fanning 19 in 11 innings. McClure was off to a great start in 2018 with Kannapolis in his return to the rotation over eight starts, posting a 3.02 ERA. However, McClure was injured on a come-back liner that May, which forced him to undergo season-ending surgery in order to repair ligament damage and a dislocated kneecap.

McClure split the 2019 season evenly between Kannapolis and Winston-Salem. The righty held up to a true pro workload, more than doubling his innings total from his previous two seasons combined. His numbers with the Intimidators and Dash were nearly identical. For Kannapolis in 10 starts spanning 55 1⁄3 innings, McClure posted a 3.09 ERA and 1.23 WHIP by ceding 56 hits (.256 OBA), 12 walks (5.1%) and 50 strikeouts (21.3%); for Winston-Salem in 12 starts totaling 66 1⁄3 innings, he posted a 3.39 ERA and 1.22 WHIP by relinquishing 64 hits (.252 OBA) and 17 walks (6.2%) while fanning 49 (17.8%). Although McClure didn’t pitch in 2020 due to the pandemic, he did start shooting up prospect lists after an uptick of three mph on his heater during fall instructs.

The 2021 season was McClure’s first year beyond Winston-Salem, and he performed well for Birmingham. In 15 starts for the Barons totaling 68 1⁄3 innings, he surrendered 63 hits (.243 OBA) and 20 walks (2.6 BB/9) while striking out 77 (10.1 K/9). However, the wheels came off after being promoted to Charlotte on August 10. In nine starts for the Knights, McClure struggled with a 6.81 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in 37 innings, allowing 46 hits (.315 OBA) and 15 walks (3.7 BB/9) while fanning 36 (8.8 K/9). Part of the issue was his pitches were elevated while with Charlotte, as while hitters hit the ball on the ground at a 48.4% clip in 2021, Triple-A hitters did so at just 40.4% of the time.

According to MLB Pipeline, McClure’s repertoire features a 92-95 mph fastball, with a slider and changeup that both flash above-average at times. McClure’s low-80s slider is considered his best secondary. His changeup helps stymie lefties somewhat, though they usually have hit McClure a bit better than righties throughout his career.

MLB Pipeline gives McClure 55 grades for his fastball, slider and control. His control, and especially command, was found wanting during his two-month stint with the Knights, so that number may drop to 50. His curveball is graded 50 and changeup sits at 45.

Many fans expected McClure to be added the 40-man roster this fall; however, he was not, and he likely will return to Charlotte in hopes he’ll be one of the first called up in case of injury. At the very least, with his imposing size, it’s easy to imagine McClure succeeding in the majors eventually, as a mid-leverage reliever.


2022 South Side Sox Top 100 White Sox Prospects

20. Kade McClure, RHSP
21. Tanner McDougal, RHSP
22. Jason Bilous, RHSP
23. Wilfred Veras, 1B
24. Lenyn Sosa, SS
25. Jonathan Stiever, RHSP
26. Brooks Gosswein, LHSP
27. Misael González, RF
28. Terrell Tatum, CF
29. Carlos Pérez, C
30. Bennett Sousa, LHRP
31. Luis Basabe, RF
32. McKinley Moore, RHRP
33. Emilio Vargas, RHSP
34. Blake Rutherford, LF
35. Anderson Severino, LHRP
36. DJ Gladney, 3B
37. Luke Shilling, RHRP
38. Chase Krogman, LF
39. Cristian Mena, RHSP
40. Benyamín Bailey, LF
41. Tyler Johnson, RHRP
42. Andrew Perez, LHRP
43. Tyler Neslony, LF
44. Theo Denlinger, RHRP
45. Hunter Schryver, LHRP
46. Jefferson Mendoza, C
47. Harvin Mendoza, 1B
48. Gil Luna Jr. LHRP
49. John Parke, LHSP
50. Victor Quezada, 3B
51. Haylen Green, LHRP
52. Sammy Peralta, LHRP
53. Yoelvin Silven, RHRP
54. Taylor Broadway, RHRP
55. Noah Owen, RHRP
56. Luis Curbelo, 3B
57. Bryce Bush, RF
58. James Beard, CF
59. Xavier Fernández, C
60. Wilber Sánchez, SS
61. Kohl Simas, RHRP
62. Johan Dominguez, RHSP
63. Jagger Rusconi, 2B
64. Ronaldo Guzman, LHSP
65. Laz Rivera, 3B
66. Adam Hackenberg, C
67. Will Kincanon, RHRP
68. Lane Ramsey, RHRP
69. Tommy Sommer, LHSP
70. Randel Mondesi, RF
71. Shawn Goosenberg, 2B
72. Zack Muckenhirn, LHRP
73. Cameron Butler, CF
74. Godwin Bennett, RF
75. Logan Glass, CF
76. Dario Borrero, 1B
77. Craig Dedelow, RF
78. Carlos Hinestroza, RHRP
79. Gunnar Troutwine, C
80. Kade Mechals, RHSP
81: Caberea Weaver, CF
82. Layant Tapia, SS
83. Homer Cruz, RHRP
84. Kaleb Roper, RHSP
85. Jerry Burke, RHSP
86. Emerson Talavera, RHRP
87. Isaiah Carranza, RHSP
88. Davis Martin, RHSP
89. Tyler Osik, 1B
90. Samil Polanco, 3B
91. Manuel Veloz, RHRP
92. Pauly Milto, RHRP
93. Fraser Ellard, LHRP
94. Colby Smelley, C
95. Manuel Guariman, C
96. Everhett Hazelwood, RHRP
97. Garrett Schoenle, LHRP
98. Kyle Kubat, LHRP
99. Anderson Comas, RF
100. Jake Elliott, RHRP