McClure helping young pitchers prep for '22

January 26th, 2022

CHICAGO -- Kade McClure will share some of his pitching wisdom during a two-hour youth clinic in Mentor, Ohio, on Saturday, Jan. 29.

Mentor is the hometown for the right-hander, who was picked by MLB Pipeline as the 2021 White Sox Pitching Prospect of the Year. It’s also the hometown of Mitch Trubisky, McClure’s friend and former Chicago Bears quarterback, who lends his expertise to Mentor’s football clinic.

But as McClure is working on development with prospective pitchers ranging in age from 10 to 18, he’ll also be reinforcing basic principles needed for his upcoming 2022 campaign. The same idea holds true for the offseason pitching lessons McClure offers near his current residence in Pittsburgh.

“People used to say you learn a lot of stuff by teaching it,” said McClure during a recent phone interview. “It’s funny because I am in there showing mobility drills and hip drills and hip and shoulder separation stuff that I’ve learned, but I’m demonstrating it 100 times a week to different groups and different kids. It is funny to see kids do stuff like, ‘Wow, it is better than I do.’

“It is fun to pick up on some of your own notes. I go back and watch video and I’m like, ‘I don’t do that as well as I teach it.’ It’s kind of funny. But it is cool to try to work on some of that stuff and it is nice to see the improvements that the young guys make. It’s cool to get them further ahead for their youth careers, so to speak.”

McClure, who turns 26 on Feb. 12, is poised to help the White Sox at the Major League level at some point during the 2022 season, as the team pursues a second straight American League Central title and its first World Series crown since ’05. The White Sox sixth-round pick in the 2017 Draft out of Louisville produced a 3.82 ERA over 15 starts with Double-A Birmingham last season, striking out 77 in 68 1/3 innings.

His 6.81 ERA over nine starts after being promoted to Triple-A Charlotte was a bit skewed, as he allowed 18 runs over 11 1/3 innings combined in three of those trips to the mound. MLB Pipeline ranks McClure as the No. 19 White Sox prospect, with McClure figuring to get a second straight non-roster invite to Spring Training after not being added to the 40-man roster this offseason.

“I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me. But it doesn’t really change anything,” said McClure of not being added to the White Sox 40-man roster. “I kind of realize what’s in front of me.

“I’m still just as focused and preparing just as much as I ever have to be ready for that opportunity, whether that was being added or not, because being added doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the big leagues. I’m still fighting for a spot against even some of those guys who were added.”

Charlotte figures to be McClure’s starting spot for the ’22 season; the 6-foot-7 hurler is excited to carry the 37-inning experience of facing Triple-A hitters into a new campaign. But for this weekend, McClure’s baseball focus falls upon the young players in Mentor.

“My thought process is kind of, talk them through the process a little bit right when we get going, taking them some through some mobilities, some stretching stuff,” McClure said. “Basically, a week’s worth of stuff I do to prepare for a bullpen or a game opportunity, condense it into a two-hour window. Get these guys stuff they can take away on their own.

“I invited the coaches from some local travel organizations as well to come and take notes, take some stuff that they see with them into their winter practices leading up to their spring seasons as well. It’s anything I can do to give back in terms of mental and physical knowledge that I’ve gained over the last few years in college and professional baseball.”