DON’T AVOID THE CLOYD: MAKING A CASE FOR TYLER CLOYD

Let’s talk about Tyler Cloyd. He seems to be the guy that hipster Phillies fans are over the moon about lately.

With Kyle Kendrick’s stunning inconsistency, along with the pile of shit performance the swingman had last night, the word on the street is that the team may shuttle the righty back to the bullpen (or if some fans had their way, to Mars) in lieu of a young arm. Cloyd seems to be the anointed one.

What do we know about Cloyd? Well, he’s not exactly young, at least when considering his peers. The former 18th round selection turned 25 in May, but if you ignore his age, one thing that you can’t ignore is the season the guy is having. His year started out in Reading where he absolutely ruined the competition with the following numbers:

4 starts / 1.80 ERA / 25 IP / 22 H / 5 ER / 3 BB / 1.000 WHIP

And he had a 3-0 record if you care. While prepping for his fifth start of season in Reading, he got the call to Lehigh Valley, where he threw six perfect innings in his debut against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. His torrid season has continued with equally as gaudy numbers (not including last night’s start):

18 starts / 1.93 ERA / 116.1 IP / 85 H / 25 ER / 27 BB / 0.963 WHIP

While Cloyd has had decent numbers since his start in rookie ball in 2008, he really hit his stride last year with a hot start in Clearwater, continuing that pace through the duration of the Reading season. His total line over both levels:

22 starts (31 G) / 2.77 ERA / 146.0 IP / 132 H / 45 ER / 22 BB / 1.055 WHIP

What conclusions can be drawn about Cloyd? He’s a low draft pick who’s older than his most of his peers, but the last two years have shown a pitcher who has moved from good to very good.

Looking deeper into his time with the IronPigs this year, he’s proven to be one of the International League’s best, ranking in the tops in the following categories: ERA (1st), WHIP (2nd), and OBA (2nd). His record for the season sits at 11-1, including a string of 7 straight decisions with a win. Including his time in Reading, he’s pitched 6 innings or more in 21 of 22 starts. His first inning of pitching tends to be the worst, as he 3.00 ERA and OBA of .348, but after that he’s in lockdown mode with a 1.74 ERA and .178 OBA. Finally, his control has been impeccable, with just 30 BB over 141.1 IP combined. Some tasty bacon bits, indeed.

So is Cloyd’s success going to translate to the big club? It’s difficult to say, but the Phillies have every reason to give him a shot now. Fifth starter Kendrick, who had amassed 20+ scoreless innings out of the bullpen earlier this year, is falling apart in the rotation. Since the team won’t be in the playoffs and the roster is set to expand soon, it’s time to give Cloyd a shot. I’d like to see if the team has an outlier on their hands, and if he works out, having a young guy who is making league minimum will give the team some much needed flexibility going into a tight 2013.

He could very well be a bust, but his numbers across the board are indicative of a pitcher who has more potential than Kendrick. And we could use some joy in South Philly, or just less reason to complain.

Thanks to Michael LoRé of the Express-Times for his assistance on this post.

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