Wednesday, August 29, 2012

MLB Prospect Scouting Report: Tyler Cloyd (Phillies)

Tyler Cloyd is now set to make his first career big league start tonight so why don't you read this hastily written scouting report so you know what you're watching?

Just named International League Pitcher of the Year, Cloyd has been fantastic for the IronPigs this year but the scouting reports are underwhelming in comparison. My thoughts are no different.  I've got notes on Cloyd from two periods of his development (from some relief appearances he made in last year's Arizona Fall League and two starts with the 'Pigs this year, including one last week) and they're identical both in my subjective evaluation and all sorts of objective measures like his times home from the stretch (about 1.35 seconds).  I'll make this short and sweet since I'm at work charting Justin Verlander, who diarrhea'd in the tub last night.

Cloyd is a 6'3", 190lb righty with a comfy, athletic delivery which he repeats very well. His arm comes through a little late but his mechanics are otherwise effortlessly smooth.  It's allowed him, for the most part,  to consistently throw strikes.  However, be forewarned that I've seen him have multiple batter lapses where he just can't find the zone and, contrary to how most pitchers respond to these swoons, Cloyd starts to work faster and faster until the catcher needs to come out just to calm him down.  Most of his listed weight is located in his ass and thighs and he uses his lower half well to generate "velocity" which I have in Bennett Brauer quotes because there just isn't very much of it.

Cloyd's fastball sits in the upper 80s (86-89mph, might touch 92 tonight with the adrenaline pumping) and is mostly straight, though it does exhibit some natural cut when he locates it to his glove side. He'll throw a two-seamer on occasion.  It's not a good major league pitch and I expect it'll take a back seat to his best offering, a cutter, which he tosses in anywhere from 83-86mph.  Cloyd's cutter moves quite a bit and he uses it as a multi-tasker even Alton Brown would be proud of.  To left handed hitters, he'll back door it for strikes or run it in on hands to induce weak contact.  He'll run it away from righties to garner swings and misses or throw it early in counts for called strikes. I'm comfortable putting a 50 on it despite the lack of velocity just because Cloyd has harnessed it so well.

Cloyd's secondary stuff in underwhelming.  His curve, which has 11-5 movement and sits in the mid 70s, will flash average but it's mostly a liability.  He didn't work with his changeup enough for me to slap a grade on it. To me, that's telling.  From the scout seats at Coca Cola Park it was easy to pick up release variation on the curveball but I have no idea what it looks like 60 feet away.

Folks, we're looking at a back end starter/bullpen guy here. Someone who'll provide value for the big club by virtue of the fact that he's not awful and probably won't get hurt. Spot start him, get mop up innings out of him on his day to throw, send him down, call him up, long man....Cloyd's going to have a major league career as a swiss army knife as long as being jerked around doesn't negatively impact his performance.  That's great, and guys like this are useful to have around on the cheap.  But don't look at his Triple-A ERA and expect a savior. He's not one. He's just a reason to watch tonight's game.

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