With Cole Hamels scratched from his start tonight against the Mets due to a tummy bug, right-handed Tyler Cloyd has been called up from LeHigh Valley to make a spot start for the Phils tonight at Citizens Bank Park.
Fans have been calling for Cloyd to join the Phils for weeks now, after dominating International League hitters throughout the 2012 season. Despite an average fastball, curveball and changeup, Cloyd’s statistics are eye-popping (12-1, 2.35 ERA in 142 innings). And given the success of another prospect with fringy stuff, Vance Worley, Phils fans have been salivating over a young, cheap pitcher that they hope could turn into a #2 or #3 pitcher.
However, what Cloyd does have going for him is pinpoint control, with Baseball America rating him as having the best control of any pitcher in the International League in 2012. He sports an excellent K/BB ratio (93/38) and tries to get hitters to make contact early in the count and put the ball in play.
At best, he’s a #5 starter according to most minor league watchers.
And folks, that’s OK.
Seriously, what’s the problem with a cheap, young #5 starter or long man in the bullpen? Not every pitcher has to turn into a Hamels, Lee or Halladay. It’s guys like Cloyd who often times play key roles in winning championships, mainly because of the financial flexibility they provide.
Who knows, maybe Cloyd blossoms into a corner-painting savant, someone who can put the ball wherever he wants, whenever he wants, and develop into an All-Star. But that’s probably not happening.
And while Hamels’ stomach bug is obviously not a great thing, this does provide an opportunity for Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee to get a look at a guy who could factor into their plans for 2013. Could Cloyd get even more of a look in September when the roster expands? It’s possible, even if it’s just to pitch out of the bullpen.
But the Phillies could also use Cloyd to shut down the struggling Vance Worley for the rest of the season, especially given the loose bodies in his pitching elbow. It would make sense to close the book on Worley’s 2012 season early and give Cloyd four or five starts to show what he can do.