Clemens Solid in Phils Spring Opener


Paul Clemens gave the Phillies a nice starting outing in their 2015 spring training slate before things got fairly ugly against Division II’s top-ranked University of Tampa (13-1) squad on Sunday.

Clemens did not allow a baserunner and had 1 strikeout over two innings of work.  Displaying solid control, 11 of his 13 pitches went for strikes. He had good velocity on his fastball, topping off at 96 MPH on the stadium gun, according to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly

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The 6’4″, 200-pound righthander has an additional mid-70s curve ball, slider/cutter combo, and decent changeup all in his repertoire, as cited by his Baseball America scouting report in 2011.

Clemens joined the Phillies last November on a minor league contract and received a non-roster invite to Spring Training.

He could be a versatile guy for us… He’d be in the competition for a bullpen spot. He has the ability of going long” ~ Sandberg, on Clemens

After being drafted by the Braves in 2008, Clemens was sent to the Astros as a piece in a deal to acquire Michael Bourn in 2011. With two more years of seasoning under his belt, Clemens finally reached the big leagues in 2013.

Across 48 games with the Astros from 2013-14, Clemens had a 4-8 record with a 5.51 ERA and even worse 5.81 FIP. Two weaknesses to point to are his mediocre 3.6 BB/9 and awful 1.9 HR/9.

Clemens’ best chance to make the Phillies in 2015 would be as a reliever. Manager Ryne Sandberg is quoted saying, “He could be a versatile guy for us… He’d be in the competition for a bullpen spot. He has the ability of going long’’ in Matt Breen’s Philadelphia Inquirer piece.

However, Clemens is likely to land somewhere on the Triple-A pitching staff. Having both started and relieved in the past, Clemens could fill just about any role for the Iron Pigs. If he is having a successful season, he stands a good chance of receiving a call-up to the Phillies at some point in 2015.

In only 19 games with Houston’s Triple-A affiliate a year ago, Clemens had a 4.08 ERA, a solid HR/9 of 0.8, but a poor BB/9 of 4.5. Phillies fans can likely expect the now 27-year old Clemens to perform somewhere along those lines for the Iron Pigs in 2015.