Phillies Call Up Tyler Cloyd

September has arrived a few days ahead of schedule. Fresh off of winning the International League’s Most Valuable Pitcher award and being named to the league’s postseason All-Star team, 25 year-old right-hander Tyler Cloyd has been called up to start in place of Cole Hamels, who is suffering from a stomach bug.

The Phillies’ 18th round pick from 2008 has dominated IL competition in 22 starts, posting a 2.35 ERA over 142 innings pitched. This is despite a precipitous drop in strikeout rate associated with his transition to AAA baseball; he’s whiffed a career-low 16.9% of the hitters he’s faced in 2012, compared to 23% in his near-equally successful stint with Reading in 2011. His walk and home run rates have also more than doubled, but his outcomes obviously haven’t suffered for it. Baseball Prospectus writer and Crashburn Alley cohort Bradley Ankrom summarized him thusly:

Kevin Goldstein added that Cloyd had “not much stuff,” but “tons of moxie, chance to settle [as a fifth starter].” Cloyd’s fringy fastball is supplemented by a change up and a curve, neither of which appear to have raised any eyebrows in the scouting world. In lieu of stuff, Cloyd reportedly can locate — Baseball America rated him as having the best control of the International League for 2012.

Hamels will presumably be back for his next start, unless we’re talking about F. buski, but even so, Cloyd may still have a shot at remaining with the big league club. The Phillies’ starting rotation isn’t exactly in dire need of reinforcement, having endured Roy Halladay’s back issues, Cliff Lee’s misfortune, and Joe Blanton’s departure and still leading the league in xFIP and SIERA (3.57 in both cases). But Vance Worley, who is having trouble missing bats and is coming off of an abortive 4 and 1/3rd inning, 4 runs allowed outing against the Mets last night, may be facing a premature shutdown. He was diagnosed in May with loose bodies in the elbow, and while doctors have assured him their removal can wait until the offseason, the Phillies are out of playoff contention and stand to lose little by moving up the procedure and slotting Cloyd in his stead.

Even failing that, Cloyd, by all accounts, profiles to be a serviceable swing man or long reliever, and could find some footing in that role as the season winds down. Hopefully we’ve learned enough by now to dial back our expectations knob from “baby ace” to “hey, a cheap fifth starter, neat.” And hopefully this profile is familiar enough to the front office that we won’t be griping about how much he’s making in arbitration a few years from now, or, say, giving him 2 years, $7.5 million. Hopefully.

UPDATE As you’d have guessed:

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  1. Way Too Optimistic Guy

    August 29, 2012 12:11 PM

    He can be on the playoff roster now!!!

  2. Phillie697

    August 29, 2012 12:13 PM

    I’m expecting nothing more than a 5th starter, but hoping for something like a poor man’s Beachy. I have to believe that plus control means something. Heck, Greg Maddux rode plus control and a fringy fastball all the way to the HoF.

  3. Michael Baumann

    August 29, 2012 12:34 PM

    Maddux had much better than a fringy fastball. He also had some of the best command in MLB history and a pocketful of plus off-speed pitches.
    I know you’re not getting carried away about Cloyd, but what I’m saying is…don’t get carried away about Cloyd.

  4. Phillie697

    August 29, 2012 12:44 PM

    Maddux got to the HoF with modest K rates, extremely low BB rates, and induced a ton of ground balls, three things Cloyd do well by all accounts, if not to Maddux level (although his minor league numbers are eerily Maddux-like). Hey, I’m not saying he’s going to be Greg Maddux, but I’m saying, control means something. I wouldn’t knock the guy for not having pure stuff.

  5. Ryan

    August 29, 2012 01:42 PM

    Hopefully he’s a plus Jamie Moyer.

  6. Dan K.

    August 29, 2012 01:45 PM

    Maddux was an 80 on the scouting scale for control and command. Cloyd is about 60. (Scale is 20-80, in case you didn’t know). That is to say, there’s plus, plus-plus, and elite. The difference is like comparing Howard and Utley in power (don’t take into account position for this, haha). 30 HR is great, but it’s not 60.

    Still, I’m excited to see how Cloyd fares. I wish him all the best. Maybe he can Worley us and outperform everyone’s expectations.

  7. LTG

    August 29, 2012 02:18 PM

    The context of Maddux’s K-rates is much different than the context of Cloyd’s. Ks in MLB have increased quite a bit over the last 30 years and are currently at an all time high. If you permit me to infer from that that MiLBers tend to strike out more as well, then comparing Maddux’s K-rates to Cloyd’s is not a straightforward measure.

    And couldn’t Maddux pump it up into the mid-90s? 93 at least? Even if he didn’t have tremendous K-rates that has to help induce ground balls and weak contact. If only we had batted ball data from his heyday!

  8. mratfink

    August 29, 2012 03:51 PM

    he has certainly earned the opportunity to actually show people at the big league level whether his stuff translates. because sometimes you just do not know for sure until you see.

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