After much anticipation, 25-year-old Tyler Cloyd made his Major League debut last night against the New York Mets. Listed at 6’3″, 190, the right-hander accrued a 15-1 record with a 2.26 ERA between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley — much of it coming with the latter team. Although he never showed a great ability to miss bats, he showed marked improvement last year, jumping from Clearwater to Reading, and again this year in taking yet another big leap upward in the Phillies’ system.
Cloyd’s opportunity arose after Vance Worley‘s disappointing start on Tuesday night in the series opener. Having been diagnosed with loose bodies in his elbow previously, Worley was battling through the ailment but wasn’t having much success. Since the start of July, Worley posted a 5.80 ERA in 11 starts spanning 59 innings with significantly fewer strikeouts. The Phillies and Worley agreed that shutting him down was the best option, and they announced yesterday he will be having surgery on that elbow shortly. Thus, Cloyd was immediately recalled and took Cole Hamels‘ spot, who had come down with a stomach sickness.
Overall, Cloyd looked decent in his Major League debut. In six innings, he allowed three runs on seven hits, including a two-run home run by Lucas Duda, while allowing two walks and striking out five. For a look at his arsenal, click the link below to reveal a few animated .gifs.
Eric Longenhagen (@Longenhagen), a friend of the blog and video scout at Baseball Info Solutions, posted this detailed scouting report prior to his debut yesterday. I’d like to highlight a few of his points regarding Cloyd’s pitch usage:
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.
[...] 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.
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.
In the Cloyd intro post from Ryan yesterday, he quoted Bradley Ankrom saying as much on Twitter.
Heat maps will follow, but note that because of the lack of familiarity with Cloyd, there will be some classification errors. In looking at the pitch-by-pitch data on MLB.com, they made a few errors, but overall, you should be able to get the general feel for how Cloyd works.
First, where Cloyd pitched right-handers. “Hard” generally refers to four-seam fastballs and cutters. “Soft” refers to curves and change-ups.
Cloyd against left-handed hitters:
Lefties had the most success against Cloyd last night, accounting for four of the Mets’ seven hits, including Duda’s two-run home run. Three of those hits were solid line drives, and of the six outs he recorded against lefties, five were in the air. One of Cloyd’s walks and his only hit batter were also against lefties.
Cloyd fell behind early, but it could have been attributed to the butterflies. In the first inning, he started off 1-0 against Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy, and he went to 3-0 on Ike Davis before battling back to 3-2 and eventually surrendering a line drive single. He did much better getting ahead in the second inning, starting 0-1 or inducing a first-pitch swing to four of the six batters he faced. It continued in the third against five of the seven batters he faced.
Cloyd made heavy use of his cutter throughout the game, as CSN’s Leslie Gudel noted:
Of the 103 pitches he threw, 42 were sliders (41 percent). Here’s a look at where he threw them:
In last night’s game, Mets hitters collectively posted a .353 wOBA against Cloyd’s cutter, but it is of course just one game consisting of a sample of 42 pitches. Still, though, expectations should be tempered. The Minor League record and ERA were impressive, but pitchers like Cloyd (right-handed with low fastball velocity and an inability to miss bats) tend not to have sustained success at the Major League level. I think Kevin Goldstein has it right: