Tyler Cloyd Makes MLB Debut (.gifs!)

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.

Reveal Cloyd .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:


Leave a Reply



  1. BradInDC

    August 30, 2012 07:14 AM

    I saw a AAA FIP number for him that was something just north of 4, FWIW.

  2. Dan K.

    August 30, 2012 07:53 AM

    That change-up .gif actually looks pretty good. Wonder if he might have something there. Talk to Hamels, Cloyd!

    Anyways, he held his own in his first outing. Let’s see what he can do the rest of the year and go from there.

  3. pedro3131

    August 30, 2012 08:19 AM

    Seems awfully all over the plate for a guy known for control. I agree with Dan K though, change up looked pretty decent, as with most pitchers he would probably be well served using it more. The cutter looked really flat to me so I’ll hold off on getting a “Cloud 9” t shirt or anything

  4. Phillie697

    August 30, 2012 10:09 AM

    Not too worried about him “all over the place.” Control means being able to throw pitches wherever you want it to go, not throwing pitches to the exact same location all the time. You change locations depending on the batter.

    What worries me is the straight stuff down the middle against LHB. That graph looks scary. If everything hard he throws to LHB (which apparently is majority of his pitches) is down the middle, he’s going to have problems; it’s no wonder LHB did well against him last night.

    Otherwise, no, I didn’t walk away watching last night’s game thinking that he could be Maddux Jr., Baby Maddux, Maddux 2.0, poor man’s Maddux, or Maddux of any kind, LOL. Jury is still out on him, but consider my expectations properly tempered. In fact, I’d be happy if he repeats his performance last night for the rest of the season.

  5. Jeff H

    August 30, 2012 03:19 PM

    Why didn’t the Phillys bring up Cloyd in early August when it became clear that Worley needed to be shut down? Instead Worley continued to take the mound and gave up 4 – 5 runs in 4 – 5 innings every 5th day and delayed his surgery/scope by a month….

  6. PhillyLama

    August 30, 2012 06:38 PM

    At best I feel Cloyd is a 5, he did well at Lehigh but could see signs in his K/9, BB/9, and HR/9 that because of a lack of a plus pitch, he had to work harder as hitters became more patient.

    Unless, he develops a plus pitch, I see him more of Joe Blanton type, throwing lots of strikes and hoping for best. Maybe he is in the running for a five next year, but you have Kendrick already…as well as Pettibone who may be your better bet for upside as a 5.

  7. charles

    August 30, 2012 08:51 PM

    Long time reader, Bill.
    Cloyd looked awful last night. bad location, flat, poor stuff. 9 fly balls, limited GBs, can’t miss bats.

    Pitched over LOB%,BABIP at AAA. he’s not joe blanton, he’s JA Happ.

  8. Dante

    August 31, 2012 11:36 AM

    So, we’re looking at Kendrick’s replacement?

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