Don’t You (Forget About Us)

In the spirit of the free agent frenzy that will unfold upon the baseball world in the near future, tonight my task with a cup of hot chocolate in hand is to give you some insight into two of the more obscure moves the Cleveland Indians will make prior to opening camp in February.

On October 2nd the Tribe claimed RHP Tyler Cloyd off waivers from the Philadelphia Phillies and placed him on the 40-man roster.

On Halloween they acquired LHP Colt Hynes from the San Diego Padres for some cold hard cash.

Who are these guys and what role do they have to play at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario? I guess I can take a stab at that.

Cloyd, a 26 year-old starter from Bellevue, Nebraska, was an 18th round pick by the Phillies in 2008 out of the University of Nebraska. He’s recorded 93.1 innings during 2012 and 2013 with the Phillies with the rest of his time spent down on the farm. 

His minor league numbers don’t necessarily offer much of a glimmer of hope as his he’s hardly dominated in any of his stops across the Phillies organization. He really struggled in 2013 as the home run ball bit him as he served up 21 blasts in only 112.2 innings.

As of now, the leading candidates to be in the Columbus Clippers rotation are:

RHP Josh Tomlin

RHP Trevor Bauer

LHP TJ House

LHP Matt Packer

I think Cloyd slots in somewhere in that mix. It’s unlikely that Carlos Carrasco finds himself down in Columbus because he doesn’t have any option years remaining and probably starts the term in the Indians bullpen although I’m frustrated that he’ll have to do so. It’s too bad for the Tribe that his Tommy John year counted as MLB service time!

Entering 2013, I pegged the Columbus rotation as

RHP Bauer

RHP Carrasco

RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka

RHP Corey Kluber

RHP Joe Martinez

You’ll notice that uber prospect RHP Danny Salazar didn’t even come too close to opening the campaign at Huntington Park and neither did LHP House. 

I really like the acquisition of Cloyd because the Indians have to be able to acquire as many long-term starting pitching options as possible as they are simply not going to be building a rotation through the free agent market anytime soon.

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Plus, we really have no idea how Cloyd is going to do in the organization or if a light will click with him late as it did for Corey Kluber. Cloyd is a better organizational option than most Minor League Free Agents as he’s got a minimum of three more option years remaining – although he probably won’t accrue enough service time in 2014 to get his MLB clock running. He could be in the organization for the next couple seasons unless he’s performing very poorly and needs to be outrighted from the 40-man roster.

Justin Masterson has a season left on his current deal. It’s very unclear whether a long-term deal is imminent with the Indians ace. Ubaldo Jimenez is practically gone and Scott Kazmir is iffy at best to return. It’s difficult to count on Danny Salazar yet for a full season due to the volatility of young pitching and my general skepticism that he will be unable to avoid some struggles as he breaks his way into the squad on a full time basis. Rarely does a young pitcher not face some adversity (see: Bauer, Trevor) and I imagine Salazar may face some in the near future.

Kluber and McAllister aren’t much safer bets to dominate but if I was going to choose one I’d select Kluber all day long. McAllister’s splits as the game goes further along are horrendous as teams mash him with each extra plate appearance in a game. Check out his OPS against by PA in the same game for evidence:

1st PA of the game: .584

2nd: .796

3rd: .955

(Personally I’d rather give Carrasco a shot at starting over McAllister but to be fair, McAllister has not done anything yet to lose his job in the rotation.)

Kluber really does seem to be a safe bet to continue his strong performance and I think he lasts with the club for awhile but he needs to stay healthy first.

Cloyd could surprise us in 2014 and you never know if he could be the surprise of the year. I am excited to see what he can deliver and he should be given the ball quite often for the Clippers. As a 9th or 10th man in the starting rotation entering 2014 you could do much worse.  

Now, on to the southpaw Hynes. While one Colt didn’t leave Cleveland with many exciting moments, we’ve got a new one in town now.

He was a 31st round pick out of Texas Tech in 2007 and received his first taste of big league baseball in 2013 out of the Padres’ bullpen.

A former college teammate in Lubbock of The Little Cowboy, he is the odds on favorite for me at this point to leave camp with the Indians behind Scrabble as the second lefty in Tito’s bullpen. It would be nice if Nick Hagadone gave him a fierce battle but we’ll allow those two to settle that on the field. 

Either way, I’d imagine Hynes and Hagadone get flip flopped a couple times between Columbus and Cleveland. 

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Throughout Hynes’ career he has done one similar thing to Tomlin and one thing completely oppostite in that he has freakishly avoided giving up home runs (opposite) and walks (similar). 

In his minor league career he’s allowed just 19 jacks in 501.1 innings and unintentionally walked just 109 of the 2,170 batters he’s faced. Tomlin walked just 122 of the 2,414 he faced in his MiLB days.

For some perspective on this random stat, let’s carry out those walk rates to a few decimal places while we’re at it.

Hynes: 5.02304%

Tomlin: 5.05385%

You win, Colt! 

Anyways, the move for Hynes has much less upside than that of Cloyd but if he ends up somehow settling in the Indians bullpen for 2-3 years strong and relegates Hagadone to another franchise then that would work too.

While it’s unclear if either actually ever he gets to record an out for the Indians it is always a good thing to see the Indians acquire cheap pitching for nothing.

Welcome to the Tao of Mickey, guys!

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