Here at Philthy Stuff we'll be taking a look at the 2013 Phillies and what we can expect from each and every player in the upcoming season as we head towards Spring Training. Next up, Tyler Cloyd.
Even though the 2012 season wasn't a particular memorably one for the Phillies (if it was, it was for all the wrong reasons), it did allow the fans and management to get a look at some of the younger players who were thrust into the spotlight in a pinch. Among then was RHP Tyler Cloyd, who made six starts near the end of the season as the Phillies clung to the slightest bit of hope for a playoff berth.
Cloyd, 25, was one of those starting pitchers who, despite solid numbers in the minors, never really made a name for himself or appeared destined for Major League stardom, even though his numbers (3.27 ERA, 7.2 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 in 632 minor league innings) were somewhat impressive. His success continued well into last season, when he went 15-1 with a 2.26 ERA in 26 starts between AA and AAA before getting called up to the Phillies in August.
His big league stats weren't anything special – 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA in six starts – but he pitched well enough in three of those starts to keep it closes, including a 7 IP, 1 ER, 9 K effort in his second career outing to earn the win against the Cincinnati Reds. That said, the Phillies must not be too high on him, as they signed a handful of pitchers (including likely fifth starter John Lannan) in the off-season to help round out the roster.
What that likely means for Cloyd is another season in the minor leagues, where he figures to be the first man up in the event of an injury. And thanks to Roy Halladay's health, not to mention the fact that neither Lannan or Kyle Kendrick are sure things, there is a good possibility that Cloyd will see time in the big leagues this season.
Cloyd may never end up being an Ace like Halladay, or Cliff Lee or Cole Hamels, but he doesn't necessarily have to be. The Phillies, like any other team, derive a lot of value from pitchers who can give them quality innings, even if they can't do it to the tune of a 2.60 ERA over the course of a season.
And for what it's worth, Bill James thinks fairly highly of Cloyd, as he projects the starter to go 4-4 in 12 starts this season, with a 3.68 ERA and 6.95 K/9. Considering that Cloyd only figures to be on the big club barring either an injury or under-performance from one of the starters, that's not a bad bit of performance in a pinch.