Aumont? De Fratus? Cloyd? September Call Ups
I think of the guys currently on the 40-man roster Justin De Fratus, Phillippe Aumont, Jake Diekman and Joe Savery are the most likely to be called up next month. De Fratus certainly would have been with the Phillies this season, but he had an elbow injury. He is back and throwing well. Aumont is dominant when he throws strikes. The Phillies want to get a look at him. Of course, Diekman and Savery have been with the team this season. The Phillies like Diekman a lot, but they will like him a lot more if he improves his command.
I only see Sebastian Valle coming up if Carlos Ruiz finishes the season on the DL.
Not sure Cesar Hernandez gets called up.
Tyler Cloyd? This is the guy I hear about constantly on Twitter and e-mail. Cloyd, who isn’t on the 40-man roster, is 11-1 with a 2.12 ERA in 19 starts with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He’s been great all season, but it’s safe to say the Phillies and other talent evaluators in baseball aren’t as enamored with Cloyd as fans are. I haven’t heard of any teams beating down the Phillies’ door to acquire him, and MLB.com doesn’t list Cloyd among the organization’s top 20 prospects. (That list is compiled through interviews with numerous baseball personnel people.)
Why isn’t Cloyd a top prospect? Simply put, he doesn’t have great stuff. He throws in the 85-89 mph range, which means he has to have pinpoint command to be successful. The Phillies must not believe his abilities to get out Triple-A hitters will translate to the big leagues. It’s the only way to explain why they chose a bullpen game over pitching him June 27. (I still maintain that was a mistake. Maybe Cloyd catches lightning in a bottle for one night. Raul Valdes and the rest of the bullpen were struggling at the time. Almost everybody in the park knew what would happen, and it did.)
Charlie Manuel said Wednesday he wasn’t sure if Kyle Kendrick would make his next start, but he quickly added he didn’t think he had too many other options. I’m really not sure which way the Phillies will go. But you can make a case for Cloyd to get a shot. I mean, maybe he can get out big-league hitters. Besides, what have you got to lose? If he makes a few starts in September, he struggles and the Phillies lose, so what? At least you know for sure. But if he comes up and does well … hey, isn’t that a nice little surprise? Maybe then he’s in the mix next season to get a spot start here or there.
Talent evaluation in baseball isn’t an exact science. If it were the Dodgers would have never let Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth go, Chase Utley wouldn’t have lasted until the 15th pick in the 2000 draft, Ryan Howard wouldn’t have lasted until the fifth round in 2001, Cole Hamels wouldn’t have lasted until the 17th pick in 2002, Juan Pierre wouldn’t have waited until late January to sign a Minor League contract, the Phillies wouldn’t have let Ryan Vogelsong and Jason Grilli go, they would have promoted Brandon Moss last season instead of trading for John Bowker and they wouldn’t have entered the previous two seasons betting on Ben Francisco and John Mayberry Jr. to be everyday players.
Every team has their hits and misses in player evaluation. That’s just the way it is.
One thing to keep in mind: Minor League numbers don’t mean everything. And sometimes they don’t mean anything. Fans thought the Phillies were crazy for not promoting Matt Rizzotti the last couple years. The Phillies traded him to the Twins in March, and the Twins released him a short time later. He’s now with the A’s. I remember Joe Roa went 14-0 with a 1.86 ERA in 17 starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2002. Fans had a similar reaction then. How can they not call up Roa? The Phillies finally did. Roa went 4-4 with a 4.04 ERA in 14 appearances (11 starts) in 2002, but he returned to earth and went 0-2 with a 6.05 ERA in six appearances in 2003 before the Phillies released him.
Maybe Cloyd is a younger version of Roa. Or maybe he’s a guy that can be a good option as a fifth starter. The only way to find out is by pitching him. Maybe the Phillies will give him that chance before the end of the season.