Who would have thought last year this time that Tyler Cloyd, who was an afterthought in the Phillies system at the time, would currently have the best starting pitching record in AAA baseball. In 2011 about this time he was about to join the Reading Phillies after being a part time starter for the Clearwater Threshers to begin the season. Once in Reading his career finally took off as a starter. There, he went 6-3 with a 2.78 ERA. Still the Phillies did not even give Tyler a chance to pitch in major league spring training games. Lehigh Valley manager Ryne Sandberg admitted he knew little about Cloyd when he joined the IronPigs. They ran some 40 pitchers through the 2012 major league spring training games but Tyler was not one of them.
All Cloyd has done after four starts at AA and three starts at AAA so far this season is compile on of the best records of any minor league pitcher in baseball. Over all he is 6-0 with a 1.40 ERA. He has been even better at AAA. After going seven innings today giving up a run on three hits and picking up the win, his AAA record went to 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA. Only veteran former major starters J.J Reyes (5-0, 2.03 ERA) with the Indianapolis Indians and Aaron Cook (3-0, 1.89) with the Pawtucket Red Sox come close to Cloyd’s record in the International League.
In today’s game against the Pittsburgh’s AAA farm team in Indianapolis Cloyd used his cutter and slider and was sharp with his command. He threw 104 pitches in seven innings before giving way to B.J. Rosenberg who finished the final two innings in the 5-1 IronPigs win. Derrick Mitchell provided the winning margin with four RBIs on a two run homer and a two run single in the game. Mitchell has been on fire with the bat so far in May hitting .345.
Cloyd, who will turn 25 on May 16th, has been pitching to amaze this season. He was called up to be the emergency opening day starter for the Pigs and pitched six perfect innings retiring all 18 batters he faced. Though he was sent back to AA by the Phillies, he has never looked back. After going 3-0 at Reading the Phillies minor league department finally figured out who he was and had no choice but to send him to Lehigh Valley where his record has only improved.
Though we continue to be perplexed by some of the odd moves by the Phillies Front Office, one has to believe that next season Cloyd will be put on the 40 man roster and invited to the major league camp. The Front Office seems to be doubling down in signing and promoting aging thirty year old plus players released by other organization at the expense of younger home grown talent. However of the starting pitchers only Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Vance Worley and part time starter Kyle Kendrick are under contract for next season. The Front Office might have no choice but to give young arms like Cloyd a chance at the major league level. We have to think that he will be in at least the discussion for a spot on the 2013 Phillies starting rotation.