Yesterday, I was looking at Phillies starting pitching prospects who will be available in next week’s Rule 5 draft at the MLB winter meetings in San Diego. This is when I came across the names of two Clearwater Threshers 2014 starting pitchers Colin Kleven and Miguel Nunez. These two starting pitchers have been in the Phillies organization since 2009 and 2010 seasons respectively and needed to be put on the 40 man major league roster or exposed in the Rule 5 draft because they have been in the Phillies organization for at least five years,
The Phillies have chosen to expose them to any of the other 29 MLB teams who now can claim them for a mere $50,000 each. If they would be claimed they must be put on the claiming teams’ 40 man rosters and then remain on their 25 man roster for the entire 2015 season or be offered back to the Phillies for $25,ooo.
I am not aware of any baseball expert who expects the 6’5″ Kleven, who will be 24 years old next season or the 6’6″ Nunez who will be 22 next season to be claimed in the Rule 5 draft. They will likely wind up in the AA Reading rotation to start next season.
With the lack of major league starting pitching, these two pitchers can bemhad for only $50,000 a piece. They both finished strong in 2014 for the Clearwater Threshers in the Florida State League.
Kleven went 4-3 in his last 10 starts and Nunez was 4-0 in his last eight starts. We had the pleasure of watching them pitch down the stretch for the Threshers and they looked sharp.
In minor league baseball it is always important to finish strong. In Kleven’s last start of the season at the end of August he was brilliant through five innings before tiring. At one point in the first and second innings he struck out four in a row in the heart of the Tampa Yankees lineup. See the four strike threes on Baseball Betsy’s YouTube channel. It was the most dominating four back to back at bats thrown by a pitcher I saw all season.
Nunez ended his season of with the most impressive start I saw the entire minor league season. He went eight innings in next to last start and gave up only a run on four hits. He held his pitch count to under 100 and was given a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the eight. He was lifted after eight innings but the Threshers bullpen imploded in the ninth and they lost the game. See three of Nunez’s strikeouts in the game on Baseball Betsy’s YouTube channel.
Watching Kleven and Nunez pitch especially in the second half were highlights for both Baseball Betsy and me during the 2014 minor league season. To give one or each of these guys a look in spring training at the major league level for only $50,000 a piece could turn out to be one of the great bargains in baseball for some team, considering the cost of starting pitching in the MLB.