The Cleveland Indians traded relief pitcher Vinnie Pestano to the Los Angeles Angels last night, receiving pitching prospect Mike Clevinger in exchange. Here's a quick take on the newest member of the Tribe.
Mike Clevinger, RHP: Clevinger was drafted by the Angels in the fourth round in 2011, from Seminole State Junior College in Florida. He made eight starts for Low-A Cedar Rapids in the Midwest League in 2012, posting a 3.73 ERA with a 34/13 K/BB ratio in 41 innings, but his season ended early when he blew out his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. He pitched just six innings in 2013 following rehab.
He returned to the mound this spring with a 1.88 ERA and a 27/5 K/B in five starts, 24 innings for Low-A Burlington. Promoted to High-A Inland Empire, he's been up-and-down in the California League with a 5.37 ERA over 13 starts, posting a 58/27 K/BB in 55 innings with 58 hits allowed.
Clevinger is a 6-4, 220 pounder born December 21, 1990. When fully healthy he has a 90-93 MPH fastball along with a slider, curve, and changeup. He looked very good early this season but ran into a rough patch in June and was briefly shut down, then returned to action in July with better results. At his best he throws four decent pitches for strikes and looks like a good inning-eater. However, he doesn't always repeat his mechanics well, leading to command trouble. Many scouts think he will wind up in the pen although it is tempting to let him start for now due to the diverse arsenal.
I think Clevinger is a nice sleeper type: he could improve a great deal as the injury recedes into the background. His strikeout rate is good and if he can cut down on the walks, a breakthrough is plausible next year.