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Prospect on the Rise: Mike Clevinger, RHP, Cleveland Indians

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Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Here is a prospect to consider heading into the fall and winter fantasy baseball season: right-hander Mike Clevinger of the Cleveland Indians. He's had a genuine breakthrough in 2015 and should get a shot at major league action sometime in 2016.

Clevinger was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the fourth round in 2011 from Seminole State Junior College in Florida. He hurt his arm in 2012 and had to have Tommy John surgery. Recovery was protracted and he didn't regain full strength until midway through the 2014 season. He posted a 5.37 ERA (but with a 58/27 K/BB in 55 innings) in the Cal League last year but the Indians noticed him and acquired him from the Angels for Vinnie Pestano.

Full health and some mechanical tweaks suggested by Indians coaches have led to a huge breakthrough this year: pitching for the Akron Rubberducks in the Double-A Eastern League, he has a 2.73 ERA in 158 innings with a 145/40 K/BB and just 127 hits allowed. He ranks fifth in the league in ERA, second in strikeouts, and sixth in innings pitched.

He's not doing this with smoke and mirrors: Clevinger can hit 96 MPH, both his slider and curveball flash plus, he's made good progress with the change-up, and he throws strikes. He has a workhorse body and while it took some time to make the full recovery from Tommy John, he's shown no problems with stamina this year, finishing the season very strongly (20/2 K/BB in last 20 innings, just two runs and 11 hits allowed).

Clevinger throws hard and he throws strikes. Sounds like a good prospect to me. He was a Grade C pre-season but is, at the very least, into the B-range now.

Mike Clevinger