Tyler Cloyd is a 21 year old (22 next Saturday) right handed starting pitcher for the Low A ball Lakewood BlueClaws. Over six starts this season, Cloyd is 2-2 with a 3.08 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP in 38 innings pitched. His strike out to walk ratio (38:6) certainly stands out and exemplifies his control. He's fresh off an 8 shut out inning performance against Kannapolis on Thursday, in which he struck out 8 and walked none. Cloyd was an 18th round 2008 draft selection by our Phillies. He began his pro career with the Gulf Coast League Phillies in June and did not allow a run in his first two starts, earning wins in each. He was then transferred to Williamsport, where he pitched for current Lakewood manager Dusty Wathan. At Williamsport he went 5-4 in 65 innings over 12 starts, with a 4.57 ERA.
I had a chance to speak with Tyler, and here's how that went down.
What thoughts do you have on your early success thus far? Any secrets to you success?
There are no secrets really. It's just going out there and doing what I know I can....staying within my abilities. And that's, ya know, locate my fastball, that's one of the things that I can do well, if I stay within myself. If I try to overpower, and fly open, my mechanics break down. My off-speed stuff, it's good enough to where I can slow it down or I can throw breaking balls for strikes. It's not really secrets, it's just doing what I can do, and what I'm able to do.
What's your pitch repertoire like?
Fastball, change up, slider.
How much support do catcher Travis D'Arnaud and pitching coach Bob Milacki give you? How much credit might go to them for your performance so far?
They get a lot of credit. I mean, I always say you can't do it without a catcher, and being on the same page with the catcher is huge. I want to be at a fast tempo, and with Travis, he learns well what pitchers want to throw in what situations, to what batters and everything. It's nice to have a catcher like that as far as that (goes). And as far as Bob, you got a guy that knows what he's talking about and knows what he does. He watches and helps us out when we fly open, or we're doing something bad mechanically that we can't tell and he can...he'll just take us off to the side and he let's us know about it and after the games, we'll talk about it and the next day we'll talk about it. And during the week when we throw our bullpen (sessions) we work on what we can do better. So a lot of the credit goes to both men for them helping me out, staying calm, and helping me get to the point where I can be, to start going up levels.
What are your goals going forward in 2009?
Just staying healthy, number 1. Keeping my body healthy and keeping my arm healthy, so I can go out there every five days and throw. As far as other goals, ya know, just keep the team in every game. That should be every pitcher's goal. Just pitch my best every night and just see what happens as long as the season goes.
What do you think about New Jersey so far?
It's pretty nice. A little weird driving around, but the people are all nice and all the fans- they're great. So, it's pretty nice right now.
Does it help you out, at all, having a little history with Dusty last year?
You know what to expect from him and he knows what to expect from you. Having him two years in a row, it's great. You don't have to get used to a different manager or anything like that. Already knowing the guy, and what he expects out of you, it's kind of nice to be able to keep that into a second year.
What major league ballpark would you most like to pitch in someday?
Fenway, by far. Boston's been my favorite team since I can remember.
You grew up in New England?
No, I grew up in Nebraska. Don't ask me how it happened, Boston being my favorite team. Me and my brother both, we've loved Boston forever. So, just to go there and play would be awesome.
What advice might you give to teenagers who hope to play baseball beyond high school?
Just, not letting people tell you (negative things) like, you can't play this position, you can't play baseball, or you're not good enough. You can be as good as you want to be, as long as you're 100% into it. And if you get one person or two people saying you're not good enough, that should just push you farther, and push you more to get better and go after it.
Other Lakewood notes....
The BlueClaws lost on Friday night, 8-1 to the Kannapolis Intimidators, a White Sox affiliate. Hot prospect Jason Knapp started the game for Lakewood, and escaped a threat in the first inning on some luck when an apparent 2-run homer was called a ground rule double. Knapp's luck did not extend past the first, however, when Kannapolis scored 4 runs in the second inning and 2 more in the third. Knapp was then lifted for reliever Jacob Diekman, who threw 5 innings of 2 hit ball, surrendering only 1 run, while striking out 5 and walking none. Knapp's season ERA inflated to 4.13 (from 2.73), and his ERA in his last 2 starts is 10.80.
The BlueClaws are 13-6 in night games, after Friday's loss.
BlueClaws second baseman Harold Garcia's 13 game hitting streak ended, as he was 0-for-4 Friday.