Tyler Cloyd dominated in the minors last season thanks to a refined repertoire and top-level command. Running through Eastern League and International League competition, Cloyd reached the big leagues by season’s end and is in a position to potentially help the big club in the coming season.
An 18th round draft selection in 2008, Cloyd began his pro career that year, posting a 7-4 record with a 3.91 ERA in 14 outings combined with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies and short-season Class A Williamsport. Since then, the 6-foot-3-inch 210-pounder has had winning records every season, while alternating between starting and relief duties.
In 2009, splitting time between Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater, Cloyd went 12-9 with a 3.54 ERA in 27 games (26 starts). In 2010, Cloyd made 31 relief appearances and four starts for Clearwater, posting a 4-3 record with a 5.32 ERA. He also made two appearances with Double-A Reading that year, earning a 1-1 record with a 4.00 ERA.
Whether it’s as a starter or pitching out of the bullpen, Cloyd has become comfortable taking the mound in any role, as evidenced by his 2011 output. Cloyd would go on to appear in 31 games (22 starts) for Clearwater and Reading that year, collecting a 9-4 record, a 2.77 ERA and an 8.51 K/9 mark, which proved to be a career best. Following the season, Cloyd pitched in the Arizona Fall League but wasn’t as sharp in a starting role there, 4 record with a 4.35 ERA.
In his finest season as a professional last year, Cloyd posted a 15-1 record while notching career bests in ERA at 2.26 and batting average against with a .214 mark in 26 combined starts at Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Although many of his other stats were at a professional peak, his K/9 mark fell to 6.09 during last year’s minor league campaign.
Late in August, the Nebraska native joined the big league Phillies’ starting rotation, filling in for an ailing Cole Hamels. In five starts in the Majors, Cloyd tallied a 2-2 record along with a 4.91 ERA. He ended the season sidelined with arm fatigue.
Cloyd’s ability to throw strikes has been his strength, throughout his career. While his upper-80’s fastball isn’t among the most acclaimed in the organization, his command is tough to beat. Additionally, the 25-year-old has added a cutter and improved his curveball while eliminating the slider from his offerings.
Fairly reliant on his routine and some superstitions, Cloyd keeps his production up by sticking to things that have become habitual. His night-before-a-start massage and his lucky underwear keep his body as well as the mental side of his game on point. Also, Cloyd says he requires chewing gum while he’s on the mound to avoid headaches.
A young minor league veteran, Cloyd knows that he can command every aspect of his game and he is capable of dictating the pace of a contest, no matter what the scenario may be. The coming season should provide Cloyd, in one role or another, with an opportunity to, again, see how well his abilities translate at the big league level.