Clevenger Working on New Position(s)

Chipola Junior College head coach Jeff Johnson believed Steve Clevenger was likely a candidate to be moved elsewhere around the infield when the 20-year-old was taken in the seventh round of this past June's draft. Just days later, Johnson was proven right.

"Defensively, he has very good hands and average major league arm strength," Johnson said of Clevenger after the draft. "He's very smooth. I could perceive him moving to third base somewhere along the way."

The move to third hasn't happened ... yet.

Clevenger came to the Cubs primarily as a shortstop. Immediately upon arriving in Boise for the start of his professional career, however, he went right to work as the Class Low-A club's starting second baseman.

He is now one of the many low-level Cubs prospects in the organization's annual Instructional League camp in Arizona, where it's no surprise that defense is front and center on his plate this month.

"I'm pretty much working on second and third base to see which position fits me better," Clevenger says of Instructs.

And while Clevenger's career is still in the beginning stages, he also proved Johnson right with regards to hitting this past season.

"As far as being a good, polished hitter, he's as good as anybody out there," Johnson said of the left-handed hitting Clevenger, who finished tied for ninth in the Northwest League in average with a .286 mark in 63 games.

"Average-wise, I think he'll hit well everywhere he goes."

Indeed, Clevenger's numbers with the bat didn't take much of a hit during the ascension from the junior college level to the minor leagues. He would overcome a 5-for-30 performance at the start of the season to finish with the fourth best batting average overall among Hawks players.

Clevenger struck out just 28 times in over 200 at-bats and drew almost equally as many walks with 26 on the year for a team-best .363 OBP.

He got on a roll midway through July, batting .358 in 25 games that month and having drawn 15 walks to only 11 strikeouts once August began.

"I thought I could have done a little bit better," Clevenger said of his season at the plate. "I started off slow and then started to pick up toward the end."

Clevenger made all 62 of his regular season starts at second with the Hawks and committed 11 errors while posting a .966 fielding percentage.

As modest as he is about his numbers at the plate, he believes the transition to second came with fairly decent success.

"I felt pretty good there. There's a big difference between second and short," he stated. "Turning the double plays is different. At short, everything is in front of you whereas at second base, you have to wait on everything."

Now, he's ready for another new position on the infield.

"It's two totally different positions and it takes time to get used to both of them," Clevenger said.

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