Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 11/3/1989 (2014 Opening Day Age: 24)
Acquired: 2012 Draft, 19th Round
Ranking History: #13 (2013), #18 (2014)
Background: Drafted multiple times, Clinard finally signed with the Tigers following his junior year at Vanderbilt. He dominated in his initial pro debut with short-season Connecticut, posting a 1.38 ERA in seven outings before being promoted to West Michigan. Across 14 outings in full-season ball, Clinard amassed a 2.96 ERA and nearly a strikeout per inning. Clinard's dominance continued with High-A Lakeland to start the 2013 season as he posted a 1.59 ERA in 28-1/3 innings before a promotion to Double-A. With Erie he struggled to a 5.50 ERA but still flashed impressive stuff.
|2013 Stats - Pitching|
Body: Great frame; cuts an imposing presence on the mound; broad shoulders; muscular but still lean with good flexibility; excellent conditioning; quality athlete; premium pitchers body with strength throughout.
Delivery/Mechanics: Simple delivery; lets arm drag at times; lacks consistency with arm slot, though variations can be slight; needs to consistently extend better out front; has athleticism to refine delivery but hasn't put it together yet.
Fastball: Firm pitch; has some punch to it; sits 91-93 with life; touches 94 in most outings; can reach peak velo in different parts of the zone; life is maintained when he reaches for more; challenges with FB frequently; willing to pitch inside with offering; plays up beyond velo because of aggression and firmness; above-average pitch that can play plus at times and could play there with refined command. Grade – Present 5+/Future 6
Cutter: Absolutely devastating pitch; destroys hitters; thrown hard in the 89-91 mph range; commands it best of his arsenal; darts in on LHH hands; can (and will) start it off the plate on RHH and run it in over the inside corner; pitches low with it; will elevate for swing and miss; true plus pitch that will play at MLB level. Grade – 6/6
Slider: Decidedly third best pitch; lacks consistency; often lacks bite; slight vertical element in arsenal; isn't a wipeout slider that will miss bats; more of a change of pace in the mid-80s; can induce weak contact; has to pitch low consistently to avoid hanging and having it squared; can be useable fringe pitch that keeps hitters off balance; limited projection. Grade – 4+/4+
Changeup: Distant fourth pitch; lacks feel; often too firm; flattens out when he gets hard with it; doesn't throw enough to develop into effective pitch; unlikely to be significant part of arsenal at MLB level; may even be scrapped long term. Grade – 3+/4
Control/Command: Struggled to command against more refined hitters in Double-A; has ability to locate FB and CT to both sides; loves to pitch in and commands well when he does; command of SL is hit or miss; typically throws plenty of strikes but will lose zone when he tries to do too much; should continue to develop with minor league experience; potential plus control and above-average command.
Other: Extreme poise; highly intellectual; very aggressive; loves to attack hitters and make them hit his best pitches; classic reliever mentality; intensely competitive; gets off the mound well and can defend.
Summary: Presence, approach, raw stuff, and intelligence are all there to be quality MLB reliever; FB-Ct combo can dominate hitters when command is working; SL lags but can be useful third pitch; CH borders on non-factor; imposing appearance on mound; high competitor; knows what his best pitches are and isn't afraid to use them; needs to gain consistency and experience to reach ceiling suggested by intelligence and physical gifts.
Risk: Low risk; experience in upper minors; high floor; moderate ceiling; nearly MLB ready.
Projection: Could pitch in 6th/7th innings late in 2014; has potential with continued development to pitch in setup role long term; should miss enough bats to manage high-leverage situations; may see MLB this year but more likely in 2015.
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