Tigers Scouting Report #18: Will Clinard

After being selected in the 19th round two years ago, Will Clinard quickly impressed and has since moved up the ladder rapidly, to the point that he could be knocking on the big league door. Clinard has one pitch that makes him so effective - what is it, and why is it so good?

Will Clinard


Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 11/3/1989 (2014 Opening Day Age: 24)
Height/Weight: 6-4/225
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
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
Lakeland 150228.12115552331.590.921-2
Erie 220134.13762221202625.501.662-3

Scouting Report

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.

Final Word

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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