Padres: What to Expect From Mike Clevinger as He Makes First Start

The San Diego Padres picked up a big piece at the trade deadline, but what can fans expect from the right-handed starting pitcher?

There is no question the San Diego Padres made the biggest move of the trade deadline in acquiring Mike Clevinger.

But as Padres fans who may just see the numbers, I wanted to take a closer look at what makes Clevinger a top of the rotation starter.

However, let’s take a quick look at the basics. In five seasons he has a 3.20 ERA in 523.1 innings with 584 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.20.

That’s enough to prove to you that he’s been a very good pitcher for a while in the big leagues.

The 29-year-old, 6-foot-4 righty throws a four-seam fastball (94 MPH), slider (82 MPH), curveball (76 MPH), changeup (87 MPH), and cutter (89 MPH).

Like most pitchers, we’ve seen him throw his fastball a lot less in 2020; although it’s still his predominant pitch throwing it 41 percent of the time. And we’ve seen his slider usage go up.

Perhaps that’s because hitter are batting just .130 against his slider in 2020 and they hit just .174 against it last year. And on the flip side, batters are hitting .294 against his fastball this year and he’s getting just a 22.7 percent Whiff rate compared to 30 percent in 2019.

We have to keep in mind that he’s made just 4 starts this year and has thrown just 22.2 innings, so the sample size for 2020 is very small.

However, his K% is down a good bit at 22.6 percent from 33.9 percent last year.

The cutter is a pitch he just started throwing this year, and while he hasn’t thrown it a lot, batters are swinging and missing it half of the time when they do offer at the pitch.

If can tailor that to become another out pitch in his arsenal we could see him be even better.

 

What can Padres fans expect?

The bottom line is, Padres fans can expect to see a starting pitcher who won’t walk a ton of batters (9.6 percent career BB%), will go deep into games (averaging 6.1 innings per start over last three years, and someone that will give his team a chance to win every time out (36 quality starts in last 57 starts).

I’m excited to see what Clevinger does in a Padres uniform and if he can career the success he had in Cleveland (where everyone seems to pitch well) over to San Diego.

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Perhaps he can share some of that knowledge he gained from Cleveland to help elevate other young starters in the Padres rotation as well.

 

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