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Scottsdale, Arizona —— Originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles out of the University of Oregon in 2015, Garrett Cleavinger was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies as part of the Jeremy Hellickson deal in July, 2017. The left-handed pitching prospect spent the entire summer in Double-A split between the two clubs (in Bowie with Baltimore, and then Reading with Philadelphia), and while he had a tough year statistically, there’s still a lot to like about Cleavinger as a future relief option. In 38 games pitched (all relief) across 2017, the lefty threw 54.0 innings and allowed 57 hits and 32 walks against 59 strikeouts, finishing 2-5 with a 6.00 ERA and four saves.

Now out at the Arizona Fall League so the Philadelphia Phillies can get a longer look at him heading into spring training, Garrett Cleavinger has appeared in six games entering play on Thursday, and allowed five earned runs in 5.1 innings on eight hits, no walks, and four strikeouts. (It should be noted that all five earned runs came in one outing that lasted one-third of an inning, and Cleavinger’s five other outings have each been scoreless innings.) We’ve seen Garrett Cleavinger throw three times so far in Arizona Fall League play for the Glendale Desert Dogs, and you can see two of those outings (both against the Scottsdale Scorpions, ironically) on video here:

Please don’t forget to subscribe to the Baseball Census YouTube channel for thousands more baseball prospect videos just like this one. Below, you’ll find full game notes on Garrett Cleavinger after we’ve now seen three of his outings — and captured video on two — from out at the Arizona Fall League in October.

Garrett Cleavinger, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies — Game Notes

Dates: October 14; October 18; October 30
Games: Glendale Desert Dogs (2); Arizona Fall League


Four-Seam Fastball
Good life with great arm extension out front; deceptively hard, jumps on hitters quickly and pops the mitt. Relative lack of arm-side run or late movement with four-seamer; no significant downward plane due to low three-quarters arm slot that can flatten him out, but a good pitch to start ahead early in counts thanks to above-average command. Velocity: 89-91, T 92

Two-Seam Fastball
Good, late arm-side life with sink. Ability to manipulate the ball down and to his arm-side especially; will eat up LHH on inner half with some deceptive velocity. Arm action helps sell the pitch and extension out front gives it late life; well served to continue using this pitch to induce ground balls when down in the zone; enough late life to generally stay away from the barrel. Velocity: 87-89, T 90

Outside shot at becoming a plus pitch; Cleavinger’s overall solid arm action is best exemplified here, where he really sells the changeup with arm speed and extension. Good life with tumble and some arm-side run; works well to RHH away, as well as working as a change of pace to LHH. There is a tendency to drop his elbow at times and push the pitch upwards to the plate, getting under it and losing the life. That’s somewhat infrequent and certainly correctable through repetition, though. Good feel for the changeup with advanced understanding of how/when to use it. Velocity: 81-82, T 83

Big breaker with tight spin and consistent 10-to-4 manipulation. Particularly difficult to square up for LHH. Large break and movement plane-to-plane, but doesn’t really become slurve-like; tight spin keeps pitch effective. Legitimate ability to miss bats with two different looks: get-over pitch early in counts, and/or when behind/pitching backwards, and a wipeout version in the dirt when ahead. Will account for most of his strikeouts, and the big sweeper makes for an uncomfortable at-bat for opposing LHH. Velocity: 82-83, T 84

Control ahead of command, but both have looked above-average at AFL. Good command profile for his entire arsenal; ability to throw strikes with every pitch, including off-speed. No control drop-off when pitching with runners on; attacks the zone and shows some ability to sequence with consistent ability to keep the ball down.

Conventional delivery with three-quarters release point. Steps ever so slightly closed off to the plate with some deception and discomfort for hitters, especially LHH. Tight arm action in the back and quick no-nonsense delivery to the plate. Repeatable mechanics with great arm speed and extension out front. Well below max effort. Must keep arm and elbow up on changeup, tendency to drop elbow there, but infrequent and likely easily correctable.

Far, far more impressive in person than his 2017 statistics would suggest. Likely future as a high-leverage left-handed specialist; Cleavinger can miss bats with three workable pitches, so barring something totally unforeseen, he should provide big league by 2019 if not slightly sooner. Good buy-low trade piece for the Philadelphia Phillies pro scouting department to ask for in the larger Hellickson deal; may prove to be a shrewd addition in the next few years on a club with plenty of other young pieces coming quickly to capitalize on a contention window soon.


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