So just who is Maikel Cleto?
Cleto is a 21 year old right handed pitcher from the Dominican Republic. He has a power arm that can throw in the high-90s, however, the main complaint on him is that his fastball has no movement. His second pitch is a slider that needs a lot of work.
The general understanding is that Cleto will need to move to the bullpen due to his control issues and the fact that he has no real plus pitches behind the fastball. He also needs to work on getting some movement on his fastball.
Last season he started 21 games and made 2 relief appearances for the High Desert Mavericks of the Advanced Class-A California League. He posted a 6.16 ERA and a 4-9 record in 102.1 innings pitched.
In his minor league career he has a 5.17 ERA and a 10-27 record across 56 starts and 13 relief appearances.
Is this the kind of return I was hoping for from Brendan Ryan? Not at all. So much for not giving him away. Cleto is a very, very raw power pitcher. They are big gambles, but to me he looks like the second coming of Jason Motte, before he managed to begin controlling his fastball. He’ll need to develop a solid second pitch and figure out how to make that fastball move before he can be effective.
But considering that right handed reliever depth has been the only hallmark of the Cardinals’ minor league system over the last few years, I don’t quite understand this acquisition. Cleto will be most successful in the bullpen as you have to hope he turns into a solid late innings reliever. It makes me wonder what #10 told the GM to make this trade go through.