Alex Claudio Scouting Report: Texas Ranger lefthanded pitcher Alex Claudio ranked #26 on the LSB Community Prospect Rankings.
In the days leading up to Opening Day, I'm going to offer write-ups on the 30 players who made the Rangers' LSB Community Prospect Rankings Top 32, and who didn't get traded. I've done this the last couple of years, and I don't want to re-invent the wheel, so some of this will be a repeat of what I've written before, particularly regarding draft history or performance pre-2014. Also, this is not based on my personal observations -- I'm not a scout, and haven't seen most of these guys. I'm just aggregating the numbers and what others say about these players.
So, with that out of the way, let's take a look at Alex Claudio...
Alex Claudio is a 6'3", 160 lb. 23 year old lefthanded pitcher who was a 27th round draft pick in the 2010 draft out of Isabel Flores High School in Puerto Rico. Claudio got a $60,000 signing bonus, which is more than your average 27th rounder is going to get, so he was seen as having more potential than the slot would suggest, but that's still not top 10 round money.
Other than one inning for Spokane in the Northwest League, Claudio spent 2010-12 pitching for the Rangers' complex league team in Arizona. After posting a 6+ ERA in 2010 in a handful of innings, Claudio had solid seasons there in both 2011 and 2012, earning himself a promotion to full season ball for the 2013 season.
Heading into 2013, Claudio was generally off the prospect radar, but a terrific first half of the year for low-A Hickory opened eyes. Pitching out of the bullpen, Claudio put up a 1.15 ERA in 47 IP with 62 Ks against just 7 walks for the Crawdads, earning a promotion to AA Frisco. He had success for the Roughriders, as well, putting up a 2.84 ERA in 31.2 IP.
Despite his success at AA, Claudio was spent to high-A Myrtle Beach to start the 2014 season, and he dominated A-ball hitters. Throwing 49.1 IP over 17 games, Claudio struck out 59 hitters, walked just 9, and put up a 1.09 ERA, before finally earning a promotion back to Frisco in late June. Claudio pitched as a starter for 6 of his 8 games in Frisco, continuing to perform well, then went to AAA Round Rock for two games before finally making it to the majors in mid-August.
Once in the majors, Claudio continued to get guys out, striking out 14 and walking 4 in 12.1 IP over 15 games with a 2.92 ERA.
Claudio has a fastball he throws in the mid-80s as well as a slider, but his out pitch is a devastating changeup that got its own writeup at Beyond the Box Score in January. The changeup makes him a potential weapon against righthanders and lefthanders, and should keep him from being limited to a specialist role.
Claudio is fighting for one of the final spots in the bullpen this spring, and if he doesn't break camp with the team, he'll go to Round Rock, pitch in relief, and wait for the inevitable call to the majors. He may well spend this season bouncing back and forth between the majors and the minors, but he has the skill set to be a nice middle or setup reliever in the majors for quite a few seasons to come.