Proving Something in Norfolk
Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Clevenger has played in 24 Major League games wearing an Orioles uniform this season. In those games, he has batted .243/.300/.378; recording eight doubles and eight RBI’s. When Matt Wieters went on the Disabled List, Clevenger was seeing more and more playing time; trying to fill the void Wieters left.
However, when Baltimore traded Troy Patton to the Padres for Nick Hundley, the Orioles had to make the tough decision on which two catchers to keep on their active roster. Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette decided Caleb Joseph and Hundley gave the Orioles the best chance to win, sending Clevenger down to Norfolk in the process.
Many Orioles fans were surprised to see Clevenger and not Joseph pack his bags for Norfolk. This did not and has not phased Clevenger though.
He realized, in order to make it back up to the Major League level, he would need to perform at a high level every night and post impressive numbers that would mirror that performance and prove he was Major League “worthy.”
Since being sent down to the Minors, he has posted a .459 batting average and drove in 13 runs. Clevenger is currently on a six game hitting streak. In those six games, he has gotten 17 hits with four of them being doubles.
Clevenger has been putting up the batting numbers necessary to get recognized from the big league club in Baltimore. He was recognized for his efforts today when he was named the International League Player of the Week.
Hundley is currently batting .125/.185/.125. Joseph is batting .136/.255/.182 since being brought up to the Orioles this season. If Showalter and Duquette are comparing batting numbers then Clevenger is an obvious choice to be the backup catcher at least.
What is keeping Clevenger down in Triple-A is his defense. He has only thrown out one base runner out of ten trying to steal and has a .988 fielding percentage.
Defense is the exact thing that kept Joseph up in the Majors. He has not committed an error in 122 innings catching from behind the plate and he has thrown out 40 percent of the base runners who have tried to steal on him. If Clevenger can improve his defensive numbers then I see him back in an Orioles uniform before the All Star break.