Assessing Steve Clevenger’s performance in 2014
By Mike Franz
Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
On July 2nd, 2013, Steve Clevenger was traded from the Cubs to the Baltimore Orioles along with Scott Feldman for pitchers Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop. This trade was a dream come true for Clevenger as he grew up as an Orioles fan in Glenn Burnie, Maryland. Although in 2013 he only played in four games, he did record a double and two RBI as the backup catcher.
In 2014, he made the Opening Day roster as the backup catcher to the three-time All-Star Matt Wieters. In April he started off batting well, hitting .250/.348/.500 with four RBI and four extra-base hits.
Then when Wieters went down due to an elbow injury, Clevenger was the first choice when it came to who would catch for the Orioles. He continued to hit well as the starting catcher through the month of May, which included a walk-off RBI double on May 10th against the Astros. However after that heroic moment, his season went downhill from there.
After that his batting average began to plummet. Once the Orioles called up Caleb Joseph from Triple-A Norfolk and acquired Nick Hundley in a trade with the Padres on May 22nd, Clevenger played just 11 more games during the 2014 season.
He spent the rest of the time in the Minors with the Orioles’ Triple-A Affiliate, the Norfolk Tides. There he batted an impressive .305/.366/.389 with two home runs and 30 RBI.
His defense also improved while down in Norfolk as well. While with the Orioles in 2o14, he only threw out 15% of base runners attempting to steal (3-20). In Norfolk, that number jumped up to 26% (11-42).
Although Joseph’s defense was far better than Hundley and Clevenger’s, their batting numbers are relatively similar with no clear outliers.
However, with Wieters returning to the Orioles as the starting catcher next season and Joseph’s defense most likely earning him the backup catcher role, both Clevenger and Hundley may be out of luck in Baltimore.