Claudio’s Call-up Is No Changeup

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Alex Claudio works home with his trademark changeup.

The writing was on the wall for Alex Claudio to make his Rangers debut, and the former 27th round draft choice did just that on Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rays. In a 10-1 thumping at Globe Life Park, Claudio pitched the eighth inning and allowed no runs on no hits with no walks and one strikeout. The Puerto Rican, and new father, tossed nine pitches and seven for strikes.

Claudio enjoyed a good run with the ‘Riders over the middle part of the season. Despite his preference to pitch out the bullpen (he was excited the arrival of Jake Thompson meant he could work as a reliever), Frisco utilized the lefty primarily as a starter. Claudio did not miss a beat. He posted a 2-2 record and a 2.17 ERA through eight appearances and six starts. Over 37 1/3 innings, Claudio allowed nine earned runs and only two walks alongside 22 strikeouts. When Thompson did arrive, the ‘Riders, albeit briefly, had a lock-down southpaw in the pen that could pitch extended innings if necessary.

Fans may remember Claudio broke camp with the ‘Riders before the season, but he wound up on the wrong side of a numbers game and the organization sent him to Advanced-A Myrtle Beach to begin the season. To his credit, Claudio didn’t sulk and instead dominated to the tune of a 1.09 ERA over nearly 50 innings. ‘Riders fans should be thankful for the month they had with Claudio (June 28-August 3), but personally, I selfishly lamented to Alex how Frisco had been deprived of some time with the changeup specialist.

Interestingly, Claudio’s style of pitching, with a fastball that maxed out in the mid-80s (yes, a fastball), may have suited him better for Triple-A, where pitchers rely less on pure power and more on moving pitches and off speed stuff than in the comparatively fireballing Double-A ranks. But the wiry 6-foot-3, 160-pounder lasted only 5 1/3 innings with Round Rock before the Rangers made Claudio the 121st RoughRider to play in a major league game and 14th this season. Based on his season with three different affiliates, the decision to give the 22-year-old a ticket to the show is certainly no changeup.

In case you missed it, take a listen to our interview with Alex on July 23. Thanks once again to Guilder Rodriguez who served as translator.

 

Thanks for tuning in!

-Chris V.

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