Mariners Top 20 Prospects – #11 – Maikel Cleto


This is a series in which I’ll be going over my personal top 20 Seattle Mariners 2010 Prospects. As you can see, I’ll be counting them down, starting at 20, and I’ll try to do them, well, whenever I get the chance. Keep in mind that almost all of these are completely debatable, and reflect only my personal opinions.

Maikel Cleto is a 20 year old, right handed pitcher out of the Dominican Republic. The Mariners acquired him from the Mets at the end of 2008, as a part of the super-deal that brought Franklin Gutierrez to Seattle and sent JJ Putz to New York.

Cleto hardly got any time to make an impression on the Mariners system in 2009, as visa issues were apparently keeping him from getting over here. However, he didn’t pitch real well over the 25 innings he did get a chance to throw – although his luck was absolutely terrible (.395 BABIP). He’s currently being used as a starter, but the general opinion is that he’ll eventually end up as a reliever, mainly because of his control issues and lack of a good offspeed pitch. He has a chance at sticking as a starter, but that’s only going to happen if he can improve his command and either develop a decent breaking ball or improve the mediocre curve that he already throws.

He does have one big thing going for him, though, and that’s the fact that he throws hard. His fastball generally sits in the low to mid 90’s, occasionally touching as high as 97. While it would be really nice if he had a good offspeed pitch to compliment that blazing fastball, because of the fact that he’s still only 20, there’s plenty of time for that. While his repertoire isn’t quite there yet, there’s certainly a chance that he’ll be able to improve it over the next couple of years, in which case he’ll be significantly more valuable, and may actually have a shot at sticking as a starter.

The other knock I’ve heard on Cleto is that his fastball is rather… straight. While it’s nice to throw hard, [ignore this]as we’ve seen in the past with guys like Mark Lowe[ignore this], if you don’t have movement, you’re still very hittable. So, that’s three things Cleto needs to improve on – iffy command, mediocre repertoire, and a straight fastball. That’s quite a load to handle, but like I said, he’s still quite young, and the velocity is already there. A couple small improvements, and he’ll have a shot at ending up as a solid late inning guy, a few large improvements, and he could end up a successful big league starter. Only time will tell.