According to the Braves official website they signed minor league free agent right hander Clay Schrader to a minor league deal Thursday. Schrader was the tenth round pick of the Baltimore’s in the 2010 draft and has a 2.62 ERA with 11.5 K/9 and 6.5 BB/9 in 172 innings of relief in the minors. He was their #12 prospect after 2011 and #17 after 2012. Baseball America (subscription required) described him like this.
He’s strictly a bullpen arm, but he gets outs and has averaged 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings as a pro. His lively fastball sits at 91-95 mph and his 79-82 mph slider has hard bite. Schrader throws across his body, lands with a stiff front leg and has a recoiling arm action, which provide deception but raise red flags. He missed time at the end of 2011 with elbow tendinitis and tenderness. He struggles to throw consistent strikes, which will be a greater concern as he moves up the ladder. If he can develop better control and command, Schrader will profile as a set-up man and could move quickly. Otherwise he’ll be a middle reliever.
Though 2012 was successful – he was had the organizations best slider that year – in 2013 his ERA ballooned to 4.34 and his WHIP climbed to 1.518. He remains a strikeout pitcher – 11.9 per 9 innings – but like many young hard throwers his control has been inconsistent and walks got him in trouble – 6.5 per 9 innings. The orioles released him in March of this year. There’s no official word about his assignment but Mississippi seems a likely destination.