Maikel Cleto: Know Your St. Louis Cardinals Call-Up

The St. Louis Cardinals divested themselves of soft-tossers Thursday, optioning both Brandon Dickson (average fastball: 89.8) and Chuckie Fick (88.8) in favor of Sam Freeman—discussed here—and Maikel Cleto, average fastball 98.4 miles per hour. You may remember him from last year's wild appearances, or the Cardinals ill-advised trade of Brendan Ryan to make room for Ryan Theriot, but it's time today for The Sports of St. Louis to play America's favorite game, Know Your 2012 St. Louis Cardinals Call-Up.

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Cleto throws really, really fast; when he's not throwing really, really fast, he throws a slider that he's heretofore struggled to command.

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That's the story in a sentence, but the Cardinals actually made a big decision with Cleto when they moved him permanently to the bullpen despite a solid showing in AA and AAA last year at 22 years old. He's looked good there since, striking out 34 batters in 26 innings. In St. Louis he'll start out as Brandon Dickson's replacement in long relief, but Cleto's advantage is that he has the stuff to move rapidly into a seventh-inning role, if he gets off to a good start.

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And if he doesn't? Well, soft-tossers are, like cockroaches, incredibly resilient—Dickson and Fick will probably outlive us all.

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