Matt Klinker came into the 2009 season better known as one of RedlegNation.com‘s spotlight players rather than a legit prospect for the Reds. That changed in 2009 as Klinker went through three levels and perched himself a step away from the major leagues. Here is what his final line looked like:
Klinker began the season in Sarasota and had good peripherals in April, but had bad results. Despite 23 strikeouts and just 5 walks in 28 inning opposing hitters had a .315 average against thanks to a .386 BABIP in the month. May didn’t get off to a good start in May though. In the second start of the month the right hander had to leave the game early with shoulder discomfort and wound up missing 5 weeks of the season at that time. Klinker came back June 17th with a vengeance though as he struck out 7 and walked no one over 5.2 shutout innings as well as following it up with a 9 strikeout, 6 shutout inning performance in his next start. After one more start in Sarasota the Reds sent Klinker up to AA Carolina to help their rotation. The Furman product was only in Carolina for 6 starts as he posted 40 strikeouts, 13 walks and a 2.95 ERA before being promoted once again. Louisville seemed to follow the trend of pitching better at the next level, at least in terms of ERA. The month of August saw Klinker throw 29 innings of 2.48 ERA with 13 walks and 30 strikeouts for the Bats before finding himself on the DL to end the year. As Matt himself made note of here, his arm is fine structurally.
Here is how his season played out after each start:
The strikeout rate started out good and got better as the season went on, making its way up to an elite prospect level of 25%. The walk rate began at elite and worked its way into a slightly above average range at 7.5%. As noted, the ERA got off to a rough start due to some bad luck while in Sarasota, but as things tend to do, it all evened itself out as Klinker saw his ERA lower itself big time over his next two levels.