Toronto Blue Jays Prospects

Blue Jays 2015 Top Prospects Wrap Up: Clinton Hollon

By Ryan Mueller
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Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Clinton Hollon was selected in the 2nd round of the 2013 draft along with fellow Top Prospects DH Rowdy Tellez, RHP Conner Greene, and C Danny Jansen. Hollon made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays and flashed a plus fastball, slider with plus potential, knuckle-curve and change.

On May 19th, 2014 Clinton set out this tweet,

The Blue Jays placed the talented RHP on the 60-day disabled list on June 19th, 2014 and didn’t throw a pitch for the entire season. After 13 months, Hollon started the 2015 season with the Vancouver Canadians and made his first start on June 18th, a 7 strikeout performance against Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.

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At 20-years-old and fresh off Tommy John surgery, Hollon was on a pitch count (75 pitches), yet he managed to pitch into the 7th inning twice, 6th inning twice and the 5th inning five times. Clinton appeared well on his way to establishing himself as one of the system’s newest rising stars before violating the minor league drug program by testing positive for amphetamine on August 21st, 2015.

The positive drug test came with a 50-game suspension and ended his season, and will postpone the start of his 2016 season. This suspension could either be very good or very bad.

The early end to the 2015 season could give Hollon’s surgically repair elbow with some much-needed rest after throwing 58.2 innings. On the other hand, coupling a 50-game suspension with missing the entire 2014 season could be harmful to his development.

Either way, Hollon made strides in 2015.

The main knock against pitchers fresh off TJ is they lack command and finish to their pitches, especially secondary pitches. This didn’t seem to be the case with Hollon, whose best start came on August 5th, during his first game with the Lugnuts against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Hollon struck out 9 batters on July 8th, but his 7 innings, 2 runs allowed and 2 strikeouts against Wisconsin generated the highest game score of 75.

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Hollon finished with a 3-3 record, 3.38 ERA and 3.99 FIP between Vancouver and Lansing. Clinton struggled with his command in his brief time with the Lugnuts, seeing his walk rate rise from 2.98 to 4.73 BB/9 and saw his K rate plummet from 7.94 to 3.38 K/9.

The increased walk rate and decreased strike out with the Lugnuts was a result of hitters being more mature and selective. He struck out 45 and walked 22 over 58.2IP.

Hollon held LHB to .204 batting average and RHB to .241 batting average with a BABIP of .284 (SS A-) and .250 (A). Typically when pitchers generate ground balls and fly balls at a rate of 1:1 (0.97 GO/AO), they surrender more than only 1 home run. That one home run came in his third start and he did allow another through his final 42IP and 9 starts.

Mandatory Credit: MLBfarm.com

Not only did Hollon do a good job of limiting the long ball but he did a solid job of limiting base runners with 7.4 H/9 and a very solid WHIP of 1.193.

Prognosis for 2016

Hollon will start the year with the Lansing Lugnuts after he serves the rest of his suspension. Look for the Jays to show patience with Hollon with a mid-season promotion to Dunedin, but it’s unlikely that Hollon will see New Hampshire in 2016.

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