Clayton Mortensen Called Up (?)

Jun 29, 2009 at 8:47 am
It appears that Clayton Mortensen has been called up by the Cardinals. A poster by the name of cardsfan1 first reported it over at Future Redbirds, and this particular poster has been known to be very reliable. 

If this report is true, I have to admit being both excited and downright confused by this move. Excited because I'm extremely curious to see how Mortensen's stuff plays against the big boys; Mort has been a bit of a pet prospect of mine for quite some time, as I included him in the very first thing I ever wrote professionally. And confused because, quite honestly, I just don't see how a) the Cardinals need yet another fucking pitcher, and b) Mortensen has been strictly a starter to this point in his career. 

Of course, being strictly a starter in the minors didn't stop the Cards from using Blake Hawksworth out of the bullpen, but I could sort of understand that one. Hawksworth is well into the age where one is much more likely to be an ex-prospect than just a prospect, and the Cardinals needed a long relief type in the 'pen while Brad Thompson is taking starts. (Or, at least, they believe they need a long man, and that's really pretty much the same thing.) 

I don't know how successful Mortensen's tenure with the Cards will be, but rest assured he WILL have the longest neck on the team.  -
I don't know how successful Mortensen's tenure with the Cards will be, but rest assured he WILL have the longest neck on the team. 
So in that case, the Cards were able to kill two birds with one stone, getting Hawksworth a look at the major league level in order to see if there's really anything there, and bring in a guy who can throw some low-leverage innings if something goes horribly wrong with the starter. 

In the case of Mortensen, though, he's still seen very much as a developing pitcher. He has very good stuff, with a sinker/ changeup combo that can be dominating at times, and a slider best described as useful. What he lacks is consistency with his command, as the sinker in particular can get very squirrelly, largely due to the remarkable movement on the pitch. (Here's some video of Mort's mechanics, along with some great analysis from Carlos Gomez, now a scout for Arizona.) Mortensen was drafted as a college senior in 2007, so he isn't extremely young himself, turning 24 in early April. (And for the record, I still stand by my comparison of a poor man's Brandon Webb, another sinkerballer who didn't reach the majors until age 24 due to trouble controlling his sinker.) I suppose it might be a good idea to see how Mort does against ML competition, if only to get a feel for whether or not he's an option for the rotation in 2010, but I also wonder what kind of audition he'll receive. 

Personally, I hope Mortensen is here to take Todd Wellemeyer's start, and the Colonel is headed to the disabled list with an acute case of suckitis, but I doubt that's the idea. Somehow, I'm sure this was just a case of wanting to get back to 13 pitchers with Khalil Greene apparently having issues again and looking as if he may be DL bound again. If Mort is here to make a spot start and see what he's got, great. I'm excited. If he's here to be just another mop-up reliever for a team that already has at least one and tosses four innings in two weeks, then I'm not nearly as excited. 

Time will tell, I suppose, but for now I wish to welcome our new sinker-throwing overlord. May his enemies' end be swift and merciless. And may Joe Thurston not then let them on base with a shitty throw that pulls Albert off the bag.