Indians acquire 7'1" reliever, Loek Van Mil
The Cleveland Indians acquired the tallest player in the major leagues on Saturday, the 7'1" right-handed reliever, Loek Van Mil. The Indians made the deal for "future considerations." Reports are rampant that those considerations will ultimately be cash.
Mil is a 27-year-old righty from the Neatherlands, who was signed by the Minnesota Twins as a non-drafted free agent way back in 2005. In 2010, he had a solid season for the Angels in Double-A, going 3-5 in 30 appearances over 66 1/3 innings pitched, with a 2.04 ERA. He struggled this season pitching in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, giving up seven earned runs during his 10 innings thusfar.
I don't know much about Van Mil, but from what I can gather, he has some interesting stuff. He has a plus fastball that has been clocked as high as 99 MPH. That has to be an interesting pitch when you consider the down angle, as well as the release point. I'm not sure of the kid's wingspan, but I've got to imagine he's letting go of that baseball a good foot further than most pitchers. He also has an interesting slider that baseball america has called a potential plus pitch in the past.
The issues with Van Mil, as you can probably imagine, are his mechanics and his location. He's pitched in 265 1/3 innings in his minor league career, striking out 195, but walking 133. He came into camp this year with the Angels looking to throw more strikes, so he was throwing at around 80% velocity, and became extremely hittable. His struggles continued into his Triple A season.
Clearly this kid isn't a world-beater, as he's 27 and still in the minors. There's clearly some novelty to him, and some quirks as well. He's the tallest recorded professional baseball player, and according to several articles I've read, he's never driven a car, instead riding a bicycle. While finding a car that fits him is clearly an issue, I'd love to see that bike. There are other quirks as well, but there have been rumors circulating all year that he's considering retiring from baseball sooner, rather than later, so this could be a short-term discussion with regards to his move to the Indians.
Van Mil has already been assigned to Columbus.
Jim is currently the senior editor and Columnist, as well as the host of IBI's weekly online radio shows, Smoke Signals and Cleveland Sports Insiders. You can follow Jim on Twitter @Jim_IBI, or contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.