There wasn’t much time for Corbin Clouse to think the last four months.
Things were that crazy for the Grand Ledge High School graduate this summer in his debut season as a professional baseball player in the Atlanta Braves organization.
That whirlwind of a crazy stretch featured plenty of success for Clouse, who recently capped his season by helping the Rome Braves win the Single-A South Atlantic League championship.
“It was crazy,” Clouse said prior to traveling to Orlando, Florida, to begin instructional league with the Braves. “I’m used to going to playoffs and all that because I’ve been on really good teams. As soon as you go pro, it’s like extremely rare to go to playoffs. And to win playoffs in my first year as a pro — I don’t even know how to explain it.”
Clouse, a 6-foot left-handed pitcher, thrived out of the bullpen between his stops at Danville and Rome this summer. The 27th round selection by the Braves in June’s MLB draft went a combined 5-0 with five saves, a 1.19 earned run average, 53 strikeouts and just 15 walks in 30 1/3 innings pitched and 19 appearances.
“You didn’t have time to think,” Clouse said while reflecting on the year. “I went down to the mini camp for a week and then I went to Danville. I made four appearances there and then I got promoted to Rome. That was just crazy. I finally settled in, thank God. It went way too quick. You couldn’t think.”
Clouse embraced the move to the bullpen and said not having much time to think actually helped as he transitioned from being a starter. He noticed plenty of improvements on the mound from shifting to the bullpen and held opposing hitters to a .129 batting average between his two stops.
“‘My last year in college I was throwing my fastball 92, 93 (miles per hour) and I was a starter,” Clouse said. “I went to the bullpen and I started seeing my velocity go up to 95, 96, and I started getting some more accuracy. My slider was harder and my curveball was biting more. If I could just throw everything for a strike, it wasn’t hard because I had everything I needed right there in my arm. I didn’t do anything different, it just kind of clicked. For some reason my velocity jumped three miles per hour to 96 and that was it.”
Between his college season at Davenport University and the last several months with the Braves, Clouse has played more baseball than he ever has in a year. And the 21-year old, who said he’s thrown almost every day since mid-January, wouldn’t trade away anything as he chases his dream of one day reaching the majors.
“This has been what I’ve been working for my entire life,” Clouse said. “How many people get to experience what I’m experiencing right now? I’m just really grateful for the life I have right now.”
Contact Brian Calloway at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.