Heading into Spring Training, it was pretty much a lock that the Indians top four starters would be Fausto Carmona, Justin Masterson, Carlos Carrasco, and Mitch Talbot. Anything short of a complete collapse by Carrasco or Talbot would keep them locked in.
Or so we think.
Carrasco is a legitimate prospect with the kind of arm the Indians are looking for. He impressed over the last month of the season when he was with the parent club and is looking to build on that during his first full season in the majors. I for am excited to see that development. Most people gloss over the fact that Carrasco was a one time can’t miss prospect in the Phillies organization.
The guy I’m concerned about is Talbot. We dubbed him “The Fury” last year after his quick start (and reference to the highly underrated comedy “Road Trip). He was never spectacular, but he always seemed solid during the first three months of the season. One thing that could be counted on was Talbot pitching six innings and giving his team a chance to win the game.
Then came the injury. He was 8-6 with a 3.88 ERA Only July 1st and there was actually talk of him being the Indians lone All-Star. But his back flared up and the guy was saw during the first half of the season was never the same. After the break, Talbot was just 2-5 with a 5.29 ERA in 11 starts. His strikeout to walk ratio, which was never good to begin with, was 34 to 25 and opposing batters hit .300 off of him. Those numbers were essentially saved by his seven inning, zero run, outing against Detroit during the last week of the season.
This spring, The Fury arrived healthy and with a job in tow, unlike last Spring when he was so dominant, the Tribe had no choice but to put him in the rotation. The results couldn’t be more different. He has made two starts, lasting just 3.2 innings, allowing a whopping 11 earned runs and three homers. He has walked three and struck out none.
If Talbot had a big league track record of success, it would chalk this up to being early in Spring where his feet were still getting wet. But its not as if he has electric stuff to begin with. When Talbot is cold, he is a swimming pool full of ice. The thing is if this pattern continues, the Indians will most likely keep him in the rotation and let him work things out when it counts. Talbot is out of options.
I am in no way panicking with Talbot, don’t get me wrong. But I am moving into the concerned stage. He did it with smoke and mirrors early last year when there was no book on him, but baseball is all about adjustments. Lets see how Talbot works through it over the next few weeks. He starts today against Eric Wedge’s Seattle Grinders in Goodyear at 3:05 PM.