The Cleveland Indians announced that they have claimed right-handed pitcher Robert Whitenack off of waivers today from the Chicago Cubs and optioned him to Double-A Akron.
Whitenack, 24, was designated for assignment on Monday and has gone 19-18 with a 4.13 ERA (142 ER/309.1 IP) in 69 games (65 starts) across four minor league seasons since being selected by Chicago in the 8th round of the 2009 draft out of SUNY Old Westbury.
After undergoing ‘Tommy John’ ligament transplant surgery in June of 2011, the Queens, NY native returned to make 15 starts for High-A Daytona last season. At one point in 2012, Whitenack struck out seven consecutive members of the As organization, including longtime Indians outfielder Manny Ramirez. He had, at times, been considered one of the top pitching prospects in the Cubs’ organization—MLB.com had Whitenack listed 15th heading into 2013. Prior to the injury, Whitenack went 18-12 with a 3.77 ERA (108 ER/258.0 IP) over 54 games (50 starts) from 2009-11.
Not a power arm, Whitenack has a sinking fastball that tops out in the low 90s, but compliments it with location and strong use of multiple off-speed options—a slider, a knuckle curveball, and a change-up.
To make room for the 6-foot-5-inch Whitenack on the Indians 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Frank Herrmann has been transferred to the 60-day disabled list following Tommy John surgery earlier this year. Herrmann appearened in 15 games (19.1 innings) in 2012 with an ERA of 2.33. He recorded 14 strikeouts, four walks and a WHIP of 0.83. He did not record a decision.