April 23, 2014

Luck and Suck: FanGraphs digs in on two Tribe pitchers

Corey Kluber

Small sample sizes rarely stop the crew over at FanGraphs—if anything, they thrive on them, helping hardcore fans understand why a player hasn’t exactly done what has been expected of him, either for the better or worse. Given the small sample size discussion from our own Jon earlier this week, the latest from FanGraphs falls right in line, discussing the merits (or lackthereof) of the struggles being exhibited by two of Cleveland’s own: Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco.

In a post titled “Buy Low on Corey Kluber,” Scott Spratt echoes much of what Steiner said, focusing solely on the stoic one and his 5.50 ERA.

Kluber’s 8.64 strikeouts and 1.62 walks per nine innings are in line with his 8.31 and 2.02 rates from last year when he carried a 3.85 ERA for the season. In fact, Kluber’s 3.31 FIP is almost identical to his 3.30 FIP from 2013. It stands to reason that his ERA will fall in line if he continues to pitch this way.

Kluber is not unusual as a victim of the small-sample madness of the first few weeks of the new season. However, I do think circumstances have conspired to make him particularly vulnerable, and those circumstances have just improved.

To date, only the Minnesota Twins have been worse defensively in the outfield than the Indians based on the combined Defensive Runs Saved totals of the three outfield positions. The Indians have lost eight runs in the outfield, and almost all of it has been the result of Nyjer Morgan and Michael Brantley in center field.

Spratt, in addition to luck and a .411 BABiP, believes that the addition of Michael Bourn alone should allow for the fly-ball happy Kluber to regain his relative success. While it seemed crazy a few days ago, the fact that Morgan has been tagged with a league-worst five runs to this point speaks volumes to his demotion. While the article doesn’t mention the loss of Drew Stubbs as well, it does appear that if Bourn can provide at least baseline levels of defense, the team will be that much more better off—regardless of what he does at the plate.

Regarding Carrasco, things appear to be a bit less luck-based and more, well, Carrasco-based.

It’s easy to point to his 3.51 SIERA, ridiculous .400 BABIP and 53.8% LOB% and claim he’ll enjoy better luck moving forward. Similarly, it’s also simple to call him a head case, perform no analysis whatsoever, and move on. But of course, I’m not going to do either of these things. With a repertoire that seemingly appears fantastic, why isn’t Carrasco the best pitcher in baseball?

The odd thing about the inflated BABIP is that he has a allowed an LD% of just 12.9%. Given that line drives go for hits most frequently of all the batted ball types, it’s a surprise that he has allowed so many hits when the majority of his balls in play are ground balls. [...]

Although Carrasco’s fastball sits in the mid-90s and has touched as high as 96.7 mph this year and 98.1 mph historically, the pitch has been clobbered. He throws both a four-seamer and a two-seamer and both have been absolutely wretched. This year, the four-seamer, which he throws most often, has been hit to the tune of a .381 wOBA. While that’s terrible, that’s nothing compared to what hitters have done to his poor two-seamer.

Batters have quite enjoyed Carrasco’s two-seam fastball. How much you ask? Oh, just a delightful .761 wOBA. That’s not OPS, that’s wOBA. In OPS terms, it’s 1.811, including a .444 ISO and .667 batting average. Yeeesh. When you’re fastballs are that bad and you throw them a combined 60% of the time, no wonder why you’re getting blasted.

Fans have always loved Carrasco’s live arm—players who can get the ball up in the 90s are just fun to watch. That said, it’s intriguing that the best pitch for guy who can nearly hit triple-digits is actually his change-up. Carrasco simply can’t locate his heat. He touches 95 on the regular, but any major league baseball player can hit that when it’s served up over the middle of the plate, as Carlos has been thus far. Whether or not Mickey Callaway can coach Carrasco—and whether or not the pitcher can be coached—will be one huge storyline heading into May, especially with Trevor Bauer tossing yet another gem on Wednesday night1.

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

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Footnotes:

  1. Six innings, no runs on five hits, striking out nine batters with just one walk. []

Starting pitching excels in double dip split with Padres

Trevor BauerWhomever in the MLB scheduling department that decided having the San Diego Padres come to Cleveland for their one appearance in early April is a genius. Now seriously, who thought this was a good idea? Naturally bad weather postponed Monday night’s game, causing a traditional doubleheader to be played on Wednesday, which was supposed to be the Padres getaway day. It is the second time the Tribe has played a doubleheader this season, which is just a week and a half old.

The Indians sent Zach McAllister to the hill for game one. The last time we saw Zach, his command was a mess. He only could muster four innings, giving up three runs on six hits and four walks. After the first time through the rotation, I will admit McAllister was the guy I worried about the most. For the Indians to reach their goal of returning to the postseason, McAllister has to be very good.

Yesterday afternoon, he wasn’t just good….he was GREAT. [Read more...]

Indians option Vinnie Pestano to Columbus, recall C.C. Lee

Vinne Pestano

Fresh off of a ninth inning that left a lot to be desired, the Cleveland Indians have optioned relief pitcher Vinnie Pestano to Columbus and recalled C.C. Lee.

Pestano, who had (by all accounts) regained the velocity which had escaped him a year prior, will leave the big league club with a 13.50 ERA in three relief appearances. With a fastball that has been clocked in the high-80s, Pestano has allowed eight hits and six runs (four earned) after opening the season on the Major League roster.

Lee, 27, will be making his second stint at the Major League level in 2014, spending one day with the club on April 2 as the “26th man”.  He has made two relief appearances for Columbus, going 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA and four strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings.

The team has also formally announced the recalling of Trevor Bauer who will start the second game of Wednesday’s traditional doubleheader. He’s coming off of a six-inning start with the Clippers wherein he allowed just two hits and struck out nine.

Trevor Bauer could be in line for first start of 2014

bauer acab

With Monday’s game against the San Diego Padres washed out by Mother Nature, Tribe pitching prospect Trevor Bauer could be in line for his first start of 2014 when the two teams lock up in a traditional double-header on Wednesday. Zach McAllister (who wound up with a no-decision last week) is scheduled to start one of the games of the doubleheader, with the Indians expected to promote a pitcher from Columbus to start the other. Bauer, who fresh off of a two-hit gem late last week, would be in line to take the bump.

In his debut for the Clippers, the heady Bauer frequently saw his fastball settle in around 95 miles-per-hour, fanning nine and walking just two in six innings of work. The kid’s struggles are well-documented, but at just 23 years old, things may finally be clicking for the former highly touted prospect.

The Indians could certainly use some clarity at the bottom of the rotation as Carlos Carrasco was anything but solid in his 2014 debut this past weekend. Similarly, Josh Tomlin had a debut to forget, allowing five hits and four earned runs (walking three) in just six innings in a loss to Indianapolis.

Raburn Rocking, Bauer Rocked: Tuesday Tribe Notes

Josh TomlinWe are now two weeks into the game portion of Spring Training, so it is time to take stock of what we have learned thus far. There are plenty of intriguing battles going on. Some players have made statements, while others are still trying to make up ground. I have kept my ear to the ground and as always, I’ve tried to stay on top of all the goings-on in Goodyear. With just 20 days until the opener in Oakland, I file this report….

While Raburn sizzles, Murphy isn’t ready. Of all of the pleasant surprises of the 2013 playoff season, perhaps none was bigger than the renaissance of Ryan Raburn. A big reason that the former Tiger was so good was the genius of manager Terry Francona. Tito played Raburn perfectly; he didn’t overuse him, picking and choosing his spots, yet he knew when to ride him when he was sizzling. Midway through the season, Raburn smartly signed a two-year extension with the Tribe for $4.75 million. Knowing Ryan is at his best in the role he played last season, GM Chris Antonetti signed David Murphy from Texas to a two-year deal. The rightfield platoon was all set. [Read more...]

Francisco Lindor’s homer propels Tribe

Lindor HRYouth was served as the Indians improved to 3-1 in the Cactus League with a 6-3 win over the Mariners on Sunday.

In his only at-bat of the game, uber-prospect Francisco Lindor belted a three run homerun to break a three all tie and propel the Indians to the win. Lindor now has a pair of hits in his six at-bats this spring.

“It was a good swing. It’s exciting for us to see that,” Terry Francona said. “We get a kick out of that every day when one of our young kids does something.”

In addition to Lindor’s homerun, second baseman Jason Kipnis had an RBI triple and Nick Swisher, playing in his first game this spring, had an RBI and a hit. Lindor is in his first big league spring camp and is expected to open the season in AAA Columbus.

Aaron Harang started the game and was relieved by Trevor Bauer. Both are competing for the fifth spot in the rotation. Both pitched a pair of innings on Sunday. Harang gave up a run on one hit, while Bauer surrendered a two run home run in the fourth. The rest of the staff shut the Mariners out in their five innings of work.

[Related: What's new at Progressive field in 2014]

The Tribe’s future rests with the development of Salazar, Carrasco and Bauer

 Untitled

If you build them, wins will come

I truly despise using the old “in our market” excuse. It is the single worst thing about the game I love the most, Major League Baseball. We all know that the sport is completely unbalanced—the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers can do whatever they want thanks to rich local TV contracts while our Cleveland Indians have to watch every penny. Chris Antonetti’s job is that much harder because he can’t afford to swing and miss on medium-money free agents. On top of that, the drafting and developing of young players is paramount to the success of the organization.

[Read more...]

MLB News: Francisco Lindor now MLB.com’s 10th-best prospect

Francisco LindorTop Cleveland Indians prospect Francisco Lindor was named as the tenth-best prospect in Minor League Baseball entering the 2014 season, per MLB.com.

The website released its top 100 rankings on Thursday night in an online show with their top prospect analysts. The full details and scouting reports are available at MLBPipeline.com. Other Indians listed were recent first-round pick Clint Frazier at No. 48 and right-handed starter Trevor Bauer at No. 73.

In the previous update back in late July, the three players were ranked No. 5, No. 56 and No. 42, respectively. Lindor continues to be billed for his incredibly high developmental floor. He’s expected to be an average MLB starter, at worst. But many players with higher best-case upside passed him in this ranking, led by top overall prospect Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins.

Just over two weeks ago, Baseball America released its top 10 Indians prospect list. Lindor, Frazier and Bauer remained the top three in that order. Following those two were 2012 first-round pick Tyler Naquin and up-and-coming starting prospect Cody Anderson.

Lindor, 20, is generally expected to begin the season again with the Double-A Akron RubberDucks. He concluded last year with 21 games for the recently rebranded team before being shut down for the season in mid-August. He’s one of several prospects — along with Naquin, infielder Joseph Wendle and others — to receive non-roster invitations to big-league spring training.

Frazier, 19, was the team’s No. 5 overall pick last June. He recently was quoted as saying “I want to be like Mike Trout.” Those are some lofty aspirations. Bauer, 23, remains one of the candidates for the team’s final rotation spot this season. After a disappointing 2013 season, the pressure is starting to mount for him in Cleveland, although he’s still quite young.

[Related: Thursday Tribe Notes]

Photo: AP Photo/Mark Duncan

While We’re Waiting… Bud Shaw skewers Jimmy Haslam

Cleveland sports fans are waiting. Thus, while we’re all waiting, the WFNY editors thought you might enjoy reading. Because you never know how long we might be waiting. So here are assorted reading goodies for you to enjoy. Send more good links for tomorrow’s edition to tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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Of delusion and dysfunction: “Even as he continues to claim ignorance of the rebate scam allegedly operating on his watch at Pilot Flying J, he hopes you understand he’s on the job and attending to the details required to turn the Browns into a winner. When he says he gets why we might be skeptical of yet another Browns’ regime making yet another coaching change, he doesn’t know the half of it. [...] Even though the last 365 days has brought two head coach firings, a 4-12 season and a cloud hanging overhead from here to Knoxville, Haslam still says people around the league talk about the Browns “in terms of the Packers and Steelers.” I think he means the tradition, minus the winning and the stability.” [Bud Shaw/Cleveland.com]

[Read more...]

How badly do the Indians need more starters? – Cleveland Indians Roundtable

WFNY_roundtable

Craig: Maybe I’m blinded by optimism, but I’m not overly concerned with a pitcher. The Indians have Masterson, Salazar, Kluber, McAllister and guys like Tomlin, Carrasco and Bauer to find five guys today. Yes it would be nice to insert a name in that list somewhere, but I’m not feeling desperate just yet. Look at me being a Tribe optimist!

Am I taking those top three for granted and overrating the Tribe’s own guys? How anxious are the rest of you to add starting pitching versus other roster needs?

Scott: Ubaldo Jimenez and Scot Kazmir were worth just a little less than six wins between the two of them. In just 10 starts, Danny Salazar was worth 1.2; Corey Kluber was worth 2.7 in 26 starts. Extrapolating is a dangerous tactic, but it wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume that these two could help fill in the gaps that were left by pesky things like innings limits and injuries. [Read more...]

MLB: Shin-Soo Choo and his agent eye Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford deals

People in Cleveland loved Shin-Soo Choo, yet had very little issue with him being traded to the Cincinnati Reds during last off-season. Most of the reason that Indians fans were alright with the deal is due to Choo’s free agency which is happening right now.

According to Jon Heyman, Choo’s expectations for his next contract are all of what Scott Boras can dream up and then some in terms of dollar signs.

That person didn’t specify which rumors he was referring to, but word is out Choo and agent Scott Boras have previous deals for Jayson Werth ($126 million, seven years) and Carl Crawford ($142 million, seven years) in mind while gauging teams’ interest in Choo and Ellsbury.

Whether or not those gaudy numbers ever come to pass remains to be seen, but Craig Calcaterra of HardballTalk astutely points out that “we live in a world where Hunter Pence just got $90 million.”

You will remember that by the time the dust settled on the Choo trade, the Indians got Drew Stubbs, Trevor Bauer, Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw in exchange for Choo, Jason Donald, $3.5 million, Tony Sipp and Lars Anderson.

As you watch the ping pong balls flutter about on Shin-Soo Choo’s lottery ticket chances, keep in mind that we also live in a world where Drew Stubbs has some trade value, so the Indians might not be close to done reaping rewards from that deal. And no, I’m not even counting Trevor Bauer’s rap career.

I’ll be sitting hoping that Choo doesn’t score anywhere near Werth money not because I have any ill will for Shin-Soo Choo, but because I hope to point at Jon and tell him just how wrong he was.

[Related: MLB Rumors: Stubbs Draws Trade Interest]

2013 Indians In Review: The Starting Rotation

Corey Kluber

The Indians wild ride has come to an end. The 2013 season was one that nobody expected. A 96 loss team turned into a 92 win club that advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2007. GM Chris Antonetti and Manager Terry Francona helped changed the culture of the organization and has our baseball team on the rise. There is a buzz in the city about the Indians again. It was a season to remember with so many great moments and the arrival of some new fan favorites.  

Each day this week, we will look back at a different portion of the club and see where we are today, a plan for 2014, and so on. We will begin with the starting rotation, a group that was a huge surprise in 2013.  [Read more...]

Starting rotation an unsolved long-term mystery for Indians

ubaldo twinsWhat a season for Cleveland Indians starters. After posting the American League’s 13th best staff ERA back in 2012, the Tribe turned it around magically this year en route to the playoffs, jumping all the way to the AL’s sixth best ERA.

Not many could have predicted that success, probably not even much-applauded pitching coach Mickey Callaway. Yet, after the team’s season ended abruptly last week, it’s worth noting that the composition of the 2014 rotation is now up in the air.

There are two likely-to-be high-priced free agents, one impending free agent after next year and a collection of still-yet-unproven youngsters and inexperienced veterans. Who will step up? What will the rotation look like? What moves are necessary?

Heading into 2013, it was assumed that the Indians would pick up a starter on the free agent market. They did so in the form of $7 million for Brett Myers, but that proved to be a disaster: Myers actually managed to have a -0.6 WAR in just 21.1 innings pitched.

With the below list, I count five likely starters for the Tribe as they begin the season: Masterson, Jimenez/Kazmir, Salazar, Kluber and McAllister. That would be maintaining the same list as this season, provided they can re-sign one of the two free agents.

But Trevor Bauer has to get consistent MLB duty at some point. What will the long-term status be of Carlos Carrasco or Josh Tomlin? Is there anyone else in the minors? And is it actually plausible for the team to re-sign just one of the two free agents? Let’s go name by name.

 

Justin Masterson
Turns 29 in March
Made $5.69 mil in 2013; likely to be $8-10 mil for 2014
Free agent eligibility after 2014 season

The de facto team ace is likely to return to starting duties for 2014. He had success out of the bullpen down the stretch, but that was due to his return from injury. The biggest long-term question mark is whether the Indians will be able to afford him past next year. He’s set to make a nice raise through arbitration.

Ubaldo Jimenez
Turns 30 in January
Made $5.75 mil in 2013; likely to receive $10+ mil offer
Free agent eligibility after 2013 season

Jimenez (finally) pitched like an ace over the last few months of the season. That will only make him more difficult to keep in a Tribe uniform. Some will say Jimenez owes the Indians front office for turning his career around, but unfortunately, that’s not how the open markets operate. Assuming he wants it, he’ll get at least four years and $50 million elsewhere.

Scott Kazmir
Turns 30 in January
Made league min. in 2013; likely to receive $6-8 mil offer
Free agent eligibility after 2013 season

The more affordable free agent option for the Indians would be Kazmir. He was a reclamation project this season, signing a deal just to join for spring training before making 29 starts and striking out 162. He’s not an ace, but a guy most organizations would love to have as a strikeout-prone lefty. My guess: $15 million over two years to stay in Cleveland.

Corey Kluber
Turns 28 in April
Continues to make min. salary
Arbitration eligibility after 2015 season; free agent after 2018

As we discussed in Friday’s roundtable, the development of these next two starters are key for 2014. Kluber was a big surprise this season, jumping into the rotation and dominating for three months. But an August injury set him back to end the year. Indians have to hope he can recover that success and stay in the rotation.

Zach McAllister
Turns 26 in December
Continues to make min. salary
Arbitration eligibility after 2015 season; free agent after 2018

Two full seasons, 46 starts, ERA of 3.99. Another impressive yet relatively inexperienced starter, McAllister also wasn’t great down the stretch. He wasn’t the same pitcher after a six-week injury absence in June and July. He seems to be a fairly reliable No. 4 or No. 5 starter, but won’t be a huge difference marker.

Danny Salazar
Turns 24 in January
Continues to make min. salary
Arbitration eligibility after 2015 season; free agent after 2018

The up-and-coming Salazar supplanted the guy below as the team’s best pitching prospect. He went from Double-A prospect to playoff game starter in one season, just like 1997’s Jaret Wright. Hopefully Salazar’s next few years are brighter however, thanks to the Indians’ watchful eye throughout the season. No questions asked, just let him go full throttle now.

Trevor Bauer
Turns 23 in January
Continues to make min. salary
Arbitration eligibility after 2015 season; free agent after 2018

Remember this guy? The perhaps too-eccentric-or-maybe-ground-breaking prospect? He had a 5.29 ERA in four Cleveland starts and a disappointing 4.15 ERA in 22 starts for Columbus. The statistics are brutal: 73 walks, 106 strikeouts and 119 hits in 121.1 innings pitched. Those are Triple-A No. 5 starter stats. I’d assume he stays in Columbus to start 2014. He’s not ready yet.

Carlos Carrasco
Turns 27 in March
Made $0.5 mil in 2013; likely to be $1 mil for 2014
Free agent eligibility after 2016 season

All the evidence you need: 9.00 ERA in seven starts, 1.32 ERA in eight relief appearances. With the likely departure of Joe Smith out of the pen, Carrasco can slip into a long-term long-relief role and perhaps some sixth-inning duties. That will keep his cost low and perhaps harness his innate strikeout ability.

Josh Tomlin
Turns 29 in October
Made $0.5 mil in 2013; likely to be $1 mil for 2014
Free agent eligibility after 2016 season

The Little Cowboy appeared in only one Cleveland game this season as he recovered from August 2012 Tommy John surgery. He’ll have the offseason to fully recover, potentially returning into a bullpen role as well. It’s also possible that he doesn’t return to Cleveland, considering the lack of available innings.

 

Conclusion: So there you go, nine possible starters and a whole lot of questions still yet unanswered. I’m sure there will be more discussions on available free agent starters over the coming months, just like we had last season. Almost all of these players have had long-ish periods of major league success. Now it’s just a matter of money and composition as 2014 preparation begins soon.

As I shared earlier in the week, my optimism isn’t high. Jimenez’s emergence was a key reason for Cleveland clinching a playoff spot; my odds are probably 75-80% that he’s elsewhere next season. Kazmir would be a nice returning candidate, but who knows how much his value is right now. Then, Masterson’s upcoming availability also casts into doubt how much the Indians are willing to break the bank.

In the end, Bauer and Salazar have to develop as future leaders of a rotation. If that can happen, which certainly is a possibility, then the Indians are in much better shape with a back-end led by Kluber and McAllister. But the young guys could need to step up soon.

AP Photo/Ann Heisenfel

The Diff: Cleveland Indians prospect movement in 2013

The Diff is your weekly Wednesday WFNY look into the amazing world of sports statistics. For a complete log of articles, click this link. Last week, I shared five statistical thoughts about the Tribe’s outlook. Now, I’m catching up on prospects.

The Diff

This edition is my third installment of my monthly Indians prospect update within The Diff. Back in June, the theme was looking at preseason prospect rankings and the common themes. Then in July, I shared a trade deadline update, looking at potentially useful prospect pieces. Today, I wrote about a grand total of 48 prospects to share the context of their 2013 prospect movement – up, stagnant or down. Stats below are as of games completed on Sunday, Aug. 11, or Monday, Aug. 12. [Read more...]

MLB News: Indians’ Trevor Bauer makes ESPN’s “falling prospects” list

Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer is listed as one of eight prospects who are listed by ESPN’s Keith Law as having disappointing seasons, forcing him well down the list heading into the 2014 MLB season.

“While Didi Gregorius hasn’t exactly lit up the National League, so far he’s provided a better return to Arizona than Bauer has to Cleveland, which is more a function of how bad Bauer’s been since the trade,” says Law. “Bauer has two major issues — his velocity is way down, and he can’t make an adjustment when it’s clear that he can’t locate near the strike zone. Bauer was still sitting in the 92-93 range in his few outings in the majors, but in Triple-A he has been more in the 89-90 range, which, for a guy who hit 97 mph regularly in college but never had great life on the fastball, is a serious problem.”

Law says that Bauer is heading for a fifth-starter-at-best career path if the previously headstrong starter does not let the Indians attempt to coach him into a more refined thrower. Bauer throws a bevy of pitches, so reinventing himself is not out of the question. He will, however, be staring down the barrel of a career that no longer allows him to simply entice batters to swing and pitches that would otherwise be balls.

In a recent edition of WFNY’s “The Diff,” Bauer was categorized as a potential No. 2 starter with control issues. Heading into the 2013 season, Bauer was ranked the 17th-best prospect in all of baseball. He was acquired this past off-season in a three-team deal which saw the Indians send outfielder Shin-Soo Choo to the Cincinnati Reds.

[Related: Tigers 5, Indians 1: Offensive slumber and Don Kelly do in Tribe]

MLB News: Francisco Lindor jumps to MLB.com’s 5th-best prospect

Cleveland Indians top prospect Francisco Lindor jumped to the No. 5 spot in MLB.com’s latest prospect rankings re-released today.

In the preseason rankings, MLB.com’s staff — as led by prospect writer extraordinaire Jonathan Mayo — pegged the 19-year-old Lindor as the No. 14 prospect in the game. Because of a variety of promotions and injuries, plus Lindor’s outstanding success in 2013, he’s jumped nine spots closer to the top of the list.

Just two weeks ago, following the MLB Futures Game, Lindor received the promotion to the Double-A Akron Aeros. He had been hitting .306/.373/.410 in 83 games for the High-A Carolina Mudcats, showcasing elite contact, patience at the plate and poise for his age. He’s done even better since the promotion.

In his first 10 games for the Aeros, Lindor is batting .441/.578/.647 with 10 walks against just one strikeout. Again, for the record, he has 15 hits and 10 walks in the 45 toughest plate appearances in his life. He also has five steals, two doubles and cracked his first home run with the team on Thursday night at Canal Park.

Back in mid-May, there had been some murmurs distributed by Yahoo! Sports Jeff Passan that Lindor could jump to being the No. 1 prospect in baseball by the end of 2013. While he still is characterized as having a lower ceiling than elite prospects like Minnesota’s Byron Buxton or St. Louis’ Oscar Taveras, such an idea is no longer a crazy concept.

Rounding out the Indians in the MLB.com prospect rankings, 22-year-old right-hander Trevor Bauer fell to No. 42 and recent 18-year-old outfield draft pick Clint Frazier joins the ranks at No. 56. Then, 18-year-old shortstop Dorssys Paulino and 22-year-old outfielder Tyler Naquin conclude the organizational top five.

[Related: Tribe notes as we head into the weekend]

Indians All-Star Break Review: The Starting Rotation

Corey KluberWe have arrived at baseball’s All-Star break. The Cleveland Indians sit at 51-44, a game and a half out of first place in the AL Central. It has been quite a ride since GM Chris Antonetti hired Terry Francona to manage this club. The shot had been fired – a change in culture was about to arrive in Cleveland. We expected some changes, but nobody could have expected that this team would be as good as it has been. Yes, they have been up and down and have the nickname “Team Streak,” but this start has a completely different feel than the last two years. This seems real.

With that said, each of the next three days we will take a look at the three aspects of the club, beginning today with the starting rotation. [Read more...]

The Diff: All-Star update on Cleveland Indians prospects

The Diff is your weekly Wednesday WFNY look into the amazing world of sports statistics. For a complete log of articles, click this link. Last week’s topic was reader-recommended, as I looked into some key differences with the 2013 Indians. Now, it’s back to prospect talk.

The Diff

As much as I love talking about the Indians and their increasingly annoying major league team, my original writing passion was in minor league baseball. That’s why last year I had my regular WFNY Wednesday Wahoos feature. Every week, it broke down the ongoings of the top prospects and some other players of note. Here in 2013, I’ve been a bit more irregular with these breakdowns, debuting a hybrid approach in The Diff back on June 5. So again today, here are your latest updates on Cleveland baseball prospects as we approach the MLB All-Star Game and trade deadline. [Read more...]

MLB News: Indians call up Joe Martinez, send down Matt Langwell

The Indians have recalled RHP Joe Martinez from AAA Columbus and optioned RHP Matt Langwell down in his place.

“Martinez, 30, has spent the entire season with the Clippers, going 2-6 with a 6.23 ERA (86.2 IP, 119 H, 64 R-60 ER, 21 BB, 56 SO) in 15 games/starts. Although he has appeared in 19 games/6 starts at the Major League level for San Francisco (2009-10), Pittsburgh (2010) and Arizona (2012), Martinez will be looking to see his first career action with Cleveland.

Langwell, 27, tossed 1.0 inning in Game 2 of yesterday’s doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox, his fifth appearance for Cleveland this season. He began the year with the Clippers and has gone 3-2 with a 3.00 ERA (33.0 IP, 32 H, 11 R-ER, 1 HR, 14 BB, 27 SO) and one save in 24 games/one start at Triple-A.”

Langwell is being sent down just a day after being called up between games of yesterday’s double header to take the roster spot game one starter Trevor Bauer. Langwell picked up the win in his one inning of work in which he gave up two runs on a walk and two extra base hits.

[Related: BroHio: Hoping Nick Swisher can get back on track, and soon]

MLB News: Indians recall Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer; Hagadone sent down

The Indians made official this afternoon what we all knew for a few days:  They haverecalled starting pitcher Trevor Bauer while sending Nick Hagadone back to Columbus. They also brought up Carlos Carrasco to be their 26th man for Friday’s doubleheader.

From the team:

“Bauer (#27) is making the start in game 1 today of a doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox in US Cellular Field. Trevor has gone 1-2 with a 2.76 ERA in 3 starts for Cleveland this year (16.1IP, 9H, 5ER, 15BB, 11K, .161AVG), the last of which came on May 13 vs. the New York Yankees (G2). Around his three starts in Cleveland, Trevor has gone 3-2 with a 4.13 ERA in 12 starts for Triple-A Columbus (65.1IP, 59H, 30ER, 36BB, 67K). He has never faced the Chicago White Sox in his career.

Hagadone has gone 0-1 w/a 5.40 ERA in 27 relief outings for Cleveland this year (25.0IP, 18H, 15ER, 15BB, 22K).

Carrasco (#59) will start today’s doubleheader nightcap in Chicago. So far this year with Cleveland he has gone 0-3 with a 7.78 ERA in 4 starts (19.2IP, 27H, 17R/ER), the last of which came on Sunday, June 23 vs. Minnesota (L#3, 4.2IP, 6H, 3R/ER, 4BB, 3K). He is 0-3 with a 6.15 ERA in 4 career starts vs. the White Sox (18ER/26.1IP).”

In addition, the Indians will recall RP Matt Langwell in between games 1 and 2, sending Bauer back to Columbus according to a tweet by Paul Hoynes.

Following today, Carrasco will have to go back to Columbus as well, at least to finish out the ten day rule. Carlos was optioned to Columbus on June 24th.

This is all assuming the Indians and White Sox aren’t washed out today.

[Related: Indians, Kluber fizzle in series finale]