After reviewing the hitters yesterday, today it's the turn of the pitchers. Again, I've included my (completely subjective) impression as to whether each player's stock is up or down since the start of Spring Training.
Starters and Swingmen
With the exception of the injured Floyd, all of these players have played during Spring Training. Chen, Marcum, Maronde and Swarzak could potentially either be used as starting depth in AAA, or might be potential MLB middle relief candidates.
Cody Anderson – Up
Anderson is yet another player whose appearances have been limited due to flu. He was terrific in 2013, but then struggled in AA last season. So far, so good in his 1(!)IP in 2015, although he was optioned to Akron on Tuesday.
Trevor Bauer (3 starts) – Up
Bauer has been a fresh of fresh air through ST, partly due to his off-field antics with drones, Twitter takeovers and encounters with local police. More to the point, he's also pitched well (not giving up a single walk in 12 IP), albeit with a tendency to give up dingers in his final inning (four to date).
Charles Brewer – Down
Brewer was acquired from the Diamondbacks for cash last November. He does have some MLB experience, but it's becoming increasingly clear that he must surely be the "bubble boy" on the Tribe's 40-man roster. On Monday he gave up five runs while recording only a single out, and on Tuesday he was sent down to AAA. Ouch.
Carlos Carrasco (1 start) – Up
Carrasco has only made one appearance (a solid 3 IP, 2 H, 0BB, 1 ER), and has been out for a while with the flu. However, he is scheduled to return to the mound today.
Bruce Chen (1 start) – Up
Chen was given a chance to start last week following a few decent performances in relief (including this strikeout). However, that wasn't an experience that anyone would want to see repeated in a hurry (seven hits and a walk). It remains to be seen whether he will kept around in Columbus as a swingman.
Gavin Floyd (0 starts) – Down
The outlook on Floyd's 2015 season doesn't look good at all. The surgery on his refractured olecranon bone took place on Tuesday.
TJ House (2 starts) – Up
With Floyd down, House looks like a lock for a rotation spot. He's only given up five hits (although that does include a couple of HRs) in 9.2 IP and appears to be starting where he left off last season.
Corey Kluber (2 starts) – Down
I believe that Kluber may have been one of the many Tribe players to have gone down with the flu, but he was back on the mound on Tuesday. However, in that game was struggling from the outset and gave up two HRs and a triple with two walks and a wild pitch in just four innings. But Kluber was also very sketchy in ST last season, so this isn't any real cause for concern.
Zach McAllister (2 starts) – Down
With the final starting spot very much up for grabs, McAllister has a great opportunity to finally establish himself in the rotation. However, his first two outings were disappointing (5 IP, 9 H, 1 BB, 5 ER). Thankfully he cleaned things up last time in a scoreless four innings (3 H and 1 BB), so right now he's probably marginally more likely to end up in the rotation than in the bullpen,
Shaun Marcum (1 start) – Up
According to Hoynesie, Marcum has an an out on his contract at the end of March, but the way he is pitching right now, the Tribe might actually choose to promote him to the 25-man as the long reliever.
On Monday he threw a very good 3 IP against the Royals, allowing just two singles. According to Gameday his top fastball velocity was only 87 MPH – whatever gets the job done, I suppose!
Nick Maronde (1 start) – Up
Maronde was once a top prospect with the Angels, but after a mediocre 2013 and dreadful early 2014 they gave up on him, allowing the Indians to claim in on waivers (and subsequently sneak him off the 40-man roster).
The big issue with Maronde in the past couple of years has been his control, so the fact that he has only walked one batter in 5.1 IP is encouraging. His sole start was pretty good and he will probably open the season as a decent depth option in the Columbus rotation. Here's one of his strikeouts.
Ryan Merritt – Up
Merritt was the Tribe's MILB pitcher of the year last season, and he'll almost certainly start the season with a promotion to AA. He's only given up three hits in three IPs, but they have resulted in two runs. More to the point, he's recorded five strikeouts. However, he will have to wait for now because he was optioned to AA on Tuesday.
Will Roberts – Up
Roberts has been used very sparingly, and has allowed three hits in two IPs, but with four strikeouts I'm just going to call him an "Up". There's a decent chance that he will start the season with a promotion to AAA, although for now he's simply been re-assigned to minor league camp.
Michael Roth – Up
Roth was signed as a MILB free agent over the winter and has done a fine job in middle relief – just five hits and one walk in 5 IP, albeit with only two strikeouts. He could well start the season in the Columbus rotation.
Danny Salazar (2 starts) – Down
Salazar is battling McAllister for the final rotation spot, but for the second year in a row he has started the year very slowly, giving up a bunch of hits and walks in his two outings. If the season were to start tomorrow, I'd imagine that he would be sent down to Columbus, but he has another chance to get on track on Saturday.
Anthony Swarzak – Down
Swarzak is another off-season MILB free agent signing. Before ST he appeared to have a decent chance of making the 25-man as an innings-eating middle reliever (helped by the fact that he can step in and start at a push), but his last three outings have simply all been dreadful, and he has now given up nine earned runs in just 4.2 IP.
Josh Tomlin (1 start) – Down
Tomlin continues to (just about!) defy the naysayers with some solid pitching. After a so-so start on the opening day of ST, Tomlin bounced back last week with two innings of excellent relief in which he struck out four and only allowed one hit. He's very likely to start 2015 on the Columbus rotation, and in the scale of things really isn't bad depth at No.7. Here's one of the strikeouts.
So, without further ado, here's my bold, speculative prediction for how the rotation might play out come opening day at MLB/AAA/AA:
MLB: Kluber, Carrasco, Bauer, House, McAllister (with Marcum as long reliever and Floyd on the DL).
AAA: Salazar, Tomlin, Maronde, Roth and either Roberts (promoted from AA) or Colon (promoted from AA).
AA: Anderson, Merritt (promoted from A+), Morimando, Soto (unless he is being used as a reliever instead) and Roberts or Colon. I guess the next up might be Plutko (promoted from A+).
No spots for Brewer, Chen or Swarzak.
Austin Adams – Up
After pitching well in AAA, Adams managed to earn himself a big league call-up last year. However, things didn't really work out for him in limited opportunities (just 7 IP) and he's still right on the fringe of the 25-man. He's managed 5 Ks on only four hits in 4.0 IP to date, so he's off to a good start.
Cody Allen – Up
The Tribe's closer has only allowed three hits in four IPs so far. He has only recorded one strikeout, but that's hardly an issue at this point.
Shawn Armstrong – Down
Having been promoted to the 40-man last November, Armstrong needed a strong camp to put himself in line for an early call-up. However, he gave up three hits in his first two (very short) outings and although he was much improved last time out, it hasn't been a good ST for him overall, culminating in him being optioned to AAA on Tuesday.
Scott Atchison – Up
After a couple of clean outings, Atchison played with fire on Monday, loading the bases before miraculously escaping with just a single run allowed. His ability to get out of scrapes hopefully remains intact.
Kyle Crockett – Down
Crockett has been something of an invisible man this Spring, with only two appearances. His first outing was a little messy, but on Monday he was a lot more clean.
Scott Downs – Down
The Tribe has something of a logjam of lefties with Rzepcyznski, Hagadone and Crockett all already pencilled in for opening day. With that in mind, Downs has very little margin for error, and a poor peformance last week against the Royals may have already done for his very slim chance of making the 25-man, despite the fact that his other four outings have been solid.
Nick Hagadone – Up
Statistically, Hagadone has been the Tribe's best pitcher during ST – 0 hits, 0 walks and 3 SO in 4.0 IP. Hopefully, he can build on his good run in the MLB last summer.
CC Lee – Up
Lee is right on the cusp of the 25-man – whether or not he makes it might well depend on whether Tito goes with seven relievers or eight. Anyhow, he's had a pretty good ST so far: 4 IP, 2 H, 2 BB but only 1 SO.
Jeff Manship – Up
Manship is probably a little fortunate not to have given up any runs yet – he has allowed four hits and three walks in 5 IP.
Dustin Molleken – Down
If Manship has been lucky, then so has Molleken – just one earned run allowed in 4 IP, but with two hits and five(!) walks. It's hard to see how he might possibly make the MLB roster while exhibiting so little control.
Bryan Price – Down
Price was called up last September, but his baptism was one of fire and he was dropped from the 40-man over the winter. In three of his four ST appearances, he has gone for multiple hits, so he doesn't seem like an MLB option right now.
Mark Rzepczynski – Up
Last season Scrabble was basically used a LOOGY, so it's good to see him coming out in ST and striking out righties as well as lefties. If Rzepczynski can stay in against righties this year, then that would provide the bullpen with a lot more flexibility.
Bryan Shaw – Down
After appearing in more games than any other pitcher in the AL last season, doubts have been expressed in some quarters as to whether he can manage to sustain a workhorse role. His first two ST appearances were alarming, as he gave up eight hits and a walk in a mere 1.2 IP. However, he managed to steady the ship last week with a 1-2-3 and the run he allowed on Tuesday owed as much to his poor pickoff attempt as to his pitching.