Adam Plutko is not a prospect to get crazy excited about. The right-hander does not have a highlight reel full of amazing strikeouts and nasty 12-6 curveballs. Plutko does not have gaudy stat lines that make his ascension to ace-status seem inevitable. He doesn’t even have an cool nickname like Plutkosaurus Rex (great band name by the way).
With all that said, Plutko is a player that has value for our Cleveland Indians. While not flashy, the 25-year-old does offer solid depth and durability and likely will be in contention for some Major League innings in 2017.
Plutko was drafted in the 11th round of the 2013 draft out of UCLA and signed with the Indians for an over-slot bonus of $300k. His 2014 year saw him make 28 starts over Low-A and High-A, posting a 4.03 ERA and 1.8 BB/9. Decent, but far from spectacular.
2015 was better, as over 27 starts in High-A and Double-A, Plutko posted a 2.49 ERA and 1.5 BB/9. He opened the 2016 season #14 on the Tribe’s MiLB pipeline prospect rankings and did nothing but solidify his position within the organization.
Plutko made 13 starts for Double-A Akron, going 3-3 with a 3.27 ERA, 3.01 FIP and 1.5 BB/9. He was promoted to Triple-A Columbus on June 18th and spent the rest of the summer there, starting 15 games. He was 6-5 for the Clippers, with a 4.10 ERA, 3.97 FIP, and 3.40 BB/9 (hmmm . . . markedly higher).
The Plutkosaurus Rex got his call-up to the bigs on September 18 (he actually got the call during a friend’s wedding in California) and pitched twice in relief, giving up three earned runs over 3 2⁄3 innings.
So yes, 2016 was another successful year for Plutko. He faced tougher competition and pitched reasonably well. While you might have noticed there’s been no mention of strikeouts (Plutko doesn’t miss a lot of bats), his command and walk rate show he can work around not being to light up a radar gun.
Going forward, 2017 seems to be a huge year for the Plutko. Can he keep pounding the strike zone while also getting Major League hitters out? Will he offer help in the bullpen in long relief or fill-in for injured starters in the rotation? Is he more Jeremy Sowers or Josh Tomlin? Here’s hoping we have more good things than bad to write about Plutko come 12 months from now.