Danny Salazar gaining national recognition

Danny Salazar

The Cleveland Indians are counting on Danny Salazar to be the number two man in the rotation after Justin Masterson. Salazar started 11 games for the Indians last season, including the one game playoff against the Rays. He was 2-4 in those starts with a 3.12 ERA and struck out more than 11 hitters per nine innings.

In his ‘Offseason Stock Report’ Grantland’s Jonah Kerri writes about Salazar. He’s a fan.

It’s tough to remember another season in which so many incredibly talented pitchers will get their first crack at full big-league seasons with so much at stake. I, for one, am hopping on the bandwagon early for #TeamDannySalazar. The 24-year-old righty has three excellent pitches in his holster, with a 96 mph fastball, a nasty slider, and a backbreaking changeup that all generate lots of swings and misses. He missed more and more bats as he climbed the ladder in the minor leagues, and he dominated in his 10-start major league debut last year, fanning more than four batters for every walk.

Moreover, betting on Salazar reflects his raw talent and strong recent track record more than those 10 starts, whereas Jimenez seemed to resurrect his career thanks almost entirely to his second-half performance. With Jimenez in Baltimore and Scott Kazmir in Oakland, the Tribe needs big results from its under-30 arms. Salazar is my pick to outshine his peers, give the Indians another shot at contending, and maybe even tiptoe into some Cy Young discussions.

The Indians have stockpiled veterans for spring training to provide competition for the back end of the rotation. If Salazar suffers through a ‘sophomore slump’ the Indians could have a tough uphill climb in the AL Central.

[Related: Jimenez deal makes more sense for Orioles]

  • nj0

    I think Kluber and Salazar carry the rotation. I’m still worried about which Masterson we get. If it’s 2013 vintage, we’ll have an above average rotation. What really gets my head spinning is the thought of Bauer figuring things out and putting it all together. If that were to happen, the sky is the limit.

  • EyesAbove

    I think the rotation is going to be our strength this year, despite the losses of Ubaldo and Kazmir.

  • mgbode

    It’s just hard to project what the numbers may be.

    None of the models think that Klubers 3.3 or 3.1 xFIP are repeatable. But, they do think that he will be somewhere around the same range in ERA. It feels like they are hedging their bets on him (none have him close to his 4:1 SO:BB ratio, but if he’s still got his sinker working that might be his most repeatable peripheral).

    Regardless, people still are liking the Indians rotation. I have seen glowing reports on the big-3 (Masty, Kluber, Danny) the past few months like the following:

    If someone does emerge as an above average starter in the SP4 role (Carrasco, Bauer, McAllister, Marcum, ???) and those guys come close to expectations, then our rotation will be a strength.

    But, as you noted in another thread, projections this time of year are folly. At this time last year we were all so terrified of our rotation that we thought the season was doomed. April did little to calm our nerves on it either (and it was really Reynolds of all people who helped prop us up with some dynamic offense in those early weeks).

  • Harv 21

    Really like it that Salazar pitched that playoff game. If we wasn’t already prepared mentally for big game pressure that got it all out of the way. Now a big game in late August should feel like no biggie at all.

  • EyesAbove

    Good stuff, I hope I don’t jinx the guy by saying it, but I have a feeling that Josh Tomlin is going to surprise people this year. Its not unheard of these days for a pitcher to come back from TJ surgery with an extra 2-3 mph on his fastball. He could be that back of the rotation guy that we need.