Yesterday, I blogged about which players figure to still be around when the Indians’ next “window of contention” will supposedly open in 2012. I looked at position players only, so today I’d like to take a look at the pitchers. Keep in mind that this is all still very much up in the air for the Tribe; we’ve all seen guys that look legit fall off the face of the earth (Grady Sizemore, Raffy Perez, etc.). So here’s a rundown of pitchers still with the organization, and if I feel they will be around in 2012. It’s a little bit harder to guess who will replace these players in the organization, so I’m just going to list some prospects you should watch out for.
Jake Westbrook is in the final year of his contract, and could very well be traded if he ever got anything consistently going. Fausto Carmona has become a usable pitcher again (3.45 ERA in 57.1 IP, only 22 BB), although that’s no guarantee he will stick around, as the Indians may find it more beneficial to trade him eventually. Justin Masterson has been a bust as a starter, with a 6.13 ERA and an ungodly 1.89 WHIP. He does, however, have 46 K’s in 47 IP, so he may still have a future in the bullpen. David Huff has been exactly what I expected – a fifth starter. Rookie Mitch Talbot has been a pleasant surprise for the most part with a 3.73 ERA but I have my doubts that he can keep it up over an entire season.
Prospects to keep an eye on: Alex White was the Tribe’s #1 pick in 2009; Nick Hagadone was acquired in the Victor Martinez trade and is in his first full year back from Tommy John surgery; Hector Rondon has fallen off a bit but is definitely still on the Tribe’s radar; Carlos Carrasco is a canidate to be the next starting pitcher called up by the Indians.
Also watch out for: Jason Knapp, TJ House
Pitchers who could be around in 2012: Possibly Carmona, Huff, or Talbot
Aaron Laffey has been invaluable in the bullpen, but he seems destined to become a journeyman pitcher. Rule 5 Draftee Hector Ambriz has shown enough promise to justify his spot in the pen for now. Jensen Lewis was having a nice little season before he was demoted to make room for Kerry Wood. Rafael Perez has been atrocious, again, and probably should have been designated for assignment by now. Chris Perez doesn’t look like a closer, but he’s been a damn fine setup man. Tony Sipp has been rock-solid in the later innings. The Indians don’t seem to be in any rush to get Joe Smith back to Cleveland. Kerry Wood has been a complete disappointment in Cleveland, and if the Indians can find anyone to take him, they will. Jamey Wright is a journeyman roster spot filler, and definitely won’t be back next year.
Prospects to look out for: Josh Judy, Conor Graham, Jeanmar Gomez, Jess Todd
Relievers who could still be here in 2012: Lewis, Ambriz, Chris Perez, Sipp
Like I said, it’s a lot harder to project the pitchers because most of the Indians’ talent is deeper in the minor league system. But hopefully this will get you started on familiarizing yourself with some players who will be your 2012 Cleveland Indians.