Former Indians Reliever Zach Putnam Shining In Chicago
Like every other team in Major League Baseball, the Cleveland Indians employ numerous players throughout their organization, from the big-league club in Cleveland to their rookie league team in Arizona and beyond. And like every other Major League franchise, the Indians add and subtract from this player pool on a regular basis. This irregular series will serve to post notice when a former Indians player has done something noteworthy with a quick look back at the player’s time in Cleveland.
Player: RH Reliever Zach Putnam
Current Team: Chicago White Sox
Year(s) in Indians Organization: Drafted by the Indians in the fifth round in 2008 out of the University of Michigan. Made his major league debut with the Tribe on September 13, 2011.
What He Did: As he was a college draft pick the Indians rushed him through their system pushing him to their Double-A affiliate in his first full professional season in 2009 and spending the year between Double- A and Triple A in his second season. After a successful 2011 season with the Tribe’s Triple-A affiliate he was called up to the Indians where he made just eight appearances.
Why He Still Isn’t in Cleveland: Following the 2011 season the Indians used the up and coming Putnam as a trade chip to acquire Kevin Slowey from the Colorado Rockies (Link). At the time of the deal Putnam was rated the 10th best prospect in the Indians farm system and had received honorable mention on Kevin Goldstein’s and John Sickel’s list.
The deal was pulled off a day after the Tribe found out that then Fausto Carmona had been arrested in the Domincian Republic for falsifying documents. As we now know his real name is Roberto Hernandez and he is a few years older than his prior namesake.
Where’s He At & What’s He Done Since?
He spent the 2012 season pitching for the Rockies Triple-A affiliate Colorado Springs Sky Sox while making two appearances for the Rockies (one in April and one in June).
At the end of the 2012 season he was placed on waivers by the Rockies and claimed by the Chicago Cubs. He spent the 2013 season pitching for their Triple-A affiliate Iowa Cubs and made five appearances at the end of May and into early June.
After the season he was granted his free agency and signed a minor league deal with the Chicago White Sox. After opening the season with their Triple-A affiliate Charlotte Knights he was called up the majors and this time it appears as though he will stick around.
He has appeared in 26 games and posted a 2-1 record with 2.30 ERA and on Saturday he picked up his first major league save in the White Sox 4-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
At age 27 it appears as if Putnam is finally getting some traction to his major league career. The key for him moving forward will be be able to limit his walks which is something that has been an issue in his minor league career (3.2 BB/9 in 179.1 Triple-A innings pitched). If he can manage to maintain control the success that he has had thus far in 2014 may continue and the White Sox will have a valuable member of their bullpen.
Notice a player you remember being in the Indians organization? We’re ever-vigilant, but sometimes we miss guys, too! Send us an email at [email protected] and let us know which former Indians farmhand or player is making noise elsewhere.