The Cleveland Indians have decided to go with Adam Plutko once again as their 5th starter for this turn in the rotation. Plutko has previously made three starts this year for the Cleveland Indians.
In those three starts, the young right-hander has posted a 3.93 ERA over 18.1 innings, striking out 12 and walking only five.
The 5th spot in the rotation has been a bit of a problem for the Indians this year whether it has been Josh Tomlin or the youngsters, Shane Bieber and Plutko. While Tomlin has moved to the bullpen after making just one start, Bieber doesn’t seem quite yet ready to be a solid major league pitcher every five days.
Danny Salazar appears to be on the comeback trail, however, and that could put some pressure on Plutko to continue to pitch well; he seems to be up to the challenge.
On Friday, Plutko made his return to the Columbus Clippers and threw a no-hitter against Syracuse on just 112 pitches. With Columbus this season, Plutko is 5-3 with a 1.83 ERA over 59 innings striking out 48 and walking just 10 batters.
If you compare that to the numbers that former rotation piece and now bullpen pitcher Josh Tomlin has posted this year – the difference is staggering. In 12 games with the Tribe this season (six starts), Tomlin is 0-4 with a 7.43 ERA over 36 innings with just 20 strikeouts and seven walks. The number that is really troubling when discussing Tomlin’s woes is that his WHIP (Walks Plus Hits Per Inning Pitched) is around 1.5 this year.
What this effectively means is that Tomlin is allowing almost two baserunners an inning, which simply cannot happen if a team wants to play quality baseball deep into October, especially with a struggling bullpen. Plutko’s minor league WHIP this year is significantly lower at 0.68 and his major league WHIP is at 1.04, which is still an improvement from Tomlin.
While one can argue the “small sample size” when it comes to Plutko’s success in the MLB, he is the best possible option at the moment to become the Tribe’s permanent 5th starter. While he may not draw the comparisons to Corey Kluber a la Shane Bieber, he is more ready to help this team compete now than Bieber is.