Right-hander Josh Tomlin could be approaching a crossroads in his career with the Indians, writes Zack Meisel of The Athletic (subscription link). The 33-year-old has made four starts this season and surrendered at least five runs in each of them, totaling 19 earned runs in 17 2/3 innings of work out of the rotation. Tomlin’s starts have too often put a tax on the bullpen, Meisel writes, and haven’t given a struggling Indians lineup the ability to compete to keep the game close. Injuries to Danny Salazar and Ryan Merritt have preserved Tomlin’s spot for now, but his road won’t get any easier moving forward, as his next start is set to come at Yankee Stadium. Tomlin, it should be noted, has had plenty of sustained success in the big leagues and posted excellent K/BB numbers in 2016-17 while making 55 largely serviceable starts in the Cleveland rotation. However, Meisel posits that one of Adam Plutko, Shane Bieber or veteran Alexi Ogando could be looked at as an alternative sooner rather than later if Tomlin isn’t able to return to form.
More from the division…
- Similarly, an injury to Tigers left Daniel Norris will likely dissuade the club from making any kind of drastic move of putting Jordan Zimmermann in the ’pen, writes Evan Woodbery of MLive.com. However, Woodbery notes that Zimmermann’s tenure in Detroit is rapidly beginning to resemble the final few years of Anibal Sanchez’s ill-fated five-year deal. Zimmermann’s K/BB numbers early in the season are more encouraging than in 2016 or 2017, he points out, but the bottom-line results still aren’t there. Woodbery suggests that manager Ron Gardenhire is losing patience, as he’s openly questioning the quality of Zimmermann’s pitches — an uncharacteristic trend for manager that has historically shied away from being too critical of his veterans in a public setting.
- Carlos Collazo and J.J. Cooper of Baseball America still project the Tigers to select Auburn right-hander Casey Mize with the first overall pick in the 2018 draft. As they explain, while organizations like the Astros and Braves have saved money with top picks in recent drafts and reallocated the savings to first-round talents who are considered tough signs later in the draft, that strategy is riskier than it would be in most years this time around. Mize is “a cut above everyone else” in the draft, per the Baseball America duo, and the Tigers would be gambling by trying to get creative at the top of the draft when two clubs (Kansas City and Tampa Bay) will each have three selections between Detroit’s first and second picks. Collazo and Cooper have expanded their mock draft out to pick No. 15 in their latest version.