The Indians have set their rotation to open the 2020 season, manager Terry Francona told reporters including MLB.com’s Mandy Bell (Twitter link). Aaron Civale and Zach Plesac have made the five-man unit.
That decision leaves righty Adam Plutko on the outside looking in. He’ll jump into the relief unit to begin the season. With the short run-up to the season, there ought to be plenty of frames to go around.
The 28-year-old Plutko made twenty starts for the Indians last year, working to a 4.86 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9. He had a lot of ground to make up to catch the other two hurlers.
Both Civale and Plesac are 25-year-old righties who debuted with aplomb in 2019. The former limited opponents to 2.34 earned per nine in his first ten starts. The latter posted a 3.81 ERA in 115 2/3 frames.
In both cases, there’s some cause to question the repeatability of the output. Civale benefited from a .250 BABIP-against, though Statcast suggests he has a real skill for inducing soft contact — related, no doubt, to his exceptional spin rates. Plesac’s own .255 BABIP-against doesn’t seem quite as sustainable. Opposing hitters produced a .315 wOBA against him last year, but Statcast spit out a far-less-promising .343 xwOBA based upon the quality of contact.