The Indians optioned lefty Logan Allen to Triple-A following a trio of rough starts, including this week’s six-run drubbing at the hands of the Twins. Three of that game’s first four batters homered off Allen to put Cleveland in an early hole. Manager Terry Francona told reporters, including Cleveland.com’s Paul Hoynes, that Allen’s fastball command has been off. The pitcher himself agreed, calling his location “spotty” and acknowledging that he’s regularly put himself behind in the count and tipped the advantage in the hitters’ favor. Allen was brilliant in Spring Training, allowing just one run in 14 innings with an 18-to-3 K/BB ratio, but the early results this year just haven’t been there. He’s allowed 18 runs (16 earned) on 20 hits (seven homers) and seven walks with 12 strikeouts in 15 2/3 frames.
With Allen out of the rotation for now, it’s not clear who will step into the fifth spot. Righty Cal Quantrill and lefty Sam Hentges are possible options, and Hoynes notes that Hentges was stretched out to 85 pitches at the alternate site before being recalled and plugged into the team’s bullpen. Cleveland had an off-day yesterday, but the Indians are embarking on a stretch of 10 straight days with games, so they’ll need a fifth starter this coming Tuesday.
A few more notes out of Cleveland…
- The Indians received poor news on a pair of their top pitching prospects, Zack Meisel of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). Right-hander Carlos Vargas will miss the 2021 season after recently undergoing Tommy John surgery, while fellow righty and 2018 No. 35 overall pick Ethan Hankins has been sidelined by an elbow injury of his own that is currently being evaluated by team doctors. Vargas ranks 15th among Indians prospects at FanGraphs, 17th at MLB.com and 18th at Baseball America. Hankins respectively lands 12th, 10th, and ninth on those same rankings. Neither pitcher was likely to emerge in the Majors this season, as Vargas hadn’t pitched above short-season Class-A and Hankins hadn’t progressed beyond A-ball himself. Still, it’s a noted setback for a pair of promising arms who’ll now see their timeline to the big leagues pushed back — by at least a full season in the case of Vargas.
- Top organizational prospect Nolan Jones will see the bulk of his time at his natural position, third base, in Triple-A to begin the season, but VP of player development James Harris tells Mandy Bell of MLB.com that Jones will also see work at first base and in the outfield in order to improve his versatility. “…[W]e just don’t know where the opportunity will be,” Harris says of working Jones at multiple positions. Both first base and the outfield have been much weaker spots in the Cleveland lineup than third base in recent seasons — in part due to Jose Ramirez’s emergence as an MVP-caliber talent but also due to a generally lackluster collection of hitters in a cobbled-together mix in the outfield and at first base. Jake Bauers has been among the game’s least-productive hitters at first base this season, and the Indians’ piecemeal approach to the outfield has again resulted in sub-par production. Indians outfielders have combined for a lowly 83 wRC+ in 2021, which ranks 23rd in MLB. Their first basemen are 29th of 30 by that same measure, checking in at just 58. Jones entered the season widely regarded as one of MLB’s top 50 overall prospects.
I watched the Indians/Twins game on YouTube. Allen got hammered, and it could have been worse. He’s making the smart move to acknowledge his poor performance and try to work it out.
Pulling for the ex padre. He was supposed to be one of our “aces” a few years ago. His minor league stats in 2018 were like a video game and then he showed up to spring training in 2019 and couldn’t get an out! Wasn’t happy or sad when he was included in the trade but wish him the best in figuring it all out for his career. He has the stuff – reminds me of Paddack a little – crazy good stuff but something is just getting in the way of performing. Good luck Logan.
I hope Allen figures it out, but so far he’s making Preller look good.
I have to give the Tribe credit for making more of an effort to address the OF situation over the winter, but the Rosarios have been dreadful so far. The results at 1B, however, we all saw coming. Bauers needs to be off this roster once and for all. He’s contributed nothing, and that’s not unusual because his production since 2019 is nothing to be proud of. He may click at some point in the future, but right now he’s a dead spot in the roster, and it’s time for CLE to make a move.
Putting a SS in CF with his weak arm and inexperience was not a smart move, especially with Francona saying he wanted his bat in the lineup. Hah, what bat? Dude can’t hit a lick.
Totally agree on Bauers, who never should have started the season over Bradley.
Bradley isn’t any good either, he’s struck out 40% of his MLB trips and he was only slightly better than that mark in the minors. I know everyone likes the power but Austin Hedges has power too, the problem is he can’t get to it against major league pitching.
By mid season, either Naylor or Nolan Jones will playing 1B
It’ll all be a moot point when they trade Jose later this season. I say this because with the news that Jones is taking the bulk of his work at 3B, I can just see them trading Ramirez for a bunch more middle infielders.
Bauers has a .2 fWAR, .298 wOBA and 85 wRC+. Sure Bradley strikes out a whole bunch, but when the alternative is someone who is about replacement level, you really can’t go wrong with at least trying him out.
I agree, suffer. They are going to trade him, anyway. (but not for middle infielders, I think.) Why not send him while his value is still high?
Indians place Bauers on the can’t think list. Even when he does something good (drawing a walk is good for him) to keep a rally going, he screws it up with no brain base running. DFA him!
Will there be an article about Roberto Alomar?
He’s Baltimore’s/Toronto’s prop
I watched him pitch a game against the Yankees. His pitches are good, but he needs to work more on his command. He’ll be a good MLB pitcher, but needs some more development.
It’s time for Sam to get a start. Can’t be any worse than Allen.
It takes hitters about a month to get their timing to catch their skill sets up with that of the pitchers. We get fooled every year by spring training stats. Hope this kid gets his FB command where it needs to be to compete in the show.
I still think Hentges is a reliever long term. He’ll be great there, but I’m not sold on him in the rotation although it’s worth giving him a chance to start for now. Quantrill is a capable option too.
But by this summer, I really want to see Eli Morgan get a few starts. He’s one of my favorite young arms they have even though he’s not considered a premium prospect.
I think we might see a number of people in that 5th spot in the rotation. Agree with you about Hentges in the pen. I’d like to see them nail down the bulk of the slots there by the end of the season. Clase, Karinchak, Hentges, Maton, Quantrill and one of Gose, Allen, and Nelson would be a great start. Sandlin and Broom are possibilities, too. Moss and Morgan in the 5th slot with Cantillo on the way.
Sandlin just got added to the bullpen a couple days ago. Should see him this series.
I’m sure Hentges made improvements at the alternate site last year and obviously Tito loves him, but he got rocked as a starter in AA in 2019 and he didn’t really consistently pitch deep into games either. The stuff is incredible so I get why they want to see what they have before just locking him into a bullpen spot, but I expect him to be a lefty weapon in the late innings — which is totally okay. A guy who can throw upper 90s from the left side with Clase and Karinchak at the end of games is pretty absurd.
I love the depth they have in young bullpen arms though. There are a ton of solid candidates in addition to the guys already in Cleveland.
Keeping him in the pen makes sense, especially with the release of Ollie. Maybe Scott Moss can correct whatever was the problem and make the rotation. It’s nice seeing a lefty there.
Moss and Morgan were just added to the training site roster on Thursday. Eli is working back from some arm issue. I’m also looking forward to seeing him with the big club.
I don’t know how many threads I’ve mentioned Eli Morgan in but I need everyone to know how much I like him lol