The Indians on Monday claimed lefty Alex Young off waivers from the Diamondbacks and opened a spot on the 40-man roster by transferring right-hander Aaron Civale from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list, according to a club announcement. Young was optioned to Triple-A Columbus.
Young, 27, was designated for assignment in Arizona last week after struggling over the past two seasons. The former second-round pick (No. 43 overall) had a solid rookie season back in 2019 when he tossed 83 1/3 innings of 3.56 ERA ball over the life of 17 appearances (15 starts). Young’s 20.3 percent strikeout rate that season wasn’t especially impressive, but he had strong control (7.7 percent walk rate), kept the ball on the ground at an above-average 48.1 percent clip and was generally stingy when it came to allowing hard contact. It was a generally promising debut for a 25-year-old with a strong draft pedigree.
Things haven’t panned out as hoped since that time. Young has pitched 88 innings since that time, mostly out of the bullpen (36 relief appearances, nine starts). His strikeout rate and walk rate have each gone in the wrong direction, but only by about one percent. However, Young has begun yielding hard contact in droves while surrendering more fly balls; as one might expect, he’s been immensely homer-prone since those trends began. Over his past 88 frames, Young has served up 22 home runs en route to a 5.83 ERA.
While Young’s time with the D-backs didn’t go as the organization (or the player himself) hoped, he’ll get a fresh start with a new club that has a reputation for pitching development. Young can be optioned both in 2022 and 2023, so he gives Cleveland a potential depth arm for the foreseeable future — or a potential piece to the big league pitching staff if he can indeed right the ship following his change in environs.
The move to shift Civale from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day now means that he won’t return until at least late August. We’re just over one month past Civale’s initial placement on the 10-day injured list due to a finger sprain. He was initially projected to miss four to five weeks, so the fact that he’s now shelved for a minimum of two months suggests that his rehab from that injury has not been as swift as initially expected.
With Civale and reigning Cy Young winner Shane Bieber on the shelf, the Indians have been relying on Zach Plesac, Triston McKenzie, Cal Quantrill, J.C. Mejia, Eli Morgan and Sam Hentges to start. Despite the team’s aforementioned knack for churning out quality young pitchers, this particular group has struggled for the most part. Plesac only just returned from a broken thumb and hasn’t been as sharp as usual. Quantrill has a solid enough 3.84 ERA on the season, but he has a 5.11 ERA as a starter and a 1.88 mark as a reliever. Young could give Cleveland another option to add to that carousel, depending on how he’s used.