In terms of Cleveland Indians worries, what are we lacking? – Terry Pluto

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CLEVELAND, Ohio – Well we know the pitching will hold.

At least that’s what most experts say about the tribe.

But do we know that at least at the beginning of the 2021 season?

I like the bullpen. Emmanuel Clase was throwing 100 mph in spring training. James Karinchak isn’t ready to close, but he can dominate.

Manager Terry Francona has not named a turnkey, but it could be Nick Wittgren at least at times. Phil Maton and Trevor Stephan have great young arms. I’ve seen Stephan twice in Goodyear. He was a beginner in the Yankee farming system and might be able to do that at some point if he needed to.

Cal Quantrill had a 2.25 ERA, 32 innings relief between the tribe and San Diego last season. He’s now in the Bullpen as a starter after a rocky spring.

Oliver Perez looks like he’s going to hit forever.

The bullpen … good news.

The lineup … lots of reasons to worry. But this is not new news.

Trevor Stephan, who was claimed by the New York Yankees, was impressive at training camp. AP

THE OLD SPRING SONG

Let’s start with the old one, “I know it’s spring training so don’t be fooled …”

I’ll add one more verse, “I know it’s spring training in Arizona where the dry air flattens the breaking of balls and the lashing wind can make life miserable.”

There is a third verse about Arizona that is often thug heaven. So I’m concerned about Jake Bauers (.200) and, to a lesser extent, Josh Naylor (.195).

I don’t know what to say about Austin Hedges (2:35 by 20 spikes) except … YIKES!

Veteran hitters and pitchers are exempt from any discussions about the spring performance.

A LITTLE BASEBALL LOVE

That said, I fell in love with Owen Miller, much like I did with Yandy Diaz when I first saw him in spring training with the tribe. Miller was acquired as part of the Mike Clevinger deal and has been pounding the ball all spring.

He hits with a homer and two doubles .400 (16-for-40, .955 OPS). He took a walk in 40 bats. But only eight strikes. He’s on his way to the minors, but the infielder won’t be there for long.

Miller is not a desert mirage. He hit .290 (.785 OPS) He was 22 years old, and that was his first full professional season after being selected in the third round of the 2018 San Diego draft.

After the tribe closed the Clevinger deal with the Padres last season, a manager raved about Miller. He thought it was a great tribe move because the guy “can hit hard.”

Triston McKenzie

Patience is required for the right-handed player, who has only scored 33 innings in the past two seasons. AP

SO WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

I will not go into this further because I could be wrong.

But start pitching is so young in terms of MLB experience.

According to Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber (and he’s only 25), no member of the tribe’s planned rotation has made more than 29 major league starts.

I mentioned my concern about the youth of the Francona rotation in a Zoom call on Monday.

“That’s real,” said the manager. “There is no reason not to talk about it. Unless we anticipate hiccups along the way, we are probably not realistic. “

Francona then mentioned what he told the pitchers in a recent meeting:

“We said, ‘We know we are young. But when (Zach) Plesac takes the hill, when (Aaron) Civale takes the hill … and Logan Allen, we feel like we have a chance to win. ‘And that’s how we feel. Yes, we are a little bit young. But I don’t think we’re withdrawing from the competition. “

It’s spring training …

“They want to see better results (from some starters),” admitted Tribal President Chris Antonetti. “But in spring training it can be difficult to evaluate the results.”

Antonetti talked about pitchers working on a particular pitch or pitch sequences, or how to master the strike zone in different situations. There are many variables.

Logan Allen

The one on the left was the star of spring training for the tribe. AP

THINK ABOUT THE STARTER

Here is a breakdown:

I love to watch him unlucky … Mr. Cy Young Shane Bieber is the next Corey Kluber.

I’m not too worried about … Zach Plesac, despite being shot at for 9 home runs in 23 1/3 innings. I’ve seen his only good spring game. When it comes down to it, Plesac is 12-8 with an ERA of 3.32. Opposing batters have only hit .223 of him in 29 MLB starts.

I wonder a little about … Aaron Civale. Like every tribe starter except Logan Allen and Bieber, Civale had a lousy spring with a 6.14 ERA and four homers in 14 2/3 innings. He had a 2.34 ERA in 10 starts as a rookie in 2019. In 2020, this ERA rose to 4.74, Allows 11 homers in 74 innings. He doesn’t have overwhelming things. He has 22 MLB starts.

I have doubts about …Triston McKenzie. Not long term, if he can stay healthy. But right now. McKenzie was a control pitcher with a mid-90s fastball last season. He was knocked down for 7 HR. He gave up 6 HR in 33 1/3 innings last season. He is only 23 years old and has dealt with injuries in the recent past. Patience is probably required. He has six MLB starts.

I had high hopes for … Cal Quantrill. But he had a miserable spring with an 8.78 ERA and nine walks and 19 hits in 13 1/3 innings. He is 26 with 21 major league starts. He has had some success in the bullpen where he will open up to the tribe. That could be his best role. He has 21 MLB starts.

I’m excited about … Logan Allen. Antonetti said the left “was one of the highlights of the camp for all of us.” I saw him throw four sharp innings to give up its only course of spring. In 2018 he was 14-6 with a 2.54 ERA between class AA and AAA at the age of 21. He has four MLB starts.

Allen developed some mechanical problems with his movement. The tribe’s pitching group simplified its delivery. He throws off the track, much like the movement that revolved around Carlos Carrasco’s career. He’s only 23 and could be special.

The tribe has depth in the minors.

Scott Moss had a neck problem and posed little this spring. The 26-year-old left has a career record of 41-17 with an ERA of 3.28 in minors. Together with Allen, he came to the tribe in the Trevor Bauer deal.

The tribe believes Eli Morgan and Sam Hentges can grow to be MLB starters.

“If we have a problem that we need to fix, we’ll do our best to fix it,” said Francona. “But I think our pitching guys did a really good job and I think it will stay that way.”

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