Multiple Cleveland Indians still could become all-stars and there is now a chance for more Tribe players to receive such accolades.
Kansas City Royals pitcher Wade Davis, without a doubt is of one of the best relievers in baseball. However, he hit the disabled list the same day he was announced as part of the pitching staff for the MLB All-Star Game. With Davis looking like he will not make the trip to San Diego, could another Cleveland Indians pitcher take his place?
It would be difficult to pick a bullpen arm, as even the Tribe’s Cody Allen has struggled all year. Dan Otero has the best stat line and Jeff Manship has been good, but the unit as a whole has struggled mightily.
If anyone, it will come down to two of the Cleveland Indians starters: Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Both have performed at an All-Star level in 2016, albeit in different ways. Corey Kluber has fallen short of expectations, while Carlos Carrasco missed too much time with a hamstring injury to seriously be considered.
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Tomlin has been steady all season for the Cleveland Indians, sporting a 3.21 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP, and a 9-1 record on the year. Tomlin has only walked ten batters all season long and has been as steady as they come all year. Unfortunately, he’s given up a team high 19 home runs, compared to 34 from the rest of the current rotation combined.
9-1, though, is a big deal. Those nine wins have Tomlin tied for sixth in the A.L. in the category, and is only one win behind All-Star Danny Salazar while also being the same as Boston Red Sox’s Steven Wright and Texas Rangers’ Cole Hamels. By the numbers, Tomlin has pitched well enough to be considered.
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The stronger case is to be made for Bauer. I will contend to any Cleveland Indians fan that Bauer’s best performance was his recent five innings of relief in the marathon 19 inning win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Including all of his relief appearances, Bauer has pitched exactly the same number of innings as Tomlin, giving the powers that be a true side by side comparison of the two. Bauer has finally put it together in 2016, with a 3.02 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP, and a 7-2 record on the season.
Where Bauer separates himself is with the strikeouts. He’s punched out 87 batters on the year compared to Tomlin’s 64, good for a 8.21 K/9 ratio. Even better is that Bauer is also walking fewer batters in 2016, having only issued 33 this year.
The 2.63 strikeout to walk ratio is the best of Bauer’s career and is a big reason why he ranks second among Cleveland Indians starters in WAR at 2.9. That is also good enough to be fourth in the entire American League.
The coaching staff for the American League team might go with another reliever to replace Davis, but both Tomlin and Bauer deserve a good long look. With Bauer having served as a reliever earlier in the year, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to choose Bauer in the Davis role. In fact, it’s looking like the right choice regardless.