The Indians will add Adam Plutko to take over Josh Tomlin’s spot in the rotation. Should fantasy owners also make the switch?
The Cleveland Indians are in first place in the American League Central but are a game under .500 at 22-23. Lucky for them that the rest of the division is playing worse. As a result, the Indians are making a move in their rotation. Management decided to move Josh Tomlin to the bullpen in favor of rookie Adam Plutko. Should you jump on the Plutko bandwagon?
Tomlin was off to the worst start of his career. In six starts, 30.0 innings, he posted an 8.10 ERA, 1.600 WHIP, 18 strikeouts, five walks and 15 home runs. Tomlin made on appearance as a reliever in a 15-inning game.
There were some good numbers from Tomlin, including his 1.5 BB/9 and 9.0 swinging strike rate. However, the numerous home runs and lack of strikeouts forced the Indians to make a move.
As a reliever throughout his career, Tomlin posted a 7.76 ERA, 1.875 WHIP, 18 strikeouts and nine walks. Though, it was a small sample size with 26.2 innings over 17 appearances.
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The Indians are going forward with Plutko as their fifth starting pitcher. He made one start earlier this season, pitching 7.1 innings against the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing three runs on six hits and striking out six.
Plutko made seven starts in Triple-A this season. He posted a 2.25 ERA, 0.818 WHIP, 7.2 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 with a 4-3 record. He had a couple of four-run outings early in the season, so his numbers would actually be a bit lower.
Plutko does not give up many home runs. He had a 6.2 HR/FB on a 54.2 fly ball rate in Triple-A. Fangraphs doesn’t provide hard hit or pitch info for the minors.
While the win-loss records don’t look good, the AL Central offenses are hitting the ball well so far. The Twins have the lowest batting average of the five with a .242 average, 17th overall. The downside is that they can’t score. Three of the four Indians’ opponents rank 25th or worse in runs scored.
The Indians have a solid starting rotation with Corey Kluber at the top and Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger and Plutko rounding it out. Though, according to MLB Trade Rumors, the Indians don’t have much depth after that with prospect Shane Bieber and journeyman Adam Wilk next in line if an injury should occur.
Plutko will make his second start this season on the road Wednesday against Jon Lester and the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs are fourth in batting average (.268) and second in RBIs (102) this month. Wrigley Field has been a hitter’s field this season. This all points to not adding Plutko to your roster.
However, you should still add him. You don’t have to start him for this game but you want him on your roster for the rest of the season. You add the player now before you no longer have a chance to.