Jul 06, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Who misses Chad Durbin? Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
I have been intrigued to watch what the Indians pitching staff has done with other organization's pitching trash. In particular the performance of Esmil Rogers and Loek Van Mil this season stand out as, at least in the very early stages, organizational success stories. There is another side to this perspective worth considering, which is what the pitchers the Indians organization have let go either through trade, roster cuts, or other organizational moves, have done since their departure.
The Indians have moved or released pitching talent fairly aggressively over the past two years, but, as you see below, most of the moves seem pretty harmless to date. Pitchers flame out at an impressive rate, so this list might simply reflect that reality and a bit of luck. But it can also be viewed as reason to have some confidence in the organization's internal evaluations and the decisions they are making with respect to pitching talent, particularly as we approach the MLB trade deadline.
Drew Pomeranz: Pomeranz is the highest profile Indians pitcher to leave the organization since all those Cy Young winners left. After giving Pomz his first taste of major league action last season, Colorado has handled him a little more gently this year. He has had some success, but he has also struggled with his mechanics and his control at times, resulting in 40 walks in just over 80 innings pitched between the majors and AAA this year. The fear that Pomeranz would be a better pitcher than Ubaldo Jimenez this year, fortunately, has not come true. But Pomeranz still has a lot of time to potentially develop into a solid upper rotation starter.
Alex White: White has been given much more rope for Colorado, but after 88 innings and an ERA over 7, White has found himself back in AAA. Like Pomeranz, still lots of time for him to turn it around.
Joe Gardner: Secretly one of my favorite Indians pitchers and a big part of my fear about the Ubaldo trade blowing up, Gardner has struggled in Colorado's system. Pitching for AA Tulsa, Gardner's power-sinker has failed to sink, resulting in a considerable spike in his HR-rate and an ERA of 5.36.
Josh Judy: Judy logged more than 10Ks per 9IP from 2008-2011 while working his way up the Tribe's system, making his major league debut in Cleveland last summer. After getting claimed on waivers by Cincinnati, Judy is sporting an ERA over 6.3 with a career-high walk-rate and his lowest strikeout-rate since 2007.
Zach Putnam: The other side of the Kevin Slowey trade, Putnam has spent most of the year in Colorado's AAA hometown of Colorado Springs. While his peripheral numbers (Ks and BBs) have been good, he's been giving up hits at the highest rate of his career, leading to a 5.40 ERA.
Cory Burns: Traded for Cleveland
All-Star starting righty-specialist player Aaron Cunningham, Burns might be one of the few we will miss. Burns has taken his unorthodox and deceptive delivery to the PCL, putting up numbers essentially identical to what he did last year for Akron (10.5 K/9, 2.4 BB/9).
Marty Popham: Popham was not really given away, so much as he was simply taken in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft. These guys are almost always marginal organizational filler, and Popham, with an ERA hovering around 5 at high-A is no different.
Justin Germano: After being released by the Indians, Germano signed a minor-league free agent contract with Boston. Despite pitching well in Pawtucket (AAA), Germano was released by Boston again last week. Others suggested this in a thread, but Germano might not be a back minor-league pickup for Cleveland given the pitching injuries for Columbus.
Aaron Laffey: Since being traded for Matt Lawson prior to the '11 season, the lovable Aaron Laffey has played for Seattle, New York and Toronto, finding some success in each location. When he was traded, you might recall, Laffey was struggling to get his fastball above the mid-80s. He is still dealing with that struggle, but managing success on a combination of smoke, mirrors and a career-best walk-rate (4.8%).
Joe Martinez: Martinez left Cleveland as a minor league free agent last Fall and signed on with Arizona. He's put up an ERA of 4.74 in AAA, with a career low strikeout-rate since.
Jess Todd: Since passing on waiver claims from Cleveland, to New York, to Saint Louis, Todd has yet to return to the majors. After bombing out in NY, Todd's return to the St. Louis system has seen at least a partial return to success (10.1 K/9 this season at AAA), but still with significant shortcomings (4.94 ERA, 10.9 H/9).
Jensen Lewis: Another fan favorite, Lewis has found a home with Arizona's AAA team in Reno, where he has had some success (2.67 ERA) despite mediocre peripherals (6.4 K/9).
Chad Durbin: Durbin failed to make Washington's pitching staff in spring training, but eventually landed a job with Atlanta. His overall line through 33 innings doesn't look bad (3.78 ERA), but I'll pass on the 6 HRs allowed and 4.3 BB/9.
I am sure I missed a few guys. I was looking for pitchers moved in 2011 and 2012 who have developed a track record elsewhere (thanks for the gamethread assistance). Did I miss anyone significant?