2013 in Review: Overshadowed Zach McAllister shouldn't be forgotten

Zach McAllister - Jason Miller

If the Indians are to continue their winning ways the rest of the decade, Zach McAllister will be a major part of that.

Zach McAllister

Right-handed starting pitcher:

Age: 25

2013 Salary: $496,400

2014 Contract Status: Pre-arbitration (1.124 years service time)

When the Indians acquired Zach McAllister from the New York Yankees in 2010, they were getting a young pitcher who was having a very poor season. McAllister was struggling in his first stint in AAA, giving up 11.1 hits/9 innings, and recent scouting reports weren't kind. Going into the 2010 season, Zach's stuff was seen as sub-par, with a low-90s fastball and a fringe curve and change. So with the struggles at AAA (even though he was only 22), the Yankees dealt him to the Indians for Austin Kearns at the deadline in 2010.

2013 in Review Hub: Your destination for Let's Go Tribe's look at key prospects and players from the Indians in 2013

The Indians tweaked McAllister's mechanics, and his fastball velocity increased to 94-95 mph, and the following season he made his major-league debut, and then in 2012 he became a full-time starter after the mid-season rotation implosion. He was the best pitcher of that historically awful rotation, and in 2013 he picked up where he left off, and then some. In April and May in was one of the best starters on the staff, posting a 3.30 ERA in April and followed it up with 2.87 ERA in May. But in his first start in June, McAllister was awful, and after the game we found out why. He had injured a tendon in his middle finger, and as a result, couldn't throw his slow curve.

McAllister was once a sinker/slider guy, but after joining the Indians system he's become more of a power pitcher, utilizing his mid-90s fastball along with his low-80s curve and mid-80s change as his offspeed offerings. This year more than three-quarters of his pitches were fastballs, with 13% curves and 6% changeups.

Zach would miss the rest of June most of July with the injury, but after returning, he pretty much picked up where he left off. He had two poor starts against the Tigers in August, but other than that he was very solid. In his last three starts he allowed a total of 2 earned runs in 16.0 innings.

McAllister ended the 2013 season with a league-average ERA+ (100), having made 24 starts, with just about half coming before the finger injury and half afterwards. He struck out 6.8 per 9 innings, which was down from 2012, but still very much a sustainable rate in today's MLB. The league has had a chance to see him several times, and it looks like he can be a solid starter in the Tribe rotation for years to come. I don't think his ceiling is as high as Danny Salazar's or even Corey Kluber's, but a pitcher can still be very valuable just giving the Indians 200+ league-average innings a season.

Year Age Tm Lg ERA G GS IP ER HR BB SO ERA+ H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2011 23 CLE AL 6.11 4 4 17.2 12 1 7 14 66 13.2 0.5 3.6 7.1 2.00
2012 24 CLE AL 4.24 22 22 125.1 59 19 38 110 92 9.6 1.4 2.7 7.9 2.89
2013 25 CLE AL 3.75 24 24 134.1 56 13 49 101 100 9.0 0.9 3.3 6.8 2.06
3 Yrs 4.12 50 50 277.1 127 33 94 225 93 9.5 1.1 3.1 7.3 2.39
162 Game Avg. 4.12 34 34 189 86 22 64 153 93 9.5 1.1 3.1 7.3 2.39
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/2/2013.
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