Indians 2014 preview and predictions: Danny Salazar

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Next up is the player with the potential to be our future ace, Danny Salazar.

This post is part of a contest in which you could win a free Let's Go Tribe t-shirt. In order to enter, just copy and paste the template at the bottom of this post into the comments, then fill in each category with your own prediction for how this player will do in 2014. Position players and pitchers will be featured as two separate contests. You need not submit predictions for every single player in either contest in order to win, but doing so will increase your chances, as points will be awarded separately for each player.

For pitchers, you'll be asked to predict each player's innings (IP), wins (W), ERA, WHIP, strikeout rate (K/9), and walk rate (BB/9). For relief pitchers there will be saves instead of wins.

Find every previous entry in the series here

The comments on each post in this series will remain open through Saturday, March 29.

Danny Salazar

2013 Recap

Salazar was just 20 years old and at Lake County in 2010 when he was shut down for Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He rehabbed for the next 15 months and made a few late season appearances in 2011. The Tribe added him to the roster that November even though he was still rehabbing. In 2012, he was limited to just 87.2 innings at Carolina (A+) and Akron (AA). He had a 2.36 ERA and 1.118 WHIP in those two stops. He was stretched out again in 2013, pitching 33.2 innings in Akron, 59.1 innings in Columbus (AAA) and of course making the Indians rotation. He debuted in July against the Blue Jays and beat them allowing just two hits and striking out 7 in six innings of work. He went back to Columbus, but didn't stay there long. On August 7, he returned against the Tigers and struck out 10 in 7.2 innings, including Miguel Cabrera three times before giving up a two run shot in the eighth. He finished out the season in the rotation, but rarely pitched past the fifth as the Indians tried to limit his innings. After Masterson got hurt in September and Ubaldo was used to help clinch our playoff spot, Salazar was tapped to start the Wild Card game and retired nine of his first ten batters, with Delmon Young tagging him for a solo shot in the third. He struggled in the fourth, giving up two more runs before being pulled in the fifth after a leadoff walk.

Recent Stats

Year Age Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB Awards
2013 23 CLE 2 3 .400 3.12 10 10 0 0 0 0 52.0 44 18 18 7 15 0 65 0 0 3 211 121 1.135 7.6 1.2 2.6 11.3 4.33
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/17/2014.

2014 Preview and Projections

While Salazar obviously has the stuff and makeup to be the ace of this staff, I believe he will still have some growing pains. The Indians will take every chance not to overwork him while still letting him air it out. He may miss the first start or two in April and may have a few starts skipped here and there throughout the season. But I don't feel like he will be shut down like Strasburg was. Come September, I expect him and Masterson to be leading the staff in a hopeful pennant run. And should we make the playoffs, he will be a key component of the staff for that run (provided it isn't another one and done).

Here are a variety of projections for Salazar's 2014 season, all of which are available on his player page at FanGraphs, where you can find more detail, if you're so inclined:

System

IP

W

ERA

WHIP

K/9

BB/9

Steamer

163.0

12

3.35

1.18

9.85

2.92

Oliver

96.0

7

3.38

1.22

9.09

2.81

ZIPS

153.0

9

3.71

1.28

9.53

3.24

My Two Cents

All of these projections do take into account the missed time and limiting innings thrown in the past few seasons. The ERA looks pretty close to me and I would expect the K rate to be closer to Steamer's projections. The question will be how his BB/9 and WHIP pan out once the league has seen him a few times. Put me down for 179.2 innings, 13 wins, 2,91 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 9.69 K/9 and 2.75 BB/9.

To submit your entry, simply copy-and-paste the text below into a new comment, then fill in your predictions:

  • IP:
  • W:
  • ERA:
  • WHIP:
  • K/9:
  • BB/9:
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