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Yeah, just shows you can never have enough SP depth.
If I can be Captain Obvious here, this team is somehow still competing, and trying to reload, with glaring MLB deficiencies at SS, 1B and centerfield. We are making do with Amed and now Miller(at maybe his weakest position) at short, Luplow, Harold Ramirez and Amed in center, and Bauers and Chang at first. If we really are reloading, and thinking that this year is our low point before our next dominant team starts becoming realized next year, you would like to think that we can have someone on the 40-man roster by the end of this year who we could at least pencil in at the three positions.
No problem at SS. Gimenez and Arias are at AAA, and Gimenez has ML experience. Our best prospect, Freeman, is tearing up AA in his first appearance at that level. One of these three is the answer here, and we may even want to pull the trigger on a trade involving either Gimenez or Arias. That still leaves us Rocchio and Martinez on the A-ball clubs.
Bauers and Chang are not the answer at 1B. Bradley deserves his shot, but he probably isn't the answer either. Noel is breaking out early at LoA. But barring a trade, the answer is probably Naylor or maybe Jones.
CF is harder. We have a trio of actual (not converted) college centerfielders in the upper levels in Kwan, Call and Brennan. Kwan is hurt, and none of the three show up on prospect lists. They can all probably be counted on to take correct routes, make the right throws and hit over the Hedges/Chang line (Hedges and Chang are duking this number out every night, on our team 😐). Each of them have shown they can move up a level, but are currently blocked by our holding on to Zimmer and Mercado. Palacios could be an interesting conversion, Benson might be putting himself in the conversation barely, and Planez is struggling in LOA but bears watching. Halpin and Greene are in Rookie Ball. If we want a centerfielder of our next dominant team to be out there on opening day next year, that guy is not in the system today. We need to be looking to address this first and foremost. We made a Taubensee for Lofton trade once. Might be too much to ask for again.
Mejia is getting the start tomorrow, Morgan will be available in relief. I am quite puzzled by how they've used Mejia, who just went 1.2 innings on Sunday and has been kept in a seldom used relief role since being called up. I hope they're giving him a proper chance to get stretched out, and I hope that means that Morgan gets optioned down after tomorrow to keep stretched out in Columbus.
It will be the third rookie getting his first start this year for the Indians (Morgan, Hentges), which they haven't done since 2013. If Scott Moss gets healthy, he might be the 4th at some point.
They've been really erratic about keeping guys stretched out as starters vs in the bullpen. I don't know if that's a choice because of the pandemic shortened season (trying to limit the amount of innings for everyone?) or if they're just unsure about guys. Mejia, Quantrill, McKenzie, and Hentges have all been stretched out after bullpen work in the majors. You'd think they'd want to keep guys like Mejia and Morgan starting in AAA to keep ready, but instead they've chosen to do this.
My bets are that McKenzie and Hentges at some point get sent to the bullpen. The bullpen is already pretty strong - Maton might be the weakest link and his stats are actually pretty good if you take out the times he's gone back out with more than an inning pitched (he's a short reliever that goes max effort, being miscast as a multi inning guy). So there's value for now in keeping them available as starters, but long term I think we know McKenzie's velo plays up that way. Same with Hentges. They're both weapons in that role and if this team gets to the playoffs, being able to deploy them like that would be huge.
Outside of Bieber, Civale, and Plesac... I think Mejia and Quantrill might end up being the long term solutions for the rotation. Mejia could end up a bullpen guy too, especially come playoffs. Quantrill's stuff doesn't play up that much out of the pen, and Mejia's secondary stuff is good enough to be a starter to me.
Moss, Morgan, and Logan Allen... need to see more. None of them throw 97 in relief so they probably should be kept as starters if only in Columbus.