Cleveland Indians: Kyle Crockett Poised for Breakout 2015

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Kyle Crockett made his major league debut with the Cleveland Indians in 2014 during his second season as a pro. If Crockett is able to build on a strong 2014 showing, he could be a breakout star for the bullpen in 2015.

The 23-year-old from the University of Virginia only pitched in 49 minor league innings over two years with the Indians minor league clubs, recording an ERA of 0.56 with 55 strikeouts and just eight walks.

Crockett was called up for his first stint in the big leagues from Double-A Akron on May 16, and he posted a stat line of: 4 1/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 3 BB, 1K. He became the first player from the 2013 First-Year Player Draft to reach the big leagues. Crockett was then sent back and recalled for the remainder of the season on June 13, according to MLB.com.

From there, Crockett solidified his spot in the bullpen.

The rookie posted an ERA of 1.80 over 43 games with the Tribe. He proved to be a matchup nightmare against left-handed batters, as they went a combined .206 (13-63) against him. Crockett gave the Indians a second option with the ability to consistently put down lefties, the first being Marc Rzepczynski.

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Furthermore, Crockett showed the ability to deliver when the Indians needed him. When batters faced Crockett with runners on base, they hit .200 (13-65) against him. Crockett was even more effective with runners in scoring position, as batters went .128 (5-39) good for 9th best among American League relievers, per MLB.Com.

Something that I believe Terry Francona and Mickey Callaway should consider is moving Crockett to the role of setup man. Last season, Crockett showed a knack for getting the first batter he faced out. According to MLB.Com, Crockett’s first-batter average was .154 (9-43) good for 11th among A.L. relievers. His ability to consistently put down the first batter he faces, coupled with his ability to get batters out with runners in scoring position could make Crockett a deadly setup man.

If Crockett is able to build on the success that he had as a rookie in 2014, he could be a major piece of the Indians bullpen going forward.

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