Apr 5, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Vinnie Pestano (52) pitches during the ninth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Number Three: Vinnie Pestano
Vinnie Pestano, a former 20th round pick, rose from obscurity to become a dominant reliever with the Tribe. Pestano pitched incredibly well in 2011 and 2012. Across those two seasons, Pestano compiled a 2.5 WAR. With so much success in the setup role, fans began to wonder if Pestano would replace Chris Perez as the Tribe’s closer.
2013, however, caused massive problems for Pestano. He spent large portions of the season on the disabled list and only pitched 35 innings. While still striking out batters at an impressive rate, his walks per nine innings inflated to 5.35. His struggles continued into 2014, and he again spent a lot of time on the disabled list.
Nevertheless, Pestano was one of the best relievers in baseball for two seasons, and that is enough to put him high up on the Tribe’s all-time list. Pestano’s high strikeout rates sit second best behind Cody Allen, and he holds the best left on base percentage. Despite command struggles, his low opponent average (tied for 12th best) managed to keep his WHIP low at 16th best.
Up next on the countdown is a closer from the Tribe’s glory days of the 1990s.
Next: Number Two