Cleveland Indians: Previewing the 2017 starting rotation

Aug 26, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez (from left), starting pitcher Corey Kluber (28), starting pitcher Josh Tomlin (43) and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco (59) watch in the rain in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 26, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez (from left), starting pitcher Corey Kluber (28), starting pitcher Josh Tomlin (43) and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco (59) watch in the rain in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 25, 2017; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Josh Tomlin (43) pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at Goodyear Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 25, 2017; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Josh Tomlin (43) pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at Goodyear Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

5. Josh Tomlin

The most experienced pitcher on the Indians staff. He’s the anchor. He would be higher positioned on most teams, so the Indians’ ability to send him out against back-end of the rotation guys for other teams is a major luxury.

While he is going to be the number four in Cleveland’s rotation, I put him at number five because of his role as the anchor.

Josh Tomlin isn’t the most talented guy on the staff, but the team trusts him as much as anybody other than Kluber. He’s not going to lose a game because he gets rattled, and that’s a good quality in a pitcher, especially when other guys in your rotation don’t have a ton of experience.

Tomlin has never been a lockdown pitcher, posting a 4.58 ERA in his seven-year career, but he knows how to win games. A 20-11 record over the past two years isn’t great, but is all that can be asked of a pitcher at the back-end of the rotation.

Still, he’s also had a poor spring training. While giving up the least runs of any of the projected starting pitchers in the Indians’ rotation with 13, he gave up seven home runs.

Next: Breaking down the Opening Day bullpen

The long ball has really plagued him and the rest of the rotation. That will probably be corrected in the regular season, but it’s still cause for concern. Keeping the ball in the yard is going to be key to making this staff the best rotation in baseball.