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Cleveland Indians: Who are some internal bullpen options?

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Indians bullpen is in dire need of a makeover. There could be some trade options out there, but those likely won’t happen until July. Who could come up and make a difference now?

Changes need to be made to this Cleveland Indians bullpen. And fast. The group that was one of the best in baseball prior to Andrew Miller‘s injury has remained a mess even after Miller’s return. Something needs to be done. The AL Central is weak, but the Twins are making a real push and aren’t going away.

Surely, there are some internal options to promote to the big leagues and help the roster. Although the Tribe might have to dig fairly deep to find some quality options.

Adam Plutko

Yes, he is a starter. He made one start in the big leagues already this season for the Indians. But if the Indians want to have their best performing arms on their team, they may have to call up Plutko for a bullpen role.

There clearly isn’t much room in the rotation for Plutko right now, unless the Tribe decides to completely move on from Josh Tomlin. And many teams take quality starting pitching prospects and bring them up to the bullpen to help finish their development.

He’s pitched to a 2.37 ERA on the Triple-A Columbus Clippers and performed well in his lone start in the big leagues.

Mitch Brown

The Indians have to dig into their Double-A roster as the Clippers are a little short on high-performing relievers. Mitch Brown has been dominant so far for Akron as he has pitched to a 1.10 ERA in 13 appearances. Brown has three saves in four opportunities.

Sure it might be Double-A that he’s playing at, but he did spend some time with Triple-A this year and he’s just one step away from the majors. Plenty of big league players have made the jump from Double-A to the big leagues.

Brown doesn’t exactly have the greatest track record. He posted two straight 5.00+ ERA seasons in High-A and in 2017, Brown had an ERA over 6.00 in Akron. He walked nearly as many batters as he struck out last year.

But 2018 is a different story. He’s fixed his walk issues, he’s striking out more hitters, and he’s not letting anyone get on base. His 0.73 WHIP is by far the lowest of his career.

Could this be a fluke, or did Brown finally figure something out? Hopefully he figured it out, and he could push for a promotion is these major league bullpen struggles continue.

Luke Eubank

Eubank has a better track record to this point in his career than Brown, but both have been performing extremely well to start the season. In 13 appearances, Eubank has a 1.04 ERA with a pair of saves to start the year.

He’s posted a strong 22:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in just over 17 innings pitched. Eubank’s strong numbers could put him in contention for a roster call up soon.

Over his career, it appears Eubank has had issues staying healthy. He made only 20 appearances in 2017 and 18 appearances in 2016. If he can stay healthy this season, he will finally get a chance to prove to the Cleveland Indians that he can be a reliable bullpen option in the future. If he gets the opportunity, he will make the most of it.

The sad thing is, the Indians don’t have very many internal options for this bullpen. The Triple-A club is full of under-performers or injured players. Ryan Merritt would be a nice addition but he had a setback on his rehab assignment and his return timetable is murky once again.

The Tribe’s bullpen has been atrocious so far, and these three pitchers are among the best internal options the farm system has to offer. A starting pitcher and two double-A relievers with not great track record of productiveness or health.

Next: Early look at the bullpen trade market

The Cleveland Indians definitely have a big need in the bullpen and it will take a couple of new arms to remake that group.