The Near Locks
There is a pair of Tribe pitchers who are not far behind Bobby Bradley in terms of being added to the Tribe’s roster. The first being right-handed reliever Henry Martinez.
The 24-year-old really started turning heads in 2017 when he threw 60 innings in relief for Lake County and posted a 3.15 ERA and 2.60 FIP in his first year of full-season ball. He also struck out nearly a batter an inning while having a walk-rate under three.
The Dominican native only improved in 2018, moving from Advanced-A Lynchburg to Double-A Akron and finally finishing the year with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. While the overall ERA may not have been pretty he improved his FIP at each stop and struck out nearly 10 batters per nine innings (9.9). He has a plus fastball and also throws a slider and change.
His control is what really separates him as many of the Tribe minor league relievers can rack up the strikeouts but struggle with control. It’s one of the biggest reasons he’s as close to a lock as there is for me. Odds of being rostered: 99%
The second pitcher that I believe is very close to being a lock to be added today is left-hander Sam Hentges. The 22-year-old was originally a fourth-round pick of the Indians back in 2014, but injuries have limited him greatly prior to this past season. He had Tommy John surgery and threw just 30 innings in 2017. However, in 2018 things finally fell into place.
He threw 118 innings for Advanced-A Lynchburg going 6-6 in 23 starts. He posted a 3.27 ERA and 3.21 FIP while striking out over a batter an inning. He has a plus fastball and curveball as well as a changeup. He’s still a work in progress both due to age and recovery, but one can make the case he’s the second-best pitching prospect in the system behind Triston McKenzie (who is not eligible for Rule 5 Draft this year).
The Indians rostered a somewhat similar player in Danny Salazar several years ago, fearful they’d lose the stud arm. There is little chance we see Hentges in Cleveland in 2019 but by 2020 is very possible. Another team, especially a rebuilding team could view him as a worthwhile risk to stash in the pen. Because of this, I expect him to be added even though he has yet to see Double-A. Odds of being rostered: 95%