James Karinchak – reliever, Columbus Clippers (AAA)
James Karinchak was the story of the Indians farm this summer before an injury shelved him for over two months from May 10 until July 16, when he began a rehab assignment. Prior to the injury, Karinchak was talked about as seemingly on the fast track to the majors.
From April 5 to May 10 he pitched 13 innings, giving up just five hits and no runs. The real eye-popping part of his stat line was the fact he struck out two-thirds of the batters he faced in that span (32 of 48).
The injury that shelved Karinchak for two months slowed him down, as one would expect. He struggled to find his footing some after coming back from the injury. From July 24 to August 3 he pitched just 3.1 innings but gave up four hits and eight runs, (seven earned), while striking out nine of 22 batters faced.
Karinchak was a far cry from what he was pre-injury but has since found his footing. Since August 7, in his last seven appearances, he has a stat line of 9.0 innings pitched, five hits, two runs, 20 strikeouts and four walks facing 36 batters.
The Indians bullpen is still ranked as the number one pen in the majors but rankings can lie. Brad Hand is struggling to find footing and the pen as a whole is 28th in the majors in strikeouts and 12th in average against.
Karinchak could help the cause but the Indians could wait to roster him as he is not Rule 5 Draft eligible in the winter, while our next guy is.