Who’s the fifth starter for the Cleveland Indians?
The fifth spot of the rotation will be the biggest question for the Cleveland Indians starting pitchers entering the 2021 season. Luckily, they have a strong track record of finding and producing starting pitchers, so hopefully they have someone in mind.
From looking at the 40-man roster there’s already a few names that stick out from the rest as potential candidates to claim the fifth spot. Logan Allen, Sam Hentges and Trevor Stephan might be the front runners entering Spring Training.
Beginning with Allen, he’s just 23-years old and was part of the Trevor Bauer deal. Allen started four games for the Padres in 2019, but most of his appearances have been in relief. A left-handed pitcher, he would be the only southpaw in the rotation for the Indians, and the first in quite some time as well. The downside is that his hits per nine are rather high, making him seem like a better fit in the bullpen.
Like Allen, Hentges would also be a lefty addition to the rotation. At 24-years old, Hentges has yet to make his MLB debut, or even pitch beyond Double-A for that matter. He has the potential to maybe take over the spot after knocking the rust off in Triple-A, but it’s hard to imagine giving this spot to someone who hasn’t pitched in over a year or beyond Double-A, at least from the get-go.
The third option is the one that makes the most sense to me, being Stephan. A Rule 5 Draft selection, Stephan will be in the majors anyway and has a history of starting. When the Indians took him it didn’t quite make sense, but now it seems like it was a move knowing that Carrasco wouldn’t start the season in Cleveland. Having started 69 of his 71 games in the minors, this seems like the best bet. However, he’s in the same boat as Hentges, last pitching in 2019 at Double-A.
There’s also the possibility that the Cleveland Indians could sign someone or even wait for a mid-to-late season call up. Really the possibilities are nearly endless for this fifth spot.