Cleveland, Ohio – I scribbled in my Guardians notebook:
1. With Cal Quantrill and Payton Battenfield on the injured list and Zach Plesac falling to Class AAA (7.56 ERA), it goes to show that you can never get enough of a starting pitcher. A few days ago, the Guardians were talking about vacating the rotation spots for Aaron Civale and Triston McKenzie, both of whom are coming off the injured list this weekend.
2. Quantrill then admitted that his shoulder was sore. He took a cortisone shot and he’ll be out for a few weeks at least. Rookies Logan Allen and Tanner Bibby secured positions in the rotation behind ace Shane Pepper. Mackenzie and Sival can fill the last two spots.
3. Who knows how Mackenzie and Cephal will grow up? McKenzie suffered a shoulder problem late in spring training. I have delivered Rhree games cover 10 1/3 minor league innings to prepare for Sunday’s start. Cefal opened the season in rotation. He made two starts and then suffered an oblique fatigue. It was his fourth trip to the injured list since the middle of the 2021 season.
4. Pitchers get hurt. When Ceval was wounded, Battenfeld was promoted. Then he was shot in the shoulder. Cleveland’s starting rotation has been 4.41 ERA this season, well above the 3.73 ERA mark in 2022. For all the talk about the Guardians’ lack of hitting (which is a problem), pitching has also been somewhat finicky.
5. THE ROTATION HAS BEEN RECENTLY BEEPY AND ALIEN. Both came to Cleveland for the first time in their careers and looked ready for the league. Battenfeld also had some good moments before his shoulder bothered him.
6. The Guardians have two other Class AAA starters: Gavin Williams (2.25 ERA) and Joey Cantillo (3.03 ERA). They also have Hunter Jadis in the Bulls, and they love him as a starter. They have depth, and they will need it. But that’s also why I’m convinced they’ll deal with Bieber before the August 2nd trading deadline.
7. Bieber represents B Drew Rosenhaus, who in the first place He was a football agent. He’s moving on to baseball. Pepper is his first client. Rosenhaus naturally wants a big deal for the Cleveland Aces. Dennis Werick heads baseball operations for Rosenhaus. Wyrick broke into the agent business with Scott Boras, a die-hard MLB agent who rarely offered friendly deals with the team. With a year and a half left before free agency, Pepper will not re-sign with Cleveland.
8. An MLB source told me that other teams have concerns about the drop in Bieber’s batting rate. His speed has waned in the past two years, yet he still batted 198 in 200 innings pitched in 2022, when he was 13-8 with a 2.88 ERA. He is 4-3 with a 3.72 ERA this season. The field of concern is 53 strikeouts in 75 innings, which is a significant drop in his run-out rate.
9. Let’s look at Bieber’s speed. In the 2020 Cy Young season, his fastball average was 94.2 mph, According to FanGraphs. It fell to 92.4 in 2021. It was 91.3 in 2022 and 91.2 in 2023. Not much difference in the last two years. Bieber is a very good starter and should be attractive to a lot of teams.
10. The Guardians’ pitching depth lets them trade Bieber. Their lack of hitting in the upper echelons of the minors—especially outfielders—makes it necessary for the Guardians to use Bieber to bring back some MLB-ready hitters. In Class AAA Columbus, Oscar Gonzalez bats just . 250 (22-of-88) with three HR and 19 RBI.
11. In 2019, The Guardians opened the season with this starting rotation: Bieber, Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, Zach Plesac, and Carlos Carrasco. It happened four years ago. Only Bieber remained on the MLB roster. Bauer pitches in Japan, where he has a 6.86 ERA and allows seven HRs in 21 innings pitched.
12. For the rest of the 2019 cycle, Carrasco is 2-2 with a 5.75 ERA for the Mets. He was out earlier in the season with an elbow injury. He’s been solid in his last two games. Clevinger is 3-3 with a 4.56 ERA for the White Sox. He just got off the injured list. Plessac lost confidence. Together with his 7.56 ERA for the Class AAA Clippers, he was struck out for nine HRs in 25 innings pitched.
13. I wonder how this season compares to Amed Rosario a year ago. It’s similar. Rosario batted 0.36 (.626 OPS) prior to June 2022. This season, he hit .227 (.593 OPS). Rosario usually gets hotter at the saucer in June. His defense is down from last year. According to FanGraphs, Ranked 19th Among the 19 defensive regular shortstops this season.
14. Rosario’s trade value is low, as he moves closer to free agency after this season. The Guardians will improve dramatically defensively with Gabriel Arias short. I will point out that Arias is the best defensive player on the team, third baseman and first baseman. He also did a respectable job on the field.
15. Do you remember Owen Miller? The former Guardian was traded to Milwaukee in the winter for a player to be named later. He hits .328 (.865 OPS) With four HR and 15 RBI for homebrews. In 674 plate appearances from 2021-22 for Cleveland, Miller batted . 231 (. 622 OPS). He had defensive issues at first and second base. Milwaukee has played 25 games in second place, 10 in third place, and 6 in the outfield.
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