Austin, if you are out there, I just want to sincerely thank you for what you did for the Indians. I am not talking about those ten home runs you hit for us in 141 career games. I am not talking about those 23 doubles either. And I am most certainly not talking about your extremely large ears…
What I am referring to is this.
You see, on July 31st, 2010, the New York Yankees were eager to deal for an extra outfielder, and Austin seemed to fit their needs. Cleveland traded Kearns to the Bronx Bombers that day, and received a player to be named later. That Player? Zach McAllister. I always thought this trade was brilliant. The Indians were going nowhere at the time, and Kearns had been playing well enough that he had made himself quite valuable as a fourth outfielder. The Yankees, wanting another bat to pair with the recently acquired Lance Berkman, caved on deadline day. After some additional seasoning at AAA, McAllister emerged as a potential back-of-the-rotation starter.
Let me be very clear: I do not think Zach McAllister is the future ace of the pitching staff; however, I do believe that Zach is capable of performing as he did tonight for the rest of the season, and perhaps beyond. During Zach’s first round in the Indians rotation he showed flashes of his promise, striking out eight Red Sox hitters during a loss at Fenway Park. After a couple of quality starts, he was shipped back on the ColumBUS. He was eventually recalled to start on June 28th, and has since ran away with the role of the fifth starter.
Zach throws strikes, and a lot of them. In fact, since his call-up on June 28th, no one in baseball has thrown as many strikes as Zach McAllister (206 of them in all). To take it even a step further, McAllister is throwing his curveball for a strike 76.4% of the time. Thats three out of every four people. THREE OUT OF EVERY FOUR. The kicker is that Zach’s duece is almost unhittable; he has only allowed four hits off of the pitch in 8 starts for the Indians this year, good for an opponents batting average against of .133. And, if that is not enough for you, consider that Zach made his second consecutive start versus the Rays tonight. In his two starts, the Rays were hitless against the curveball, putting it in play only four times out of 27 pitches.
Oh, I guess I should mention that the Tribe won tonight by a score of 3-2. Jason Kipnis and Shin-Soo Choo led the offense as they both recorded a pair of doubles. Michael Brantley also walked three times tonight, something that he had never done in his career prior to the game. The Pestano to Perez bridge held yet again, and Perez recorded his 26th save in 28 chances.
Look for Part 2 (The Akron Aeros) of my 4 Part series on the Cleveland Indians farm system sometime next week!
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