When the Cleveland Indians demoted Danny Salazar, they were hoping he could improve upon a few things. His record of 1-4, an ERA of 5.53, a FIP of 4.63, and a WHIP of 1.623.
The issues? Here’s a couple…
He’s only made it into the 7th inning on two occasions. Those are the only games in which his game score (according to Baseball Reference) has been above 50. You start a game with 50. And that tells us a couple of things, and one thing it doesn’t
Salazar is throwing a lot of pitches for the short period of time he’s been in any game. This could be a major reason he hasn’t progressed that far into games. The least number of pitches he’s thrown in any MLB outing is 82. He lasted 4.2 inning in that game.
He’s throwing strikes (61%), but not at the rate he did last season (68%). The strikes he’s throwing are getting hit. And hit hard. Here’s some numbers:
Salazar has already served up more home runs this season (8) in his 8 starts than he did last season (7) in 10 starts. Add that his strikeouts are down (SO/9:11.3 to 10.4), and the walks are up (BB/9: 2.6 to 3.8).
There was also a loss of velocity. According to Brooks Baseball, the fastball velocity dropped 1.5 mph. The slider registered almost a full mph slower, and the split was off over 2 mph.
So when the demotion was made, the hope (of the Indians brass and their fans) was that Salazar would regain some of what made him look like a potential stalwart of the starting rotation. That Danny Salazar still has yet to appear.
In his three starts, the results have actually been worse. He’s 0-3 with a 7.11 ERA, 2.289 WHIP, 2.1 HR/9, and 14.9 H/9. Opposing batters are scorching him to the tune of a .356 batting average. And again, his pitch count has become a major factor.
In his 8 starts for the Tribe, he averaged 18.4 pitches per inning. For Columbus, that has increased to 21.5.
A positive is that Salazar has maintained his strikeout rate (SO/9 of 10.7) as compared to his major league starts. But that quickly gets erased with a BB/9 of 5.7. The BABIP of .439 in these three starts is also a head spinner. You would think that sooner or later, that would slide downward.
He’s has thrown a total of 12.2 innings. Only once has he made it into the 6th inning. But this is only three starts, then you realize that in his first game, he only hurled 2.2 innings.
As you can see, being in Triple-A hasn’t initially solved the issues. Maybe they will eventually work toward Salazar’s favor, and I would love to say this is Salazar suffering from a sophomore slump. The unfortunate thing is I think this team was counting on the 2013 Danny Salazar.