At times, veteran left handed pitcher Bruce Chen, the “Panamaniac” (I just made that up because he’s from Panama, nobody really calls him that I don’t think — but maybe) shockingly mystified lineups with his soft-tossing ways. When there was a need for a starting pitcher a couple weeks ago in the Cleveland rotation, the Indians summoned Chen from their AAA affiliate in hopes that he could string together something pretty by lullabying hitters to sleep with his 84-85 MPH fastballs (don’t be jealous Jered Weaver). After two disaster starts versus the Twins and Rangers that left him with a 12.79 ERA and 3.94 WHIP, the Indians gave Chen the good ol’ DFA (designated for assignment) boot on Saturday. With the vacancy in the rotation, who will the Tribe turn to next? It’s hard to say at the moment, but let me introduce you to Zach McAllister.
McAllister is a big righty listed at 6’6″ 240 lbs. and he began his professional career with the Yankees before being the player to be named later that the Indians received as compensation for trading Austin Kearns to New York in 2010. McAllister was never a glamorous prospect, but the Indians gave him extended looks in their starting rotation in each year from 2012-14. In all his starts from those seasons, McAllister compiled a 4.36 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 7.33 K/9, and 3.06 BB/9 over 332.2 IP, which by most regards made him a below average starting pitcher. At the end of July of 2014, the Indians decided they had seen enough of him as a starting pitcher and sent him down to the Minors before recalling him in September to be a bullpen arm.
Upon being used out of the bullpen, McAllister proved to be pretty useful as he had a 2.57 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 14 K/2 BB in 14 relief innings in September. As it usually tends to happen when starting pitchers get moved to the bullpen since they don’t have to “save” their arm to go more than a couple innings usually, McAllister experienced a bump in his velocity. And during that bullpen stint, he actually did make one good spot start where he maintained the velocity gain throughout that game too, which was a pleasant surprise. Continue reading