Thanks to his mid-90s fastball and fantastic strikeout totals Danny Salazar was a popular breakout pick for 2015, but after a rough start Thursday the Indians have decided to send the 25-year-old right-hander back to Triple-A.
Cleveland has solid rotation depth, but Salazar has a 3.89 ERA in 30 career starts while racking up 185 strikeouts in 162 innings. His control can be spotty, but there isn’t much more for him to prove in the minors and he’s already performed like a useful mid-rotation starter in the majors. And even while struggling this spring he posted a 15/5 K/BB ratio in 11 innings.
Salazar figures to be back in Cleveland soon enough and the demotion likely had a lot to do with him having one minor-league option remaining, so the Indians could trim him from the rotation competition without losing someone else useful on waivers. Still, he’s probably one of the Indians’ five best starters and he definitely has one of the five highest upside among Indians starters. Zach McAllister and Josh Tomlin are now competing for the fifth starter gig.