The Cleveland Indians have long boasted one of the best minor league systems in Major League Baseball. Although they may not necessarily have set the world on fire through the draft the past decade or so, the trading of stars (and superstars) have kept the farm system growing with plenty of exciting prospects.
Drew Pomeranz was not one of those received in a trade. It appears as though the Indians may have struck gold with their fifth overall pick of last season's draft.
Pomeranz, in only his second-career professional start with the Single-A Kinston Indians, took a no-hitter into the sixth inning on Wednesday night. Although the Indians lost the ball game, how could you not be excited about the young lefty?
Through his first two starts, he has hurled 11 scoreless innings with only three hits allowed. Even more impressive—he has only walked two and struck out 17 hitters in that span. His WHIP is a minuscule 0.45 and he is averaging 13.9 K/9 innings.
Pomeranz was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 12th round of the 2007 draft when he was still in high school. He opted instead to go to college, choosing the University of Mississippi where he had a brilliant collegiate career. During his tenure at Mississippi, he was named SEC Pitcher of the Year and broke the school's career strikeout record when he was only a junior.
Despite the fact that he could very well be pitching way above his designated Double-A level right now, Pomeranz is insistent he is taking his progression slowly, and wants to ready himself for a big league career at a reasonable pace
I'm here working on just showing them that I'm ready," Pomeranz told MiLB.com, "That's all I can do and throw my best. The rest is out of my hands."
In his first start, he said he allowed his fastball to carry him through the game. For his second, he said he focused more on his changeup and his other off-speed pitches to get guys out.
Stop. Fast-forward to 2012.
There is at least a chance that starting pitcher Fausto Carmona will be dealt at the All-Star break or this coming offseason. The Tribe may try to rid themselves of his big contract, a deal that calls for $28 million to be paid to Carmona over the 2012-14 seasons. If this were to happen, could Pomeranz be ready to step up as a legitimate starter in the MLB?
Time will tell. The Indians have gotten some very positive returns from young guns Justin Masterson, Josh Tomlin, Carlos Carrasco and Mitch Talbot. But the introduction of Pomeranz, as well as 2009 first-round pick Alex White from North Carolina, could give the Indians plenty of arms to choose from come spring training.
This spring training, it did seem like a couple starters in the rotation won their spot almost by default. Competition could breed excellence, and this would make the Tribe pitching staff that much better. With the hefty lefty Pomeranz and workhorse Alex White, it could make the rotation very formidable in the near future.
With a young rotation and a very young (and effective) bullpen, the Indians could have great pitching for years.
But for now, I will certainly be following Pomeranz very closely with much interest.