Lost and Found: Indians Prospect Danny Salazar
Editor’s note: Lost and Found is an offseason series in which one underrated prospect from each of the 30 MLB clubs will be discussed in a short, snappy post.
Lost: Danny Salazar, a 2006 free-agent signee out of his native Dominican Republic, compiled a 4.44 ERA in his first full season in 2009. Then, in ’10 and ’11, he completed just 47 innings (across 15 games) combined due to Tommy John surgery.
Found: Protected on Cleveland’s 40-man roster, Salazar went out and dominated the Carolina and Eastern Leagues in his first try at both levels.
2012: 2.36 ERA, 76 K, 27 BB, .224 OPP AVG, 87 2/3 IP spanning 22 G split between Class A Advanced Carolina and Double-A Akron
So Salazar was lost, now he is found. Now, about the Indians’ returns: Salazar, at his best, looks like one of two things: A No. 3 starter or a late-inning reliever. The 22-year-old right-hander actually gained about five MPH on his post-surgery fastball, has the makings of a plus slider and is still working to get his changeup up to snuff. How that repertoire comes together — along with building his innings back up — will determine where Salazar fits best. Given his recent history, moving him to the bullpen could shave a whole season off his wait to reach the Majors.