Josh Wolf Has The Ingredients To Succeed
A major reason why the Indians have been able to remain contenders despite the loss of so many stars has been their ability to develop young pitchers, both homegrown and those acquired from other organizations, into productive major leaguers.
Cleveland's next young pitcher development project is 20-year-old righthander Josh Wolf, a product of the offseason deal that sent Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco to the Mets.
New York drafted Wolf out of Houston's St. Thomas High in the second round in 2019 and went way over slot to sign him for $2.15 million.
As it turned out, Wolf appeared in just five games in the Mets’ organization, all starts in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in his draft year. He struck out 12 and walked one in eight innings.
His development was interrupted last year when the minor league season was canceled, and he was not invited to the Mets’ alternate training site. But that didn’t stop Indians officials from negotiating him into the Lindor/Carrasco trade.
“He’s a young, hard-throwing righthander with a good mix of pitches,” Indians president Chris Antonetti said. “(He has) an above-average fastball up to 96 (mph) and a really good slider. His third pitch is a changeup that he’s still developing.”
At 6-foot-3, 170 pounds, Wolf has the potential to continue to mature physically.
There’s no way to make up for lost time last summer when he was working out remotely, before reporting to the Mets’ instructional league. But Indians officials obviously saw something worth working with.
“We think Josh has the ingredients to develop into a successful starting major league pitcher,” Antonetti said.
— Reliever Emmanuel Clase, who was suspended for the 2020 season after testing positive for PED, is a candidate to replace the departed Brad Hand as closer. “When you see the ball out of his hand, it’s exciting. He has special stuff,” said pitching coach Carl Willis.
— Four of the five starters in the Indians’ projected rotation are products of the 2016 draft. The Indians selected Aaron Civale in the third round, Shane Bieber in the fourth and Zach Plesac in the 12th. The Padres drafted Cal Quantrill eighth overall before trading him to Cleveland as part of the Mike Clevinger deal.