Shuffling off to Buffalo

We got the following question from a reader and thought it’d make for good blog fodder:

Our Indians forum has decided to abide by your opinions on a subject we have no agreement upon.  The question is:  How many major league GMs would trade their pitching staff en mass for the Buffalo pitching staff?  The assumption includes Davis and Guthrie, which the forum believes will be sent down, but does not include pitchers who are expected to start at Akron such as Miller, Sipp and Perez.  There is considerable disagreement.  Thanks! — Norman, San Diego

This is a really good question … right now, with just over a week to go until Major League Opening Day (and almost two weeks until the Bisons open), I think the back end of their rotation is still somewhat up in the air but I like what I see so far.

You’ve probably got Fausto Carmona and Jeremy Sowers as the 1-2 punch, possibly not in that order, and that alone makes the rotation one to reckon with. Jeremy Guthrie will also be there and he’s in something of a make or break year … a first-rounder who really has been a disappointment. He opened a few eyes this spring and perhaps is ready to turn the corner.

Though Jason Stanford isn’t technically a "prospect," with 61 big league innings under his belt, he’s missed most of the last two years due to injury but it looks like he’ll also be in the rotation.  Stanford So that leaves the No. 5 spot in question with several interesting candidates. Jason Davis, however, probably isn’t one of them even if he does head back to Buffalo. It appears that the Indians plan on leaving him in the bullpen full-time. Also in the Buffalo pen will be prospects such as Andrew Brown and Brian Slocum, which means you have at least three relievers who have been successful starters and could possibly return to that role down the line if the need arises.

I know the club is very high on both Jake Dittler and Dan Denham, who both had strong seasons at Double-A Akron last year, and new Buffalo manager Torey Lovullo is very familiar with both. I think either one could factor into the rotation, as could Jason Young.

Not sure what they’d do with the one(s) who don’t make it … I guess they’d head back to Akron for the time being (last year’s early-season Akron rotation of Carmona, Dittler, Denham, Slocum and injured J.D. Martin was one of the best in the Minors and Martin should be back mid-season from Tommy John surgery). That would give the Aeroes a trickle-down effect of yet another strong rotation (though I think the plans for Sipp probably still point to using him in relief). I’ve already circled April 10-11 on my calender to see them at Bowie.

So to answer your question … I doubt any major league GM would publicly ADMIT to coveting that rotation over what they have, but given the combined upside and depth (arguably seven or eight potential starters on the Buffalo staff!) I could think of at least five Major League rotations I would trade straight up for them right now. Obviously, it would have to be a team that is a year or two away from contending, if that helps.

Am I total geek if I admit that I can’t wait until Opening Day to spend the day online looking over rosters and checking out the rotations and lineups to see where everyone lands? – Lisa

Yes, Lisa, you are a total geek. But that’s why you fit right in to our MiLB family.

I can’t really add more than you did, but I’d maintain that there are some Major League clubs that with an upgrade of pitching, going from what they have to what  the Bisons could have, would move closer to contention. No offense to Bronson Arroyo et al, but I think the Reds would do better with the Bisons group than with sending Eric Milton out to the hill every five days. But that’s just me.

There will be some filter down because of the depth, but there’s no question that pitching-wise (and, to a certain extent, hitting-wise, too), the Indians’ talent is at the upper levels. Not that I have any concerns about that…I’d put the Indians scouting and player development staff up against anyone’s and there undoubtedly be a new wave of arms coming up behind the advanced group soon. — Jonathan

1 Comment

Thank you for your reply. Our answers ranged from two to seven. If healthy, JD Martin was the most popular 5th starter. Healthy 5th spot went to Denham and Tadano almost evenly. Slocum went to the pen along with Davis, Brown, Mujica. The entire forum overlooked Jason Young.
Norman, San Diego

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