Going into this spring training the Cleveland Indians starting rotation had two vacant spots with several pitchers in camp that could win the position. One of those vacancies has been filled by Zach McAllister, a big right hander that has a little experience and a lot of ability. Terry Francona basically said that he likes everything about McAllister both on and off of the field. What is really cool is the way he won this spot, though.
It’s really fun to watch baseball players that play the game the right way. McAllister won this fourth spot in the rotation the right way. That isn’t just to say that he went out and did the best he could, there is more to it than that. A little background would probably help. McAllister started a ton of games for the Indians last season, though he didn’t start the season in the rotation. Having pitched a good portion of the season in the rotation, including the last part of it, he could have had a rotten attitude about having his spot whisked out from under him.
Francona came in and let them know there were two spots up for grabs. McAllister probably took a second or two to realize that his spot for 22 starts last season was now gone. He had to go out and win the position all over again. He didn’t get mad or irritated though he could have. McAllister went out to the mound, worked on improving his pitches and everything else about himself, and won the spot the old fashion way.
I could be wrong but I think this could be a springboard for McAllister’s career. A manager like Francona coming in and saying, you have earned my respect and this spot in my starting rotation has to be like a flood of confidence and reassurance. Look out for his stuff to be sharper, his attitude better and within a few years to be one of the most reliable pitchers on this team.