The Cleveland Indians have a Cy Young candidate this season, and he did not even start in the club’s first three games this season.
Danny Salazar went 5 2/3 innings, struck out four, walked three, and gave up only two earned runs on seven hits in the Indians’ 7-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field on Friday. Salazar did not have the greatest of outings, but he did validate that he should be in the starting rotation.
His first start is as tiny as a small sample size will ever get, but combine that with his 10 starts during last season, and Salazar has all the makings to be a star this season and have American League Central opponents looking over their schedule against the Indians this season hoping to avoid the 24-year-old hurler.
Salazar has everything that creates a No. 1 starter. His fastball looks to move up and leaves hitters swinging way behind, and his breaking stuff is so nasty, which it makes hitters hope the fastball is what they swing and miss on. Last season, in just 52 innings, Salazar recorded 65 strikeouts, walked 15, and held opponents to a .226 batting average against. His numbers were good enough to be named the starter against the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Wild Card game.
It is always fun to overreact after one game, but with Salazar, this kind of bandwagon jumping is something everyone should get on now. Salazar is a star in the making, regardless if he is a candidate for the Cy Young this season. One way or the other, he will be a contender for that award for as long as he is a starting pitcher.