While the offseason has been historically slow and the winter has crawled along at an even slower pace, we at Did The Tribe Win Last Night look ahead to the warmer days of the 2018 season by remembering Tribe players past and present.
Countdown to Opening Day – 57 days
The Kyle Crockett era in Cleveland (and mainly, Columbus) ended following the 2017 season when he was a roster casualty for the Indians. On the 40-man roster, but not finding the pitching mound often at Progressive Field, the 26-year-old left-handed reliever was designated for assignment by the Tribe and scooped up by the Cincinnati Reds. Relocated to the opposite end of Ohio, Crockett will have a chance to make a difference with a young Reds club.
The new locale could do his career some good as Crockett, for one reason or another, never stuck in Cleveland despite being granted a quick opportunity to play at the Major League level.
A fourth round pick in 2013 out of the University of Virginia, Crockett was fast-tracked through the farm system and broke in less than a full year after being drafted. He put up some impressive numbers in that rookie campaign, including a 4-1 record, a 1.80 ERA, and a 1.13 WHIP in 30 innings over 43 games as a matchup left-hander, but he would fail to have that same success in the years that followed.
He posted a 4.08 ERA in 31 games (17 2/3 innings) in 2015, then a 5.06 ERA in 29 games (16 innings) the next year. Last season, he made just four appearances in the Majors with the Tribe, retiring five total batters along the way. With Triple-A Columbus, his results were better as he went 5-5 in 51 appearances with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP as his walk rate was nearly a batter and a half better per nine innings there than in his previous two seasons on the farm.
Those command issues may have been the biggest obstacle for Crockett along the way, as he saw a significant jump in his walk rate (at both the Major and minor league levels) after his rookie season. His strikeout rate has remained strong, at both levels, but it has not translated into regular opportunities to stay with the parent club.
Crockett, after being claimed by the Reds, was not tendered a contract for 2018 just days after being picked up off of waivers as the Reds looked to create room on the 40-man roster. He and the Reds agreed to a minor league pact with a non-roster invitation to Major League Spring Training in early December.
The 57 will likely find its way back into the rotation of numbers for the Indians at some point this spring, as it has seen heavy use over the course of the last few decades. It failed to make an appearance in 2005 and 2007, but otherwise has been worn in at least one game in every year of the 21st century.
Other players to wear #57 in Indians history:
Joe Hauser (1929; the first to do so in MLB history), Billy Harrell (1955), Rod Nichols (1988), Jeff Shaw (1990-92), John Smiley (1997), Brian Williams (2000), Ryan Drese (2001-02), Jason Boyd (2003), Lou Pote (2004), Kyle Denney (2004), Jeremy Guthrie (2006), Zach Jackson (2008-09), Hector Ambriz (2010), Zach McAllister (2011), Jeremy Accardo (2012), Scott Maine (2012), Clay Rapada (2013), Joe Martinez (2013)
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