September 17, 2021

The Pitching Whisperers: The inner workings of the Indians’ starting pitching development factory (The Athletic)

CLEVELAND — Sometime between the lunchtime bowl of spaghetti and meatballs with his Alaska-dwelling twin brother and the anxious pedals on the exercise bike during a pregame rain delay, Zach Plesac received a text from a familiar number.

Plesac was preparing to make his major-league debut, a 24-year-old standing atop the lonely mound at Fenway Park, opposing a Cy Young Award winner and facing a vaunted Boston lineup topped by four hitters whose names ultimately landed on AL MVP ballots.

Just remember that I’m more nervous than you are right now. Let me be nervous for both of us.

“He didn’t get nervous,” said Ruben Niebla, the author of that text. “Or, it didn’t seem like it.”

The Indians didn’t intend on relying on so many experience-deficient starting pitchers in 2019. As Niebla bounced around to the team’s minor-league affiliates in his role as pitching coordinator, he’d occasionally lose track of who was starting for the…

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