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Prospects on Deck: Indians Triston McKenzie Needs Promotion

Cleveland Indians No. 3 prospect Triston McKenzie is starting to turn heads in the baseball world. McKenzie, 19, set a record high for strikeouts on May 9 when he struck out 14 of the Carolina Mudcats hitters. On Thursday, June 8, McKenzie had 13 strikeouts, one shy of his career high.

During his 14 strikeout game, McKenzie went six complete innings allowing only one hit dropping his ERA to 1.95. This past Thursday, McKenzie went seven strong innings on his way to his fourth win allowing only two hits. The only run he managed to give up was a first inning, lead off homer to the Keys’ Austin Hays.

McKenzie struck out five in a row on two different occasions back on May 8 and on June 8, he struck out six in a row before the he was taken out of the game prior to the start of the eighth inning.

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After speaking to several people and getting feedback from a reliable source, it is a possibility that the Indians would promote McKenzie around August. That way it would give the young 6-foot-5 tall and lanky right-hander time to see some Double-A action before feeding him to the dogs next year to start the season.

It is obvious the Tribe’ does not want to rush their young talent through their rankings. As seen last year, McKenzie earned a promotion to Low-A Lake County on August 3, 2016. A source confirmed later on after McKenzie’s 13 strikeout performance that they would not be surprised to see McKenzie up in Double-A around early or mid-June. The source did not say for sure if McKenzie would be up in Double-A this year, but did however mention that the Indians like to take their time with their prospects, especially their younger talent.

Being only 19, it could detour the Indians from making a move to send McKenzie up to Double-A. Although McKenzie does have great numbers this year for the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise if he does earn a promotion within the next couple of months.

In 2016, McKenzie recorded 104 strikeouts in 15 games going 6-5 with two different clubs. This year he already has 84 strikeouts in 11 games and is 4-3 with a 2.51 ERA. By the time McKenzie gets to 14 games this season he could be well over the 104 strikeout mark he set last season, especially if he records two more 13 strikeout performances.

Let’s break this down:

McKenzie is sitting with 84 strikeouts right now. If he records 13 strikeouts his next two appearances, he will have 110 strikeouts. If he records 14 strikeouts his next two appearances, he will have 112 strikeouts. Over his last 10 games, McKenzie has averaged 8.4 strikeouts per game. If McKenzie records eight strikeouts in the next two outings he will have 100 strikeouts, just four shy of last season’s total. Again, this is all hypothetically speaking of course. Either way, unless McKenzie has a down game and only records just five strikeouts per game over his next four appearances (15 games), he will have recorded 104 strikeouts.

With those numbers, it will be hard for the Indians to not promote the young stud to Double-A.

JW has been writing about baseball ever since he graduated from high school in 2009. It all started with Baseball Essential but then moved to 27 Outs Baseball. While with 27 Outs, JW did numerous player profile articles, seeing his writings being shared on team websites, shared by players and their families. Also with 27 Outs, JW got fully credentialed to cover the Salem Red Sox in 2015 and has covered the team and most of the Carolina League since then.

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