Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/18/14
In 2006, the same year the Cleveland Indians drafted pitching prospects (now MLB duds) David Huff and Josh Tomlin, the Indians signed a 16 year-old non-drafted free agent by the name of Danny Salazar. Given the team’s lofty expectations of first-rounder David Huff, and the fact that Salazar was an extremely raw young right-handed pitching prospect, Salazar received very little outside attention during the early portion of his career. On Thursday, the now-23 year-old made his first start with the same team that took a chance on him as a youngster from the Dominican Republic over seven years ago. A year after being signed by the Indians in 2006, Salazar was sent to the Dominican Summer League where he performed admirably, going 5-3 with a 1.96 E.R.A. while making 14 starts. The following year, Salazar pitched in the Gulf Coast League, again posting stellar numbers (4-2, 2.87 E.R.A. in 11 starts). In 2009, he officially made his way up to A-ball. He struggled, though, going 5-7 in 21 appearances with a 4.44 E.R.A. 2009 marked the first season in which Salazar logged over 100 innings (107.1), and it seemed to take a toll on the young right-hander’s arm. Elbow issues forced Salazar to undergo Tommy John surgery following an injury-shortened 2010 season, and, in 2011, Salazar was only able to log 14.2 innings while he continued his post-surgery recovery. In 2012, Salazar fully emerged as one of the team’s top young arms while splitting time between the Single-A Carolina Mudcats and the Double-A Akron Aeros. Combined, Salazar put together a very solid season going 5-2 with a 2.36 E.R.A. in 22 starts. Prior to the 2013 season, Baseball America ranked Salazar as the sixth-best prospect in the Indians organization. He has only enhanced his stock since then, going 2-3 in seven starts with a 2.67 E.R.A. for Akron before being promoted to Triple-A Columbus in May. He proved his worth there, as well, posting a 3-2 record in 10 starts for the Clippers while maintaining a 3.40 E.R.A. After spending seven years in the Indians’ farm system, Danny Salazar made an impressive MLB debut on Thursday. (Photo credit: Tony Dejak/AP) Thursday, Salazar picked up a win (despite the efforts of Chris Perez to blow it) in his first major league start. He went six strong innings, allowing one run on just two hits while striking out seven and walking one. The 6’0″ rookie did not allow a hit until the sixth inning. He displayed excellent command of the strike zone (64 of his 89 pitches were strikes) and maintained his velocity (mid-90′s) throughout the game. Salazar also showcased his solid change-up, as well as a developing slider, while mixing up his pitches beautifully against the opposing Blue Jays. The successful outing is very encouraging for the Indians, as the pitching staff has been a major area of concern for the team throughout the season. As Zach McAllister begins making his way back from the disabled list, though, Salazar could soon find himself on the outside looking in for a starting rotation spot. One alternative that could prove to be the better move would be moving Salazar to the bullpen to help solidify the biggest weakness of the ball club. Salazar’s potential as a starter may be limited anyway, given his injury history. The organization has been reluctant to let him pitch deep into ball games, as he was consistently held to maximum pitch counts right around the 85-pitch/5-inning mark while pitching for Akron and Columbus. The Indians’ recent track record of developing homegrown pitching prospects (see the aforementioned David Huff) has been poor, to say the least. Until Thursday’s start by Salazar, no Indians pitcher who had made a start this season had been originally drafted or signed by the club. Various media outlets have reported that the Indians are considering Salazar as a movable piece for the upcoming trade deadline. If he can continue to produce outings like this, though, the team may have trouble letting go of this homegrown gem. God knows that we’ve let enough of them go in the past. I say that we hang on to one for a change.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: 49ers looking for young, offensive mind as next coach

Sheldon Richardson: I'm on the same level as JJ Watt

Kendrick Perkins: Rajon Rondo wanted out of Boston

Report: Jim Harbaugh being encouraged to take Michigan job

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Wolves trade Corey Brewer to the Rockets

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Yankees trade Prado to Marlins for Eovaldi in 5-player deal

Brandon Browner fined $8K for throwing Brandon Gibson to turf

Report: Sharper, NFLers called spiked drinks 'horny juice'

Rex Ryan: My wife could coach Tom Brady

Jim Harbaugh won in laser tag by 'hunting' 10-year-old kid

Eddie Lacy is ‘very blind,’ refuses to wear goggles

WATCH: Montrezl Harrell ejected for throwing punch

UNC wearing Jordan-era throwback uniforms

Brian Kelly: Justin Brent gets 'distracted,' is in my doghouse

Five free agent signings that should happen in 2015

Reporter asks Rajon Rondo awkward question about trade

Video: Swaggy P elbows Steven Adams in throat, gets ejected

Video: Grizzlies buy car for assistant who had his stolen

Video: LeBron takes pass to the face from Dion Waiters

New video of Ray Rice incident emerges

President Obama calls James Franco “James Flacco”

NBA games of the weekend: Rondo's Dallas debut, Bulls-Grizz

Tuscaloosa students will have two days off if Bama plays in National Championship

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

UNC rocking Jordan-era throwbacks

Reporter asks Rondo awkward question

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Jon Lester and the Cubs

Report: NFL players used 'horny juice'

Top 10 worst NBA related commercials of all-time

Phelps gets probation for DUI

NFL coaches on hot seat in Week 16

The Roy Williams-Terrell Owens horse collar turns 10

Most underpaid NFL players in 2014

Gronk jokes about Brady compliment

In Matt Kemp, did the Dodgers find a pigeon in Padres?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.