Ace. Has there ever been a more ambiguous term in the baseball realm?
For a game as grounded in statistics as baseball, it’s amazing how there has never been a concrete answer as to how we define an ace. Some define an ace as the best starting pitcher on each team while others see an ace as a pitcher who will be among the league leaders in several statistical categories.
For me, the definition of an ace has always been simple: 3.50 ERA, 200 innings pitched and 200 strikeouts. If a pitcher’s stats are near those levels, it seems fair to say that he’s among the best in the game.
With that in mind, I want to take a trip back in time to the conclusion of the Cleveland Indians’ 2011 season. I remember watching as Director of Player Development Ross Atkins was interviewed on SportsTime Ohio as part of the network’s weekly show, “Minor League Magazine.”
The topic of Zach McAllister came up during the broadcast. While I cannot recall the exact words, Atkins was asked to touch on how he sees...