Image: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
2021 age: 29
Contract: Pre-Arb 3
2020 stats: 10 games 4 starts 2-2 W-L 4.88 ERA 27.2 IP 15 K 1.337 WHIP 0.1 WAR
2020 in review: Plutko pitched in multiple roles in 2020 for the tribe. He was a spot starter and also came out in long relief in the bullpen. His ERA was roughly on same career trajectory with past two seasons with Tribe. Plutko has always hovered around 5.00 ERA in his MLB stints. Plutko has spent time floating between Columbus and Cleveland for past three years still making him pre-arbitration even at 29 years old. HIs K/9 in 2020 was 4.9 and had a 1.6 HR/9 so his arsenal does not outmatch most major league hitters.
On the mound: Plutko is pure definition of pitcher without overpowering stuff. This in direct correlation with his’s home run and ERA inflated numbers. At same time, has does have some positives on the mound. His walk rate is in 82nd percentile in the majors. He keeps runners off base that way. His curveball spin rate is in the 92nd percentile in the majors. While this seems effective he uses his curveball very minimally, perhaps because it only has 71% active spin, just 12.6% of the time. He throws his fastball 50.2% and his slider 32.7 percent of time. Batters hit .385 vs. his curveball last season. He also only had a 12.0% whiff with his curveball compared to 23.9% (slider) and 25.8% (fastball). Plutko does pound the strike zone with low walk totals; also slightly above league average with 62.6% first pitch strike. Overall he doesn’t have great stuff and has lots of fly balls, but he also eats up innings and a good team leader.
Beyond the stats: Among the underlying numbers when looking at Plutko’s profile, is the average launch angle against him. The MLB average launch angle is 11.9. When hitters are facing Plutko over his career it is almost double that at 21.6. Plutko has a big role with this team. He can both start and pitch in long relief. He one of veterans on this team and apparently a good locker room guy. He been with Tribe entire time since being drafted 2013. He knows this organization inside and out. He can manage gamess and give your team a chance to win if you can score runs. It would be great to see him trust his curveball more and get more ground balls to become more effective as a starting pitcher.
2021 role: Plutko will have very similar role as he has had with the Tribe as in the past. He may both start and pitch out of the bullpen and eat innings. He will also expected to be one of bigger veteran team leader roles on this young team this year. Expect him the get a long look from team this year.
Fantasy outlook: For how much Plutko gives up the long ball and his low strikeout numbers, he will not be worth drafting even in deep league. He doesn’t miss many bats. This is one you should stay away from.