Ryan Adam Merritt
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 0", Weight 180 lb.
- School McLennan Community College
- High School Celina (TX) High School
- Debut May 30, 2016
Pitcher Ryan Merritt began his professional career in 2011 after being taken by the Cleveland Indians in the 16th round of the 2011 amateur draft. He was drafted one pick ahead of catcher Rafael Lopez.
He began his career with a 1.08 ERA in four relief appearances for the AZL Indians in 2011. After taking his knocks in 2012, he showed good control in 2013, walking just 19 batters in 135 1/3 innings between the Lake County Captains and Carolina Mudcats. 2014 was his breakout campaign. In 25 starts for the Mudcats, he went 13-3 with two complete games and a 2.58 ERA. In 160 1/3 innings, he allowed only 128 hits and 25 walks. That season, he was named a Carolina League Mid-Season All-Star and Post-Season All-Star, as well as a MiLB.com Organization All-Star. He was 12-7 with a 3.63 ERA in 27 starts between the Akron Aeros and Triple A Columbus Clippers in 2015, walking 22 batters in 171 frames.
After starting 2016 by posting a 2.94 ERA through his first eight starts with Columbus, he earned his first promotion to the majors. Facing the Texas Rangers on May 30th, he went 4 1/3 innings, allowing just one hit and no walks, while striking out two batters. It was his only start in four appearances for the Indians during the regular season as he went 1-0 with an ERA of 1.64 in 11 innings. Because of a number of injuries to starting pitchers, he was added to the Indians' postseason roster, then in a surprise move, was given the ball to start Game 5 of the ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays on October 19th. The Blue Jays were licking their chops in anticipation of facing someone with such limited big league experience in a crucial game, but he had the last laugh, limiting them to 2 hits over 4 1/3 innings before turning the ball over to the bullpen. While he was not involved in the decision, having failed to complete five innings, his valiant effort was key to the Indians winning the game, 3-0, to place them within a game of the World Series. He did not pitch in the Fall Classic, however.
He began 2017 with Columbus, not making his first major league appearance until June 17th, when he was called up as the 26th man to start the first game of a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins, with first place in the AL Central at stake. He did well once again, with 2 earned runs allowed in 4 innings as the Indians went on to win the game, 9-3, and eventually sweep the doubleheader to take over first place. He earned his first win on August 25th, coming up from the minors for another spot start. That day, he pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings against the Kansas City Royals in a 4-0 win in what was his 5th stint with the Indians that season, all of them having been brief. He followed that start with another win on August 30th, when he completed a doubleheader sweep of the New York Yankees with a 9-4 win at New Yankee Stadium.