Shawn Armstrong had been compared to Cody Allen, expected to rise through the Indians’ system with the same speed and talent. Progressive Field was Armstrong’s goal in 2013, though injury deterred him. In 2014, Armstrong and Kyle Crockett were the Akron RubberDuck’s go-to relievers at the start of the season, though Crockett received the coveted promotion to the big leagues before it was even officially summer.
Armstrong had once been the one skyrocketing through the organization. He was drafted by the Indians in the 18th round of the 2011 First Year Player Draft out of East Carolina and opened his 2012 season with the Lake County Captains. He didn’t stay in Eastlake long, quickly moving up to the High-A Carolina and finishing the season with the then-Akron Aeros, who won the 2012 Eastern League title. It was almost expected that Armstrong would have a 2013 that ended with him in a Cleveland Indians uniform.
Jason Kipnis has a lockdown on the Indians second base job for the foreseeable future. Third base seems to be Lonnie Chisenhall’s. Shortstop currently belongs to youngster Jose Ramirez while super-prospect Francisco Lindor breathes down his neck. First base is already a log jam of veterans with Carlos Santana, Nick Swisher and Brandon Moss all capable of playing there.
Such is the predicament for the group of young infielders waiting in the wing…waiting for their opportunity. Among the group of patient youngsters is Erik Gonzalez, perhaps the brightest looking prospect that few outside of the Akron area have heard of.
The 1920 World Championship was the high mark for the Indians, who had reached baseball’s pinnacle after finishing second in the previous two years. It wouldn’t last.
The Yankees’ purchase of Babe Ruth was a game changer. The speed that people thought was lacking on the team as the season dawned turned out to be unnecessary, as it was more than replaced by power. Ruth ended the season with 54 home runs, and would hit 50 or more in a season four more times, including setting the record of 60 in 1927. With six pennants and three World Series wins in the next decade, the Yankees would become the power of the American League for the better part of the next half-century.
Last season was probably a time in Cody Anderson’s life that he wish he could forget.
For the opening day starting pitcher for the Double-A Akron RubberDucks, things could not have gone any worse for him in his career as it did in 2014. Anderson, 24, came into the 2014 season looking like the obvious ace of the RubberDucks rotation. After receiving the Bob Feller Award in 2013 for being the best starting pitcher in the Indians minor league system, he looked to build off of his progress from the previous season. In 2013, he spent time split between High-A Carolina and Akron, he posted an ERA of 2.65 and a WHIP of 1.18. In the 136 innings he pitched between the two teams, he struck out 122 batters, and only walked 40. He struggled in three games with Akron as he posted an ERA of 5.68, but he excelled in Carolina with an ERA of 2.34 in 23 starts. Hoping that his early struggles in Akron were only due to nerves, and getting used to the league, Anderson was looking to start off strong in 2014.
It’s understood that the Indians need a right-handed power bat. But, like any want or need, it can’t be the only thing on the list. Batters aside, what else do the Indians need to bolster their organization?
A left-handed pitching prospect, you say?
Oh, don’t worry. They have that.
Did The Tribe Win Last Night is honored to join the More Than a Fan Network in their Tribe Time Now podcasts this season. DTTWLN.com will be represented along with Indians Baseball Insider, Burning River Baseball and It’s Pronounced Lajaway in …
If you are a young outfielder in the Cleveland Indians farm system, it is possible that you might be a bit discouraged by your prospects of cracking the Major League roster any time this season. It is a stark contrast to just a couple of years ago when, prior to the arrivals of Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher and the success of Michael Brantley, the Indians outfield was a frightening mess consisting of injured stars like Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo and fill-ins like Ezequiel Carrera, Aaron Cunningham, Johnny Damon, Shelley Duncan, Kosuke Fukudome, and Austin Kearns, just to name a few.
Once devoid of depth at the top levels of the farm system, the Indians now have several viable internal candidates to step up in the event that any of the members of the 25-man roster are unable to play for any length of time. Several more big name prospects just at the beginnings of their professional careers wait behind these options.
Last July’s acquisition of James Ramsey from the St. Louis Cardinals, as the return for former staff ace Justin Masterson, added another layer of depth to a stronger group of candidates in the upper levels of Cleveland’s minor league system.
Oct. 12, 1920 – Columbus Day – was a beautiful day in Cleveland. It was sunny and approaching 70 degrees as everyone prepared for the final World Series game at League Park.
The Indians had won three straight games at home to take a four games to two lead in the World Series. A win that day would end the series. A loss would send it back to Brooklyn. Tris Speaker danced with the one that brung him, and opted to start Stan Coveleski again. It would be his third start in the series, and he’d won his previous two. Robins manager and namesake Wilbert Robinson opted for Burleigh Grimes, who had won game two at Ebbets Field, but lost game five in Cleveland. Robinson had mentioned possibly starting Rube Marquard, but the Cleveland native was in Brooklyn owner Charles Ebbets’ doghouse after getting arrested for scalping tickets.
The solution to the defensive woes of 2014 might be closer than expected, well at least for third base.
Giovanny Urshela, 23, first arrived in the Indians system in 2009. He was never really anything super impressive, aside from his superb caliber defense. He struck out too much, didn’t walk enough, and didn’t provide much power in his swing. He’s always had a decent slugging percentage, but a low OBP which made him not a very valuable prospect. In 2012, he was able to put up a pretty solid season where he hit 14 home runs and had an OPS of .755. He was then promoted to Double-A Akron in 2013, where he didn’t put up as good of a season as he did in 2012. In 2014 though, he finally kicked things into gear and became one of the most anticipated prospects in the Indians farm system.
When will Francisco Lindor reach the big leagues?
It’s a storyline nearly as big as what the Indians’ record will be in 2015, and some feel the two may be intertwined. While when he debuts remains a question, his prospective stardom and potential is something every one seems to agree is a positive future.
“Francisco Lindor is going to have an impact because he’s so steady,” J.J. Cooper of Baseball America recently said on MLB Network. “You gaze into the future and it’s really hard to believe he won’t be a solid, big leaguer.”