Numerous Indians Take to Dominican Winter League
By David Roberts
With postseason baseball complete Major League Baseball teams turn their attention to their major and minor league rosters for the following season. The Cleveland Indians participate in four fall and winter ball leagues to extend the seasons of some of their minor and major league players. The four leagues are Arizona Fall League, covered two weeks ago, Dominican, Venezuelan and Puerto Rican Winter Leagues.
This week we’ll cover the ten Tribe players listed on the rosters of the Dominican Winter League Teams. The Dominican Winter League is made up of six teams, which consists of minor league players and the top native players of the Dominican Republic for a 50 game season. The league is one of several international Caribbean Leagues that allow the baseball season to be extended for the development of minor league ballplayers.
The 30-year-old right-hander was a non-drafted free agent by the Indians in 2002 and staple of their bullpen since 2006. Over seven seasons out of the Indians bullpen, Perez has compiled a 3.64 ERA over 329 innings. The 2012 campaign was an injury plagued one for the righty as he only made eight appearances with the Tribe before he went down with a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery. He ended up coming back at the end of season making six appearances for the Akron Aeros and Columbus Clippers.
The hope is for Perez to just get some work in over the offseason to make up for the loss of innings to injury and return to the Tribe pen in 2013. He has yet to make an appearance in the Dominican League with the Gigantes del Cibao.
The 23-year-old righty was a non-drafted free agent by the Indians in 2007. He performed well in his first two professional seasons before missing the entire 2010 and most of the 2011 season because of right elbow reconstruction surgery. He returned for the 2012 season with the Lake County Captains where he made 41 appearances with a 5.35 ERA over 75.2 innings.
The Dominican native is looking to show the Indians he has the ability to perform to the numbers he showed before his surgery. He has yet to make an appearance in the Dominican League with the Gigantes del Cibao.
Salazar, the 20-year-old righty was a non-drafted free agent by the Indians in 2006. Through his first three seasons as a starter, he performed well spending the entire 2009 campaign with the Lake County Captains. Unfortunately, Salazar would miss the majority of the 2010 season thanks to surgery for right elbow reconstruction. He returned in 2011 to make a brief stint towards the end of the season. He opened the 2012 season healthy where he pitched at two levels, Carolina Mudcats and then finished the season with Double-A Akron Aeros. On the season, he pitched to a record of 5-2 with a 2.36 ERA in 22 starts over 87.2 innings.
The hope is for the Dominican native to get in some more innings and continue to show the post surgery success he demonstrated in 2012. So far, in the Dominican League he is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two appearances. In his four innings pitched, he has struck out five and only walked one for the Tigres del Licey.
The Indians claimed the soon to be 23-year-old right-hander on waivers on August 6, 2012 from the Los Angeles Angels. The young right-hander was a Midwest League All-Star with the Cedar Rapid Kernels, a Single-A affiliate of the Angels in 2010. Martinez had a rough year in 2012 spending the majority of the season with Inland Empire, the High-A affiliate for the Angels, before being acquired by the Indians where he finished the year pitching for the Carolina Mudcats. Overall, he finished the season with a record of 0-7 and a 10.24 ERA over 29 innings.
The Dominican native has potential and the Indians hope he can turn it around and show the form he demonstrated in 2010. He has yet to appear in a game in the Dominican League for Toros del Este.
The 28-year-old righty was acquired by the Indians last offseason from the Colorado Rockies for Zach Putnam for starting pitching insurance after the Roberto Hernandez incident. Slowey pitched in the big leagues for the Minnesota Twins from 2007-2011, over his 90 starts during that span the righty had a 4.66 ERA through 532.2 innings. Unfortunately, injuries slowed his 2012 campaign as he made just eight starts for the Indians Triple-A affiliate Columbus Clippers. He tossed his way to a 3-3 record with 5.14 ERA over 49 innings.
The Indians are hoping that Slowey can put together a healthy offseason and return to 2013 as a viable starting option for their rotation. He has yet to appear in a game in the Dominican League for Toros del Este.
Cid, a 23-year-old outfielder was a non-drafted free agent by the Indians in 2006. In his six seasons in the Indians organization, the outfielder has climbed his way through the ranks with solid speed and average. In 2010, he led the Indians minor leagues in stolen bases with 71 and second in runs scored with 83 while playing with the Lake County Captains. In 2011 with the Kinston Indians, he finished fourth in the system in stolen bases with 28. The 2012 campaign saw Cid turn in his best season to date posting a slash line of .281/.343/.431 while clubbing five home runs and driving in 29 runs. He again displayed his speed stealing 32 bases in 42 attempts over 95 games.
The 23-year-old Dominican native is looking to continue to fashioning the good numbers in the winter league for the Indians brass. He has yet to make an appearance in the Dominican League for the Aguilas Cibaenas.
The 19-year-old outfielder was a non-drafted free agent by the Indians in 2009. The youngster has performed well in his three years in the organization. This season was by the far the best for the young outfielder as in 117 games for the Lake County Captains he posted a slash line of .268/.338/.406 while clubbing a career high 11 home runs and driving in 48. He also showed the ability to run on the bases as he stole 24 bases in 33 attempts and scored 75 runs for the Captains.
The switch-hitting Dominican native looks to continue his positive progress in the organization. Rodriguez has yet to make an appearance in the Dominican League for the Gigantes del Cibao.
The 20-year-old shortstop was a non-drafted free agent by the Indians in 2009. In his two years in the Indians organization, the youngster has done nothing but hit. In 2011, he led the Indians farm system in batting average with .325 while playing in rookie ball. The 2012 season saw him play the with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and then the majority of the season with the Lake County Captains. In 70 games this past season he posted an impressive slash line of .354/.404/.465 with three homers and driving in 27 runs. The youngster also impressed with his plate discipline as in 288 at bats he walked 25 times and struck out just 26 times.
The Dominican native is one of many impressive shortstop prospects in the Indians organizations and looks to only increase his stock within the organization in the winter league. Ramirez has appeared in one game in the Dominican league but does not have an official at bat yet for the Toros del Este.
The Indians acquired Diaz along with Ezequiel Carrera from the Seattle Mariners in 2010 for Russell Branyan. Since his acquisition, he has been a dependable bat earning himself a selection as an Eastern League All-State in 2011 while playing for the Akron Aeros. This season saw Diaz climb the ranks from the Aeros to the Clippers and even a brief five game stint with the Cleveland Indians, collecting his first big league hit. Overall in 2012 with the Aeros and Clippers he played in 115 games posting a slash line of .266/.314/.429 while hitting a career high 13 home runs and driving in a career high 63 runs.
The Dominican native, who got his first taste of the big leagues in 2012, hopes to continue his positive progression and possibly be considered an infield option for the big league club in 2013. In two games in the Dominican League, he has collected one hit in seven bats and scored a run for the Estrellas de Oriente.
The 25-year-old outfielder was a seventh round pick out of the University of North Carolina by the Cleveland Indians in the 2008 draft. In his five years in the organization, Fedroff has performed well including a selection as a Minor League Baseball Organization All-Star in 2011 while playing for the Aeros and Clippers. After receiving that honor, Fedroff came out in 2012 and put up his best numbers of his career while splitting the season between Akron and Columbus again. On the year, he played in 123 games across the two levels putting up a slash line of .316/.394/.485 while hitting 12 home runs and driving in 54. Another of his talents evidenced last season is his plate discipline as in 468 at bats he walked 61 times and only struck out 78 times.
With numbers like that Fedroff is close to being considered an option for the Tribe’s outfield if and when an opening appears and a solid winter ball stint would certainly help. In six games in the Dominican League, the outfielder is batting .280 with three runs scored and two driven in playing for the Aguilas Cibaenas.
Photo: UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch