Fedroff Continues to Battle for Big League Opportunity
During Spring Training the DTTWLN staff will profile and examine the coaches and players that make up and are vying to be part of the 2013 Cleveland Indians—A Team With A New Direction. Today, we examine one of the young players on the 40-man roster that is a part of the Indians’ minor league system.
By Christian Petrila
After five full seasons in the minors, Indians outfielder Tim Fedroff took a massive step toward making his long-awaited Major League debut when he was added to the 40-man roster on Nov. 20.
Fedroff was a seventh round pick for the Indians back in 2008 and has been nothing short of a consistent hitter throughout his time in the minors. For his minor league career, Fedroff is hitting .296 with 23 home runs and 204 RBI in 495 games, but last season was when he really began capturing the attention on many Indians fans.
With the constant carousel that was left field last season, Indians fans began looking to what many considered a depleted minor league system to try and find any type of silver lining. What many discovered was the outfielder out of the University of North Carolina.
Despite his impressive numbers in Double-A Akron (.305, 3 HR, 22 RBI in 54 games), Indians fans really took notice after he earned his promotion to Triple-A Columbus. In his 69 games with the Clippers in 2012, Fedroff hit a stellar .325 with nine home runs and 32 RBI. He also had his best success on the bases, as he stole nine bases without getting thrown out once.
Once they saw the numbers Fedroff was putting up, many Indians fans were trying to figure out why this seemingly hidden gem was still in the minors. Fans were trying to figure out why the team thought Shelley Duncan, Johnny Damon, Aaron Cunningham, Thomas Neal and Ezequiel Carrera (among others) were better options. Simply put, Fedroff was the most inexperienced of the group. Even Neal, who made his MLB debut last season, had been in the minor leagues a full two years longer than Fedroff.
“Competition’s a great thing,” Fedroff said. “It makes everyone better, so I look at that as a positive thing (because) I’ve never really had anything kind of handed to me in my career and I don’t expect that to happen any time soon.”
The 2013 season, presents a brand new opportunity for Fedroff. Eight of the nine players (excluding Carlos Santana) that suited up in left field are no longer with the Indians. While the Tribe did bring in some more every-day options–like Michael Bourn and Drew Stubbs–Michael Brantley, Fedroff and Carrera are the only other true outfielders on the 40-man roster. Fedroff will likely not make the 25-man roster out of Spring Training. However, should one of the regulars go down for one reason or another, Fedroff could easily be on speed dial for General Manager Chris Antonetti.
Should he get the call, Fedroff could also provide a relief defensively. In 2012, the Indians left field platoon was 19th in the MLB in fielding percentage with a .983 mark. They also committed six errors. In his 196 minor league games in left, Fedroff has committed half that many errors while sporting a .990 fielding percentage.
If 2013 is the season that Tim Fedroff finally gets promoted to the majors, it will be a call that can easily be justified by his stats. Until then, he certainly won’t be keeping his ringer on silent.