Clippers Team Full of Pitching Potential, Young and Old
Matt Travis | On 08, Apr 2013
The excitement of the new season is not just contained up on the shore of Lake Erie, but is going strong in Columbus as the Clippers start their new season. This season marks their fifth year in their beautiful new ballpark, Huntington Park.
The Clippers ended last year by closely missing the playoffs, finishing with a record of 75-69. Last season was viewed as a disappointment, as their 2011 season was capped off by winning their second consecutive Governors Cup. This season however is viewed with the same sense of strong optimism that follows the Indians into the new season.
The Clippers this season are lead by a new manager Chris Tremie. Tremie played in the majors from 1995 through 2004, being a journeyman moving through six organizations. After his career was over, he started managing for the Tribe through the Gulf Coast Indians, working his way up to the Akron Aeros for the last two seasons and now the Clippers this year.
The Clippers rosters is full of a solid mix of young players trying to keep improving to hopefully make their way to Cleveland and older veterans trying to extend their career and be a helpful piece to this organization. Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer are two of the best young player who will be key pitching pieces to watch this season.
Kluber is a 26 year old that has played lightly in Cleveland over the past two seasons and is poised to be of the top two starters in Columbus, able to be called up at a moments notice. Consistency will be the biggest question mark for Kluber, as he has shown moments of brilliance on the mound but also has shown moments of complete loss of control.
Most Indians fans have become well aware of Bauer, as he was a key piece acquired in the trade that sent Shin-Soo Choo to Cincinnati during the off-season. Bauer is a player who is full of potential, being ranked in the off-season as one of the top 20 prospects in all of baseball. One of his biggest upsides is the fact he has a repertoire of over six, and according to him 10, different types of pitches. The biggest question mark revolving around him are the problems he faced leaving the Diamondbacks, as it was full of drama, harsh words from both sides and overall a sour ending.
Daisuke Matsuzaka and Matt Capps are two older players who hope to play key roles in this team hoping to extend their careers a little longer. Daisuke was a huge name coming into the league for the Red Sox in 2007, helping them in their run to the World Series. His success was derailed by control issues and Tommy John surgery, leading to poor years the last two seasons. If he is able to be back to the Matsuzaka of old, then the Clippers and the Indians will be getting a pitcher who can provide postseason experience and poise. Capps has been a strong man out of the bullpen in the majors for almost a decade. He is not one to eat up innings but will provide you with strong two and four seam fastballs that have strong movement. If he can find his strong pitching he had in the mid 2000’s he will be a strong closer for the Clippers.
The lineup is full of players that are familiar to Indians fans as they have been called up and sent down over the past few years, Cord Phelps and Matt LaPorta being the two most recognizable names in the lineup. Phelps is a player who has the ability to play any position on the field providing the ability to be creative with the lineup and play different players on a daily basis. LaPorta is currently rebounding from off-season hip surgery and is beginning the season on the disabled list.
This season for the Clippers has already begun with their first series against Indianapolis, splitting that 2-2 away from home. The first home game for the Clippers this season will be on Thursday April 11, against Louisville. There will be great promotions going on daily for the first two series starting with free Clippers hats for the first 3,000 fans coming to opening day.
This Clippers team has high expectations and hopes to prove that missing the playoffs last season was a fluke. The players and coaches alike all have great positive attitudes heading into this season and plan to be an exciting team during this 2013 season.
Photo: Mark Duncan/Associated Press