Ramirez Promotion Headlines Minor League Week
Todd Paquette | On 03, May 2014
No way, Jose!
Jose Ramirez is back after making his debut with the Indians as a 20-year old September call-up last year where he impressed hitting .333 with four hits in 12 at bats scoring five runs. The 21-year old prospect has been called up to Cleveland with All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis going on the disabled list with a right oblique injury. Ramirez has had an impressive start to the 2014 season at Triple-A Columbus. In 23 games at Columbus, Ramirez had a .319 average with 12 runs scored, 29 hits, three doubles, four homeruns, 17 runs batted in, eight stolen bases and eight walks.
Ramirez last season had only three homeruns in 482 at bats in the minor leagues. Already this season he has a career high of four homeruns in just 91 at bats. Power is not Ramirez’s game with his 5-foot, 9-inch, 165 lb. frame. He’s a tremendous contact hitter that offers above average speed and has great versatility being able to play many different positions on the field. Ramirez was mostly playing second base for Columbus this year but can also play shortstop, third base and even some outfield. Ramirez started the year by reaching base in the first 21 games that Columbus had played this season. It will be interesting to see how the Indians use him. Will he be the full time replacement for Kipnis at second while he’s out? Will he be in a time share of sorts at second base with Elliot Johnson and Mike Aviles? Finally will the Indians utilize him as a super utility man and play him all over the field? The kid just seems to have that it factor and will be exciting to watch.
The Clippers had a strong week winning four of the six games they played. The week started with the Clippers picking up a win versus the Gwinnett Braves in the final game of their series at home. The Clippers then traveled to Norfolk to take on the Tides in a four game road set. The Clippers ended up splitting the series with each team winning two games a piece. The Clippers opened the first game of a four game road series on Thursday against the Durham Bulls in which they took the first game winning 3-0. Columbus finish the series up this Friday through Sunday. The team will head back to Columbus for eight straight home games starting Monday. The Clips are currently move up to second place in the International League Western Division with an (12-13) record five and a half games behind the (18-8) Indianapolis Indians.
With the team having a strong week, there was plenty of hitting stars of the week to choose from. Ramirez who is getting the call-up to the big league club with Kipnis hitting the disabled list only hit .250 with four hits but added a home run and a team leading six runs batted in. Catcher Roberto Perez continued his strong play even though his 13 game hitting streak came to an end. Perez hit .308 with four runs scored, two home runs, four runs batted and three walks. First baseman Jesus Aguilar has been hot all season and continues to impress. Aguilar led the team with seven hits, one double, two homeruns, three runs batted in and six walks. Aguilar is currently second in the International League in home runs with seven and third in batting average at .356 on the season. Finally outfield prospect Carlos Moncrief is starting to heat up. Moncrief got off to a real slow start to the season. Moncrief hit .333 with six hits, scored four runs, one triple, one homerun, two runs batted in and three stolen bases.
The pitching star of the week was an easy choice in right-handed starting pitcher Josh Tomlin. Tomlin couldn’t have pitched much better in the two starts he made during the week. Tomlin got the wins in both games he started throwing 17 shutout innings, giving up only nine hits, walking none and striking out 16 batters. What’s truly remarkable is Tomlin only allowed nine total base runners in the two games, combined. Any other week Trevor Bauer might have been the headliner. Bauer started once this week and threw seven strong innings giving up just five hits, two runs, walking two, striking out seven and got the win. With the Indians moving Carlos Carrasco to the bullpen one of these two is destined to take his spot in the big league rotation. The favorite has to be Bauer as he already pitched once this year with the Tribe and looked real good. Tomlin would be next up though if he falters or Danny Salazar continues to struggle.
Columbus starts the week by playing the final three games of a four game road series with the (18-10) Durham Bulls, the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Rays. Durham’s shortstop Hak-Ju Lee. MLB.com ranks Lee as the Rays #1 prospect by MLB.com and Baseball America ranks him as their #2. The Clippers the head back home for eight straight games starting with a four game series starting Monday against the (13-12) Rochester Red Wings, the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. The Red Wings feature the Twins top pitching prospect right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer and is the Twins 3rd best overall prospect ranked by both Baseball America and MLB.com.
The Akron RubberDucks started the week with a home loss to Altoona, then won their next four games in a row, all at home in a week shortened by a rain out and a scheduled day off. After the initial loss to Altoona they won the next two against them in winning the series two games to one. Next, the Binghamton Mets came into town for another three game series. Akron won the first two games against Binghamton and the third game was postponed due to rain. Akron has not played a game since Wednesday with the rainout combined with a scheduled travel day. After taking four of the five games played this week the RubberDucks have moved into second place with a record of (14-11) just one game back of the (15-10) Richmond Flying Squirrels.
The hitting stars of the week were Tyler Naquin and Giovanny Urshela. Naquin struggled a bit early on in the year but turned it on this week. Naquin batting leadoff hit .333 with six runs scored, six hits, one double, three walks and three stolen bases. Urshela stays hot again this week. Urshela hit .300 with three runs scored, six hits, three doubles, one home run and five runs batted in. Urshela leads the team on the year in doubles with eight, homeruns with five and runs batted in with 19.
The pitching star of the week was starting pitcher Will Roberts. Roberts made one start, threw six shutout innings, giving up only three hits, walking just one while striking out seven and picking up the win. By far this was Roberts best start on the year who was dominant. The pitching staff as a whole should be included. As a team Akron had a 2.20 earned run average going 4-1 while striking out 44 batters. One name to remember is left-handed relief pitcher Kyle Crockett who was drafted in the fourth round out of Virginia last year. Crockett threw two more scoreless innings this week, and dating back to last year Crockett has a 23 scoreless inning streak going. Crockett’s numbers in his short career are ridiculous. In 30 games he has one win, two saves, in 34 innings pitched has only given up 19 hits, one earned run, with just six walks, 41 strikeouts and an earned run average of 0.26. Many think he will rise through the organization, just like current Indians relief pitcher Cody Allen.
Akron’s week starts a seven game road trip starting with four games against the (11-13) Altoona Curve, the Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Akron ends the week and the road trip with a three game series versus the (11-13) Erie SeaWolves, the Double-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers.
The team most affected by the weather was the Carolina Mudcats. Carolina had three of their six games postponed due to rain. Carolina was able to win two of the three games they did end up playing on the week. Carolina split two games on the road against the Frederick Keys then came home Thursday to take the first game of a four game series versus the Wilmington Blue Rocks 6 to 3. The Mudcats could not make up any ground in the standings and still sit in 3rd place just two games out of first however with a (13-10) on the season in the Carolina League Southern Division.
It was a rough week for the hitters as the offense struggled in the three games. The hitting stars of the week were outfielder Anthony Gallas, a Kent State product, and outfielder Luigi Rodriguez. Gallas hit .364 with two runs scored, four hits, one home run, two runs batted in and one stolen base. Rodriguez hit .300, scoring three runs walking five times and added a stolen base. Rodriguez just began his season due to a hamstring strain at the beginning of the year. He is a name to keep an eye on as an outfield prospect.
The pitching star of the week was left-handed starting pitcher, Shawn Morimando. Morimando in his start went six and two-third innings, giving up just two hits, zero earned runs, one walk and struck out two. Another starter Ryan Merritt made a start this week as well. Merritt had a 15.1 inning scoreless streak going before it was snapped in the first inning on a solo homerun against the Wilmington Blue Rocks, Thursday. Merritt ended up getting the win allowing three runs in six innings pitched. Merritt is 4-0 on the season sporting a nice 1.19 earned run average. One final pitching note on closer, Louis Head. Head picked up two more saves this week and now has six on the season. Head has been tremendous giving up just one run on the year while striking out an amazing 17 batters in only 9.2 innings pitched with a 0.93 earned run average.
Carolina has three more home games against (10-14) Wilmington Blue Rocks, the Hi-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals this weekend. The Blue Rocks feature shortstop Rual Aldaberto Mondesi who is ranked the third best prospect in the Kansas City Royals system by MLB.com and Baseball America. Mondesi is the son of former Major League All-Star outfielder Raul Mondesi. After the Wilmington series is complete the Mudcats embark on a seven game road trip starting in Lynchburg, Virginia with a 3 game series against the (9-15) Lynchburg Hillcats. The Hillcats are the Hi-A affiliate for the Atlanta Braves. Lynchburg has on its roster the Atlanta Braves top ranked prospect in their system right-handed pitcher Lucas Sims. Sims was ranked number one in their organization by MLB.com and Baseball America.
The week began with the Lake County Captains riding a six game losing streak. The Captains lost the first two games of the week in a three game road series against the South Bend Silver Hawks before breaking through with a 2-0 win in game three. The Captains returned home for a four game series versus the Western Michigan Whitecaps and started the series with a win. Just when it looked like the team had gained some moment they promptly lost the next three in a row. Lake County is a very young team with four teenagers on the roster, which is a lot even for a Low-A ball team. The team’s average age is 21.2 years of age. The Captains do have a good amount of talent on their team but they are very raw and still maturing as players as evident by their 7-20 record on the season. Lake County batters lead all of the minor leagues in strikeouts with an astounding 288 in just 27 games played. The team has also committed 46 errors in those 27 games as well. The pitching staff hasn’t fared much better but have really had to work extra hard with the defense giving up all the extra outs.
The hitting star of the week was an easy choice as he was the only batter with an average over .200 for the week, 19-year old outfielder Anthony Santander. Santander started out the year just awful, including a stretch where he didn’t have a hit in 36 straight at bats really put it together this week. Much of Santander’s struggles early on might have stemmed from a shoulder injury he suffered last year that he is just recovering from. Santander for the week hit .370 with four runs scored, ten hits, two doubles, one homerun, three runs batted in and two stolen bases. Captains outfielder Clint Frazier, who is considered the Indians top prospect after Francisco Lindor, hit his first homerun of the year. Frazier was just activated two weeks ago, recovering from a hamstring injury in spring training.
The Captains pitching staff actually had one of their best weeks so far on the young season. Some of the pitching stars of the week include left handed starting pitcher Luis Lugo who made two starts and pitched 10.2 innings, giving up just seven hits, three earned runs, two walks and struck out 12. Right-handed pitcher Robbie Aviles made two appearances and gave up just one earned run in six and a third innings pitched striking out seven and walking none. Aviles has not allowed a walk in 17.2 innings pitched on the year and has a 1.02 earned run average. Right-handed pitcher Jordan Milbrath gets mentioned again as his strong season continues. Milbrath with four and a third scoreless innings pitched allowing just one hit and striking out five. Milbrath is sporting a tremendous 1.52 earned run average on the season. Finally, right-handed pitcher Caleb Hamrick pitched five and two-third scoreless innings with five strikeouts.
Lake County hopes to stop their current three game losing streak as they begin a three game series at home this weekend against the (16-10) Dayton Dragons, the Low-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The Captains then head out on a short three game road series starting Monday against the (15-12) Western Michigan Whitecaps, the Low-A affiliate for the Detroit Tigers.
Photo: Lianna Holub/DTTWLN photographer