Scrappers to Send Six to New York-Penn League All-Star Game
Bob Toth | On 11, Aug 2016
It has been a common theme throughout the Cleveland Indians farm system this season, so it should be no surprise that the short-season Mahoning Valley Scrappers will be well represented when the New York-Penn League plays its All-Star Game on August 16 from Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill, New York, home of the Hudson Valley Renegades.
Six members of the Scrappers, including left-handers Juan Hillman and Tanner Tully, infielder Erlin Cerda, and outfielders Andrew Calica, Todd Isaacs, and Gabriel Mejia, were selected to the South team from the Mahoning Valley roster.
Hillman, 19, got off to a great start for Mahoning Valley this season, going toe-to-toe with former Scrappers teammate Triston McKenzie at the front of the rotation in the early going. After allowing three runs on six hits in his first New York-Penn League start this season, he made five consecutive starts without allowing an earned run before giving up 15 runs in his last four starts. He has a 3.13 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 46 innings this season with 36 strikeouts.
He was the Indians’ second round draft pick in 2015 out of Olympia High School in Orlando, Florida. After a near perfect record in high school, he made eight appearances in the Arizona League for the Tribe last season, going 0-2 with a 4.13 ERA and 1.29 WHIP.
Tully, 21, is one of two Indians selections in this June’s draft to be headed to an All-Star appearance with the Scrappers. He was a 26th round draft pick in June out of The Ohio State University and was already making his first professional appearance at the end of June in relief. The 6’0″ southpaw made six appearances out of the bullpen, allowing five runs (just one earned) in 12 innings while gradually pitching deeper into the game.
As the calendar flipped to August, Tully has made a pair of starts and continued his strong season, giving up two runs (one earned) in eight innings, including a season-high five innings and 72 pitches on August 7 at Hudson Valley and four strikeouts against Williamsport on August 2. His record stands at 3-0 for the season with a 1.13 ERA, a 0.92 WHIP, and a .198 batting average against.
The 22-year-old Cerda has the most professional playing experience of the six players selected under his belt. Signed as a non-drafted free agent following the 2012 season, he spent 115 games over the 2013 and 2014 schedule with the Dominican Summer League Indians team. He worked in 29 more games with their club in the Arizona League last season and started his year on June 17 in Mahoning Valley.
In 42 games for the Scrappers this season, he has put together a .264/.307/.405 slash with seven doubles, a triple, four homers, and 29 RBI. He also appeared in a pair of games for the Class-A Lake County Captains in late June, going 1-for-6 with a single and an RBI.
Calica is the other first year pro earning a midseason All-Star team honor for the Scrappers this season. The 22-year-old outfielder, one of three taken from the Mahoning Valley roster, was selected by Cleveland in the eleventh round of the June draft out of UC Santa Barbara.
The left-handed hitter has been on a tear nearly from the moment he arrived in Niles in early July. He has a dozen multi-hit games to his credit and five different three-hit games. He hit in as many as seven straight games from July 22 to July 29. His stat line is healthy with a .370/.480/.530 slash with three doubles, five triples, a homer, and 18 RBI. He is 10-for-11 stealing bases.
The 20-year-old Isaacs is in his second season in the Indians organization after being selected in the 19th round of the 2015 draft. The New Providence, Bahamas, native spent his first pro season collecting action in Goodyear with the Indians’ Arizona League club, playing 34 games while hitting .214.
This season, the results have been much better as Isaacs has battled for time in a crowded Scrappers outfield. He had a three-hit game on June 30, had three straight two-hit games from July 16 to 25, went a perfect 4-for-4 on August 6 at Hudson Valley, and hit a pair of homers (including a walk-off three-run blast) while driving in four at home against Batavia on August 9. In 26 games this season, he is hitting .370 with a .402 on-base percentage and .617 slugging percentage with five doubles, five homers, and eleven RBI.
Switch-hitting Mejia is another player with a little experience in the Indians farm system after signing with the organization as a non-drafted free agent in October of 2013. He appeared in 70 games in the Dominican Summer League in 2014 (stealing 72 bases) and spent the bulk of the 2015 season in the Arizona League before being promoted for the final two weeks of the minor league schedule to the Scrappers, where he hit .304 in 16 games and finished the year with a combined .344 average to lead all Indians minor leaguers in hitting.
In 45 games this season, Mejia is batting .300 while patrolling the Scrappers outfield. He is riding an eight-game hitting streak and has put together similar streaks of six games (June 20-25) and eleven games (July 8-19) earlier in the year.
Mahoning Valley had just two All-Stars in 2015, when the club was represented by current Double-A catcher with the Akron RubberDucks (and High-A Carolina League All-Star) Daniel Salters and current Scrappers infielder Nathan Winfrey.
Photo removed by request