Baseball is a game where rhythm matters. The hitter is trying to get into a pattern where he can predict the trajectory and rotation of a pitched ball, and the pitcher is trying to throw the hitter off to get him to swing and miss, or to ineffectively make contact with the ball, inducing a pop-up, or a weak fly, or a groundout. For the 2019 High-A Lynchburg Hillcats, Eli Morgan has been one of the most effective pitchers at keeping opposing Carolina League hitters off-balance and unable to generate a consistent rhythm in the batter’s box.
Morgan, now in his third year out of Gonzaga University, was an 8th round selection by Cleveland in 2017. The right-handed 5’10”, 190 pounder finished the previous season pitching 143.1 innings, the most he had ever thrown in a baseball season.
The Akron RubberDucks opened the 2019 slate with a 5-0 loss to the Altoona Curve on Thursday night.
The ‘Ducks were limited to just two hits in a tough start to the season, with 25-year-old second baseman Tyler Krieger accounting for both hits. He was stranded at third after a first inning one-out single, reached safely in the third on an error, struck out in the sixth, and singled in the ninth before being forced out at second.
Opening Day starter Sam Hentges was charged with all five runs scored by the Curve (four of which were earned). The left-hander allowed six hits and walked four while striking out six over four and one-third innings in his first start since being added to Cleveland’s 40-man roster.
In a corresponding move, the Indians designated pitcher A.J. Cole for assignment to create a space on the 40-man roster.
The Cleveland Indians announced Monday the acquisition of minor league infielder Andruw Monasterio from the Washington Nationals to complete the two clubs’ previous swap revolving around All-Star catcher Yan Gomes.
Just 21 years old, Monasterio completed his fifth pro season in 2018. He has logged innings at second, third, and short, but the two positions up the middle have been his primary residences on the diamond. It marks the second time in the span of four months that he has been on the move, as the Nationals had only acquired him in the back half of August as the return for veteran second baseman Daniel Murphy ahead of the waivers trade deadline.
The Cleveland Indians did not participate in the MLB portion of the Rule 5 draft on Thursday, but they did lose a player along the way.
Pitcher Kyle Dowdy was selected with the tenth overall pick by the New York Mets. The right-handed pitcher recently joined the Indians organization, acquired in July’s trade with the Tigers that brought outfielder Leonys Martin to Cleveland and sent infielder Willi Castro to Detroit.
The Rule 5 draft, held annually on the final day of the Winter Meetings, allows eligible players to be selected if not protected by placement on their club’s 40-man rosters. Players are deemed eligible if they have played five or more seasons of professional baseball after signing at 18 or younger or if they have played four or more seasons after signing at 19 and up. Rule 5 picks cost selecting clubs $100,000 to make.
Cleveland’s Yu Chang delivered a big two-run triple for the West team in their walk-off win over the East team in the annual Fall Stars Game on Saturday.
Chang, one of two Indians prospects selected to the roster of the West squad this season, was one of the star performers in the exhibition, breaking a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning with his clutch knock. The AFL East team rallied with three runs in the top of the eighth to take their first lead since the top of the first, but the West got back-to-back hits with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and then steal a walk-off win.
When you are looking to make a name for yourself professionally, there is no such thing as an offseason, especially in Major League Baseball. Such is the case for a number of farmhands of the Cleveland Indians from this most recently completed season whom are active in league activities in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Venezuela.
In addition to the seven Indians minor leaguers who are in Glendale, Arizona, participating in the Arizona Fall League (position players Yu Chang, Li-Jen Chu, and Connor Marabell and pitchers Justin Garza, Rob Kaminsky, Jared Robinson, and Dalbert Siri), four members of their farm system are getting in work in the six-team Dominican Professional Baseball League, two are in the eight-team Venezuelan Professional Baseball League, and one is working in the eight-team Mexican Pacific League, running up and down the Gulf of California.
The postseason hangover in Cleveland has extended all the way to Arizona for the Indians organization, as the team’s participants on the shared roster of the Glendale Desert Dogs have taken four straight losses to open the Arizona Fall League schedule.
Seven Indians prospects are members of the Desert Dogs club, joining representatives from the Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and New York Yankees. Glendale is winless at 0-4 to start the season, which began Tuesday from the desert. They trail the first place Surprise Saguaros by three games in the AFL West Division.
The Indians have sent four pitchers – Justin Garza, Rob Kaminsky, Jared Robinson, and Dalbert Siri – and three position players – Yu Chang, Li-Jen Chu, and Connor Marabell – to Arizona for offseason work. Joining them in Glendale is Double-A Akron pitching coach Rigo Beltran.
Every ball player has a different journey. For Robert Charles Orlan, who goes by R.C., it started in Pennsylvania. Born in Bryn Mawr, a suburb of Philadelphia, his family moved to Houston, Texas, and it was there that baseball became a part of his life.
“I had this plastic tee growing up, basically a big wiffle ball attached to a piece of string so I could hit all day, my parents didn’t have to do anything,” he said in a kind of self-deprecating tone of voice.
A big week at the plate from Sam Haggerty earned the Akron utility man the Eastern League’s Player of the Week award for games played between July 30 and August 5.
Haggerty hit safely in all six games during the week as he extended his hitting streak to eight straight games. But he did more than just hit during his six games on the field as he also walked in five straight games on the way to putting up a .421/.538/.947 line. He drew six walks for the week and added eight hits, including a double, three triples, and one homer, while driving in five runs, scoring seven times, and stealing a pair of bases.
The Cleveland Indians addressed their depleted outfield on Tuesday in advance of the non-waiver trade deadline, acquiring veteran outfielder Leonys Martin and minor league pitcher Kyle Dowdy from the Detroit Tigers for shortstop prospect Willi Castro.
Martin is not expected to arrive in time for the team’s game in Minnesota against the Twins on Tuesday night. The 30-year-old outfielder came at the cost of one of the Indians’ top middle infield prospects in Castro, who had been with the organization for five years and is just 21 years old.
The Eastern League took notice of a no-hit bid by Akron’s Sean Brady last week as the RubberDucks’ left-hander was named the Pitcher of the Week for games played between July 9 and July 15.
Brady made his lone start of the week on Saturday, July 14, and stymied the visiting Binghamton Rumble Ponies for much of the night, giving up just three hits in seven and two-thirds scoreless innings in a tough no-decision.