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.
The Eastern League announced on Friday its rosters for its annual pairing of the best from the Eastern and Western Divisions, and there will be plenty of recognizable names making the trip to Trenton, New Jersey.
A star-studded lineup, including several sons of former Major Leaguers and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow will comprise the rosters of the two squads, set to meet at the home of the Trenton Thunder on Wednesday, July 11, at 7 PM ET.
The biggest of the names will suit up for the Eastern Division club.
Another offensive outburst at the plate from Akron outfielder Andrew Calica earned him the Eastern League’s Player of the Week Award, the league announced on Monday from its home office in Portland, Maine.
Calica was on fire throughout the week in games played between June 4 and June 10, hitting in all six games that he appeared in. Three times he put up two-hit games, he homered in back-to-back games, and he knocked in at least one run in four straight contests.
Last season, Shane Bieber proved that his nearly spotless record in his debut season in 2016 with the short-season Mahoning Valley Scrappers was no fluke, appearing at three different levels of the Indians organization while putting up strong numbers at each stop.
On Monday, the Akron right-hander was recognized by the Eastern League for his dominant start to the 2018 season when he was named its Pitcher of the Week for games played between April 5 and April 15.
Free agent moves of Major League players get the majority of attention in the offseason, but plenty of role players and other prospects still hoping for a chance at a big league pay day bounce around the country when their pro contracts come to an end. A handful of Indians farmhands were on the move over the winter, with several others still unsigned.
The Baltimore Orioles came sniffing around the Tribe’s former prospects, including snatching one up through a Rule 5 claim.
The Minor League schedule kicks off this week and young prospects are reporting to their respective homes to start the season.
The Akron RubberDucks announced the members of their Opening Day roster on Tuesday as players settled in to Canal Park before the club hits the road for Altoona for their season opening series with the Curve (Pirates affiliate) in Pennsylvania.
The ‘Ducks will look to improve upon a 69-71 third place finish last season. Following their four-game set against the Eastern League champions, they will head to Binghamton to face the Rumble Ponies (Mets) from April 9 to April 11 before returning home to Akron for a four-game series against the Trenton Thunder (Yankees), starting on Friday, April 13.