To develop a winning mentality in major league baseball, it is best to begin with a formula for success in the minor leagues.
The Carolina Mudcats begin its second season as Class A affiliates of the Cleveland Indians with excitement over the influx of talent and hope that its relationship with its parent club will continue to blossom.
David Wallace is marching up the managerial ladder in the Cleveland organization. In his third season as skipper, Wallace has been annually promoted and begins his first year in Zebulon with a 112-102 record overall.
With a solid nucleus of players from last season’s Lake County Captains’ roster that made it to the second round of the Midwest League playoffs, the 2013 Mudcats will look to expand on the gains on the field and in player development.
It all starts with 2011 first round draft pick Francisco Lindor, the top-rated prospect in the Cleveland organization by Baseball America. Last season, the shortstop posted solid numbers in his first full year. Lindor batted .257 with six home runs and 42 RBIs along with 27 stolen bases in 2012 at Lake County.
Lindor, however, is not nearly satisfied.
During Spring Training the DTTWLN staff will profile and examine the coaches and players that make up and are vying to be part of the 2013 Cleveland Indians—A Team With A New Direction. Today, we examine one of the young players on the 40-man roster that is a part of the Indians’ minor league system.
By Mike Brandyberry
Sometimes a major adjustment lends major results. For Indians’ relief pitcher, Trey Haley, it may have saved his professional career.
Haley was a second round selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, but continued control issues and a lack of progression through the Tribe’s minor league system forced him to the bullpen. However, once transitioning to the bullpen, Haley has thrived and regained his place as a top prospect in the Tribe’s system.
“I think it was just a combination of growing up as a player,” Haley said. “Out of high school I was working on so many things. I think that work has helped me get to where I am now.”
In 2012, the 22-year old, hard-throwing, right-hander had his best season as a professional. Haley split his season between High-A Carolina, where he had a 1.04 ERA in 17.1 innings, and Double-A Akron where he was 3-1, with a 1.76 ERA in 15.1 innings.
By Mike Brandyberry
Most highly touted prospects carry the pressure and expectations to develop while analyzing and improving every mechanical aspect of their game. For the Indians’ top prospect, Francisco Lindor, his keys to improvement and development are simple.
“Get better every day and have fun,” Lindor said.
Lindor has been having a lot of fun since the Cleveland Indians selected him out of Montverde Academy in Florida with the eighth overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. He signed with the Indians just minutes before the Aug. 15 deadline—with a $2.9 million signing bonus—and bypassed his commitment to Florida State. But Lindor never has felt pressure as a high, first round draft pick or a player with a large signing bonus.
“At first, it was an honor to be drafted so high and drafted by the Cleveland Indians,” Lindor said. “They gave me a great opportunity and I thank them every day. They let me be a part of the ballclub. As far as pressure, we’re all the same. We all have the same goals: to get better and make it to the bigs.”
By Laurel Wilder
Shawn Armstrong’s goal for the 2013 season is simple: To finish his climb through the Indians organization and make it to the majors.
For the 6-foot, 2-inch, 210 pound right-handed pitcher from Bridgeton, N.C., that goal does not seem far off.
The Indians drafted Armstrong in the 18th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of East Carolina University. Though he is relatively new to the Indians system, with 2012 being his first full season, Armstrong has risen through the minor ranks at an alarming speed.
Armstrong,22, started his 2012 season pitching for Low-A Lake County, but quickly moved up to pitch for High-A Carolina and ended his season playing for Double-A Akron. The only other player recently to move through the Tribe system at that speed is current Indians right-handed relief pitcher Cody Allen.
“I loved it,” Armstrong said of his rapid move through the organization. “Playing at every level, getting to meet all the different staff and players was a good experience for me, because it was a learning experience. I got to have three different pitching coaches’ perspectives of pitching…It kind of made my season just fly by. I looked up and it was September and we were playing for a championship in Trenton.”
By Mike Brandyberry
Hard work and patience often results in personal growth and achievement. It’s the formula Cleveland Indians farmhand Tyler Holt hopes will take him to the big leagues some day soon.
While 2012 was a very positive year resulting in development and progress for Holt, the road has not always been easy for him as a professional. Despite a strong amateur and collegiate career, Holt has had to make mechanical adjustments to continue to thrive as a professional. The hard work and adjustments saw Holt thrive at three different levels last season.
“You’re never satisfied, but I was happy I learned way more than I expected,” Holt said. “I don’t think you are ever satisfied though, even when you make it to the league. If I can just have a good process and learn more than I thought I would, or I go about it doing the right thing, then I’m happy. The results will come if you really buy into the system and the process, you’ll be fine.”
By Laurel Wilder
When asked what their favorite thing is about the game of baseball, one would expect a player to talk about making a seemingly impossible out, or driving in the game winning run. For 20-year-old Tony Wolters, however, the smell of fresh-cut grass during batting practice is far more special than any play he could make.
“It’s a great smell!” Wolters said at the Lake County Captains’ Hot Stove Dinner. But, all smells aside, Wolters admitted that he truly enjoys “taking ground balls, hitting…I love the practice [before the game].”
The importance of practice is one thing the infielder from Vista, CA, knows all too well. Selected by the Cleveland Indians in the third round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Wolters played with the Indians’ Arizona League and in Mahoning Valley before spending his 2012 season with the Carolina Mudcats. Wolters posted fairly solid numbers during his first two seasons, batting .211 with two stolen bases during the five games he played in Arizona in 2010, and posting a .292 AVG with 19 SB in 2011 with Mahoning Valley.
By Laurel Wilder
Baseball is about consistency. Successful players work tirelessly for days on end to perfect their role on the team, to improve their numbers, and to perform flawlessly enough to earn the much sought after promotion to the big leagues. Many players have been working at the same position since their early years of playing. Getting a request, therefore, to move to a new position is enough to throw them for a bit of a loop.
Carlos Moncrief, however, is not a man to get easily flustered.
Moncrief was drafted by the Indians in the 14th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft as a relief pitcher, despite his work as a starter in high school and his only having thrown 17 innings as a late-inning reliever while at Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Fl. During his two seasons pitching with the Indians organization (he pitched for the Gulf Coast League in 2008 and the Arizona Rookie League in 2009), Moncrief appeared in a total of 28 games, going 1-2 overall with a combined ERA of 7.75. He gave up 39 hits, 22 walks, and allowed one home run while also throwing 43 strike outs.
By Mike Brandyberry
The Cleveland Indians announced Thursday the organizational staff alignment within the Player Development System for the upcoming season.
Two members of the 2012 Major League coaching staff will resume prominent roles within the system. Tom Wiedenbauer …
Several weeks ago, we chronicled the seven Indians minor leaguers participating in the Arizona Fall League as part of the Scottsdale Scorpions. The Scorpions finished the short season with a record of 15-16, good for a second place, 2.5 games out of first. Here’s how the seven Indians farmhands faired.
The 22-year-old righty made five appearances for the Scorpions. In his five appearances, he tossed 5.2 innings allowing no runs on two hits while striking out three and walking four.
His solid stint continues to highlight his talent as a reliever for the Tribe brass after a solid 2012 campaign.
By Mike Brandyberry
It is widely speculated that major roster changes could be upon the Cleveland Indians this winter with the possibility of Asdrubal Cabrera, Chris Perez, Shin-Soo Choo and Justin Masterson all believed to be on the market for the right offer. While a move that would have any of those players leaving Cleveland would be deemed a major shake up to the roster, a minor tremor could be developing in the next couple days.
Tuesday, November 20 is the deadline for minor league players who are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft to be placed on the Major League 40-man roster and be protected. Any player who was signed at 18-years old or younger and has been in the organization for five years, or any player signed at 19-years old and older who has been in the organization for four years, and not on the 40-man roster is eligible to be drafted in the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee from December 3-6.
Players selected in the Rule 5 Draft must remain on their new team’s 25-man roster for the remaining season or be offered back to their original team. Most times players that are drafted via the Rule 5 draft have a trade negotiated to eliminate the rules behind the draft and create a minor league option. Currently, the Indians have a full 40-man roster and several minor leaguers who are Rule 5 eligible.
By Sean Tuttle
The Columbus Clippers (AAA) finished the season in second place in the Western Division of the International League with an overall record of 75-69. They finished 13 games behind first place Indianapolis, and four games out of the Wild Card spot. Infielder, Cord Phelps, has been named to the IL Postseason All-Star Team. The Clippers finished 75-69 on the season, marking the third straight season the Clippers have finished with a record above the .500 mark. Columbus finished second in the IL in attendance for the 2012 season, averaging 8,732 fans a game. Infielders Matt LaPorta and Russ Canzler were named to the mid- season All-Star team. Columbus had four players named the IL Batter of the Week in 2012 (LaPorta, Canzler, Carrera, Phelps) and one player named IL Pitcher of the Week (Gomez). The Clippers hit six grand slam home runs (Beau Mills, Jared Goedert, Russ Canzler, Ryan Rohlinger, Luke Carlin, Juan Diaz).
The Indians announced right-handed pitcher, Jordan Cooper, as this week’s Minor League Player of the Week.
The 23-year old, Carolina Mudcat, is a native of Berryton, Kansas, and was originally drafted in the 2008 amateur draft by the Boston Red Sox in the 17th round. Instead of signing with the Red Sox out of Shawnee Heights High School, Cooper decided to attend Wichita State University. Two years later, in the 2010 amateur draft, he was selected by the Tribe in the ninth round.
In 2010, Cooper saw action in 14 games where he started 13 and went 5-5 with a 4.94 ERA. In 62 innings of work, he allowed 79 hits, gave up 39 runs of which 34 were earned, forfeited nine home runs, allowed 18 walks while striking out 41 batters with Mahoning Valley.