By Steve Eby
The All-Star Futures Game made its debut in 1999 when the Midsummer Classic was held in Boston. Most of the who’s-who in baseball today played for either the World Team or the USA Team before the start of their Major League career. Big names like Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Carl Crawford, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Andrew McCutcheon, Jose Reyes, Troy Tulowitzki, Justin Verlander, Joey Votto and David Wright all represented their organizations and became All-Stars for their big league club at some point during their careers.
The Indians have had success in the game also, sending players like Fausto Carmona (Roberto Hernandez), Shin-Soo Choo, Jason Kipnis, Victor Martinez, C.C. Sabathia, Carlos Santana and Grady Sizemore to play in the game that is played the Sunday prior to the All-Star Game. In fact, in 2003, Sizemore stood out among the rest as the MVP of the game held at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. Hoping to add his name to the list of big time sluggers and Tribe All-Stars is Indians prospect Jesus Aguilar, who played in the game Sunday night in Kansas City.
Aguilar, a six-foot, three-inch 250 pound monster of a man, is the first baseman for the Indians Advanced Class-A affiliate, the Carolina Mudcats. The honor of being selected to the Futures Game is an honor that is well deserved for the slugger, as Aguilar is currently batting .305 with 11 homeruns, 45 RBIs and a .908 OPS for the Mudcats. Aguilar was excited to take part in the All-Star festivities along with Lake County Captains prospect Francisco Lindor. “I’m really excited because it’s my first Future’s Game,” Aguilar said. “I’ve tried to work hard.”
By Christian Petrila
The 2012 Futures Game was a showcase of the brightest young talent the Major Leagues have to offer. In this case, the USA used a nine-run sixth to dominate the World Team to win, 17-5.
Aguilar was the starting first baseman for the World Team. His first at bat came in the top of the second against Pittsburgh’s flame throwing pitcher Gerrit Cole. After falling behind 1-2 and seeing some pitches between 98 and 100 MPH, Aguilar drew a seven-pitch walk. He came around to score when Cubs prospect Jae-Hoon Ha hit a two-out home run to give the World a 3-0 lead.
By Mike Brandyberry
For a player who focuses on his weaknesses and ways to improve, he sure has had a lot of success.
“I have to understand that this game should be called ‘failure,’ because you’re going to fail a whole lot more than you’re going to succeed,” Indians minor leaguer Tyler Holt said.
While Holt has suffered failures and setbacks like any professional baseball player, his success is quite noteworthy. Holt was promoted to Double-A Akron on July 5 in only his second full season as a professional.
Holt was a 10th round draft pick in the 2010 Amateur Draft by the Indians from Florida State. In 2009, he played for Team USA, hitting .371, with 28 runs scored and 24 walks. Last season at Single-A Kinston he was first in walks (78), third in stolen bases (34) and second in on-base percentage (.365).
By Sean Tuttle
Thomas Neal was named the Eastern League Player of the Week and Indians Minor League Player of the Week for June 25 – July 1st during which time he batted .500 AVG., 14-28, with six doubles, three Home runs, and 10 RBI’s.
The Inglewood, California native was first drafted in the 36th round of the 2005 Amateur draft by the San Francisco Giants out of Poway High School. In 2011, Neal was acquired by the Tribe in a trade for infielder Orlando Cabrera.
Upon joining the Indians in 2011, Neal was optioned to Triple-A Columbus where he appeared in 10 games. In 38 appearances at the plate, he had nine hits for a .250 average, one RBI, walked once, struck out seven times, and was hit by a pitch once.
Neal has spent the entire 2012 season in Double-A Akron. He has appeared in 66 games of the 85 and is batting .309 average. He has 72 hits, produced 31 RBI’s, and accounted for 44 runs. He has 17 doubles, one triple, and six home runs. Neal has stolen four bases while getting caught six times. He has drawn 22 walks while striking out 46 times. He has also been hit by pitchers seven times this season.
By Steve Eby
Imagine a little boy walking into a Major League stadium for the first time. He’s wearing a baseball glove on one hand and holding his father’s hand with the other. As he crosses the turnstile, his eyes light up by how big the ballpark is. Never before had he been in a building so massive. He enters the stands and sees thousands of excited people just waiting to cheer on their team. Then he looks out onto the field and sees the greenest grass he has ever seen. On that grass are the heroes that until this point, he has only watched on television playing the game that he loves so much.
“Dad, one day I’m going to play on this field,” he says with confidence, “as a big leaguer.”
It’s not difficult to imagine. It happens every day at every stadium across the country. A similar or exact scenario has occurred to most people. Unfortunately for them, most peoples dream of playing in the Major Leagues for their favorite team remains a dream forever.
For Tribe prospect Anthony Gallas, however, that dream is a real possibility.
“I don’t think it could get any better than that,” Gallas said, “I feel like that is the ultimate dream and the ultimate goal. I’m working towards it every day.”
Gallas grew up in Strongsville, Ohio, a suburb less than 25 miles from Progressive Field, the home of his favorite boyhood team, the Cleveland Indians. When Anthony wasn’t playing baseball, he spent his time as a child watching or listening to his Tribe. “Those ’95 Indians and ’97 Indians, Kenny Lofton and Jim Thome, those guys were awesome.” Gallas remembers that, “the summers (in Cleveland) are pretty much summed up by (Tom) Hamilton’s voice and Rick Manning’s voice.”
By Sean Tuttle
Russ Canzler was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 30th round of the 2004 amateur draft out of Hazleton High School in Hazleton, PA. He was granted free agency in November of 2010, and signed with the Tampa Bay Rays later that month. He was later purchased by the Indians on January 31, 2012.
Canzler was named to the Northwest League postseason All-Star Team in 2005 and given the MiLB.com Short-Season Round Tripper award after leading the league in homers, RBIs and doubles. He batted .342 (38-for-111) against lefties and .237 (51-for-215) against righties in 2008.
Canzler started the 2009 season with a 15-game hitting streak at Single-A Daytona and promoted to Double-A Tennessee on May 1st. He finished second in the Southern League with 21 HRs for Tennessee in 2010 while batting .287 (102-for-355) with 66 RBIs in 112 games played at third, first, right and left fields.
By Sean Tuttle
Carolina Mudcats outfielder, Anthony Gallas, was named Minor League Player of the Week by the Indians. Gallas was signed by the Cleveland Indians as an undrafted free agent on June 19, 2010. He attended Kent State University, where he hit 49 home runs over four seasons.
In his first season as a member of the Indians’ organization, Gallas saw 50 games in the Arizona Rookie League and four with Single-A short season Mahoning Valley.
While in Arizona, Gallas batted.276 with 10 doubles, three triples, two home runs, and 23 RBI’s. He drew 11 walks, was caught stealing once on three attempts, and struck out 40 times. In the four games he spent with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, Gallas had four hits in 17 appearances for a .235 average. He hit one double, one home run, knocked in three runners, and struck out six times.
By Sean Tuttle
The Indians announced Mason Radeke as their Minor League Player of the Week after the righty didn’t allow a single run in his last two outings (8.1IP, 4H, BB, 13K).
Radeke was originally drafted in 2004 by the Chicago White Sox in the 41st round of the amateur draft out of Santa Barbara High School. He decided to try his luck at California Polytechnic State University, in San Luis Obispo, CA. After three years, he was drafted in the 35th round of the 2011 amateur draft by the Tribe.
Radeke started all nine games he appeared in last season with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (A-). He held a 2-0 record while boasting a 4.53 ERA. In 43.2 innings of work he gave up 44 hits, allowed 23 runs of which 22 were earned, gave up six home runs, walked 15 batters while striking out 30.
By Sean Tuttle
Jeremie Tice, age 25, was first drafted in the 2006 amateur draft by the Florida Marlins in the 38th round, but decided to go back to college. In 2008, the Cleveland Indians drafted Tice in the the sixth round of the amateur draft out of the College of Charleston.
In the five seasons Tice has been in the Tribe organization, he has seen action at third base, first base and in the outfield. This year he has spent the majority of his time operating as the Carolina Mudcats designated hitter.
In 171 plate appearances this season, Tice has 45 hits, 16 doubles, and has accounted for 29 runs. He is first in the Carolina League in RBI’s with 45, first in slugging (.639), tied for second in extra base hits with 27, and first in home runs with 11. He has drawn 17 walks as compared to 35 strikeouts. His current batting average holds at .306 through 43 games.
By Sean Tuttle
In only his second season as a member of the Cleveland Indians organization, infielder Francisco Lindor, has been making waves at the plate and in the media. Lindor, 18, was drafted by the Tribe in the first round (8th pick overall) of last year’s June amateur draft out of Montverde Academy High School in Florida. The Puerto Rico native originally committed to Florida State, but made his debut in single-A Mahoning Valley last year.
In only 46 games this season, Lindor, is batting a .286 average. He has produced 30 runs, has 57 hits which include nine doubles, three triples, and four home runs. Lindor has 84 total bases to go along with 19 RBI’s. He has drawn 13 walks, and has struck out 30 times. He has also stolen 11 bases, and only been caught four times.
By Sean Tuttle
With the recent comments of Tribe closer, Chris Perez, about the poor attendance at Progressive Field this season and the fact that the Indians have the worst attendance in the MLB, some may wonder how a first place team can accomplish this feat. Others may raise the question, “How does their minor league system bring in fans?”
Some may blame the lack of attendance on a number of reasons such as expense of going to the ballpark, not wanting to get too excited this early in the season, or maybe other events are going on in the daily lives of fans.
When considering cost to attend a single game, researchers often look at the Fan Cost Index. The Fan Cost Index comprises the prices of four adult average-price tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four regular-size hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs and two least expensive, adult-size adjustable caps. Based on a study done in April of 2011, the Cleveland Indians ranked below the average in MLB and 13th lowest overall. The MLB average ticket price was $26.91 with a Fan Cost Index of $197.35. The Indians average ticket price was $18.49 with a Fan Cost Index of $170.96.
By Sean Tuttle
The tallest player in the minors is now coming out of the Akron Aeros bullpen. On May 5, the Cleveland Indians acquired, Ludovicus Jacobus Maria van Mil a.k.a. Loek Van Mil, from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in an outright trade for future considerations. The Indians immediately assigned Van Mil to the Akron Aeros.
Van Mil, 27, was born in Oss, Netherlands. At a height of seven feet, one inch he is currently the tallest player in the minor leagues.
He has pitched for the Netherlands national baseball team, appeared in the 2007 Baseball World Cup, and was selected to appear in the 2008 Summer Olympics, but missed the tournament because of injury.