By Sean Tuttle
The Cleveland Indians announced Carolina infielder, Giovanny Urshela, as the club’s Minor League Player of the Week, August 6-13. In addition to this honor, yesterday he was named the Carolina League Hitter of the Week. Urshela, hit .483 (14-29) with five doubles, three home runs, and six RBI’s throughout the week. On August 7th at Salem, Urshela went 3-for-4 with a double, a home run, and three RBI’s in Carolina’s 6-2 win and followed that up with a three hit game the next night with two more doubles, a home run, and an RBI.
For the 2012 season he is batting .279 (102-366) with 44 runs scored, 26 doubles, 10 home runs, and 52 RBI’s while posting a .744 OPS (.312 on-base pct., .432 slugging pct.). He is batting .400 (20-50) in the month of August, raising his season average from .259 to the current .279 mark.
The 20-year old righty out of Cartagena, Colombia was signed as a Non-Drafted Free Agent on July 2, 2008. In 2011, Urshela ranked fourth in the Midwest League in at-bats (505). In 2010, posted a career high .290 batting average in 58 games with Mahoning Valley.
By Sean Tuttle
The Cleveland Indians announced Luis DeJesus as their Minor League Player of the Week Tuesday afternoon. DeJesus was also named the New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week.
The 20-year old righty from Diboll, Texas was drafted by the Tribe in the 11th round of the 2011 Amateur Draft out of Angelina College.
In 13 appearances with the Arizona League Indians, DeJesus went 3-2 with a 3.33 ERA in 46 innings of work. He gave up 41 hits, allowed 20 runs with 17 earned and walked 11 batters, while striking out 45 and hitting one.
This season he has split time between Lake County and Mahoning Valley. In four games with Lake County, DeJesus is 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA in 12 innings of work. He has finished two games and has one save. DeJesus gave up 15 hits, allowed 11 runs with 10 of them being earned. He walked six, struck out 12, and gave up two home runs.
By Mike Brandyberry
Life and baseball both can teach you valuable lessons. Sometimes in life though, it isn’t how hard you work, but who you know. In Indians farmhand Bo Greenwell’s life, who he knows has helped him work hard to achieve his goals despite serious injuries and setbacks.
Greenwell was plagued with serious injuries for a year and a half before being able to experience a clean bill of health in June with the Carolina Mudcats. Greenwell has hit .328 since being activated at the High-A level, and moved into the second spot of the batting order after leadoff hitter Tyler Holt was promoted to Double-A Akron.
“Anybody that has been around the game long enough will tell you this game is tough mentally, not just physically,” Greenwell said. “You have to be lucky to stay healthy through a full season. I’ve been lucky, but last season was just one of those seasons where I had two big injuries. It was tough mentally.”
By Sean Tuttle
Ezequiel Carrera, the Guiria, Venezuela native was acquired on June 27, 2010 from the Seattle Mariners along with infielder, Juan Diaz, in exchange for infielder, Russell Branyan, and cash. He originally was signed by the New York Mets as a free agent on April 4th, 2005 before being traded to the Mariners prior to the 2009 season. In 2011, Carrera made his Major League debut on May 20 and collected a game-winning, 8th-inning RBI bunt single in his first ever plate appearance versus Cincinnati.
In 2011, Carrera appeared in 68 games with the Indians and posted a .243 (49/202) batting average. He hit eight doubles, three triples, produced 14 RBI’s and accounted for 27 runs. He drew 16 walks while striking out 35 times, stole 10 bases successfully in 15 attempts.
Carrera hit .515 (17-33) with two doubles, two triples, two home runs, and 13 RBI’s throughout the week, while posting a 1.407 OPS (.528 on-base pct, .879 slugging pct.). On July 25 versus Toledo, he went 5-for-5 with four runs scored and a double in Columbus’ 11-10 win. He also hit home runs in back-to-back games (July 24-25) for the first time in his career. For the 2012 season he is batting .297 (116-390) with 65 runs scored, 19 doubles, six triples, six home runs, and 42 RBI’s with 26 stolen bases while posting a .770 OPS (.347 on-base pct., .423 slugging pct.). He currently ranks tenth in the International League in batting average (.297), third in hits (116), third in stolen bases (26), second in runs scored (65), tied for fourth in triples (6) and currently has a 20-game hitting streak, which is the second longest in the International League this season.
By Sean Tuttle
The Indians named Akron Aeros starting left-handed pitcher, Giovanni Soto, as the Indians Minor League Player of the Week for July 15-22. Soto went 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA (14.0IP, 6H, 3R/2ER, 6BB, 7K) in two starts, including a nine-inning no-hitter on July 15th against Altoona in which he allowed one unearned run, three walks with six strikeouts in a 2-1 Akron win. It was just the second no-hitter in Akron Aeros franchise history and the first ever at Canal Park.
On July 20th, Soto suffered a tough loss, tossing five innings, allowing six hits, three runs (two earned), three walks with a strikeout in a 3-2 loss to Richmond. On the season he is 6-7 with a 3.72 ERA (106.1IP, 95H, 52R/44ER, 42BB, 88K) in 19 starts. Soto currently is tied for first in the Eastern League in complete games with two and shutouts with one.
Soto was acquired from the Detroit Tigers on July 29, 2010 in exchange for infielder, Jhonny Peralta. The Carolina, Puerto Rico native, was selected by Detroit in the 21st round of the 2009 June draft after originally being selected in the 46th round of the 2008 June draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. In 2010, he led the Midwest League in shutouts with two, was tied for first in complete games with two, fourth in ERA (2.93) and was named to the Midwest League All-Star team for Class-A Lake County.
By Mike Brandyberry
After a successful college career right-handed pitcher Shawn Armstrong still has many adjustments to make on his road to the big leagues. While the road seems to be progressing quickly, adjusting to professional baseball is taking time.
“I think the biggest thing to get used to is the long season,” Armstrong said. “Throwing every day, you don’t have those random days off when you don’t pick up a baseball and stuff like that. You never know when you are going to throw either.”
Armstrong was 18th round selection by the Indians in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft. As a draft eligible sophomore, Armstrong signed right at the August 15 deadline and thus delayed the start of his professional career. He made up for his delayed start by pitching in both the Arizona and Dominican Instructional Leagues over the winter.
Then Indians named Jordan Smith of the Lake County Captains (A) as this week’s Indians Minor League Player of the Week. Smith has hit safely in eight of his last nine games with a .459 AVG, (17-37), two home runs, and 10 RBI’s. He has a hit in 15 of his last 17 games with a .492 AVG., (29-59), three doubles, two home runs, and 15 RBI’s.
Smith was drafted by the Indians in the ninth round of the 2011 amateur draft out of St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, MN. The outfielder just celebrated his 22nd birthday on July 5.
Smith began his career in Mahoning Valley last season, where he appeared in 65 games. During his time with the Scrappers, he batted .300, recorded 73 hits, accounted for 36 runs, and produced 47 RBI’s. He had 20 doubles, one triple, and stole three of four bases successfully. Smith was hit by pitchers nine times and intentionally walked once. Smith finished tied for second in the New York-Penn League in RBIs, third in on-base percentage (.403) and tied for fifth in doubles.
This season, Smith is in Lake County where he is batting .322, 95 hits, accounting for 41 runs, and 44 RBI’s in 73 games. He has hit 16 doubles, five triples, five home runs, and stolen five out of eight bases successfully. He has been hit by pitchers three times, and intentionally walked three times.
By Steve Eby
They say you can never have enough pitching. But for the Indians organization, the saying should state that you can never have enough middle infielders.
The Indians system is loaded with talent at the second base and shortstop positions. At the big league level, two-time All-Star Asdrubal Cabrera and All-Star snub Jason Kipnis are cogs in the Indians lineup and Jason Donald has shown some promise in his backup role and during his limited starting time last season.
Down on the farm, the Columbus Clippers play former third round pick Cord Phelps, who Tribe fans saw hit a walk-off homerun last season. At Akron, the Aeros have Juan Diaz who surprised most people by getting a call up to Cleveland in late May this year, two seasons after being acquired in the Russell Branyan trade with Seattle. The Advanced-A Carolina Mudcats have an impressive duo with another third round pick Tony Wolters and Ronny Rodriguez splitting time between short and second, and the 2011 first round pick Francisco Lindor is tearing the cover off the ball in Lake County for the Captains.
By Sean Tuttle
This week’s Indians Minor League Player of the Week is rookie infielder, Joseph Wendle. Wendle was drafted in this year’s June amateur draft in the sixth round out of West Chester University.
In his first 16 games with the Single-A Mahoning Valley Scrappers, Wendle is batting .356, accounting for 10 runs and producing 10 RBI’s. He has five doubles and two triples while drawing seven walks and only striking out three times. Wendle is two for three on stolen base attempts.
Wendle is originally from Lincoln University, PA. and attended Avon Grove High School before furthering his education at West Chester University.
The 6-1 ft. tall 190 lbs. infielder was a four year starter at second base, and captain of the team. He was named to Tino Martinez Watch List (DII player of the year) for the third straight year in 2011. Wendle was ranked among the top 10 prospects in DII by Baseball America and ranked among the top 10 all-time in 11 offensive categories at West Chester. He was named to the Coastal Plains League All-Star squad in the summer of 2011 where he batted .377 average and was the team MVP.
By Steve Eby
Everyone has big life decisions to make. But for the Tribe’s top second base prospect Tony Wolters, his decision was separated by over 2,400 miles.
“After I got drafted I didn’t know if I was going to go to school or not,” Wolters said.
Wolters attended Rancho Buena Vista High School, about 40 miles from downtown San Diego, California. He was given a full scholarship from the University of San Diego, but before he was able to attend a class, he was drafted in the third round of the 2010 Amateur Draft by the Indians.
“I waited to sign and it gave me a lot of time to weigh my pros and cons,” Wolters said. “I was really comfortable with USD because that’s where my sister went and it’s only about 45 minutes from where I live.”
The lure of playing professional baseball can also be a bit misleading. Most players that play professionally never make it to “The Show.” Playing in the minor leagues is a grind and the patience that it takes can take its toll on a lot of players. “I had a lot of friends that got drafted too,” Wolters said. “I got to talk to them and pick their brains about what pro ball is all about. I knew what I was getting myself into.”
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.