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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | July 23, 2017

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Player Interviews

Getting to Know Lynchburg’s Jodd Carter

July 20, 2017 |

At the age of 17, Jodd Carter joined the rookie level Arizona Indians for his first taste of professional baseball. Selected in the 24th round of the 2014 first year player draft, Carter was following in the footsteps of other … Read More

Argenis Angulo – Building Consistency

July 13, 2017 |

The top reliever on this season’s High-A Lynchburg Hillcats has been Argenis Angulo. The 6’3” closer hails from Araure, Venezuela. He made his way to the Cleveland system through Ranger College, a junior college in Texas. A 19th round selection in the 2014 First Year Player Draft, this season marks the first one begun in full season ball. Of his previous three seasons, he spent two in the Arizona League, and his third started in short-season ball at rookie level Mahoning Valley.

For as long as he can remember, Angulo has been playing baseball.

“My dad always liked baseball. He introduced me to it when I was two years old. He started tossing balls to me. I started playing Little League when I was about four years old.” Read More

Willi Castro – Following in His Father’s Footsteps

July 6, 2017 |

Willi Castro is no longer the youngest player on his team for the first time in his career. That honor goes to Triston McKenzie. Castro, now 20 years old, earned a preseason prospect ranking of 15 in the Cleveland Indians farm system, according to Baseball America. He started the season slow, hitting just .250 in April. Since then, he has turned up his performance and been a key hitter in the Hillcats lineup.

From the Dominican Republic, he has lived in Florida and Puerto Rico. The Indians signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2013 when he was only 16 years old. After two seasons playing in the Arizona League, first as a second baseman and then as a shortstop, he finally moved up to affiliated ball in 2015. Read More

Shane Bieber – Pitching Like a Pro

June 29, 2017 |

Shane Bieber, a 6’3” right-hander, was a fourth round selection of the Cleveland Indians in 2016. Moving quickly up the organizational ladder, he is now an anchor for the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats rotation. This season marks his fourth full year as a pitcher, making his accomplishments more impressive.

“I didn’t really become a pitcher until my freshman year in college,” said Bieber. “I wasn’t always great at it, I was something of a late bloomer.” Read More

Andrew Calica Building on Past Success

June 8, 2017 |

Andrew Calica grew up in southern California and baseball has been a part of his life for as long as he can remember. The 6’1”, 190 lb. center fielder was selected by Cleveland in round 11 of the 2016 draft out of the University of California- Santa Barbara. This was the second time the Indians had drafted Calica, after previously selecting him the 17th round in 2012.

Rather than signing out of high school, Calica chose to attend college. Getting a redshirt his freshman year due to injury, he stayed four years at UCSB and many draft watchers considered him a solid pick, perhaps one of the strongest seniors in the 2016 draft.

“My parents always put education first,” said Calica about choosing college over an early start to a professional baseball career. “I know how important that was so I wanted to make sure that was a priority for me and UCSB was a great school, a good educational system, and a good atmosphere.” Read More

The Tall and Talented Triston McKenzie

June 1, 2017 |

The first thing you notice about Triston McKenzie is his size. He stands a spindly 6’5”, weighing in at only 165 lbs. When shaking hands with McKenzie you can feel the strength of his grip as his hand envelops yours. It is no wonder he has an intuitive feel for pitching that led the Indians to draft him 42nd overall in 2015.

Born in Brooklyn, New York his family moved to Royal Palm Beach, Florida, when he was young and he readily adapted to life in the south.

“I kind of like the setting down there a lot more, a slower lifestyle,” he said about growing up on the east coast of Florida. Read More

Justin Garcia – Learning from Experience and Routine

May 25, 2017 |

Last season, Justin Garcia featured a flowing mane of dark blonde hair. This season, he has it cut short. Either way, he has been a reliable arm out of the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats bullpen.

Garcia was born in Rowlett, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. He attended Weatherford College for two years before the Indians selected him in the 38th round of the 2013 First Year Player Draft. He is now in his fourth season in their farm system and enjoying every minute of being a professional ballplayer. Read More

The Grit and Success of Sam Haggerty

May 18, 2017 |

Observing Sam Haggerty on the field, there is a look of fierce determination, a scowl, that suggests he will do anything to defeat his opponent. As an observer of ball players you might describe him as tough, determined, or scrappy. That would be accurate, but incomplete.

The 5’11”, 175 lb. second baseman is the first High-A Lynchburg player of 2017 to win a Carolina League Player of the Week award. Originally drafted by Cleveland in the 24th round of 2015, this is Haggerty’s second full season assignment in the Tribe organization. He got into 100 games with Low-A Lake County last year, and played briefly with the Rookie level Mahoning Valley team after signing. Read More

The Unexpected Surge of Thomas Pannone

May 10, 2017 |

Thomas Pannone turned 23 years old three weeks and one day into the current minor league baseball season. This past weekend he was given a late birthday gift by the Cleveland Indians organization, a promotion to AA Akron after only five starts decked out in the new blue and lime green duds of the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats.

If Pannone was on your list of the most likely Hillcats player to get the first promotion to AA that would be a surprise. He is not ranked in the top 30 Indians prospects according to the 2017 Baseball America Prospect Handbook. They list Pannone as a left-handed reliever, just ahead of his new AA Akron teammates Luis Lugo and David Speer, and behind Hoby Milner, a Rule V pick since returned to the Phillies, and Edwin Escobar, a journeyman who never actually suited up for the Cleveland organization. Read More

Martin Cervenka – Making the Most of His Experience

May 3, 2017 |

At 6’1”, 175 lb., Martin Cervenka is a right-handed hitter who looks like he belongs on a ball field.

Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, he was the first Czech player to sign with the Indians organization. He has been playing baseball as a professional since he was 16. Now 24 years old, this is his first year at the High-A level.

“It was exciting for me,” he said about signing. “Ever since I was young I wanted to play pro baseball. Luckily I got the opportunity with Cleveland. It was just cool to have the experience.” Read More

Ka’ai Tom, A Calmness of Focus for Hillcats

April 27, 2017 |

The Cleveland Indians made Ka’ai Tom a 5th round selection in 2015. He is one of two native Hawaiians on the 2017 High-A Lynchburg Hillcats roster, along with fellow Hawaiian outfielder Connor Marabell.

Baseball in Hawaii has a long tradition. Over 40 players from Hawaii have donned a Major League uniform – names that include Charlie Hough, Mike Lum, Kolten Wong, and Shane Victorino. Tom hopes to join that list of players someday. Like many players he got his love of baseball through his family.

“My dad, my grandpa, my uncle, all played baseball,” said Tom, “so it was kind of born into me, to carry on the family tradition of playing baseball.” Read More

Matt Esparza – Learning the Art of Pitching

April 19, 2017 |

Matt Esparza is a 22-year-old 14th round pick in 2015 by the Cleveland Indians out of Folsom, California.

“I think it’s going to be a unique experience,” said Esparza about earning his first Opening Day start. “I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited and hopefully there is a good energy for the team.”

Esparza, who stands 6’2” 195 lbs., will be a veteran anchor of the High-A Lynchburg pitching staff, along with returning fellow starter Thomas Pannone. Read More