With the NFL draft starting on Thursday and running through the weekend I thought I would try to incorporate a draft type feel to this week’s minor league recap. Every player I discuss below I am including the round the player was drafted, the team who drafted the player and the year they were drafted. There was a lot of movement throughout system this week. I’ll touch on a few of the bigger names. Of course, right-handed pitcher Josh Tomlin (19th round by the Indians in 2006) got the call up to the big league club from Triple-A Columbus and looked great getting his first win in the majors since 2012. Third Base prospect Giovanny Urshela (non-drafted free agent by the Indians in 2008) was having a huge year for the Double-A Akron RubberDucks was moved up to Columbus.
One of the most surprising moves of the week was the demotion of Lake County Captains shortstop Dorssys Paulino, (non-drafted free agent by the Indians in 2012) thought to be one of the Indians top prospects, getting sent down to Extended Spring Training to work on a position change. Since the start of last season, Paulino has committed 52 errors at shortstop for Lake County. Yes that’s not a typo 52 errors. Paulino is thought to be working on a switch to the outfield. Hopefully the switch on defense will help him at the plate as well where his was also struggling. The Indians are still incredibly high on his bat as he was already repeating at the Low-A level this season as a 19-year old which is still very young for the league. There is still plenty of time for Paulino to turn things around but this is certainly a discouraging development.
It’s been a weak of streaks throughout the Indians minor league system, starting with the most impressive streak in Carolina Mudcats shortstop Erik Gonzalez, who has a hit in sixteen straight games. Not far behind is the Columbus Clippers catcher Roberto Perez who has a hit in 12 straight games. Clippers infielder Jose Ramirez has a streak of a different kind going. Ramirez has reached base in all 19 games that Columbus has played this season. How about a pitcher with a streak? Carolina Mudcats left-handed pitcher Ryan Merritt has not allowed a run in 16 straight innings and has a ridiculous 0.37 earned run average on the season in 24.1 inning pitched. Finally a negative streak to talk about, the Lake County Captains have lost their last six games in a row. Remarkably they already had an 8 game losing streak prior to the current one.
Read more about the streaks, and lots more action this past week in the Indians minor League system.
One of the brightest stars in the Indians system is not too far away from seeing his first moment in The Show. The prospect in question is none other than minor league All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor.
Lindor, 20 years-old, is in his fourth season with the Cleveland Indians minor league system, originally drafted in the first round of the 2011 First Year Player Draft by the Indians. Since then, he’s played in two All-Star Future Games and is now enjoying time with the Double-A Akron RubberDucks.
Through nine games with the RubberDucks, Lindor is batting a modest .250/.302/.777. Overall, Lindor’s offense has not caught up with him as he’s off to a bit of a slow start. This doesn’t affect him at all though. With the impending departure of incumbent Cleveland shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, Lindor may be the next in line to take over the shortstop role. He’ll only inherit this role if he’s absolutely ready though. For Lindor, rushing to the big league club isn’t something that he’s worried about.
In each of their final tune-ups before the regular season openers, the Akron RubberDucks and Lake County Captains squared off in an exhibition game between Cleveland Indians affiliates this afternoon in Eastlake. The Double-A veterans asserted their experience and power, taking advantage of the youthful Low-A Captains.
Akron defeated Lake County, 11-1, making the most of 13 hits and five walks from Captain pitching. The RubberDucks took control of the game with an eight-run, fifth inning.
“It was a great experience,” Captains manager Mark Budzinski said. “The first four innings were tight and we got behind a little bit in the count and got some fastballs up in the zone and that’s what happens when you face Double-A hitters and above, but I was proud of the way guys handled themselves.”
There’s a lot of change coming to Akron, Ohio this spring. After Ken Babby purchased the club at the end of the 2012 season, he’s been making all kinds of changes to the club. Last year a new scoreboard was purchased to replace the much outdated previous one. This upcoming season, even more changes have been brought to the club. Over the last two seasons, there have been some debate on if the name should change from the Akron Aeros to a name that better represented the city of Akron. As of this spring, the formally known Akron Aeros will now be called the Akron RubberDucks. The name originates from the rich history of the rubber factories that started in Akron which inevitably led to the creation of tire factories such as Goodrich, Goodyear, and Firestone.
Along with all the new renovations that have happened to Canal Park, there have also been changes within the team as well. On the managerial side, Dave Wallace has been promoted as the new manager of the team. Previously, Wallace had spent some time as the manager of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in 2011 the Lake County Captains in 2012 and the Carolina Mudcats in 2013. Each of the years that top prospect Francisco Lindor was a part of the Indians minor league system, Wallace has been his manager. It has been huge for some of the guys who are on the current Akron RubberDucks roster that Wallace is in Akron this year. They credit him for their development due to his laid back and friendly attitude, while also knowing when they need to be serious.
“We’re comfortable with him, we know how he manages. We know how he goes about his business, and we know his expectations,” says catcher Tony Wolters.
The curtain goes up tonight on the 2014 season at 10:05 pm, locally, when the Cleveland Indians take the field against the Oakland Athletics from the Bay Area. The Indians have been clear they have Unfinished Business and while no one has said it in so many words, the organization seems dedicated to their second straight playoff appearance for the first time since 1998-99. Anything short of another playoff birth, and this time more than a nine-inning appearance, seems to make this chapter of Indians’ history a disappointment.
With the Detroit Tigers re-tooled and the Kansas City Royals looking to contend, the American League Central Division is as wide open as it has been in the last five seasons. On Opening Day, every team thinks if things break right, they’ll find themselves in contention in September with a chance to chase October.
The Indians are no different, but with a veteran team and new attitude continuing from last season, it could be October or bust. Here are five storylines that will likely be a major determining factor as to whether the Tribe plays past Game 162 or not.
This week, DTTWLN’s Laurel Wilder was in Goodyear, Arz. to take in Indians spring training and some sunshine. Between exhibition games, B games, minor league games and the rest of his day, Indians Assistant General Manager Mike Chernoff was able …
The Cleveland Indians open the 2014 season with new expectations despite many questions. The Indians’ 25-man roster will look different than the group that won 92 games and lost the American League Wild Card game to the Tampa Bay Rays. While the roster may change and the expectations grow, Cleveland will need answer many questions this spring before opening the season in Oakland on March 31. Today, we look at one of the Indians’ young players who likely won’t make the roster but could impact the Tribe’s season before it ends.
While most Indians fans may not have seen Francisco Lindor play yet, he’s a name most fans know. For those who have not watched Lindor over the last two seasons in the bushes, this spring could be their first look at MLB.com’s #10 prospect in all of minor league baseball. While Lindor did play occasionally last spring training with the big league club, this year he receives his first official invitation to spring training.
It was one of the few Cleveland sports seasons in recent years that ended too soon.
Instead of crawling to another dismal 4-12 season or talking about how many ping pong balls are in the hopper, the newly rebuilt 2013 Cleveland Indians hung around the playoff race all season, then tore off a 10-game winning streak to end the season and secure a place in the American League Wild Card game. Winning: it’s something Clevelanders haven’t experienced a lot of recently.
It was the first playoff game of any kind in Cleveland since the spring of 2010. A sold out Progressive Field, waving towels and completely locked into the game went home disappointed, however. The Indians lost to the Tampa Bay Rays in the one-game playoff, 4-0. After 10-straight wins and building enthusiasm around the city, it was all over in just nine innings. It ended too soon.
“There’s always next year.”
And now, it finally is next year. With 2014 comes a wave of resolutions, hope for the year to come, and, if all goes well, another play-off contending Cleveland Indians team.
At this time last year, the Indians were building a roster full of big names and high hopes. They were surpassing fans with the likes of Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, and names with potential like Trevor Bauer. Even if those attempts didn’t always play out on the field, the possibilities were still there for he 2013 Cleveland Indians.
The Carolina Mudcats defeated the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, 2-1, on Monday to complete the second half eight games behind the Salem Red Sox for a berth in the Carolina League playoffs. The Cats started off the season with an abundance of talent. The accolades received during and after the season for several members of the team reflect well for the player development skills of manager Dave Wallace and the coaching staff.
Francisco Lindor was the focal point for Carolina while he wore the Mudcats uniform and for good reason. The Indians’ first-round draft pick in 2011 First Year Player Draft, the shortstop from Puerto Rico was stellar in Zebulon before earning a promotion to Double-A Akron on July 15. Lindor had a .306 average and belted out 100 hits in only 83 games for the Mudcats. He was named to the Carolina League All-Star team and also appeared in the Future’s Game at Citi Field in Flushing, NY—his second straight appearance in the game for baseball’s top prospects. Despite his call-up barely past the halfway point of the campaign, the top-ranked prospect in the Cleveland Indians Player Development System was still named to the Carolina League honorary end-of-season All-Star team.
Recent memory does not recall an Indians prospect so closely watched and highly touted as Francisco Lindor. Since the 2011 draft day when the Indians made him the eighth overall pick, Lindor has been in the spotlight and on the radar of every Indians fan looking to the future. This season, at age 19, he made his debut at the Indians Double-A level in Akron. His emergence as one of the top prospects in all of baseball has been well deserved and hard earned from this humble and talented ball player.
Lindor played his first professional games at the Indians Short Season-A club in Mahoning Valley. He only played in five games, but for a 17-year old, he hit an impressive .316. He started the next year at Lake County where he spent the entire season. He impressed with his bat, with his glove, and with his attitude, showing all the skills of a future star. He batted .257 and showed incredible plate discipline and eye to post a .352 on-base percentage. He also stole 27 bases and handled the shortstop position like a pro. He made big improvements at the plate and in the field, and proved he deserved his status as a top prospect.