The Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers completed a trade this afternoon, as the Tribe sent minor league outfielders James Ramsey and Zach Walters to the Evil Empire of the West for cash considerations.
Ramsey and Walters were both roster crunch casualties earlier in the week when the Indians needed to make room on the 40-man roster for Joba Chamberlain, Marlon Byrd, and Ross Detwiler. The two, along with reliever Giovanni Soto, were designated for assignment and the Indians had ten days to place the trio on waivers, trade, or release the prospects.
Monday hardly went as planned for fans of the feather as Mother Nature intervened on Cleveland’s unofficial Home Opener holiday. The Indians and the Boston Red Sox will give it a second try on Tuesday in a rescheduled 1:10 PM ET first pitch.
Gates open for the day’s new festivities at 11:00 AM ET.
Corey Kluber (9-16 in 2015, 3.49 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) is again set to take the mound in the season opener for the Indians. The Tribe’s ace and former Cy Young Award winner is looking to start his 2016 in a much better fashion than he began last season, when he was marred in a losing skid to begin his campaign. The Indians lost each of his first seven appearances while he was dealt the loss in five before winning his first game in a memorable 18-strikeout, one-hit, eight-inning performance against the St. Louis Cardinals on May 13. His next start, tentatively Sunday, April 10, in Chicago against the White Sox, will come on his 30th birthday.
If things had gone according to plan, the Cleveland Indians may have needed to make fewer moves to try to build up their outfield for the coming 2016 season. Instead, 26-year-old outfield prospect James Ramsey has not developed as quickly as hoped and the club was forced to seek outside reinforcements.
When the Indians acquired Ramsey on July 30, 2014, from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for starting pitcher Justin Masterson, he was set to provide Cleveland with much needed depth at the upper levels of the farm system in the outfield. A year and a half later, Ramsey is on the outside looking in at a very crowded camp competition for a spot in the Tribe’s outfield to start the season. He was added by the team to the 40-man roster following the completion of the 2015 season, but the move did not push him to the forefront of the position battle in Goodyear this spring.
The Cleveland Indians have been busy this offseason, with lots of attention being given to the bullpen and more specifically the list of contenders for roles in the club’s outfield for 2016.
Instead of being one of the top candidates for the job, Ramsey finds himself buried behind multiple free agent fall signings with a slight bit of Major League experience. That road to the show was filled with another obstacle this week when the team signed versatile veteran outfielder Rajai Davis to help out the Major League club.
James Ramsey has been one of the Indians’ most consistent players since being acquired from the Cardinals for Justin Masterson last year. His steady contributions at the plate and in the outfield make the former first round pick a prime candidate for a promotion to the majors.
Ramsey’s 2014 was his best offensive season. In 95 games – split between farm systems in St. Louis and Cleveland – he hit .295, tied a career high in homers (16), and set a new best in RBIs (52).
Defensively, he was perfect, not committing a single error all season. Flawlessness in the outfield is nothing new to Ramsey, though. Up until a few weeks ago, he had not committed an error since 2013.
“The error this year was a tough play, but I expect myself to make it,” said Ramsey.
Strong Pitching Performances Highlight Season-Opening Series
The Columbus Clippers opened their 2015 campaign on the road against the Indianapolis Indians last Thursday. Manager Chris Tremie gave the opening day start to veteran lefty Bruce Chen and was rewarded with an outstanding …
If you are a young outfielder in the Cleveland Indians farm system, it is possible that you might be a bit discouraged by your prospects of cracking the Major League roster any time this season. It is a stark contrast to just a couple of years ago when, prior to the arrivals of Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher and the success of Michael Brantley, the Indians outfield was a frightening mess consisting of injured stars like Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo and fill-ins like Ezequiel Carrera, Aaron Cunningham, Johnny Damon, Shelley Duncan, Kosuke Fukudome, and Austin Kearns, just to name a few.
Once devoid of depth at the top levels of the farm system, the Indians now have several viable internal candidates to step up in the event that any of the members of the 25-man roster are unable to play for any length of time. Several more big name prospects just at the beginnings of their professional careers wait behind these options.
Last July’s acquisition of James Ramsey from the St. Louis Cardinals, as the return for former staff ace Justin Masterson, added another layer of depth to a stronger group of candidates in the upper levels of Cleveland’s minor league system.
With the off-season coming to a close, baseball fans everywhere are starting to get excited about the prospect of pitchers and catchers reporting to Arizona in less than two weeks and the prospect of prospects themselves. The offseason is a chance for players who have already “made it” to the bigs to continue to improve their stuff and maintain their dominance, and is also an opportunity for younger guys to put together the performances that will prove their worth during spring training. Whether prospects and players in the minor league ranks have invited to big league spring training or not, the Arizona pre-season is still their chance to prove where they should be in the system, and, perhaps more importantly, why they should still be there.
All organizations obviously have those players that they predict will make it far within the system. Whether it is breakout stars like Giovanny Urshela or Ryan Merritt, who recently were awarded the Lou Boudreau and Bob Feller awards, respectively, for their minor league performances, or highly-touted prospects like Francisco Lindor and Clint Frazier, there are players throughout the minor league ranks that the Indians are preparing for a career with the big league team. One such step in this preparation is the annual Winter Development Program.
Today continues DTTWLN’s three week examination of the Indians’ 2014 season and where it fell short of the playoff expectations established last winter. The staff will examine where the season went wrong and the challenges the front office faces to make the Indians contenders in 2015.
At the beginning of 2014, the Indians did not really have any high end prospects that were just waiting to make it to the majors. Jose Ramirez had spent a small amount of time in Cleveland in 2013, but even after Spring Training this season, he was still not quite ready to take on even a bench role to start off 2014. This caused the Indians to have to go out and find some help in the free agent market to bolster some weaker positions left by players due to free agency, or trades. The Indians shouldn’t have this issue again in 2015, as they have plenty of players who are ready to take on the challenge of playing in the majors right now.
The Double-A Akron RubberDucks started off the season as one of the deepest teams in terms of depth that the Indians have had in a minor league team in quite a long time. This team who had previously consisted of Jesus Aguilar, Carlos Moncrief and Ramirez now consisted of Francisco Lindor, Tyler Naquin, Giovanny Urshela, and Joe Wendle. Lindor being the biggest name of them all, with also having the best chance of breaking the majors in 2015. If 2014 showed anything for these minor leaguers, it’s that they’re going to be breaking into the majors sooner rather than later.
Captains Clip Silver Hawks in Three Game Series; Captains 6, Silver Hawks 2
They looked like a new team on the field Wednesday night in Eastlake, and with good reason. The Lake County Captains, who finished last in the Midwest League, delivered a game filled with hard hits, good defense, and strong pitching, to earn a 6-2 win in the first of their three-game playoff series against the South Bend Silver Hawks. They were propelled to victory by some of the newest members of the Indians organization, including first-round draft picks of this year and last.
The Captains, 38-31 in the second half, faced the Silver Hawks, who finished the second half leading the Midwest League Eastern Division at 43-27. Mitch Brown (8-8, 3.31) was matched against South Bend’s Anthony Banda, who started the season with the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization and pitched for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers before being traded to the Diamondbacks and moving to the Silver Hawks in August. Banda was 6-6 with a 3.66 ERA with the Timber Rattlers and is 3-0 with the Silver Hawks, boasting a 1.54 ERA in six starts since the move. He is 9-6, 3.03 overall on the season.
While the Indians have four more weeks to chase their playoff spot, the minor league regular season came to a close yesterday and the Tribe has three teams qualifying for postseason. After a disappointing 2013, where no Indians farm team qualified for postseason, getting three teams into the playoffs is a vast improvement. All three teams will begin the playoff journeys on Wednesday evening.
The Columbus Clippers will begin their pursuit of the Governor’s Cup in the International League’s Triple-A playoffs on Wednesday night at Huntington Park at 7:05 p.m. Winners of the Western Division, Columbus enters the five game series against the Durham Bulls with the lesser record. Columbus will host the first two games on Wednesday and Thursday, before playing the final three necessary games in Durham on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
James Ramsey is excited to be part of the Cleveland Indians organization. While he waits for his chance to contribute at the big league level, he looks forward to playing a big role in the Columbus Clippers quest to win the International League West Division title this season.
Acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals for Justin Masterson on July 30, the 6-foot, 190-pound outfielder hasn’t stopped hitting since reporting to Triple-A Columbus following the trade.
In a 7-4 win over the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs on August 14, Ramsey went 5-5 with a home run, two doubles, and 5 RBIs. He’s batting .302 with three home runs and 15 RBIs in just 22 games with the Clippers.
“It’s great. I’m settled in,” said Ramsey when asked about his new team. “They have such a great facility and staff here. Everyday I keep learning new things that I love about these guys. The teammates have been great welcoming me with open arms and I think my style of play is attractive to guys after they get to know me and see my work ethic. It’s been fun.”