The Cleveland Indians addressed a roster concern on Sunday afternoon, acquiring catcher Kevin Plawecki from the New York Mets for right-handed pitcher Walker Lockett and minor league utility man Sam Haggerty.
The Indians’ catching position moved from one of depth to an area of concern in a span of less than six months as the team used backstops to address organizational issues. Top prospect Francisco Mejia was traded to the San Diego Padres on July 31 for two relievers – All-Star closer Brad Hand and submariner Adam Cimber. On November 30, the team purged salary by moving 2018 All-Star catcher Yan Gomes to the Washington Nationals for reliever Jefry Rodriguez and minor leaguers Daniel Johnson and Andruw Monasterio.
A big week at the plate from Sam Haggerty earned the Akron utility man the Eastern League’s Player of the Week award for games played between July 30 and August 5.
Haggerty hit safely in all six games during the week as he extended his hitting streak to eight straight games. But he did more than just hit during his six games on the field as he also walked in five straight games on the way to putting up a .421/.538/.947 line. He drew six walks for the week and added eight hits, including a double, three triples, and one homer, while driving in five runs, scoring seven times, and stealing a pair of bases.
The 2017 season will be the first time since 1998 that the Carolina League hosts its own cavalcade of stars. The last time the Carolina League held an All-Star game featuring the Northern Division stars versus the Southern Division stars, High-A Lynchburg pitcher Triston McKenzie was not even a year old and was still living in Brooklyn, New York. The relocation of two franchises from the California League to the Carolina League during the previous off-season followed the end of the cross-country California-Carolina League All-Star contest.
The Lynchburg Hillcats are once again well represented in the Carolina League’s All-Star Game, set to pit the North and South Divisions against one another on Tuesday, June 20.
With the first half winding down, the Hillcats are still in the race for the first half crown and some of the players to put them in that position were recognized with selections to the North squad for the exhibition event next week. Three pitchers and two position players were picked to fill out the roster initially, with one more late addition giving Lynchburg six total representatives.
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.
Sam Haggerty’s big week at the plate was recognized by the Carolina League on Monday as the league office announced the Lynchburg middle infielder as its Player of the Week for games played between April 24 and April 30.
The switch-hitting 22-year-old was a 24th round selection by the Cleveland Indians in the 2015 draft out of the University of New Mexico.
The Lynchburg Hillcats are staring up at a three-game deficit in the Carolina League’s Northern Division heading into play on Saturday, a game below the .500 mark at 9-10 on the season.
It was a quiet week for the ‘Cats, who were once again slowed by rains throughout the Carolina League playing region. Last Saturday’s game in Lynchburg against Potomac was waterlogged before the P’Nats won the series with a 4-3 win on Sunday. After an off day on Monday, the Hillcats travelled to Salem and dropped the series opener, 6-2, before the offense erupted for 13 runs in a 13-7 win on Wednesday night. Rains swooped in again on Thursday to wash out the finale of the series, sending the Hillcats back to Lynchburg, where they lost a 9-6 decision to Myrtle Beach on Friday night.
The Lake County Captains chased perfection on Monday, and while the club came up short in their pursuit of history, they did come away with a 2-1 win over West Michigan in the series opener from Classic Park. Over the previous seven days, the results had been mixed for the Indians’ Class-A affiliate, who took three of four at home against Dayton before hitting the road to face Great Lakes, where they promptly dropped three of four.
At 21-28 in the second half of the Midwest League season, the Captains are on the verge of elimination, trailing the South Bend Cubs by 11.5 games from the sixth spot in the Eastern Division. A combination of Cubs’ wins and Captains’ losses equaling eleven games will spell elimination for the young Indians farm club. While they have played well in front of the home crowd in the second half, posting a 12-9 record, they have been lost and have lost on the road a lot, earning a 9-19 record away from Eastlake.
In other news and notes from the Captains’ log:
For many years, the Indians have been criticized for having some sub-par draft classes, getting few regular contributors to the everyday lineup in Cleveland while the club needed to supplement the poor selections by trying to pick off young talent from other teams.
Recent drafts, especially in this second decade of the 21st century, have provided much more promise and Lake County’s Tyler Krieger is quickly establishing himself as a top prospect to watch down on the farm. On Saturday, the 22-year-old switch-hitting middle infielder had five hits in six at bats and the Captains tallied 19 hits and a dozen runs in a 12-0 shutout of the Lansing Lugnuts.