An exciting season comes to a conclusion tonight for the Cleveland Indians’ Triple-A affiliate, the Columbus Clippers, as they take on the Fresno Grizzlies for the Gildan Triple-A National Championship.
In a decisive game five of the International League championship series on Saturday night, the Clippers defeated the Indianapolis Indians, 3-0, to win their third Governors’ Cup in the last six seasons (also 2010; 2011). It was their tenth cup in the franchise’s 38-year history and also tied them with Rochester for the most championships in league history.
Michael Choice, an outfielder acquired late in the season by the Indians from the Texas Rangers for cash, was named the Most Valuable Player of the IL playoffs.
Adam Moore‘s walk-off single in the 11th gave Columbus a big 7-6 victory over Indianapolis on Sunday night as the race for the IL West Division title heats up. The Clippers lost a 5-4 lead in the ninth, but tied it back up with a two-out RBI single by Michael Choice to push the game into extra innings. Jesus Aguilar, who doubled with two outs, scored the winning run.
The win moves Columbus (78-58) within one game of Indy (79-57) in the West. They’ll meet again Monday and Tuesday at Huntington Park (both 7:05pm ET starts) before traveling to Indy for two games on Wednesday and Thursday.
Almonte Assigned to Columbus
There’s a new face in Columbus. The Indians traded Marc Rzepczynski to San Diego minutes before the Friday 4pm deadline for versatile, switch-hitting outfielder Abraham Almonte and immediately assigned him Columbus. The 26-year-old split the season between San Diego and Triple-A El Paso. In 31 games with the Padres, Almonte hit .204 (11-54) with four RBI, six runs, three doubles, and one stolen base. In 61 games with El Paso, he hit .275 with four home runs, 35 RBI, 18 doubles, two triples, and 11 stolen bases. At 5’9″, 210 pounds, Almonte has power, good speed and can play all three outfield positions. Almonte has also spent time with the Yankees and Mariners organizations. In 2014, he opened the regular season as Seattle’s starting center fielder and leadoff hitter, but was demoted to Triple-A after struggling to produce at the plate. He was later traded to San Diego.
Tomlin Has Longest Outing Since Shoulder Surgery
Josh Tomlin was charged with the loss in his third rehab start with Columbus. The righty pitched into the seventh inning in Thursday’s 7-1 loss to Indianapolis, his longest outing since undergoing shoulder surgery in March. Here’s his stat line for the game: 6.1IP, 6H, 2R/ER, 1HR, 4BB, 1SO, 90 pitches/61 strikes.
The Indians never thought they’d find themselves playing out the string with two months to go in the 2015. But after a poor start, followed by a mediocre middle, before a dismal start after the All-Star Break, the Indians are playing out 2015 and trying to build for 2016.
At the trade deadline, the Tribe traded David Murphy, Brandon Moss and Marc Rzepczynski. Before those deals, the Indians were projected to have near a $100 million payroll for 2016. That doesn’t seem reasonable considering the Indians’ payroll history, or logical considering they’d be paying more money than ever to bring back a last place team. Instead, the Indians lightened the payroll around $15 million for 2016. They’re now projected to be around $85 million. If they want to make additions and improvements to the roster for 2016, the Indians will likely have to cut some more payroll before making their additions.
And for that reason alone, it seems disappointing to see Lonnie Chisenhall, Jerry Sands and Tyler Holt recalled, with Holt receiving the least amount of playing time this weekend in Oakland. If 2015 is an exercise in completing the season and preparing for 2016, it seems the Indians have all the answers already in Chisenhall and Sands.
The Columbus Clippers are sending three players to the 2015 Triple-A All-Star Game. First basemen Jesus Aguilar, outfielder Tyler Holt, and reliever Shawn Armstrong will represent Columbus on the International League team that faces the Pacific League All-Stars on July 15 at Werner Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
Aguilar, who has hit 30 home runs over the last two seasons, is an All-Star for the second year in a row. He’ll also be back in the home run derby, where he bashed four homers last year.
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.
The Indians’ decision to send Crockett to Columbus was not based on performance. The 23-year-old had tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings in three appearances. According to his dad, Gary, the Indians explained it to Kyle as a “business decision.” He was the only lefty on the team with options.
“It’s not frustrating to me,” said Crockett on being optioned to Columbus. “I’m still young so I’ve got some time. They had to do what they had to do and they’ve been playing better lately. Whenever they need me back up there I’ll be ready.”
Tyler Holt was the first player I interviewed when I started covering the Columbus Clippers last summer. He had just been promoted to Columbus from Double-A Akron. A few weeks after the interview, he got called up to Cleveland and made his big league debut on July 6.
Holt had a positive impact on the Tribe’s playoff run that fell short. If you were not watching the games and only reading the box scores, you wouldn’t have noticed his contributions as he batted .268 with two RBI and two runs in 36 games. But if you’re a regular watcher of SportsCenter Top 10, there’s a pretty good chance you saw a defensive web gem or two of Holt’s.
“That’s one of the things I pride myself on, defense and effort,” said Holt. “You can be 0-4, but also make a difference in the outfield so that’s kind of what I look at. Instead of forcing things to happen just let them happen.”
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 …
Tyler Holt, a member of the Cleveland Indians roster in 2014 and a current participant in Spring Training with the club, is born in Marion, Indiana.
Holt attended high school in Florida and played collegiately at Florida State University before …
In short, the 25-year-old outfielder is never going to supplant any of the above as an every day player in what is projected to be Tribe’s outfield on most days. However, he may be just what the Indians need coming off the bench.
In 2014, no matter how you measure it, the Indians were not very good defensively.
The Indians led Major League Baseball with 116 errors in 2014. Judging a team’s defense solely on errors committed is no longer fair. With new defensive ratings and metrics available, a defense can better be judged, including range and overall defensive play.
However, the Indians were not very good by any of those metrics either.
According to Fangraphs, “In recent years, though, we’ve seen two fielding metrics rise above the rest of the field and establish themselves as reliable: the Dewan Plus/Minus system (AKA, Defensive Runs Saved) and Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR). Both systems don’t always agree, but when compared with each other and taken in large sample sizes (~3 years), you can get a good idea of a player’s fielding abilities.”