Tribe Adds Three More Spring Invites to Camp
Bob Toth | On 14, Feb 2019
As players gather in Arizona and Florida for the beginning of official 2019 related baseball activities, the Cleveland Indians extended invitations to three more players on Thursday to join their spring camp at Goodyear.
The Indians announced the signings of catcher Tim Federowicz and pitcher Asher Wojciechowski to minor league contracts with non-roster invitations to spring training. In addition to the two veteran adds, the team also announced that Ernie Clement, the club’s fourth round pick in the 2017 draft out of the University of Virginia, has also been granted an invitation to participate with the big league club this spring.
Clement is the most intriguing name of the bunch, as it will give the Indians and their fans an opportunity to see a top 30 prospect in action with the big league club. A second-year player who has played all but 17 career professional games at shortstop, Clement will likely get increased playing time in camp due to the calf injury suffered by Francisco Lindor while preparing for spring training activities.
The 22-year-old played at three different levels a season ago in his first full campaign on the farm. He began the year at Class-A Lake County, hitting .267 with a .337 on-base percentage in 54 games. He was promoted to High-A Lynchburg on June 23 and suited up 33 times for the Hillcats, hitting .346 with a .425 OBP. He ended his year with 15 games at Double-A Akron, putting together a .246/.279/.354 line with five doubles, one triple, and five RBI.
In 102 combined games on the year, Clement hit .289 with a .358 OBP with 26 doubles, two triples, two homers, and 33 RBI with 18 stolen bases and more walks (41) than strikeouts (35). He missed three weeks during the season in two separate trips to the 7-day disabled list, losing just over a week with Lake County in May and two weeks at the end of July and beginning of August while with Lynchburg.
Clement has shown good speed on the base paths in his small sample in the minors. He has stolen 24 bases in 36 career attempts and has tallied 36 doubles and three triples in that span. He is not a power hitting threat, as he has just two career home runs under his belt, both hit last season. Defense is still a work in progress for the young infielder, as he averaged an error approximately once every four games while with Lake County. That improved to once every 15 games with Lynchburg and Akron.
Clement is currently ranked #29 on MLB Pipeline’s list of top 30 prospects in the Indians organization.
Federowicz, 31, is a seven-year big leaguer and a native of Erie, Pennsylvania. He has played no more than 56 games in a season and has spent pieces of seven of the last eight years at the Major League level. A seventh rounder in the 2008 draft by the Boston Red Sox, he is entering his 12th season of professional baseball and joins his eighth different organization.
He played 15 games in the Majors last season, suiting up ten times for the Houston Astros and five times with the Cincinnati Reds, posting a combined .225/.262/.400 line with four doubles, one homer, and four RBI with 16 strikeouts in 42 plate appearances. He performed far better at the Triple-A level for both Fresno and Louisville, putting up a .297/.372/.486 slash in 62 games with 19 doubles, seven homers, and 31 RBI with 47 strikeouts in his 239 trips to the plate.
Federowicz never suited up for the Red Sox at the MLB level after being drafted by the club. He was traded by Boston to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2011 after reaching the Red Sox’s Double-A Portland affiliate for the first time that year. He spent time bouncing back and forth between L.A. and Albuquerque during his four years with the club, maxing out at 56 games played for the Dodgers in 2013.
Right knee surgery early in the 2015 season to repair a completely torn lateral meniscus limited him to just 27 minor league games while with the San Diego Padres, but he returned to the Majors with the Chicago Cubs for 17 games in 2016. He spent 13 games with the San Francisco Giants in 2017.
He owns a career .199/.247/.323 line at the plate with 17 doubles, eight homers, and 32 RBI in his 134 games
Wojciechowski, 30, split last season between the Triple-A affiliates of the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox. He made 12 starts and seven relief appearances for the Orioles’ Norfolk affiliate, posting a 5-4 record with a 3.51 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP with 89 strikeouts in 84 2/3 innings of work. After being released by the Orioles in the middle of July, he signed with Chicago and made six starts for the White Sox’s Charlotte club, going 0-5 with a 7.01 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP with 37 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings of work.
He has spent the majority of his career working as a starting pitcher. He was drafted late in the first round by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010 and moved on to the Houston Astros organization in 2013. He made his big league debut in 2015 (against the Indians) and pitched in five games for the Astros that year, making three starts. He stayed in the minors for the 2016 season after being claimed off of waivers by Miami before emerging as part of the Cincinnati Reds’ pitching staff in 2017. In 25 games (eight starts), he went 4-3 with a 6.50 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP, and in eight minor league games (five starts), he was 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP with a career-best 10.3 strikeout per nine rate.
Wojciechowski is 4-4 with a 6.64 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP in 30 MLB games (11 starts) in parts of two seasons. He owns a more respectable 55-44 career record in nine seasons in the minors with a 4.07 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP in 170 games (149 starts).
Federowicz and Wojciechowski will compete for jobs in the spring, with trips to Triple-A Columbus for organizational depth a realistic possibility for both. Cleveland lacks experienced catchers and starting pitchers in the upper levels of the farm system.
Photo: David Kohl/USA TODAY Sports