By Mike Brandyberry
It is widely speculated that major roster changes could be upon the Cleveland Indians this winter with the possibility of Asdrubal Cabrera, Chris Perez, Shin-Soo Choo and Justin Masterson all believed to be on the market for the right offer. While a move that would have any of those players leaving Cleveland would be deemed a major shake up to the roster, a minor tremor could be developing in the next couple days.
Tuesday, November 20 is the deadline for minor league players who are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft to be placed on the Major League 40-man roster and be protected. Any player who was signed at 18-years old or younger and has been in the organization for five years, or any player signed at 19-years old and older who has been in the organization for four years, and not on the 40-man roster is eligible to be drafted in the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee from December 3-6.
Players selected in the Rule 5 Draft must remain on their new team’s 25-man roster for the remaining season or be offered back to their original team. Most times players that are drafted via the Rule 5 draft have a trade negotiated to eliminate the rules behind the draft and create a minor league option. Currently, the Indians have a full 40-man roster and several minor leaguers who are Rule 5 eligible.
By Sean Tuttle
The Columbus Clippers (AAA) finished the season in second place in the Western Division of the International League with an overall record of 75-69. They finished 13 games behind first place Indianapolis, and four games out of the Wild Card spot. Infielder, Cord Phelps, has been named to the IL Postseason All-Star Team. The Clippers finished 75-69 on the season, marking the third straight season the Clippers have finished with a record above the .500 mark. Columbus finished second in the IL in attendance for the 2012 season, averaging 8,732 fans a game. Infielders Matt LaPorta and Russ Canzler were named to the mid- season All-Star team. Columbus had four players named the IL Batter of the Week in 2012 (LaPorta, Canzler, Carrera, Phelps) and one player named IL Pitcher of the Week (Gomez). The Clippers hit six grand slam home runs (Beau Mills, Jared Goedert, Russ Canzler, Ryan Rohlinger, Luke Carlin, Juan Diaz).
The Indians announced right-handed pitcher, Jordan Cooper, as this week’s Minor League Player of the Week.
The 23-year old, Carolina Mudcat, is a native of Berryton, Kansas, and was originally drafted in the 2008 amateur draft by the Boston Red Sox in the 17th round. Instead of signing with the Red Sox out of Shawnee Heights High School, Cooper decided to attend Wichita State University. Two years later, in the 2010 amateur draft, he was selected by the Tribe in the ninth round.
In 2010, Cooper saw action in 14 games where he started 13 and went 5-5 with a 4.94 ERA. In 62 innings of work, he allowed 79 hits, gave up 39 runs of which 34 were earned, forfeited nine home runs, allowed 18 walks while striking out 41 batters with Mahoning Valley.
By Sean Tuttle
Arizona League Indians infielder, Dorssys Paulino, has been named the Indians Minor League Player of the Week, August 13-19. In addition to this honor, he was promoted to Short-Season Class-A Mahoning Valley of the New York-Penn League.
The Bani, Dominican Republic native was signed as a Non-Drafted Free Agent by the Indians on July 2, 2011 as a 16-year old out of La Academia. Dorssys doesn’t turn 18 years old until November 21st. He was ranked the 7th best prospect in the Indians system by Baseball Prospectus entering the 2012 season.
Paulino, 17, hit .560 (14-25) for the week with three doubles, a triple, three home runs, and nine RBI’s while posting a 1.713 OPS. On August 13th against the Diamondbacks rookie club, Paulino tied a season high by going 4-for-5 with two runs, a double, three RBI’s and followed that with a three-hit game the next night with two home runs and a season-high five RBI’s.
By Evan Matsumoto
The Indians not-so-dramatic slide into mediocrity this season was far from unexpected. Cleveland now sits solidly in third place in the A.L. Central, barely nudging out the Kansas City Royals for bronze.
Eleven games out of first place, and with two-thirds of this west-coast road trip to go, the team’s roster needs a bat that will spark some sort of offense.
Enter Tim Fedroff.
By Sean Tuttle
The Cleveland Indians announced Carolina infielder, Giovanny Urshela, as the club’s Minor League Player of the Week, August 6-13. In addition to this honor, yesterday he was named the Carolina League Hitter of the Week. Urshela, hit .483 (14-29) with five doubles, three home runs, and six RBI’s throughout the week. On August 7th at Salem, Urshela went 3-for-4 with a double, a home run, and three RBI’s in Carolina’s 6-2 win and followed that up with a three hit game the next night with two more doubles, a home run, and an RBI.
For the 2012 season he is batting .279 (102-366) with 44 runs scored, 26 doubles, 10 home runs, and 52 RBI’s while posting a .744 OPS (.312 on-base pct., .432 slugging pct.). He is batting .400 (20-50) in the month of August, raising his season average from .259 to the current .279 mark.
The 20-year old righty out of Cartagena, Colombia was signed as a Non-Drafted Free Agent on July 2, 2008. In 2011, Urshela ranked fourth in the Midwest League in at-bats (505). In 2010, posted a career high .290 batting average in 58 games with Mahoning Valley.
By Evan Matsumoto
Young talent in the Indians organization is not hard to come by; in a league where the median age is 28.8 years old, the Tribe fields a team whose average age is 27.2 years—the fifth youngest in the majors.
Promotion from the Triple-A Columbus Clippers is a regular occurrence among players on Cleveland’s active roster. Almost a dozen players on Cleveland’s 25-man active roster were promoted from Columbus, including Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall, who is on the 60-day disabled list due to a fractured right ulna bone. It’s not absurd to think, then, that the Tribe is looking to promote from within for the last leg of the season.
Russ Canzler is a name that sparks interest around Clevaland. Canzler made his Major-League debut with Tampa Bay last season but has spent the 2012 season in Columbus after being acquired by the Tribe on January 31 for cash.
By Sean Tuttle
The Cleveland Indians announced Luis DeJesus as their Minor League Player of the Week Tuesday afternoon. DeJesus was also named the New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week.
The 20-year old righty from Diboll, Texas was drafted by the Tribe in the 11th round of the 2011 Amateur Draft out of Angelina College.
In 13 appearances with the Arizona League Indians, DeJesus went 3-2 with a 3.33 ERA in 46 innings of work. He gave up 41 hits, allowed 20 runs with 17 earned and walked 11 batters, while striking out 45 and hitting one.
This season he has split time between Lake County and Mahoning Valley. In four games with Lake County, DeJesus is 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA in 12 innings of work. He has finished two games and has one save. DeJesus gave up 15 hits, allowed 11 runs with 10 of them being earned. He walked six, struck out 12, and gave up two home runs.
By Sean Tuttle
Ezequiel Carrera, the Guiria, Venezuela native was acquired on June 27, 2010 from the Seattle Mariners along with infielder, Juan Diaz, in exchange for infielder, Russell Branyan, and cash. He originally was signed by the New York Mets as a free agent on April 4th, 2005 before being traded to the Mariners prior to the 2009 season. In 2011, Carrera made his Major League debut on May 20 and collected a game-winning, 8th-inning RBI bunt single in his first ever plate appearance versus Cincinnati.
In 2011, Carrera appeared in 68 games with the Indians and posted a .243 (49/202) batting average. He hit eight doubles, three triples, produced 14 RBI’s and accounted for 27 runs. He drew 16 walks while striking out 35 times, stole 10 bases successfully in 15 attempts.
Carrera hit .515 (17-33) with two doubles, two triples, two home runs, and 13 RBI’s throughout the week, while posting a 1.407 OPS (.528 on-base pct, .879 slugging pct.). On July 25 versus Toledo, he went 5-for-5 with four runs scored and a double in Columbus’ 11-10 win. He also hit home runs in back-to-back games (July 24-25) for the first time in his career. For the 2012 season he is batting .297 (116-390) with 65 runs scored, 19 doubles, six triples, six home runs, and 42 RBI’s with 26 stolen bases while posting a .770 OPS (.347 on-base pct., .423 slugging pct.). He currently ranks tenth in the International League in batting average (.297), third in hits (116), third in stolen bases (26), second in runs scored (65), tied for fourth in triples (6) and currently has a 20-game hitting streak, which is the second longest in the International League this season.
By Evan Matsumoto
Jeanmar Gomez is a familiar name around Cleveland; Gomez split the 2011 season between Triple-A Columbus and Cleveland—ultimately ending his season on the Tribe roster.
Gomez is no longer in Cleveland’s clubhouse despite starting the 2012 season where he ended the last one. The 6-foot-3-inch, 200 pound righty is now in Columbus working on the things that will get him back to the big league.
“I’m working right now with my fastball, the command of my fastball.” Gomez said. “Try(ing) to throw it (at) the knees, (get) movement on my sinker over the plate (and) working with my secondary stuff.”
By Sean Tuttle
The Indians named Akron Aeros starting left-handed pitcher, Giovanni Soto, as the Indians Minor League Player of the Week for July 15-22. Soto went 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA (14.0IP, 6H, 3R/2ER, 6BB, 7K) in two starts, including a nine-inning no-hitter on July 15th against Altoona in which he allowed one unearned run, three walks with six strikeouts in a 2-1 Akron win. It was just the second no-hitter in Akron Aeros franchise history and the first ever at Canal Park.
On July 20th, Soto suffered a tough loss, tossing five innings, allowing six hits, three runs (two earned), three walks with a strikeout in a 3-2 loss to Richmond. On the season he is 6-7 with a 3.72 ERA (106.1IP, 95H, 52R/44ER, 42BB, 88K) in 19 starts. Soto currently is tied for first in the Eastern League in complete games with two and shutouts with one.
Soto was acquired from the Detroit Tigers on July 29, 2010 in exchange for infielder, Jhonny Peralta. The Carolina, Puerto Rico native, was selected by Detroit in the 21st round of the 2009 June draft after originally being selected in the 46th round of the 2008 June draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. In 2010, he led the Midwest League in shutouts with two, was tied for first in complete games with two, fourth in ERA (2.93) and was named to the Midwest League All-Star team for Class-A Lake County.
Then Indians named Jordan Smith of the Lake County Captains (A) as this week’s Indians Minor League Player of the Week. Smith has hit safely in eight of his last nine games with a .459 AVG, (17-37), two home runs, and 10 RBI’s. He has a hit in 15 of his last 17 games with a .492 AVG., (29-59), three doubles, two home runs, and 15 RBI’s.
Smith was drafted by the Indians in the ninth round of the 2011 amateur draft out of St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, MN. The outfielder just celebrated his 22nd birthday on July 5.
Smith began his career in Mahoning Valley last season, where he appeared in 65 games. During his time with the Scrappers, he batted .300, recorded 73 hits, accounted for 36 runs, and produced 47 RBI’s. He had 20 doubles, one triple, and stole three of four bases successfully. Smith was hit by pitchers nine times and intentionally walked once. Smith finished tied for second in the New York-Penn League in RBIs, third in on-base percentage (.403) and tied for fifth in doubles.
This season, Smith is in Lake County where he is batting .322, 95 hits, accounting for 41 runs, and 44 RBI’s in 73 games. He has hit 16 doubles, five triples, five home runs, and stolen five out of eight bases successfully. He has been hit by pitchers three times, and intentionally walked three times.