After another tough stretch on their home field, the Cleveland Indians may be in need of a change of scenery. That opportunity begins tonight, as the Tribe begins a ten-game road trip with their first stop at Oriole Ballpark at Camden Yards in Baltimore as they take on the Orioles in three straight.
The Indians (33-38) were unable to tame the Tigers and, in particular, Miguel Cabrera, in dropping two of three to Detroit during the week. They fell 8-5 on Monday in a rare offensive explosion for the team and fought back from an early 3-0 deficit to tie the game, only to give up four runs the next half inning. Tuesday’s 7-3 final was marred by a game-changing bases loaded error by pitcher Danny Salazar in the fifth that led to six runs crossing the plate. Carlos Carrasco earned his career-high ninth win of the season on Wednesday afternoon, striking out seven and allowing two runs over eight innings with Cabrera on the bench. Francisco Lindor hit his first Major League home run during the ball game.
The Orioles (38-34) are still in the thick of things in the American League East, two games in back of the front running Tampa Bay Rays. They are 22-13 at home, the best mark in the division and one of the best in the league. They have played well over an extended period of time, winning 15 of their last 20 contests. They took two of three in Boston during the week, scoring 15 runs but allowing 15 to cross the plate for the Red Sox.
Cody Anderson made his Major League debut, tossing 7.2 shutout innings before the bullpen kept the Tampa Bay Rays stymied for nine innings and the offense finally tallied a run to give the Indians a 1-0 walk-off win on Sunday.
Rock bottom is defined as “the lowest possible level in life.” I’m pretty sure that this definition can be replaced by “Cody Anderson‘s 2014 season,” as that’s exactly how it seemed at the time. The big right hander has taken this season in stride though as he’s used it as a stepping stone to move forward, and he’s doing so gloriously.
Anderson, 24, was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the17th round of the MLB June Amateur Draft in 2011. Originally drafted as an outfielder, Anderson has converted into one of the Indians most promising pitchers in their system, if not the most promising. This didn’t seem the case though in 2014, where Anderson had his worst season of his young career thus far. In 25 games he had a record of 4-11 with an ERA of 5.44. He only pitched in 125.2 innings, a K/9 of 5.8, BB/9 of 3.2, was serving up about 10 hits per nine innings. Let’s just say that everything that could have gone bad for Anderson did go bad.
Last season, we saw a lot of changes come to Canal Park. A rebranding of the team name, renovations throughout the park, and haul of new prospects ready to give their all in effort to someday make their way to The Show. After a hot start to the season, the RubberDucks hit some bumps along the way due to injuries to key players, player promotions, and some end of the season fatigue. They still worked their way into the Eastern League playoffs, but were eventually eliminated in the first round, despite their best efforts. Now in their second season as the RubberDucks, returning manager David Wallace looks to continue to compete with a lineup that seems just as deep as it has been in years past.
To start off the season in 2014, there were plenty of household named prospects like Francisco Lindor, Giovanny Urshela, Joey Wendle, and Tyler Naquin. While Naquin is returning this year, starting on the disabled list, the rest of the players listed have either been promoted, or traded to another team. The squad coming into this season is full of guys that many casual baseball fans may not have ever heard of before. Players like Todd Hankins, Bryson Myles, Erik Gonzalez, or Anthony Gallas.
“They might not be as well known outside the organization, but to us they’re right up there…When I’m making out the lineup, and it’s laughable who I’m putting down in the 7-8-9 hole. We’ve got [Tony] Wolters, Myles and [Alex] Lavisky tonight who could be middle of the order guys. It’s a real balanced lineup, but we feel like we could be a threat to score in any inning, with any outs.” Wallace said following Thursday night’s victory against the Binghamton Mets.
Last season was probably a time in Cody Anderson’s life that he wish he could forget.
For the opening day starting pitcher for the Double-A Akron RubberDucks, things could not have gone any worse for him in his career as it did in 2014. Anderson, 24, came into the 2014 season looking like the obvious ace of the RubberDucks rotation. After receiving the Bob Feller Award in 2013 for being the best starting pitcher in the Indians minor league system, he looked to build off of his progress from the previous season. In 2013, he spent time split between High-A Carolina and Akron, he posted an ERA of 2.65 and a WHIP of 1.18. In the 136 innings he pitched between the two teams, he struck out 122 batters, and only walked 40. He struggled in three games with Akron as he posted an ERA of 5.68, but he excelled in Carolina with an ERA of 2.34 in 23 starts. Hoping that his early struggles in Akron were only due to nerves, and getting used to the league, Anderson was looking to start off strong in 2014.
The Cleveland Indians announced on Thursday the addition of five minor league prospects to the organization’s 40-man roster, protecting them from inclusion in the Major League portion of December’s Rule 5 draft.
Such moves may seem inconsequential, given the difficulties presented for claiming clubs to keep selected prospects on the Major League roster for the duration of the year without sacrificing from the goal of winning. This drafting process is done to help prevent teams from hoarding talent in the minor league systems while giving these prospects the opportunity to reach the MLB level.
Durham Takes Early Lead, Hangs on to Control Series; Bulls 3, Clippers 2
After losing a heartbreaker on Thursday night in the ninth inning, the Columbus Clippers fell behind early on Friday night. Spotting Durham three runs in the first two innings was enough for the Bulls to hang on to a 3-2 victory and now lead the series, 2-1. Columbus will try to fight off elimination this afternoon at 1 p.m.
Durham plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the first when Jason Christian started the inning with a single off Clippers’ starter Shaun Marcum. After Marcum retired the next two hitters, Jeremy Moore singled in a run and Tim Beckham doubled in another to put the Bulls up 2-0. In the bottom of the second inning Nick Franklin homered to left field to give Durham a 3-0 lead.
Adam Plutko was drafted last year in the 11th round of the First Year Player Draft out of UCLA. Unlike most players making their professional debut in the same year that they were picked, the Indians held Plutko out until the 2014 season as they were concerned over the amount of innings he had already thrown for the Bruins in the 2013 collegiate season.
In 2013 Plutko was named the College World Series Most Outstanding Player, helping the Bruins win the College World Series. Plutko was on the same pitching staff with the Bruins as Pittsburgh Pirates starter, Gerrit Cole, and the Indians own, Trevor Bauer. Plutko actually came into college with what most scouts thought better stuff than both Cole and Bauer, with a fastball that sat around 95 m.p.h. as a freshman. Plutko saw his velocity drop down to around 90 m.p.h. over time for the Bruins and witnessed Cole and Bauer also become first round picks. As a junior in 2013, Plutko had become the workhorse and the ace of a staff in which many didn’t have high hopes for. While Plutko and the Bruins proved many wrong in 2013, it still didn’t help his draft status as the Most Outstanding Player of the College World Series because he wasn’t taken until the 11th round by the Indians.
With the All-Star break closing in this week, it’s time to take a moment to look over what has been nothing less than an awesome first half for the Akron RubberDucks. After changing the name from the Akron Aeros to the RubberDucks prior to this season, owner Ken Babby along with manager Dave Wallace were looking to bring some new life to this Akron team. Aside from all the new renovations that had been added to Canal Park, a team full of young competitors were experiencing their first time in Double-A baseball.
Going into this season, a good portion of the team had never played a game in Double-A baseball as they had spent their previous season with High-A Carolina. These players included Indians top prospect Francisco Lindor, converted catcher Tony Wolters, second basemen Joe Wendle, and outfielders Jordan Smith and Bryson Myles. Along with them came a plethora of fresh pitchers including Joseph Colon, Will Roberts, Gabriel Arias, and Duke von Schamann. Von Schammann did not start the season with the Indians organization, but was received from the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the Colt Hynes trade. These guys joined the team along with some more promising players who had already spent some time up here including Tyler Naquin, Tyler Holt, Shawn Armstrong, Ronny Rodriguez, and Cody Anderson.
Life is funny.
When you believe that you’ve started progressing on the right path in your life, all of a sudden something happens and changes everything. That’s kind of the story behind Akron RubberDucks pitcher Cody Anderson, who used to be a reliever when he was in college. This year though, he was the opening day starter for the RubberDucks.
When Anderson was drafted by the Indians in the 14th round of the 2011 MLB First Year Player Draft, he had been a reliever at Feather River College in Quincy, California. After he was drafted, the Indians converted him to a starter based on his physical build. Just by looking at Anderson, you can tell that he was starter material. He’s listed at 6’4” and 220 pounds. He definitely looks like he has the potential to be a solid, starting pitcher.
In his first season in 2011, he only started in one of the three games he pitched. In 2012 though, he started 23 games and had an ERA of 3.20 and went 4-7 with 72 strike outs, 29 walks, and averaged 6.6 K/9 along with 2.7 BB/9. Anderson sports a fastball, curveball, cutter and change up. In 2013, he was promoted to High-A Carolina where he continued his success as he posted an ERA of 2.34 in 23 starts and had a record of 9-4. He also increased his K/9 to an impressive 8.2 and lowered his BB/9 to 2.3.
Lake County Captains right handed pitcher Robbie Aviles continued his impressive season to date as he made two starts this past week earning one win while throwing 13 innings, allowing just six hits, three runs, zero walks and striking out seven. Aviles—originally projected to be a first or second round pick out of Suffern High School in Suffern, New York—partially tore the elbow ligament in his right arm a week before the draft, undergoing Tommy John Surgery. The Indians took a chance on Aviles by drafting him in the seventh round of the 2010 Draft, not knowing if he would come back as the first or second round pick he was projected to be. Aviles was able to make his professional debut near the end of the 2011 season after a long rehab. It had to be wondered if Aviles would ever return to pre-Tommy John form that the Indians had gambled on, as he would struggle sporting a 5.22 ERA in the two and a half years after making his professional debut. Still only 22 years of age, Aviles seems to finally be back, as his 2014 season has been nothing less than spectacular ranking second in the Midwest League in both ERA 1.65 and WHIP 0.85 along with only allowing 32 hits and five walks in 43.2 innings of work. Indians fans are hoping that Aviles has regained the form that had him so highly touted before his injury.
There’s a lot of change coming to Akron, Ohio this spring. After Ken Babby purchased the club at the end of the 2012 season, he’s been making all kinds of changes to the club. Last year a new scoreboard was purchased to replace the much outdated previous one. This upcoming season, even more changes have been brought to the club. Over the last two seasons, there have been some debate on if the name should change from the Akron Aeros to a name that better represented the city of Akron. As of this spring, the formally known Akron Aeros will now be called the Akron RubberDucks. The name originates from the rich history of the rubber factories that started in Akron which inevitably led to the creation of tire factories such as Goodrich, Goodyear, and Firestone.
Along with all the new renovations that have happened to Canal Park, there have also been changes within the team as well. On the managerial side, Dave Wallace has been promoted as the new manager of the team. Previously, Wallace had spent some time as the manager of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in 2011 the Lake County Captains in 2012 and the Carolina Mudcats in 2013. Each of the years that top prospect Francisco Lindor was a part of the Indians minor league system, Wallace has been his manager. It has been huge for some of the guys who are on the current Akron RubberDucks roster that Wallace is in Akron this year. They credit him for their development due to his laid back and friendly attitude, while also knowing when they need to be serious.
“We’re comfortable with him, we know how he manages. We know how he goes about his business, and we know his expectations,” says catcher Tony Wolters.