To develop a winning mentality in major league baseball, it is best to begin with a formula for success in the minor leagues.
The Carolina Mudcats begin its second season as Class A affiliates of the Cleveland Indians with excitement over the influx of talent and hope that its relationship with its parent club will continue to blossom.
David Wallace is marching up the managerial ladder in the Cleveland organization. In his third season as skipper, Wallace has been annually promoted and begins his first year in Zebulon with a 112-102 record overall.
With a solid nucleus of players from last season’s Lake County Captains’ roster that made it to the second round of the Midwest League playoffs, the 2013 Mudcats will look to expand on the gains on the field and in player development.
It all starts with 2011 first round draft pick Francisco Lindor, the top-rated prospect in the Cleveland organization by Baseball America. Last season, the shortstop posted solid numbers in his first full year. Lindor batted .257 with six home runs and 42 RBIs along with 27 stolen bases in 2012 at Lake County.
Lindor, however, is not nearly satisfied.
By Mike Brandyberry
It was just for a day yesterday, but it might be a one-day look into the future of the Indians and Francisco Lindor.
Monday the Indians second-rated prospect, behind only Trevor Bauer, started and played the entire nine innings against the Chicago Cubs during the Tribe’s 13-5 victory. Lindor was 2 for 4 at the plate and made several plays at shortstop, making them all look routine.
“He’s such a nice kid,” Indians Manager Terry Francona said in his daily press conference. “He’s always smiling and he has a boatload of talent. He just needs to play because he’s so young. For our staff to get to see him for nine innings is really enjoyable.”
By Mike Brandyberry
Most highly touted prospects carry the pressure and expectations to develop while analyzing and improving every mechanical aspect of their game. For the Indians’ top prospect, Francisco Lindor, his keys to improvement and development are simple.
“Get better every day and have fun,” Lindor said.
Lindor has been having a lot of fun since the Cleveland Indians selected him out of Montverde Academy in Florida with the eighth overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. He signed with the Indians just minutes before the Aug. 15 deadline—with a $2.9 million signing bonus—and bypassed his commitment to Florida State. But Lindor never has felt pressure as a high, first round draft pick or a player with a large signing bonus.
“At first, it was an honor to be drafted so high and drafted by the Cleveland Indians,” Lindor said. “They gave me a great opportunity and I thank them every day. They let me be a part of the ballclub. As far as pressure, we’re all the same. We all have the same goals: to get better and make it to the bigs.”
On this week’s podcast Erik Pinkerman and Ronnie Tellalian discuss the Cleveland Indians, the arbitration process and a few Indians that cashed in, like Chris Perez. The duo also talks about the upcoming World Baseball Classic and the Tribe players …
When you lose 94 games in a Major League Baseball season, you aren’t a contender and you probably aren’t very close. In the Indians’ case, maybe they know they are farther away than they’ve previously alluded.
“Our current mix of guys and how things came together didn’t work,” Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti said at his end of the year press conference. “We need to reexamine ways to be better moving forward, but I still continue to feel strongly about the nucleus of players we have. We need to do a better job of finding the right mix around them. Where that takes us, we’ll have to see, but that’s a process we’ll go through this winter.”
The building of that new mix of players might have begun quietly on Saturday afternoon, when the Indians traded right-handed reliever Esmil Rogers to the Toronto Blue Jays for infielder Mike Aviles and catcher Yan Gomes. Rogers was 3-1, with a 3.06 ERA in 53 innings with the Indians in 2012. He seemed to stabilize himself as a big league reliever after three bumpy seasons as a starter with the Colorado Rockies. Rogers credited his turnaround to a better ability to throw strikes and get ahead of hitters with his high-octane fastball.
Captains Use Strong Relief Performance From Pasquale to Take Game One; Captains 5, Hot Rods 4
By Mike Brandyberry
In a tale of two different contest wrapped into one nine-inning game, the Lake County Captains were able to win both. They’ll only be credited with one win in the standings, but they were able to take the first game of the best-of-three series by a score of 5-4 over the Bowling Green Hot Rods–Single-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.
After the game began full of fireworks for the first four and one-half innings, the contest turned to a pitchers’ duel featuring Jake Partridge in relief for Bowling Green and Nick Pasquale for Lake County. Pasquale worked five quality innings in relief.
“In my mind, player of the game,” Captains Manager Dave Wallace said in regards to Pasquale’s effort. “The way he stepped up and battled through those last couple innings when he didn’t have much left in the tank was huge. It sets up our bullpen nice for tomorrow night and the rest of the series. I thought he did a great job.”
By Mike Brandyberry
At only 18 years old, Indians top prospect Francisco Lindor has had many opportunities in baseball already, but instead of putting his accomplishments on a pedestal, he wishes he could share them.
Lindor, in his first full season as a professional, was selected to play in the Major League Baseball Futures Game on the Sunday prior to the All-Star Game in Kansas City. Lindor, born in Puerto Rico, joined fellow Tribe prospect, Jesus Aguilar on the World team.
“It was an honor to play in that game,” Lindor said. “Not too many people get to play in that game. I wish everyone could get to go play. I was honored, excited and it was a great experience.”
Lindor replaced top Texas Rangers’ prospect Jurickson Profar at shortstop for the final three innings. While he only received one at bat, Lindor made the most of it, lacing a base hit through the right side.
By Christian Petrila
The 2012 Futures Game was a showcase of the brightest young talent the Major Leagues have to offer. In this case, the USA used a nine-run sixth to dominate the World Team to win, 17-5.
Aguilar was the starting first baseman for the World Team. His first at bat came in the top of the second against Pittsburgh’s flame throwing pitcher Gerrit Cole. After falling behind 1-2 and seeing some pitches between 98 and 100 MPH, Aguilar drew a seven-pitch walk. He came around to score when Cubs prospect Jae-Hoon Ha hit a two-out home run to give the World a 3-0 lead.
By Christian Petrila
Not even a week after the 2012 MLB First Year Draft, Indians fans should be excited about the 2011 draft. With the eighth overall pick, the Indians took a 17-year old shortstop out o fMontverde Academy in Florida. His name is Francisco Lindor, and in just his first full professional season, the now 18-year old is not disappointing.
Entering Sunday, Lindor is hitting .271 with four home runs and 22 RBI through 53 games at Lake County. He has also swiped 14 bases. His performance has even landed him a spot in the Midwest League All-Star Game. However, despite the early accolade, Lindor still has his sights set higher.
“To be honest, I didn’t come here to play in the Midwest League All-Star Game,” Lindor said. “Sure, it’s awesome, but I came here to make it to the bigs.”
Lake County Captains manager, David Wallace, had his fair share of expectations entering the season.
By Stephanie Metzger
The Lake County Captains will kick off the 2012 season in Fort Wayne, Indiana, but on Tuesday, the team congregated at Classic Park in Eastlake, Ohio for practice and team media day.
Last year, the team ended the season with a 53-86 record, but the numbers don’t necessarily speak for the outcomes. The team was promising in terms of development and now that some core players have accumulated experience, things are looking up.