The Eastern League announced on Friday its rosters for its annual pairing of the best from the Eastern and Western Divisions, and there will be plenty of recognizable names making the trip to Trenton, New Jersey.
A star-studded lineup, including several sons of former Major Leaguers and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow will comprise the rosters of the two squads, set to meet at the home of the Trenton Thunder on Wednesday, July 11, at 7 PM ET.
The biggest of the names will suit up for the Eastern Division club.
A streaky May has turned into a very even month of June for the Akron RubberDucks, who won their last two games over the weekend to take their series in New Hampshire against the Fisher Cats, ending a six-game road trip.
At 5-5 in the month and 28-30 on the season, the ‘Ducks sit in fourth place in the Eastern League Western Division, three and a half games in back of the Altoona Curve. They have been as close to even across the splits this season, putting up a 13-16 record at Canal Park, a 15-14 record on the road, and a 15-15 mark within the division.
The Akron RubberDucks returned home from their six-game road trip Thursday with a 2-3 record and their second postponed contest of the year as rains continued to wreak havoc on professional baseball games across the country.
After dropping the final two games of their three-game series with Binghamton last week to bring an end to their five-game winning streak, Akron (11-14) hit the road for Bowie and earned a series win. The offense was big, outscoring the Baysox 22-11 in the series, as they won a 6-1 final on Friday and an 11-2 decision on Sunday as the ‘Ducks bats erupted for five home runs to pace Julian Merryweather to his second win of the week. Monday’s opener in Binghamton was rained out before the club lost two in the middle of the week, dropping a pair of tough games by 5-4 and 1-0 finals.
It’s not easy being thrown into a role and being asked to perform right away. It takes time. You need to get the feel for the everyday grind instead of just going out there once every two or three days. There are guys out there that can’t make that transition. Sometimes those guys are just meant to be backup depth players. Other times, these players will take the opportunity by the horns and run with it and never look back.
This is how Joe Sever has been handling his everyday duties at Akron this year.
Sever was drafted by the Tribe back in 2012 in the 21st round. The nephew of former NFL quarterback John Elway, Sever has spent parts of five seasons in the Tribe’s minor league system.
The 1971 #1 single It’s A Family Affair by Sly and the Family Stone’s was about the highs and lows of family life. Playing on a professional baseball team is very much the same kind of experience. The 25 plus players, coaches, and staff on a team become a family over the course of the challenging and taxing 140 game minor league season.
Not only is the team a family, but the atmosphere that minor baseball franchises encourage is one of family fun. Team mascots, wacky or silly on-the-field promotions such as sumo wrestling or the dizzy bat race, and touring acts like the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo or Zooperstars are there to attract and create a family friendly environment.
It is not uncommon for professional baseball players to have bloodlines that come with baseball connections. The 2015 High-A Lynchburg Hillcats feature a handful of team members that have family connections to the game including two with the Indians organization, past and present.
Joe Sever is not the amongst the most recognizable names on the High-A Hillcats roster, but this former Pepperdine Wave second baseman has been instrumental in catalyzing the team’s recent winning ways.
After beginning the season 9–19 the Hillcats have …
Joe Sever hopes to one day to reach Cleveland and have as large of an impact as his uncle did almost 30 years ago. The Carolina Mudcats infielder hopes he will be looked at much more fondly when it is all said and done.
The nephew of Hall-of-Fame quarterback—and renowned Cleveland Browns tormentor—John Elway, Sever was selected by the Indians in the 21st round of the 2012 Major League Draft after attending Pepperdine University in Los Angeles. The San Jose-native was eager to begin his professional career and eager to put the many lesson that he learned growing up in a prominent athletic family to use.
“Growing up I was used to seeing my uncle in the ‘bright lights’ and how he handled it and the professional side of sports, not just the on-the-field stuff,” Sever said. “I know what to expect. I saw (Elway) handle it. He has some great advice about it. He helped me to keep the focus on the field. It definitely benefitted me a lot.”
The Carolina Mudcats have seen several of Cleveland’s top prospects pass through Zebulon, N.C. since linking with the Tribe in 2012. Five County Stadium has been a popular place for players that the Indians have invested heavily in. The lineups, along with the coaching staffs, of the Triple-A Columbus Clippers and Double-A Akron RubberDucks are littered with former Carolina talent.
As the already-blossoming relationship between Cleveland and Carolina grows, there is certain to be much more top-tier baseball players on the diamond for the Mudcats. To have a Minor League system that rates among the best it takes not only success from the young players that were deemed worthy of a top selection but also growth from prospects that fall under the radar. The Mudcats have several players who, despite not being selected in the first few rounds of the Major League Draft, could have an impact at Progressive Field in the coming years.
Akron RubberDucks second baseman was some kind of hot this past week. Joe Wendle went 11-21 for an obscene .524 average with three runs scored, three doubles, one triple, eight runs batted in and added a stolen base. Wendle got off to a slow start to the season having multiple hot and cold streaks. Over his last 26 games, however, Wendle has been consistently hot hitting .333 with eight extra base hits and 24 runs batted in during the time frame. Wendle leads the team with 41 runs batted in, one more than fellow prospect shortstop Francisco Lindor. Wendle has his batting average up to .264 with his recent surge but is still well below his career .307 minor league average coming into the season.
Wendle a sixth round pick in 2012 out of West Chester University has some uncanny similarities to a current Indians star Jason Kipnis. Both Kipnis and Wendle are listed at 5’11 190lbs, both bat left-handed and throw with their right hand. Take a look at the stats for both players in their first two years in the minor leagues.