As Spring Training drew to a close for 2019, the Cleveland Indians traveled from Arizona to Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, for a two-game set. Along with the expected Major League roster, the club took along a handful of players expecting to start their seasons in the minor leagues.
For one of these players, High-A Lynchburg’s Luke Wakamatsu, the two games would mark a special occasion. On Monday, March 25, Luke got to stand across home plate from his father while lineups were exchanged. The 6’3” tall, 185 lb. fifth-year professional would be playing against the team on which his father serves as bench coach.
“It was amazing,” said Luke. “I wanted to try and beat him so bad, so that I could talk smack to him.”
It has been some tough sailing for the Lake County Captains over the last two weeks, but the offense took out some frustration on Saturday night, putting up 13 runs on 17 hits in a 13-3 victory over the Quad Cities River Bandits. It evened the road series at one game each before Sunday’s 2:15 PM ET finale.
The win brought the Captains record up to 11-17. A team of streaks for much of April, they won five straight in the third week of the month before dropping nine of their last ten to conclude the first page of the regular season schedule. The Captains sit in the seventh spot in the eight-team Midwest League Eastern Division, seven and a half games out of first place.
Baseball returns to Niles, Ohio, this weekend as the Mahoning Valley Scrappers kick off the short-season New York-Penn League season against the West Virginia Black Bears at Eastwood Field on Friday night.
Manager Edwin Rodriguez is at the helm for the Scrappers and is joined by pitching coach Tighe Dickinson and former Indians farmhand (and published author) Justin Toole in his new capacity as the team’s hitting coach. Plenty of young and fresh faces will fill out the roster for Mahoning Valley as several look to begin or continue their paths towards potential Major League careers.
Luke Wakamatsu had a difficult choice last summer. Would he remain committed to join the Rice University baseball program following high school, or would the former member of the Keller High School (Texas) Indians join the Cleveland Indians organization and pursue his baseball career?
Despite what was considered a “hard commit” to Rice that would make him very likely unsignable, Wakamatsu surprised some by signing with the Indians on July 9. Cleveland had selected the switch-hitting shortstop in the 20th round of the 2015 June draft with the 604th pick overall. He entered the draft as the 91st overall prospect in rankings by MLB.com and was in the top 300 on lists created by Baseball America and Perfect Game.