9.30.2009

The Day You've Been Waiting For: Eric Wedge Fired

Take a snapshot of this day.

It will be the one and only day that Eric Wedge is a trending topic on Twitter.

Unless of course he does something crazy during a baseball game and every gets all a-twitter about it.

Like, throw a rosin bag as if it were a grenade.

Where was twitter when THAT guy went batty.

Anyway..

When it rains, it pours.

At least for the rest of the coaching staff.

According to Anthony Castrovince, the staff was informed yesterday that they were being let go as a result of the firing of Eric Wedge, that will be official when the season is over in a few days.

Like I said, when it rains, it pours.

Wedge knew for at least a few days that his time was up. Further proving though he's a stand-up guy and playing the season out like he would had he been retained.

I'll eventually be able to talk all about Eric Wedge, so let's cover the immediate.

The next manager could bring back guys like Luis Rivera or Joel Skinner, but for now, they are jobless. I'd personally let the new guy bring in who he wants. However I'd save the bacon of ONE coach. Luis Rivera.

Rivera has that bond with the Latin players like Fausto Carmona, Asdrubal Cabrera, etc. that is CRUCIAL for the psyche of some of these young guys, especially those two.

It would be very very bad if they didn't bring him back and the guy they did bring in doesn't develop that relationship. A lot of people think Luis Isaac's firing had an impact on that aspect.

I'd bring back Rivera in the same role, maybe even move him to third.

Joel Skinner, Jeff Datz, Derek Shelton, Carl Willis, and Chuck Hernandez, go away. I love Carl Willis, but the staff needs a new voice, just like the team needs a new manager and voice.

The press conference is happening in about 45 minutes as I type this. I'm hopeful it will be online somewhere as I'll not be home til about 4:30-5:00 to catch it on television as it happens.

Remember the double-header today starts at 4ish so they'll get that out of the way.

The point I want to make with this firing is this, and I'll expand upon it later.

It comes down to a business decision more than anything. On the field doesn't matter. If it were up to Mark Shapiro, I'm sure he'd consider keeping Wedge. But if you factor the business aspect into the deal alone, by it self, it HAD to be done.

In the end, you can crush Shapiro for trading Lee and Martinez.. But the reason he did it is the same reason this front office had to fire Eric Wedge. Never mind the product on the field or the job he did.

Finances would hurt, very bad, very very very bad, if Wedge were brought back.

It's well known the entire casual fan base was sick of Eric Wedge and there was the serious potential that some would make it hurt in the wallet if he was retained.

I have no doubt in my mind.

I know many casual Indians fans and have many of them as my friends. I don't think one Facebook status will read "Man! I can't believe the fired Eric Wedge!" Or had he been retained, them say "Hey Wedge is Back! Go Tribe!"

That's not saying firing Wedge is the wrong move.. But Firing Wedge is a necessary business move if the Indians want to save face.

Again, it's a business, and Eric Wedge didn't do a fantastic job in my eyes. He did a good job, and again, he wasn't the problem, but he wasn't the solution. If he isn't the solution, he can be replaced.

That brings me to the final point that I'm going to make in this post, but you better believe I'm not done.

His replacement.

Hoynes and now Castrovince sort of hinted that the hire would come from out of the organization. Torey Lovullo will probably be considered as a candidate, but the guy the Indians WANT is John Farrell.

And this isn't something I've brought up here because I haven't really discussed the issue, but it's something I was aware about when it came out.

Farrell has a clause in his contract preventing him from taking a managerial job. Why he would work that into his deal is beyond me, but it's there.

This is just chatter, there is no source or link out there, but I've read several ideas that the Indians would probably make a push to get the Red Sox to forget about that clause. Of course that may mean financial reasons for them to do so, so if they want Farrell real bad, they'll have to fork over some cash.

Did I mention they still owe Eric Wedge one million some for next season?

Perhaps they won't sign a single free agent, even a bargained incentive one they usually do. Perhaps all the cash they've saved and have will be put to getting themselves the guy they want.

Oh the fun has begun. Last year we got to see and I got to talk endlessly about the money spree the Indians decided to go on in the offseason, which is truly a once in a lifetime thing in the Shapiro-era.

This season we get to see the calculations of hiring a new manager.

The fun really has begun... Strap yourselves in folks.

1:50 Edit: Mark Shapiro just spoke to the media and Eric will apparently be doing s in about fifteen minutes. I'll have thoughts on all that later today or tomorrow. Should be noted that this is our the 1,000th post of this blogs existence... How crazy that it's Wedge's firing.

Kinston Indians Season Wrap-Up

KINSTON INDIANS
Level: High Class A
League: Carolina League
Finish: 60-78 Overall (27-41 1st half, 33-37 2nd half)
Playoffs: Missed Playoffs (11 back 1st half, 2 back 2nd half)

POTY Feathers: 3B Lonnie Chisenhall and Starter Paolo Espino


Chisenhall: .276/.346 AVG/OBP, 18 HR, 79 RBI, 80/37 SO/BB
House: 9-6, 21 GS, 118.1 IP, 2.59 ERA, 101/34 SO/BB, 1.04 WHIP

What more can you say about Lonnie Chisenhall's 2009 season other than "woooohoooo?"

With Kinston, he hit .276 in 99 games with 18 home runs, 79 RBI and 26 doubles. He had an OBP of .346 and a slugging percentage of .492 which was third in the Carolina League.

Lonnie got a call-up late in the season and played in 24 games for the Aeros. Drafted just last year, he joined fellow 08-draftees Eric Berger and Zach Putnam in Akron in just his second year of professional ball. Combined he hit .258, which is clearly not reflective of how good of a hitter he is, with 22 home runs, 92 runs batted in and 72 runs scored in just the regular season.

What is reflective of how good of a hitter Chisenhall is would be the playoff performance. In seven postseason games, Chisenhall hit .467 for the Aeros. He hit two doubles and knocked in two runs and struck out just twice. He got hot and helped carry that team to a title.

This kid is going to be a flat out stud... It was a pick that was really questioned due to character concerns, but the Indians have hit on him so far. He'll start 2010 at Akron and I wouldn't be surprised to see him in Columbus by the end of the year, nor would anyone else. He's rapidly ascending up the line and he'll be in Cleveland sooner than we thought if he continues to hit.

What's more remarkable is his defense. He committed 22 errors in just the 99 games with Kinston, then went on to Akron and made NONE in 24 games. Ross Atkins said he is a great adapter and learner so it shouldn't shock anyone that he got better. Remember it was his first full-season as a third baseman as well.

Then on the pitching side we have Paolo Espino. He was starting and then he was supposed to go back to the bullpen with players coming back and yeah yeah yeah.

Kid can pitch and he can start for now.

Espino was fantastic. After appearing in the WBC and getting shelled, Espino turned it on and was Kinston's OTHER best starter along side Eric Berger. His 2.59 ERA was 2nd only to Berger among the regular starters. His 101 strikeouts led the team and his WHIP? 1.04, best on the squad among 15 game starters.

I don't know what his role will be next year. He definitely better be at Akron, but whether it's in the bullpen or the rotation, I have no clue. A lot of the infusion of talent has put a lot of questions with the pitching staff.

But Espino has earned a shot at the rotation, even if he doesn't get it. I didn't take much stock into him prior to the year. I didn't think of him as much. If anything, I'm proud of him more than just about any other player in this organization other than Chuck Lofgren. He came up and posted a fantastic year out of no where and put his name on the map.

OVERVIEW

This team, besides Columbus, because they got absolutely killed. But this team more than any other team in the system had such an up-hill climb throughout the year.

They truly did more with less. Chisenhall, Berger, McBride, Drennen, Fedroff, Gomez, De La Cruz, Putnam.

All these names were with Kinston this year. For one reason or another, they missed time or weren't on the team at the end of the year. Chisenhall, Berger, Putnam, and Gomez all went up to Akron at certain points, Gomez probably earlier than all of them. When this team lost McBride, the offense sort of just started to suck as a whole.

Kelvin De La Cruz made two starts and was lost for the season essentially.

Scott Barnes came in and made three starts and was pretty much shuttled up to Akron.

This team lost a lot but still fought tough and hung in there for a decent season. They came up just short of a playoff appearance and that's pretty remarkable given what they lost this year.

PITCHING

The pitching was good... They had some real players in their rotation and in the bullpen. Remember this was a rotation that had Zach Putnam, Kelvin De La Cruz, Jeanmar Gomez, and Eric Berger in it's rotation to start the year. Gomez and Putnam were called up to Akron pretty quickly, De La Cruz was injured, and Berger spent most of the year in Kinston before getting called up.

Russell Young

Russell Young is sort of just another face in the crowd. He started the year in Lake County, made a few appearances for them, didn't do fantastic.

But then he came up to Kinston and took off.

He went into the rotation and was good for the entire year. He led the team in innings pitched with 129 innings, had a 6-6 record to the tune of a 3.28 ERA. Not much credit is thrown his way, but he put together a good year, especially with all the ins and outs of the club's pitching staff.

Eric Berger

I was so close to giving Berger a feather, but decided Espino did so much and deserved the recognition. That isn't to say Berger isn't awesome.

He was awesome. This is the year Berger had, shared with Akron and Kinston. 21 games for the K-Tribe and 6 for the Aeros.

10-9, 2.50 ERA, 144 IP, 61/133 BB/SO, 5 HR

FIVE HOME RUNS?! One in Akron?

That's fantastic...

This guy is, like Chisenhall, is a pure stud. What a draft class that was and Berger headlines the pitching staff. Eight round pick and he's got ML rotation potential? I'll take that every time. I really like Berger and expect him to be with Chisenhall on the same path, ending the season in Columbus and not being far from the major leagues.

Bryan Price

Price came over to the Indians in the Victor Martinez trade. His full season numbers are a 3-10 record with a 5.89 ERA in 18 starts.

Price started the season with Boston's Low-A team in the Sally League. He made eight starts before being elevated to Salem for 7 games. then he got traded and finished out the season with 11 games for Kinston.

Price's future looks like it's in the bullpen. He's got great stuff from all reports, but he gave up 15 home runs last year. That's a little too much. Love his strikeout potential, love the fact that the walks are pretty low.

No telling what the Indians will do with him next year. I think he could be in Akron next year, but it would have to be in the bullpen. I'd much rather have someone like Espino in the rotation over him. With all these arms like Hagadone and Knapp around, someone is going to be the odd man out and you have to like the way his stuff translates to the pen.

Especially if he can't add another pitch like he's needed to.

Love Price, but still a little cautious about what he's about.

CC Lee

So not much was know about the man they called Chen-Chang Lee coming into this year. He was signed out of god knows where (Taiwan) and just thrown into Kinston's bullpen.

Boom.. 3.35 ERA, led the relief pitchers in innings and was one of the more reliable pitchers the K-Tribe had. Impressive 97 strikeouts and a 1.14 ERA in his 45 appearances.

He finished the year in the Akron bullpen during the playoffs, but didn't really show his stuff there. He'll be there next year though, mark my words. He showed some stuff. He seemed to be inconsistent a little bit early, up and down, some bad performances, but he really has good looking stats as the season went on.

Lee did a lot of multiple inning work. So he's a guy that got stretched. A nice workhorse of a relief pitcher and liking the chance they took on him out of Taiwan.

Also.. His name is a blend of CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee.. How can you not like that weirdness?

Jonathan Holt

Last year for the Captains, Holt appeared in 41 games, carried a 3.20 ERA and was one of the reliable guys in Lake County.

This year.. A little rocky.

A full year in Kinston is nice, but will the results be enough for Akron? I'm not sure. He carried a 5.02 ERA, which isn't terrible, but it isn't mind-blowing.

Ryan Morris

Ryan Morris was one part of the Ryan-twins in Lake County's rotation last year that got off to an unbelievable start.

He ended the year with a 9-7 record and a 3.76 ERA in the 27 starts. This year he got elevated to Kinston's rotation and it was a bit of a set-back. He only made 16 starts, had a 4.86 ERA and walked 48 hitters in just 79 innings (nothing compared to Ryan Miller's horrendous walk problems).

Anyway.. Miller started the 16 games and was okay. His last start was in July, a performance of seven shutout innings and seven strikeouts. That was it. Miller will be 22 next season.. I'm not sure if Kinston is a repeat process for him to start the year, but I'd imagine so.

Dallas Cawiezell

Like this guy. Like this guy!

Sure he's older and he's a relief pitcher for Kinston with a 3.21 ERA. But he keeps getting better. 55 innings last year for Lake County resulted in a 3.60 ERA. You look at what he did this year in 67 innings.... Man that's improvement. Just 4 home runs, 31 walks. He's got some good numbers.

I think he goes to Akron's bullpen next year. He's earned it. Where he goes from there.. It's up to him.

Bryce Stowell

Must give some love to Bryce Stowell.

Unfortunately, no love to give.

Stowell was 5.31 with Kinston in a split role. He started the year in Extended with some injury issues. Went up to Lake County for a few games, then made the move to the place he would have started, had he not been hurt.

I think next year will be a new year for Bryce. He was drafted in 2008 in the 22nd round, but that was due to the fact he could have returned to Irvine. He got a hefty bonus, so the Indians must like him. 2009 was his first exposing to pro-ball though, so let's give him this year and see where he goes.

Kyle Landis

Landis was LIGHTS OUT with Lake County last year. 1.97 ERA in 59 innings. His stint with Kinston was a bit of a disaster. So he got the start in Lake County this year, made eight appearances and was just as good.

So he got the bump to Kinston and much better results. We'll probably see some more of the same next year, starting the year in Kinston, but eventually getting to Akron. He went 2-4 with a 3.05 ERA in 59 innings.

If there is room, I'd get him in there. But there might not be. Love the low-walk totals as well.

POSITION PLAYERS

We'll talk about Matt McBride with Akron, since he spent a majority of the year there, but like I said earlier, this offense hit a wall when he left... They got their swagger back though.

There are some good players on this team. Not spectacular performances by any means, but some promise.

Doug Pickens

Just kinda was around and then he finished the year with Kinston. Pickens was on fire to end the year. He spent 2008 going up and around to different teams, but spending the majority of his time with Lake County.

This year he was there for eight games, then he appeared with Kinston for the stretch run. A .288 average, four homers and 26 RBI.

I love my Michigan guys, but Pickens is getting up there for the level he's at. I'm not sure what spots are out there for him at what positions, but he has to do a lot.

He ripped it up at the end of the year, but is that what we'll always get?
Tim Fedroff

Fedroff went through a period where he was hurt, so he missed some games.

But after he came back from that, awhile after he was on fire. He ends the year with .278 average, 4 homers, 39 RBI, but the key with him is steals and runs scored. 70 runs, 13/16 on steals and a .383 OBP. Great stuff.

Like Fedroff's potential and with movement of outfielders, you'd have to believe he'll be in Akron next year.

Ole Sheldon

Since this might be the last time we really talk about him... I have to do it.



OLE!!!

His name is pronounced like Oh-Lay.. Not.. Ohlehhh

OLEY!!

And then the Sheldon? SHELDON PLANKTON!

Sheldon Ocker... Awful..

Like it seemed to be with other players in the Kinston level, Sheldon had a period in which he killed things. 13 homers on the year though, 54 RBI. He was brought in at one point to bump Recknagel down to Lake County and people, okay me, I don't know about people, but I was like. Whoa WTF Mate.

Love me some Ole Sheldon, wherever he is next year.

Cord Phelps

CORDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

From one good name to another.

Robert 'Cord' Phelps had a bad average for awhile.. But this guy is an on-base machine!

.386 OBP and that's what he's all about. It's not about the massive number of hits, the amount of runs he scored by just getting on. He also has a good glove. You'd like to see the SB/CS ratio (17/14) a little better but he's a player.

Akron next year, you'd have to imagine. He's got some skills.

Lucas Montero

Montero hit .260, but scored 81 runs and stole 35 bases. He's an okay player.. Really I got nothing else. I'm not sure where he goes from here. It depends on Akron.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I cut the position players short because while there are some players, there aren't a whole lot. Like I said, everyone was stolen from the team.

Kinston should get some good pitching from Lake County, but they'll probably lose it to Akron at some point. So goes the life of the Kinston team. Hopefully they'll find some offense somewhere.




9.29.2009

Lake County Captains Season Wrap-Up

LAKE COUNTY CAPTAINS
Level: Low Class A
League: Southern Atlantic (SAL, Final Season)
Finish: 71-66 Overall (31-36 1st half, 40-30 2nd half)
Playoffs: Missed Playoffs (10.5 Back 1st half, 5.5 2nd half)

POTY Feathers: 1B Nate Recknagel and Starter T.J. House


Recknagel: .280/.378 AVG/OBP, 13 HR, 67 RBI, 73/49 SO/BB
House: 6-11, 26 GS, 134.1 IP, 3.15 ERA, 109/49 SO/BB, 1.31 WHIP

Nate 'The Recking Ball' Recknagel knocked in 75 runs this year between Lake County and a small stint with Kinston.

Yet he continues to be one of the more underrated bats in the organization.

He's got some pop, 44 total extra base hits and a .448 slugging percentage. The Recking Ball knows how to hit.

Nate cracked IPI's top 100 prospect listing at 75 in his first year with the organization. You can no doubt he's going to move up a little and hopefully another big year in Kinston is ahead of him. Lake County didn't have much offensively, but Recknagel was someone they did have and he was great.

The other feather goes to the man with very misleading record. Records in the minors can be skewed, especially at the level Lake County is at. Relievers will be 7-0(Francisco Jimenez as we'll talk about later) and the starters may have awful records to go along with sparkling ERAs. Especially a guy like House, who is young and needs his arm protected this early on.

House's ERA was 3.15 and it was obvious he put himself on the map as a future prospect stud in the organization. He was a 16th round pick that the Indians decided to pay coming out of high school and it's a good thing they did.

Led by his electric slider the lefty led the club in strikeouts with 109 and was downright awesome all year. He held opposing hitters to a .250 average and even dominated the left-handed hitters, holding them to a .233 average and giving up just one homer.

TJ turned down a scholarship with Tulane to play pro-ball for the Indians last year after they offered him three quarters of a million. I'm sure they are glad they did as now, it looks like quite a bargain. Especially with the one and a half million signing bonus he was asking for during the draft.

OVERVIEW

The Lake County Captains have finally ended play in the SAL with their 2009 season. In 2010 the Captains move to more friendly league, the Midwest League. This will make road trips much more easier on the players and team as they won't have to bus to ridiculous locations from Northeast Ohio.

With that, the Captains and Indians also extended their partnership to the 2014 season with a extension to their player development contract.

The move to the Midwest League (Eastern Division) gives the Captains a new batch of teams to face. They'll be regulars against the likes of West Michigan, Fort Wayne, Great Lakes (Carlos Santana's former club with LA), Dayton, Lansing, and South Bend. The Western division has eight teams and currently the Eastern has six. Until next season, where the Eastern will get not just Lake County, but Tampa Bay's Low-A Bowling Green Hot Rods (Kentucky).

Let's face it... A trip to South Bend or anywhere in Michigan is far more tolerable than Hickory and Greensboro.

Anyway... Let's talk about the team.

They put together a nice second half, but as history repeats itself, Lake County was once again a team with more pitching than hitting.

In fact their pitching was often hung out to dry. Just look at TJ House's won-loss compared to his ERA. It doesn't stop at House though.

Then they added the likes of Nick Hagadone and Jason Knapp. While Knapp got hurt, this club always seems to find pitchers come through.

I even joked for what seemed to be the second straight year that the Captains play so many one-run games, win or loss. It's the Captain's specialty.

Anyway it was a decent year for the Captains. Hopefully they get another offensive gem or two to come through next year to help support what surely will be another great pitching staff. Just think of all the MV studs they'll get next year.

PITCHING

Like I said, the pitching is always good, and this year was no exception. I've already been over TJ House, who was by far the best pitcher they had all year. But here is the rest of the crew.

TJ McFarland

The other TJ on the staff was probably the second or third best starter for the Captains this year. He finished with a 9-4 record, but his 3.58 ERA was third among starting pitchers with at least 15 starts.

I don't know where the other TJ fits in for next year. You'd have to imagine he's ready to move up to Kinston at least, but who knows in what role with the Indians new-found pitching depth.

Alexander Perez

I hesitate to say McFarland was the second best because of this guy. Alex Perez had a 3.04 ERA in just 15 starts for this club. He got promoted to Kinston to make seven starts there and he was absolutely even better there.

Combined on the year he was 6-6 with a 2.99 ERA in 22 starts. He logged 114 innings and struck out 107 hitters compared to just 33 walks. He's a strikeout machine.

He's another one of these young arms in the form of Jeanmar Gomez and Hector Rondon that are going to quietly creep up the system and then all of a sudden you notice him. Just watch. I think he'll probably start in Kinston, but could be in Akron by the end of the year. He turned just 20 years old a few months ago so he could reach Double-A before his 21st birthday.

Trey Haley
It was a rough go-around for Trey Haley. Some would even tell you that Haley was rushed into things starting the year in Lake County from the get-go. Perhaps it was expected he'd be in extended spring for a good part of the season until about mid-way through when they'd call him up.

That wasn't the case though and the young Texan who was drafted int he 2nd round started the season with the Captains.

Haley had command issues for a large part of his starts. He walked 65 hitters compared to just 57 strikeouts. The Indians controlled his innings towards the end of the year with long breaks and short starts in an effort to take it easy with their young arm.

I think Lake County, to at least start the season, is going to be a necessary starting point for Trey next year. But you never know.

Matthew Langwell and Steve Smith

A big reason that the Captains pitching staff is so good is it's bullpen. And these two guys were the MEN in the pen. Start with Langwell and his 1.97 ERA. Holy crap the guy pitched in 68 innings and carried a 1.11 WHIP.

He was a stud for this team.

Then we've got Steve Smith who was the closer. He saved 26 games, carried a 2.36 ERA with a 2-3 record. He struck out 62 hitters compared to just 12 walks. That is very good. A sparkling 1.01 WHIP.

The best relief pitchers by far. Smith got a shot in Kinston at the tail end of the year and I'd expect both him and Langwell to start the year there.

Travis Turek and Anillins Martinez

I have to come clean and apologize.

There was a time ago when I was spelling Randy Newsom's name wrong. I was putting a e on the end and there was none.

Well this is far worse, as I've been calling Anillins Martinez, Anillis. Consider this my apology Anillins.

I guess I can eat sleep and breath the Indians, but I'll always make mistakes and spell names wrong for years and not even notice.

Anyway, there was Langwell and Smith and then there was Martinez and Turek.

Along with Langwell, Martinez was an innings eater. His 3.65 ERA was respectable, but his quality came from not giving up the home run ball (1 all year) and logging innings.

Turek carried a very good 2.73 ERA in 52 innings pitched. Turek had a 1.06 WHIP which was second only to Smith's on the team among pitchers with 40 innings. Turek showed excellent command as well with just 15 walks.

Turek is definitely someone Kinston-bound.

Nick Hagadone

Coming over in the Victor Martinez trade, the Indians knew they had to be limited with Hagadone as he isn't far removed from Tommy John surgery.

But Hagadone has shown impressive progress since having the surgery and his numbers have been equally impressive.

With Lake County he went 0-1 in five starts with a 2.45 ERA. He was pitching in three inning stints and even made two starts for Kinston to end the season, but his final season line isn't bad.

In 17 starts, Hagadone went 0-3 with a 2.80 ERA, 45 innings pitched, 59 strikeouts to 24 walks.

Look for Hagadone to start in Kinston, but his talent screams Double-A by the end of the year if all goes according to plan.

Francisco Jimenez and Brian Grening

A couple of guys with interesting years to say the least.

Start with Brian Grening who's been with four of the Indians clubs this season. He pitched a game with Columbus, won three games for the Srappers in five appearances, pitched six games with a .82 ERA for the Aeros, and spent a majority of his year in Lake County.

Combined, Grening was 4-0 with a 1.68 ERA in 48 innings. Respectable numbers in each stop really. I guess that organizational player label for him is just that, a label. It doesn't matter, just let him pitch. I'm interested to see what the future holds for Grening. He's in his mid-20's and the team he pitched with the most is Lake County.

Francisco Jimenez started the year in rookie ball and made the exciting jump to Lake County and pitched in 14 games. He was 7-0, yes he won half his games, and held a 2.35 ERA in 30 innings. I'd think he'd start in Lake County, but no doubt will be in Kinston by the end of the year.

Joey Mahalic

Needed to throw Joey in here towards the end. Sort of a lost year for Mahalic. He pitched in just seven games, six with Lake County. He dominated going 0-1 with a 1.91 ERA in 28 innings. That earned him a quick call to Kinston. He made one start, went 3.2 innings and went on the disabled list.

Mahalic will start the year in Kinston, he deserves it. But he's got some time to make up. Luckily he's still young, won't be 21 til November.

POSITION PLAYERS

As I've pointed out probably fifteen times already, Lake County didn't have much offense. This was a team built on pitching. But it still had some gems playing the field and swinging the bats.

Chris Nash

Chris Nash is a great story. Sure, this was his second year in Lake County. He started 2007 with the GCL team, and finished with Mahoning Valley. 2008 was spent in Lake County with some injuries and now in 2009 he was kinda the odd man out with Recknagel's great play.

But you have to love the story I had posted here from the CPD about a few Captains visiting Progressive Field. Nash was one of the central points of the story as we realize that all of these guys have dreams of playing there.

Nash isn't strongly considered to be one of those guys, but that doesn't stop him. Gotta root for a guy like Nash. He had 412 at-bats this year, only hit five homers but did knock in 62 runs. I'm not sure where he fits in with this organization, but I hope it's somewhere.

Donnie Webb and Delvi Cid

I'm lumping these two together because I love them both for the same reason.

69 total stolen bases between these two.

Let's start with the one with a little more upside. Delvi Cid is still young, just turned 20 years old this past July. He debuted with a little time passed in Lake County after opening up the year in extended spring training. He ended up with 33 steals in 49 attempts, not a fantastic ratio, but still shows his aggressiveness.

He can swing a little too with his .271 average in 362 at-bats. The problem with him is the 109 strikeouts. That's quite a bit for a guy who should be using his speed to get on-base a little more. He did have a .338 on base percentage, but I think he could bump his average up by just using the speed and getting bat on ball, especially at the lower levels where defense isn't spectacular.

Still, gotta love him for his speed and defense.

Now Donnie Webb is a little older than Cid, I'd be just as excited to watch him as I would Cid.

Webb hit .289 in 471 at bats for Lake County, and he stole 35 bases in 43 attempts. Very good. His 69 runs was second only to Karexon Sanchez. Webb also had a shot with Columbus towards the end of the year and he collected 11 hits in just 7 games. He stole a base up there and knocked in six runs.

You'd guess by that move he's more of a organization player since they decided to give him the move up to Columbus late in the year just to fill a lineup spot, but I think of him as a little more. A little on the older side for Lake County but someone who should just continue to move up the ladder a little bit next year.
Karexon Sanchez

The average is poor, .234, the strikeouts are many, 136, and the basic stats for the most part aren't pretty.

But Karexon Sanchez put together a decent season for a second baseman.

He knocked in 57 runs, hit 11 homers which was second on the team, and despite the poor average, carried a .350 OBP.

While he struck out a lot, he did find his way on base with the walk and he did score some runs. Not to mention he stole 25 bases in 35 attempts, so he does a little bit of everything.

He did commit 22 errors though, which might be a bit of a problem for someone who can move around the infield.

Abner Abreu

This was supposed to be the guy for Lake County's offense. After lighting it up in the GCL in 2008 with 11 home runs and a 16 doubles, Abreu was going to be the County's man in the middle.

Moved to the outfield, Abreu struggled out of the gate a little bit.

But then we saw what all the big talk was about. Abreu finished the year with a .305 average, seven home runs and 30 RBI in just 246 at-bats. I say finished the year and just with because Abreu's season was cut short because of a shoulder injury.

He'll be back next year, and I'm not sure if the injury will force him to repeat at least the start of the year in Lake County, but either way, I think he finishes 2010 in Kinston.

Abreu will turn 20 next month, which means if all goes right, he'll be done with the Single-A level by the age of 21. Abreu was ranked 15 by Tony Lastoria at IPI and 16 by Baseball America.. He might move down thanks to the injury and influx of young talent, but that doesn't mean he lost ground as a prospect. If anything, he showed the GCL performance was no fluke.

Jeremie Tice

A bit of a lost year for Jeremie Tice, but no worries.

Tice missed most of the season with an injury, but still played enough to knock in 20 runs in 239 at-bats. With Chisenhall in Akron, Tice should get the bump to Kinston with Bellows going to Lake County despite missing half the season for the Captains. When he was healthy, he looked like the player he did with Mahoning Valley in 2008.

Bo Greenwell

Giving a little love to young Bo Greenwell who won't turn 21 until October of this year.

Bo started the season with Mahoning Valley, and because of pressing players coming into the system at the MV level and injuries ahead of him in Lake County and his great performance in just seven games, was shipped up to Lake County to finish the year.

Greenwell did very well. Combined he was .296 with two home runs and 30 RBI. He spent most of the year in extended spring but established himself as a capable minor leaguer in this system. He'll probably start next year in the Lake County level, but could find himself in Kinston if things go well. It all depends on other players and his performance, but he certainly did well with the Captains when he got the chance. He does a little bit of everything with the average, the run scoring, the stolen bases, the run producing. Gotta like what he brings to the table.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall Lake County had a team built on pitching and with the success Mahoning Valley had, I'm sure that will be the case again next year.

You gotta like them moving to a new league though. It will be much easier on the players and the travel for them and let's hope it results in a little new-found energy for their games, because I'm sure those trips could take a lot out of the players. I don't envy their position.





9.28.2009

Mahoning Valley Scrappers Season Wrap-Up

MAHONING VALLEY SCRAPPERS
Level: Short Season Class A
League: New York-Penn League
Finish: 49-27 (Pinckney Division Winners, Best Overall Record)
Playoffs: NYPL Championship (L Staten Island, 3 Games)

POTY Feathers: Starters - Brett Brach, Clayton Cook, Vidal Nuno, and Marty Popham


Brach: 5-2, 15 GS, 78 IP, 2.19 ERA, 61/20 SO/BB, 1.05 WHIP
Cook: 5-3, 14 GS, 67.2 IP, 2.78 ERA, 64/26 SO/BB, 1.20 WHIP
Nuno: 5-0, 8 GS, 57 IP, 2.05 ERA, 48/14 SO/BB, 1.00 WHIP
Popham: 6-1, 14 GS, 75 IP, 2.76 ERA, 83/10 SO/BB, 1.13 WHIP

You have to hand it to these guys. There was a stretch in there for each of them in which they all looked amazing.

Throw in the decent year out of Preston Guilmet (4.09 ERA isn't horrible by any means), and you've got a rotation at that level that was downright impressive.

I couldn't give one of them a feather without giving all four of them a feather.

Cook and Popham from last year's draft and Nuno and Brach from this years, it was a nice blend of arms that all had good seasons with Mahoning Valley.

Start with Brach who was the 10th round pick in this year's draft. He had the second lowest ERA among the starters and the most innings pitched.

Then you've got his draft mate in Nuno who was drafted in the 48th round, yes the 48th round out of Baker University.. BAKER UNIVERSITY?! Exactly! Nuno lead the starters in ERA, WHIP, and he did not get pegged with a loss in the regular season. You think the Indians found a gem or what?

Clayton Cook and Marty Popham look to have loads of major league potential. With Popham leading the club in strikeouts, the 'pop' of Popham's fastball can reportedly reach around 92 miles per hour and some wonder if it's gone up. The 20th round pick had an excellent year in the Valley and should be in A ball to start the year with a lot of his rotation mates from this season.

Cook dominated the GCL last year and the 9th round pick picked up where he left off in short-season. He too should be in A-ball and the greatest part of all this.. He only turned 19 in July.

OVERVIEW

What's not to love about the Mahoning Valley Scrappers 2009 season?

Well other than not winning the NYPL championship, this team did it all in 2009. They won a NYP best 49 wins and were a wire-to-wire team to beat. They looked good from the get-go.

Largely made up of this past year's draft, a mix of nationalities and and different types of players equaled success for Travis Fryman's club. Fryman laughed at the thought of having Chun Chen, a Taiwanese catcher talking with one of his American pitchers, with a Dominican Republic infielder in Jesus Brito, and a center fielder from Australia in Jason Smit.

It worked though.

Fryman in his second season had what proved to be a great pitching staff, some capable hitters, and a great blend of kids to teach.

It was the first Pinckney division win for the Scrappers since 2000, their second year in existence. It was the first playoff appearance since 2004 when they won the league championship.

While they came up a game short of that goal, it was quite the season for the Scrappers. Travis Fryman looks to be enjoying life in Mahoning Valley as a half-season manager and doesn't appear to be going anywhere soon. He enjoys the organization and the set up he has, and that's good news for the Indians.

PITCHING

Well we've already covered the starting rotation for the most part. So let's cover some of the more prominent relief pitchers.

Guido Fonseca

Guido was drafted last year in the 12th round of UNI and pitched a little for the Scrappers. This year he was one of the main bullpen cogs and the season wasn't spectacular. But he did carry a good 1.17 WHIP despite his 4.32 ERA. he was the most used relief pitcher and only gave up one home run, big positive.

Jeremy Johnson and Cory Burns

Two of the 2009 draftees, Johnson carried a 1.95 ERA and did it with 37 innings under his belt. He was slightly behind the closer of the Scrappers, Cory Burns who had a 1.93 ERA with his 11 saves.

Burns carries an impressive WHIP of .73 and struck out 37 hitters compared to 6 walks. Both him and Johnson were model citizens when it came to striking out hitters and not walking them.

Tyler Sturdevant and Nick Kirk

Nick Kirk didn't have a flashy ERA, but aside from the starters, he led everyone in strikeouts.

Oh everyone but the starters and Tyler Sturdevant who did have a flashy ERA. Both of these relief pitchers brought a lot to the table.

POSITION PLAYERS

Some exciting names at positions for this Scrappers team. Some notables 2009 draft picks and other prospects worth keeping an eye on. This team wasn't feared offensively, but they got the job done.

John Allman
Many look at him as a organizational player, due to his shifting between all the levels he shifted between. But John Allman can play. With the Scrappers he knocked in 14 runs and hit .333 in 17 games.

He may eventually be an organizational player, but if he keeps his nose to the grindstone, he'll move up and help each team he plays for.

Jesus Brito

Oddly named Jesus Brito did a lot of good things in his 35 games with the club. He wasn't the starter the entire year, but he was good when he was. He hit .333 in 90 at-bats and just kept hitting. He spent the first half of his season in the AZL and hit .366 in 35 games. Combined he hit 3 home runs, knocked in 43 runs and scored 52.

He's got a place in this organization and maybe Lake County can use someone like him next year.

Jason Kipnis

The second round pick was slow to get to the Valley and slow to get on the field. But when he did and went full-out, he was very good. Especially in the playoffs, Kipnis showed why he was a second round pick.

He stole three bases, knocked in 19 runs and hit one home run in the regular season.

He hit two home runs in the Scrappers four playoff games he played in. Kipnis could start in Kinston or Lake County next year, who really knows, but he'll be in A-Ball.

Casey Frawley

Lurvin Basabe quite frankly wasn't getting it done.

So the Indians called up Frawley to Mahoning Valley and Basabe down to the AZL.

And Frawley hit. He did nothing but hit. In just 39 at-bats he had 45 hits. Who knows what the future holds for Frawley, but if he hits, you can't ask for much more.

Jordan Henry

The outfielder out of Ole Miss does a little bit of everything. He played the most games for the Scrappers, one of their mainstays of 2009. Henry carried a .286 average with 23 RBI, 29 runs, and 22 stolen bases. He was the leadoff hitter for most of the year and established himself as one of the bright young players in the Indians organization with serious speed.

Jason Smit

Patiently I've been waiting to see Jason Smit full-time.

Next year might be that time, but Smit started the year in extended spring. He underwent a position change (middle infielder to middle outfielder basically) and debuted in Mahoning Valley.

Smit was injured towards the end, but he hit .279 on the year and knocked in 23 runs. He stole seven bases out of seven successful tries and next year, I'd expect to see him Eastlake for the Captains.

Greg Folgia

I'm a huge Greg Folgia fan.

The 40th round draft pick just sort of came out of no where really. He signed as shortstop and ended up an outfielder.

And he's got some pop in his bat. Three home runs plus the 17 doubles and three triples made him the leader in extra base hits.

Give me Greg Folgia, or give me death. Not really, but he's one of the favorites for mascot next year.

Kyle Smith

The other Kyle Smith, the shortstop, not the pitcher, of course. Smith only hit .242 and really had a mediocre first year. He was one of the 2009 draftees and while he was the main shortstop for this team last year.

Ben Carlson

Carlson, Smith, and the next fellow, Kyle Bellows, hehe, were all 09 picks in the infield. Carlson played at first base and was moderately okay. He hit .228, which isn't good, but he carried a .300 OBP and knocked in 27 runs. Not spectacular by any means.

Kyle Bellows

What Bellows lacked in hits, he made up in home runs. He did have more home runs than doubles, which is odd and had just as many doubles (4) as triples. His seven homers led the team, but he only knocked in 32 runs. We'll see if the 4th round pick can push his way up the ladder, especially with a slowed Jeremie Tice ahead of him in the organization. He also takes pictures with his eyes closed like Earl.

FINAL THOUGHTS

What a year for the Scrappers. Their success is obviously unknown from year to year because it all depends mostly on the most recent two drafts for the most part. It's going to be fun seeing how some of these players, especially the pitchers progress through the years and which players start where.




9.25.2009

Luke Holko

You guys may or may not know by now that I'm a Youngstown native. I now live in the Kent area and go to Akron, but I'm still in Youngstown every once and awhile.

So it's even more important for me to get the word out there about Luke Holko, who was struck in the head by a foul ball off the bat of Ben Carlson at a Scrappers game.

If you've not heard the story about little Luke Holko yet, you really should catch-up with one of the links at the end of this post. Consider this my part to get the word out there.

Truth is I heard about this awhile ago, and might have mentioned it in passing. I know Jamey Carroll had a bunch of stuff signed and got it taken to Luke, but I'm not even sure if I brought that up.

It's taken me now to actually remember/have time to discuss it at length. I've placed a link to the website at the top of the page where you can learn a little more about Luke and how to help if you would like to do so.

The Vindicator pretty much has all the details of the story as it happened if you need caught up.

A few days ago, Holko's condition was upgraded, but he's still got a long way to go. Keep him and his family in your thoughts.

And really everyone's taken note of this. Even MILB.com put up a story about it.

Here's the site the family is using to keep people updated on his condition. Here is the link to learn a little more about how you can help and some various links and videos about the incident.

Hope the little guy keeps fighting through this and I know this blog doesn't get out to a wide-range of people, but hopefully I brought a few people up to speed.

How is this fair?

Regardless what you feel about Eric Wedge..

This is below the belt if you ask me.

As someone who's going to school to become a member of the media, I've now taken more of a outlook on what others write.

And you mean to tell me Dennis Manoloff is a professional journalist?


I have no problems with Manoloff, I've never really had much of an issue with what he's put out there on CPD. I made fun of him for that tidbit about Rafael Perez that no one should give a damn about, but that's been it.

I've constantly made fun of Hoynes for being, silly, and Sheldon Ocker for being weird. I've always sung the praises of Terry Pluto, disagree with him or not, and Anthony Castrovince for being the hardest working beat-reporter on the Indians.

But this was a low blow at Eric Wedge if I've ever seen one.

The story is supposed to be about Eric Wedge calling a meeting between his players. THAT'S THE NEWS.

Yet, the last time I checked, this wasn't an opinion piece. Since when is Dennis Manoloff supposed to throw in his opinion in a spot where he is supposed to be telling us about this players meeting that Wedge called?

Why does he say the following at the beginning of the story.
Hours before the Indians played host to the Tigers on Thursday night, manager Eric Wedge called a meeting with his players.

A farewell speech did not follow.

Wedge simply hoped to boost the spirits of a reeling club. The rebuilding Tribe entered having lost 10 in a row to sink to 61-90.

A farewell speech did not follow?

How is that relevant to anything?

If that isn't a shot at Wedge, I don't know what is.

Whatever think of Wedge and the job he has done, that to me, is unacceptable as someone in the media. If this was Manoloff's opinion and labeled "D-Man's World" or whatever the hell his opinion column is called, then fine, go nuts boy.

But this is Indians Insider and I don't appreciate Manoloff throwing this type of nugget out at us in this context.

Reading the comments of this story, there weren't many positive thing said toward Wedge, which is fine. Not one person even brought up the point about Manoloff. That too is fine. They even got on him for the OPPOSITE, of protecting Wedge. That's not how I read it.. But whatever..

But please people... Enough piling on Wedge.

Am I saying we should bring him back next year?

NO!

But the man deserves way more respect than what he's being given right now. HE'S DOING HIS JOB AND YOU CANNOT, I REPEAT, CANNOT FAULT HIM FOR THAT!

And these pleas of "Let's tell the management were pissed by 'voting with our wallet' and not going to the games!"

You do that...

I love Cleveland fans for their passion, but I also hate them for their passion. It's sick to see some of the comments I've seen towards Wedge.

The man is managing a baseball team, he isn't operating on you! I take baseball serious as much as the next guy, but there is taking it serious and taking it too far.

Wedge may have guided a disappointing team to a bad baseball record this year and you might not like him for what he's done for the Indians.

But to result to some of the comments I've seen is just low as you can get and it downright disgusts me.

You don't have to like Eric Wedge, but respect him as a human being and someone who cares about the game, because despite your absolutely wrong opinion about that, he CARES ABOUT THE GAME.

I've got a story up at Bleacher Report that is central to this idea, and about Eric Wedge in general. Check it out.. But I felt that wasn't the venue for this type of a topic, which is why I brought it here. That story isn't about what Manoloff said, but rather what Eric Wedge did, what the story SHOULD HAVE been about. Read that if you want more on Wedge and want to avoid this crap about Manoloff.

So check out the story
. I'm sure more on Wedge has the next few weeks advance. I'm getting kind of antsy to see what happens here.

9.24.2009

Afternoon Round-Up: Roster Purge Begins

According to Tony Lastoria, the Indians have outrighted three players off the 40 man roster. Pitchers RJ Swindle, Rich Rundles, and Zach Jackson have been ourighted off the 40 man and have been placed on Columbus' roster.

None of them were called up to the big leagues, in they called up the likes of Jose Veras and Mike Gosling over these guys, all of whom you'd think would have more promise.

Nope...

Jackson started the year in the Tribe bullpen as the long man. Rich Rundles was up Eddie Mujica style this year as someone just called up in case of emergency. And RJ Swindle was claimed from the Rays after they claimed him from the Brewers and released him a day later.

Swindle if you've been wonder has been playing for Team Canada in the World Baseball Cup.

This isn't the end though.

There are several more names that will be gone once this season ends.

There is 36 players on the roster, they'll need two spots for Reyes and Westbrook, because you can't have them 60 Day DLed through the offseason, and plenty of spots for guys like Jason Donald and company.

Niuman Romero, Mike Gosling, Jose Veras, and Tomo Ohka will all be gone.

So that leaves them with about six spots.. Baring any craziness, to add players to protect for Rule V and sign free agents.

In other news, the Instructional League started up and here is a recap of the first game. Many eyes on Kelvin De La Cruz who is sure to be the center of all the Rule V discussions. Rostering him will be a hot topic/debate.

Alex White makes his Indians debut at instructs debut on Saturday.

Blaming the position change on Matt LaPorta's injury?

Shut up Wedge...

Oh I brought up Eddie Mujica's name earlier... Notice him STARTING For the Padres lately? Holy Crap... Dude hasn't gone past 4.2 innings pitched in his three starts (and has given up seven total runs), but damn how and why would the Padres do that? Ooh that's right, they suck.

If you don't have STO and are out of the state but get MLB Network. You can see the Tigers/Indians game tonight.

I'll be watching The Office, I'm sorry to say.

I did watch the game last night and really.. Wow... 10 straight.. Can't believe the team is just mailed it in like this. This team was always one that would fight to the end and it just goes to show you... Wedge has lost the club.

9.23.2009

Random Thoughts: Things to do and not to do

I'm getting the itch again.

Last year I think there was some sort of lull towards the end. Last year in September my activity dropped off. Now this year I've been considerably less active in posting because of other commitments. But it has happened again.

I've been a little dis-interested. It must be a little bit of the football fever, but it also has to do with the awfulness.

I've not lost my love though. This team can suck to high heaven and I'll still love 'em.

That's why I'm kinda miffed to see some of the comments/articles/expressed opinions out there about how a certain fan is pissed off and they aren't going to take it anymore.

If you are out there and you are miffed.. That's cool.. I'm a little upset myself.

But don't disown this team.

And I know, I've heard that "I've been a fan for a million years, I'm sick and tired!"

For one... I can't believe I have anyone that reads this blog that is a million years old.

But still, this is baseball. Just stop it.. Just stop it. Suck it up and be a fan... If not, go root for the Yankees, because we don't want you.

And if you aren't willing to go to the game and support the team. That's fine, but don't piss and whine about it. Just don't do it. There's no need to express how you "won't waste you money on the product on the field." Understood. If you want to go to the game to have a good time and take in some baseball, good for you. If you don't want to spend the money because you feel it's contributing to a lost cause, keep it to yourself and just do it. It's exhausting to listen to.

Okay now that isn't why I decided to end a three day drought of posts.

This has been a busy week for me. I had a two tests today, one tomorrow, abstracts on Monday and Wednesday, and a paper due next week. On top of that a re-interview today as well.

So I have put regular updates on the back burner and used my down time to work on the minor league season reviews.

I've finished Mahoning Valley and have decided I'm going to push this to next week and do it as individual posts. Lake County is almost done, Columbus is just about done and I'll start working on Akron and Kinston at some point towards the end of the week. I'll set it up like this.

Monday - Mahoning Valley
Tuesday - Lake County
Wednesday - Kinston
Thursday - Akron
Friday - Columbus

Of course I overdo it as I always do... But I also feel I haven't done enough. I wanted to sprinkle links throughout the year, either other sites or my own posts, but I have no time. I have an overview, pitchers, position players, and a final thought. I'm also giving out feathers to each level's best player. I'm going to hit on just about every relevant prospect/player or performance from last year. So get ready for that.

I want to talk a little bit about the parent club today though as I try to put off my astronomy test a little more.

I have a few random thoughts that sprouted up to me while I was watching Rick Manning on ABAO.

The thing I love about seeing someone like Rick Manning on ABAO is the fact he can talk about his opinion.

Sure he sprinkles it in there while he's in the booth, but for the most part, he's gotta remain objective and also a little more low-key as far as the team goes.

He hit on a lot of things and the things that stuck out to me the most were the following.

The first... He brought the idea of Carlos Santana just skipping Triple-A and being the catcher next year.

I'm sort of intrigued by this and at first though, Yeah right.

But the more and more I think about it and listen to the reasoning Manning gave... Man I can't say it's a horrible idea. Right now, I'm actually starting to buy into it.

I'm going to sit down myself and you know we break the offseason down here as last year was any indication. It will be more of that and I'm sure there will be plenty of time to talk about that.

So I think there's a lot of time to break down the idea and I'm definitely going to do that, but don't be shocked if I switch towards a "Carlos Santana in 2010" movement.

Reason being this...

I'm kind of disappointed that I haven't gotten to watch Lou Marson as much as I want. With the recent schedule I've had and interest, I've not watched full games. It sucks, so I've completely not seen much of Marson.

So I'm going to make it a point, especially tonight, to watch Marson closely and see how things go.

Next point I want to get to of what Manning talked about... The youth on this team.

The youth on this team is staggering, especially what's due back next year.

If he pitches, we'll have Westbrook, Hafner, Sizemore, Peralta, and Wood.

Wow.... That's it?

That's five out of 25 players that I considered grizzled veterans, if two of them are even here.

You'll have Cabrera, Valbuena, Choo, Brantley, LaPorta, Marson or someone else, and that's just position players. The rotation could be worse.

The team is littered with youth.

And as we'll bring up in a bit.. Andy Marte and Jason Donald/Luis Valbuena will be the utility platoon in all likelihood. Or at least the favorites to do so. Trevor Crowe seems to be the favorite to be the 4th outfielder.

Is this team going to carry Chris Gimenez as someone who can play corner spots and catcher? Is Wyatt Toregas (or even kelly Shoppach, basically three catchers) going to be on this roster? I mean they could carry Chris Gimenez and not need a back-up catcher because he can do it.

Basically.... Is there going to be a spot to sign a veteran?

Because I think we need one... Sure we won't be favorites to contend, and I don't expect to for the most part, but that doesn't mean we don't need a veteran presence on this club.

I'd love to go out and get an extremely cheap veteran that can help teach these young players. A pitcher would be nice, if we have the money, but definitely a position player that can help us out. I'm not talking Jamey Carroll either. Jamey is great but we need someone new, someone different.

So I'll throw that out there as yet another thing for the offseason to think about.

I mentioned Marte..

It seems like his trial is over
... But his career with the Indians is not.

He's been decreased in playing time lately so Matt LaPorta can get looks at first. Sort of giving us a sneak peak at what this team will look like next season.

But he met with Shapiro and was told to go to winter ball, come to spring training early and be ready to go. To me, that means, put in the work, show you belong and there will be a spot for you.

Now I don't know if they'll be able to move him. I'm not sure if they'll want to or if they could via a trade. But I think it will be fine. Like I said early, bring in a vet and maybe he pushes him off in spring. But right now it looks like Marte is the 1b/3b backup next year as it stands now.

My message to Marte though.

DO THE WORK!

Don't come in and re-earn that nickname, "The Marte Buffet."

Just don't do it!

Be Marty the Party!

If you come in out of shape, things will end quickly.

And I'll leave it at that.

I'll be back the rest of the week with some stuff, but look for the minor league team reviews next week.

9.20.2009

Eric Wedge managing on borrowed time?

I get the feeling that it's finally going to happen.

The crusade to save his job was well underway after the trades of everyone. The team started turning it around, they were winning games, even giving moderate hope to the eternal optimist that this season wasn't completely over, a .500 record could still be achieved.

Yeah why would you want to do that though?

And now the players have tuned out Eric Wedge, because the team is losing again.
“We can’t give into the fight. We’ve got to keep playing hard, keep our chins up and keep hustling. ... It’s hard. The game can beat you down, but you can’t let it. You’ve got to go out there and know that the next pitch, the next at-bat, the next game are going to be better.”
He's calling team meetings, he's saying this stuff, he hasn't given up on the season. I'll give him that much credit. It's the reason I like Eric Wedge. Some people might have already given up and resigned to the fact that they're going to get fired.

Unless of course they want to fight to keep their job.

That seems like what Wedge has been doing.

But I think it's time to realize that isn't happening.

Thankfully. I'm ready to start a new era without Wedge and I think it's time to start that now. As I said, I like Eric Wedge, but this team needs to make a change.

Hoynes has a story up about the Indians needing some guy with MLB experience, even if he isn't a MLB Manager. Someone that's been a bench coach maybe.

He also says that hiring from within is unlikely, which rules out the possibility of Torey Lovullo if they weren't to hire within. Which is moderately shocking to me. You'd think he'd be a candidate, but who knows what Hoynes knows. He could be just speaking in his own little world that he and Sheldon Ocker live in.

Paul Byrd as the closer, Joe Maddon clone as the manager.

However now..

This is why I like Kerry Wood.

“I don’t think Wedgie, Shapiro or anybody else signed on for this,” said Wood. “That’s why in the off-season, when you’re a free agent, you talk to family and friends and they say, why don’t you go here and win a championship with so-so. There are no guarantees.

“In my opinion this was a solid team. It had great potential. A big upside to it. We didn’t perform the first half and here we are.”

“There’s no one to blame except the players,” he said. “The bottom line is we’re the ones playing the game. The coaching staff, the people who are trying to help you every day, can only help you so much."

Is he totally right? Well no but he isn't totally wrong. You blame everyone really, but don't let the players off the hook. Eric Wedge isn't the problem. He isn't the solution, but he is not the problem. Shapiro isn't the problem either. The players contributed to the awfulness just as much as everyone else did.

Point blank. This is the first main Indians post I've made in awhile. I've been sort of idling around, watching some (not most or all like I usually do) of the games. I've got no opinion of what's going on for the most part. There is going to be plenty of time in the offseason to review all of this in my mind. The Andy Marte the all that stuff.

But this stuck out to me and I had to say something to it. I'm thinking this is the beginning of the end for Eric Wedge's tenure in Cleveland. This might be the moment we look back and say "Yeah that's the moment we knew Wedge was definitely done.

Sure some of you might have said you knew it back in June or July. But you didn't know for sure. We had no clue what Shapiro would do with Wedge. Now I think it's plainly clear with virtually no one playing for him anymore, Wedge is done.

Akron Aeros 2009 Eastern League Champions


AKRON AEROS 2009 EASTERN LEAGUE CHAMPIONS

Party!!!

The Akron Aeros are 2009 Eastern League Champions!

By defeating Connecticut 10-6 on Saturday Night, the Aeros ended the minor league season on a joyous note as they topped off a spectacular season.

It was domination from the beginning as the Aeros established themselves as one of the best teams and ran away with their division.

And now, they are champions.

It was over early when they put together a five run 4th and followed it up with three more runs in fifth and sixth innings. Connecticut came firing back in the final two innings, but it was too much for the Aeros as they captured victory.

Everyone on offense had a part in this one, take a look at the lineup.

J. Constanza - 2/5, R, 2 RBI
J. Rodriguez - 3/4, 2 R, SB, BB
C. Santana - 2/3, 2 R, 2-R HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB
B. Mills - 2/5, R, 2B, 2 RBI
M. McBride - 1/4, BB
L. Chisenhall - 1/5, R, RBI
C. Rivero - 1/3, R, 2 BB
J. Drennen - 2/4, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB
J. Head - 1/4, R, BB

Johnnie Drennen just ended the season on quite the note. He homered yet again and he's been on a rip towards the end of this year.

Carlos Santana came up big when you needed him to homering in this one. Beau Mills also had his fun. Josh Rodrigue hit .375 in the postseason, behind only Drennen's .379 and Chiz's .467 (boy this team is going to be good again with him there).

Oh and none of them won the MVP. That was Jerad Head who was absolutely the man for a few games in the playoffs.

Scott Barnes was ON it last night. Five innings, two hits and three runs with just two unearned runs. He struck out seven. Carlton Smith pitched 2.2 innings in relief and he too gave up two unearned. So four errors yielded four runs. Funny note that Connecticut is the San Francisco farm team for Double-A, so Barnes was facing his former team.

Josh Judy gave up two runs in the ninth but closed it out and celebrated with Santana in the middle of the field.

''It's been a real special year for myself and all these guys,'' Aeros manager Mike Sarbaugh said. ''What a super group of guys. Every time new guys came up, they bought right in and helped us out.''
This entire team, from the guys who started at the level with Rondon, to the late adds like Chisenhall and Barnes and Berger.. Just a fantastic season.

You can't be more proud of these guys. They really put it all together all year no matter who was there or wasn't. Mike Sarbaugh deserves a lot of credit as well because he's doing it every year now. He just puts winners out of the field no matter what. He has a lot of talent that comes through, but he gets the guys like the Jerad Heads of the world and makes them play great.

I mean, Johnnie Drennen was starting to be considered a lost cause and when he got to Akron, boom, it was on.

Just a great year for everyone involved in the Aeros.

And all this championship talk, for the third time since 2003, is bringing up the words "Team of the Decade."

Maybe on the Double-A level fellas.

Tony at IPI has posted a few videos of the celebration. You don't think this team absolutely LOVES their manager? Watch the second one when they chant "Sarby! Sarby! Sarby!" as he enters the clubhouse.

Oh and caution on language in the second one... I think that's Josh Rodriguez that yells firetruck very plainly around the 1:40 mark.

I'm also looking forward to getting Carlos Santana here.. He is like A mini-Victor Martinez. I can imagine Victor doing something of this sort had the Indians won a World Series.

"Carlos Santana was nuts, throwing anything he could find into the stands as he left the field. He must have thrown 3-4 baseball gloves, 20 balls, 3 helmets, and a dozen bats into the stands to fans."
Congrats again to the Double-A Eastern League Champion Akron Aeros!


9.19.2009

Minor Issues: Aeros fall, 2nd attempt at Championship Saturday Night

WHAT'S THE NEWS

Fantastic new minor league happenings, championship edition, up at IPI.

A big list of quotes from Ross Atkins on many different players, make sure you check it out.

Along with that.. Instructionals have started and in case you don't know what it's all about, IPI explains.

Just after some prelim work on my minor league reviews.. It's looking like they're going to be single posts, because I don't half-ass things like this.

AKRON AEROS

Connecticut staved off elimination last night with a 8-7 battle-type of win over Akron.

Carlos Santana went deep in the third inning, his second of the postseason. Lonnie Chisenhall knocked in a run off three hits, while Carlos Rivero knocked in two off the same amount. Lonnie is now hitting .520. Wow.

The Aeros starting pitching struggled in a way we haven't seem much all year. Eric Berger went just three innings, gave up five earned, six total, and walked four. The bullpen gave up two runs, one earned but kept it sort of close for the offense.

Should be noted that Johnnie Drennen was ejected in the eighth inning.

Tonight the Aeros will try again to win the Eastern League Championship. Scottie Barnes makes his playoff debut in this one. If the Aeros don't win it will force a decisive game five.

9.17.2009

Minor Leagues: Aeros Win Away from EL Clincher, Scrappers Fall 3 Runs Short of Title

WHAT'S THE NEWS

I've not yet decided if the Minor League review will be by team or one giant thing. I'll start it out and see where it goes. IPI has started their reviews and Tony has Kinston's season reviewed here.

AKRON AEROS

It was a nail biter, but the Aeros pulled through with a 7-6 victory to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the Eastern League Championship Series.

Josh Rodriguez put the Aeros ahead in the ninth inning with a three-run homer that broke a 4-4 tie. Josh Judy came in to save the game, but gave up two runs in the process. Shaky, but he got the job done in the end.

Jeanmar Gomez went five innings and gave up two earned off six hits and three walks.

Zach Putnam was charged with the bkown save despite not giving up any earned runs himself, however he let Carlton Smith's runners score.

Rodriguez, Chiz, Jose Constanza, and Jerad Head with multi-hit games. Head lead off the ninth with a triple and pitched in two more doubles and three runs scored. He's now hitting .400 and pretty much helping carry this team in the postseason.

With one more game left to clinch, the Aeros return to Canal Park for the final three games if needed. They've got three shots to clinch the EL Title. The first will be tomorrow on Friday at 7:05 PM. Eric Berger will be the starter.

MAHONING VALLEY SCRAPPERS

Well it was a fantastic season for Mahoning Valley, and win or lose it was going to come to an end last night.

Unfortunately a 5-2 loss will end the season without a NYPL Championship.

Staten Island came from behind 2-0 to win the game with three runs in the eighth inning.

Rafael Vera and Game 2 Hero Chun Chen with back to back RBIs in the 2nd would be the first and then the only runs on the night for the Valley.

Clayton Cook pitched five solid innings giving up just one earned run off four hits and three strikeouts.

Vidal Nuno came in for relief and gave up the lead. Austin Adams pitched a scoreless inning and then helped implode things. He was charged with all three runs in the eighth and Tyler Sturdevant with the assistance on that.

Just a fantastic half-season for Mahoning Valley. Largely made up of last year and this year's draft, they had a Asian Catcher an Australian outfielder, just a crazy mix of players and backgrounds and personalities that we don't get to experience fully. Again, we'll go over every team later, but they deserve one last shout out here for the fantastic season. Thanks to Travis Fryman and all the players and coaches for a great 2009!

9.16.2009

Minor Issues: Aeros Take Game 1, Scrappers Force Game 3

WHAT'S THE NEWS

The Captains always seems to find a good relief pitcher to close out games. Last year it was Vinnie Pestano, this year it was Steve Smith. He's the latest to have a nice story written up by Tony at IPI.

I'm working on season wrap-ups for all the teams. They'll start going up after Akron's season is over/starting next week.

AKRON AEROS

Josh Tomlin was good again and the Aeros offense was even better, again. It wasn't Scott Barnes on the mound, rather Tomlin going seven strong innings, giving up two runs, and winning his second postseason game in the Aeros 7-2 win of Game One.

In what was probably his last game of the year, Tomlin struck out seven and walked none off the five hits he gave up. Steven Wright and Neil Wagner pitched scoreless frames to end the game.

Beau Mills hit a two-run homer in the 4th inning to make it a 5-0 Aeros lead. Matt McBride added a solo shot in the 8th as one of his three hits. Johnnie Drennen also had three hits and knocked in a run. Lonnie Chisenhall had two hits.

Game two is tonight from Connecticut and it will be EL Pitcher of the Year Jeanmar Gomez taking the mound. Gomez was great in his first game, while Connecticut's pitcher has struggled.

MAHONING VALLEY SCRAPPERS

The magic isn't done yet. The Scrappers' magical season had at least one more spark with a Chun-Hsiu Chen walk-off homerun in the bottom of the 11th inning last night to give the Scrappers a Game 2 victory over Staten Island.

Tied 2-2 and leading off the 11th, Chen greeted pitcher Ronny Marte with the bomb to force a game three back in Niles tonight.

Argenis Martinez had a good night, with two hits and one of the Scrappers RBIs. Chen had another hit and he was joined by Ben Carlson and Jason Smit with two-hit nights. Casey Frawley knocked in the other run.

Marty Popham went five innings, gave up the only two runs for Staten Island and struck out five. Antwoine Hubbard was amazing with two scoreless innings and Cory Burns hulked up for 3.1 innings of scoreless relief and four strikeouts.

Game three for all the marbles is tonight in Niles at 7:05 PM. Let's bring home the Championship Valley! Vidal Nuno goes for the Scrappers.

9.15.2009

Minor Issues: Valley Falls to Staten Island in NYPLCS's first game

WHAT'S THE NEWS

I know, you are probably saying, "What's with all the minor league updates?"

Well, I'm busy in the morning lately, so the only time I have is for minor league updates. I'll stop neglecting the parent club soon enough, just as long as they stop blowing 3-0 leads in the 8th inning.

The IPI has a story up on Bo Greenwell. Great read for anyone that doesn't know much about the young outfielder.

AKRON AEROS

Akron kicks things off in Connecticut tonight, with Scott Barnes on the hill.

MAHONING VALLEY SCRAPPERS

Perhaps the layoff contributed to the rust of the Scrappers in their 3-0 defeat to Staten Island in Game 1 of the NYPL Championship?

The Scrappers did garner seven hits, two from Jordan Henry, three from Ben Carlson, including two doubles, but were unable to score a run.

Brett Brach only went four innings giving up two earned off five hits. Vidal Nuno pitched two scoreless innings of relief but Nick Kirk gave up a solo home run to give up another run to the Yankees.

The Scrappers must now win both games back home at Niles. First pitch slated for 7:05 PM ET with Marty Popham on the mound for the Valley. Come on Scrappers, pull it out!

9.14.2009

Minor Issues: We've got ourselves a Championship series, two of them.

WHAT'S THE NEWS

It sure took awhile. The New York Penn League could have ended as soon as Sunday, but of course they haven't even started yet.

Meanwhile the Aeros made quick work of Reading and we've got ourselves two teams in the Championships.

That will be covered in a split second. First off take some time to read Tony Lastoria's perspective on the Jordan Brown move. He helps rationalize some of the decisions that were made and while I've bought a lot of them, I'm still not a total fan of what went down.

Also check out his latest Minor Happenings at IPI. Akron and the Double-A Level is a big focus.

AKRON AEROS

Let's not bother with specfics from the games. I missed them. Plain and simple.

Last year I went to the Bowie/Akron series clincher at Canal Park. I was busy last week so my hope was that they'd make it to the ELCS so I can catch a game. Hopefully this week clears up and it's possible. Anyway, here is the schedule as the Aeros prepare to face Connecticut tomorrow.

Game 1: Tuesday, 9/15 @ Connecticut
Game 2: Wednesday, 9/16 @ Connecticut
Game 3: Friday, 9/18 @ Akron
Game 4: Saturday, 9/19 @ Akron*
Game 5: Sunday, 9/20 @ Akron*
*If necessary

All games in Akron start at 7:05, while the Conn games start at 6:35 PM.

Friday is looking possible, Saturday could be a possibility if the Zips/Indiana game is over by then. Sunday is a big no.

Scott Barnes will take the mound on Tuesday and Connor Graham goes on Wednesday.

MAHONING VALLEY SCRAPPERS

Between observance for 9/11 and the rain, the Scrappers finally got their NYP championship opponent.

It will be the Staten Island Yankees after they defeated Lowell. The series starts immediately tonight and so begins three days of intenseness as they kick it off in Staten Island and make a bus trip down to Niles for the next two games.

Game 1: Monday, 9/14 @ Staten Island
Game 2: Tuesday, 9/15 @ Niles
Game 3: Wednesday, 9/16 @ Niles*
*If necessary

Let's go Valley! My former town's minor league team and my new town's minor league team both in the championships.

9.10.2009

Minor Issues: Mahoning Valley Advances to NYP Championship; Aeros Take Game One

WHAT'S THE NEWS

I've put the Jordan Brown fiasco into some sort of organized fashion with my latest formal article. You can read that here.

The 2009 Instructional League Roster and Schedule has been released thanks to IPI. They kick off in a few weeks on September 22nd and will play through mid-October.

Among the notables on the club. Trade acquisitions Scott Barnes and Connor Graham, Kelvin De La Cruz, top draft picks Joe Gardner and Alex White, Trey Haley, Roberto Perez, Greg Folgia, Kyle Bellows, Wuali Bryan (no longer Wally? more authentic?), Jesus Brito, Cord Phelps, Nate Recknagel, Carlos Rivero, Josh Rodriguez, Jeremie Tice, Delvi Cid, Tim Fedroff, Jordan Henry, Jason Kipnis, Jason Smit, and Donnie Webb.

52 players in all will be on the team. This is a good chance to get some of the lower-level prospects some work, such as Kelvin De La Cruz. Players that can't play in the fall-league. It's also another way to acclimate new players to the system, such as Alex White and Joe Gardner, who we didn't see in any action in the minors this year for one reason or another.

AKRON AEROS

It was clos early, but Akron busted out in their final three innings of at-bats for five runs to beat Reading 9-4 in the first game of the first round of the Eastern League playoffs.

Josh Rodriguez doubled twice, and both him and Constanza had two hits and a RBI.

Also with two hits were Lonnie Chisenhall and Jerad Head, who knocked in four of the Aeros runs. Johnnie Drennen hit yet another home run, a two-run shot in the sixth inning.

Josh Tomlin went seven innings and gave up just one earned off three hits and no walks. He struck out 8 hitters and picked up the win. Josh Judy pitched an inning and a third for the save.

Game two is happening at Canal Park at the same 7:05 PM ET time tonight! Go Aeros!

MAHONING VALLEY SCRAPPERS

While running up their semi-final playoff record up to 8-0 the Scrappers advanced to the New York-Penn League Championship series with their 3-1 defeat of Brooklyn! Congrats Valley!

The Scrapper pitching staff was nails in the two game sweep of Brooklyn, with Vidal Nuno being the man in Game Two. Nuno went five scoreless with just one hit and one walk surrendered. Austin Adams, Tyler Sturdevant and Guido Fonseca pitched four innings with just one hit and run.

Jason Kipnis hit another home run, this one a two-run shot and Ben Carlson came through with the other RBI.

The Scrappers will face the winner of the Lowell and Staten Island game that will be played tonight. The game is set to take place on Saturday with an off-day for both teams on Friday. Mahoning Valley obviously gets two days off.