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May 31, 2003  


Record:21-32, 4th Place, 10 GB
Last:Won 7-3 over White Sox on Friday
Streak:Won three in a row
Next:Today vs White Sox, 1:05 PM ET
Matchup:Mark Buehrle (2-8, 5.01) vs Jason Davis (4-4, 5.66)
On Deck:Three games in Denver (Tues-Thurs)

A winning month of May. Who would've ever thunk it?

Great game by the Indians last night. Solid hitting, good relief pitching. Ben Broussard jacked his third homer. Four scoreless innings from the bullpen? Are you kidding me? It was only one game but Dan Miceli looked pretty good. Jody Gerut drew a walk. Why is this a big deal? It's only his second in 83 at-bats. Josh Bard let Carlos Lee steal two bases. Why is this important? He's on my fantasy team :-)

Don't look now but the Indians are only 3-1/2 games behind the White Sox.

The Indians called up Zach Sorenson from Buffalo and designated Bill Selby for assignment yesterday. Sorenson will be making his major league debut after being selected by the Indians in the 2nd round of the 1998 draft out of Wichita State. He was hitting .223/.288/.337/.625 with six doubles, three triples, and three homeruns for the Bisons. I was initially surprised by this move, not because of any desire to keep Bill Selby on the roster, but because Sorenson had not done anything recently (or this season) that would have seemed to warrant him a call-up. What he brings to the roster, however, is speed off the bench (10 steals this year) and increased versatility as he can play second, short, third, and anywhere in the outfield. Specifically, this move and those traits were made to help the Indians when they start interleague play next week in Colorado. Sorenson will probably last on the roster until Ricky Gutierrez is ready to be activated in June.

The Indians now have 10 days in which to trade, release, or outright Selby to the minor leagues. It's expected that he will clear waivers and I'm going to assume that he'll accept an assignment to Buffalo. I have a feeling we have not seen the last of Selby in the big leagues this season.

Cliff Lee was activated from the 60-day disabled list and optioned to double-A Akron. He's expected to make two starts for the Aeros before moving up to Buffalo.

To make room for Lee on the 40-man roster, Jason Bere was transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL (thereby removing him from the 40). His MRI revealed fraying in the rotator cuff and labrum and the Indians team doctors have recommended surgery. Bere will see a specialist in Boston before making a decision but it looks like he's done for year.

Jason Phillips cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Buffalo. He'll rejoin the Bisons rotation.

Jack Cressend was promoted from Akron to Buffalo where he'll join the Bisons bullpen. Cressend did not allow an earned run in 16 innings for Akron and held opposing hitters to a .235 average while walking two and striking out 10.

The Bisons lost their ninth in a row yesterday, yet they remain in first place by one game. How many teams on a nine-game skid have ever been able to say that?

Grady Sizemore and Ryan Church both went deep yesterday for the Aeros. Sizemore now has 40 RBIs on the season and is hitting .292/.360/.464 with 12 doubles, 3 triples, 6 homeruns, and a 23/32 BB/K ratio. Church's bomb was his 8th of the season and he's now hitting .278/.373/.506 with 10 doubles, a triple, the 8 longballs, and a 22/31 BB/K ratio. Both started fast, slumped for a few weeks, and are now heating up again. If you haven't seen these two yet at Canal Park, it's worth the trip.

Rick Elder was activated off the Kinston disabled list. The big first basemen has been out all season with lingering tendinitis in his shoulder according to the LMJ. Elder was the Orioles first round pick in the 1998 draft and was selected by the Indians in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft last December. He's got lots of raw power but he also strikes out a ton. No reciprocal move was listed but I wonder if Bill Peavey was placed on the DL. He had missed the last few games with a sore hammy.

Paul Hoynes reports in the PD that if the Indians are going to leave Winter Haven for Port Charlotte or Fort Myers next spring, a decision will probably be announced in June.

Herb Perry was placed on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in the right shoulder by the Rangers.

Kenny Lofton extended his hitting streak to 26 games last night with a pair of hits, including his 6th homerun.

The Reds released Aquiles Pinales (I didn't even know they had signed him).

CLEVELAND (21-32, 4th Place, 10 GB): The Indians defeated the White Sox 7-3 in the rain for their third victory in a row. Ben Broussard belted his third homerun and also walked and stole a base. Milton Bradley drove in two runs with a double and single. Josh Bard doubled and knocked in a pair of runs. Matt Lawton doubled and singled. Jody Gerut singled and walked and Omar Vizquel, Ellis Burks, and Casey Blake all drew free passes. CC Sabathia (4-2, 2.92) allowed three runs on three hits and three walks in five innings to pick up the win. He struck out four and served up one big fly. Jason Boyd, Dan Miceli, David Riske, and Danys Baez each pitched an inning of scoreless relief. Baez and Miceli struck out two batters apiece. Omar made an error in the field.

BUFFALO (28-22, 1st Place, 1.0 GA): The Bisons dropped their 9th in a row, losing to Columbus 4-3. The offense rallied to tie the game with runs in the 8th and 9th inning but Alex Herrera and Chad Paronto combined to let the winning run cross the plate in the bottom of the 9th. Jamie Brown (2.36) started for the Bisons and went seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits and three walks, striking out one. Herrera was charged with the final run and he allowed a hit and a walk in 1.1 innings while Paronto faced one batter and gave up the game-winning hit. Luis Garcia homered (#5), singled, and walked. Greg LaRocca doubled and singled. Jhonny Peralta and Nate Grindell doubled. Victor Martinez walked and was hit by a pitch. Travis Hafner and Alex Escobar each went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

AKRON (34-21, 1st Place, 4.5 GA): The Aeros used four homeruns to defeat Bowie 5-3. Grady Sizemore (#6), Ryan Church (#8), Ron Wright (#3), and Brian Luderer (#3) all went deep for the good guys. Church also doubled, singled, and stole a base while Luderer added a baseknock, as did Hector Luna. Eric Crozier walked and Tyler Hinges was plunked. Francisco Cruceta (4-3, 3.54) allowed a run in each of the first three innings but held the Bay Sox scoreless for the next five in picking up his fourth win. He fanned six, walked one, and gave up eight hits. Rafael Betancourt struck out two for the save. He now has 49 K's in 31.1 innings.

KINSTON (27-26, 4th Place, 3.0 GB): The K-Tribe knocked off Potomac 6-3. Brian Slocum (3-3, 4.25) went six innings for the win, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out two. Doug Lantz permitted a run in two innings and Lee Gronkiewicz worked a scoreless 9th for his 12th save. Miguel Quintana (.322) stayed hot with three hits, including his first homerun. Wily Taveras singled, walked, and stole a base. Eider Torres doubled. Brian Kirby singled and walked, Brian Wright singled, and Pat Osborn drew a walk.

LAKE COUNTY (37-18, 1st Place, 6.5 GA): The Captains belted three homeruns and went on to their 5th victory in a row, defeating Lakewood 7-3. Jason Cooper blasted his 8th dinger and walked twice. JJ Sherrill belted a three-run shot (#7) and also singled and walked. Matt Knox swatted his 6th big fly of the season and also doubled. Ricardo Rojas doubled and singled. Dave Wallace walked three times, singled, and stole a base. Shaun Larkin had a pair of hits. Micah Schilling walked twice and singled. Nathan Panther walked and swiped a bag and Bryan Kent also received a free pass. The Captains walked 10 times in the game. Jake Dittler (3-1, 1.87) struck out eight and did not allow an earned run (two unearned) in six innings of work. He scattered five hits and did not walk a batter. Ignacio Montano allowed a solo homer in 2.2 innings of relief. Matt Knox made two errors in the field.


May 30, 2003  

More transactions from the Indians today. Cliff Lee was activated from the 60-day disabled list and optioned to double-A Akron. To make room for Lee on the 40-man roster, Jason Bere was transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL (thereby removing him from the 40-man roster. Jack Cressend was also promoted from Akron to Buffalo after throwing 16 innings in Akron without allowing an earned run. More tomorrow in the CIR.

The Indians called up Zach Sorenson from Buffalo and designated Bill Selby for assignment today. Sorenson will be making his major league debut after being selected by the Indians in the 2nd round of the 1998 draft out of Wichita State. He was hitting .223 (41-184) w/29RS, 6 2B, 3 3B, 3HR, 23RBI, and 10SB for the Bisons and has played all over the field (2B, SS, 3B, OF). Selby was hitting .103 (4-for-39) and was .188 (3-for-16) as a pinch-hitter. The Indians will have 10 days to trade, release, or outright him to the minors. I would suspect that he'll clear waivers and report to Buffalo. I like this move, if only to remove Selby from the big league roster and give someone else a chance. Sorenson hadn't really done anything to warrant a call-up and perhaps this is just a two-to-three week evaluation period for him before Ricky Gutierrez comes back in June. We'll see what they say in the papers tomorrow morning.

In other news, Jason Phillips cleared waivers and has accepted an assignment to triple-A. He'll rejoin the Bisons rotation.

Special Draft Preview Edition -- Listmania  
2002: Jeremy Guthrie, RHP, 22nd overall
2001: Dan Denham, RHP, 17th overall
2001: Alan Horne, RHP, 27th overall
2000: Corey Smith, SS, 26th overall
1999: Will Hartley, C, 74th overall (2nd round)
1998: C.C. Sabathia, LHP, 20th overall
1997: Tim Drew, RHP, 28th overall
1996: Danny Peoples, 1B, 28th overall
1995: David Miller, 1B, 23rd overall
1994: Jaret Wright, RHP, 10th overall
1993: Daron Kirkreit, RHP, 11th overall
1992: Paul Shuey, RHP, 2nd overall
1991: Manny Ramirez, OF, 13th overall
1990: Tim Costo, 3b, 8th overall
1989: Calvin Murray, OF, 11th overall (Did not sign)
1988: Mark Lewis, SS, 2nd overall
1988: Charles Nagy, RHP, 17th overall (Brett Butler compensation)
1988: Jeff Mutis, LHP, 27th overall (Brett Butler compensation)
1987: No first round pick (signed Rick Dempsey)
1986: Greg Swindell, LHP, 2nd overall
1985: Mike Poehl, RHP, 9th overall
1984: Cory Snyder, SS, 4th overall
1983: David Clark, OF, 11th overall
1982: Mark Snyder, RHP, 12th overall
1981: George Alpert, OF, 13th overall
1980: Kelly Gruber, SS, 10th overall
1979: Jon Bohnet, LHP, 7th overall
1978: Phil Lansford, SS, 10th overall
1977: Bruce Compton, OF, 11th overall
1976: Tim Glass, C, 14th overall
1975: Rick Cerone, C, 7th overall
1974: Tom Brennan, RHP, 4th overall
1973: Arthur Tufts, INF, 5th overall
1972: Rick Manning, OF, 2nd overall
1971: David Sloan, P, 9th overall
1970: Steve Dunning, RHP, 2nd overall
1969: Alvin McGrew, OF, 15th overall
1968: Robert Weaver, SS-OF, 6th overall
1967: Jack Heidemann, SS, 11th overall
1966: John Curtis, LHP, 12th overall
1965: Ray Fosse, C, 7th overall

Note: Not all that impressive of a group, is it? Manny Ramirez is, by far, the best first round selection this organization has ever made. I can't believe the Gray Flamingo (Tom Brennan) was drafted that high. The Indians have had the second pick in the draft (first pick in parenthesis) and ended up with Steve Dunning (Mike Ivie), Rick Manning (Dave Roberts), Greg Swindell (Jeff King), Mark Lewis (Andy Benes), and Paul Shuey (Phil Nevin). Ouch.

2002: Jeremy Hermida, Marlins, OF, Florida HS, $2,012,500
2001: Kenny Bough, Tigers, RHP, Rice, $1,800,000
2000: Dave Krynzel, Brewers, OF, Nevada HS, $1,950,000
1999: Ryan Christensen, Mariners, C, Cal HS, $2,100,000
1998: Josh McKinely, Expos, SS, Penn HS, $1,250,000
1997: Chris Enochs, A's, RHP, $1,204,000
1996: Adam Eaton, Phillies, RHP, $1,100,000
1995: Mike Drumright, Tigers, Tigers, RHP, $970,000
1994: Mark Farris, Pirates, SS, $820,000
1993: Daron Kirkreit, Indians, RHP, $600,000

Note: Adam Eaton is a promising young arm, now on the Phillies, and is the best of this group. Hermida was regarded as the best pure high school hitter in the draft last year. Bough blew out his arm after signing. Farris quit baseball and became the starting quarterback for Texas A&M. Kirkreit was bothered by injuries and only lasted a few years in the Tribe system.

2002: Royce Ring, White Sox, RHP, SDSU, $1,600,000
2001: Aaron Heilman, Mets, RHP, Notre Dame, $1,508,750
2000: Miguel Negron, Blue Jays, OF, Puerto Rico, $950,000
1999: Richard Stahl, Orioles, P, Georgia HS, $1,795,000
1998: Seth Etherton, Angles, RHP, U$C, $1,075,000
1997: Mark Mangum, Rockies, RHP, $875,000
1996: RA Dickey, Rangers, RHP, $75,000 (injury)
1995: Ryan Jaroncyk, Mets, SS, $850,000
1994: Cade Gasper, Tigers, RHP, $825,000
1993: Chris Schwab, Expos, OF, $425,000

Note: That is a pretty motley crew, although the Sox and Mets retain high hopes for Ring and Heilman.

Andy Hargrove, 1B, Oral Roberts (Mike Hargrove)
Andy LaRoche, SS, Grayson County CC (Dave LaRoche)
Andy Myette, RHP, Lower Columbia CC (Aaron Myette)   

More info on Reid Santos, who was a late DFE signing by the Indians, direct from the Tribe.  Santos, 20, pitched for Saddleback Junior College in San Diego, CA this past spring. The 6'1", 175-pound lefty was 3-0 w/a 3.72 ERA in 9 games in 2003 (1GS, 19.1IP, 25H, 11R/8ER, 6BB, 19SO). He previously pitched at Santa Ana College (CA) before undergoing "Tommy John" surgery on his left elbow prior to the 2002 draft. The Honolulu, Hawaii native was drafted out of high school in 2000 by Montreal and by Texas in 2001 out of Santa Ana College.  "The signing of Reid Santos represents a tremendous collective team effort by West Coast Scouts Darren Chun, Doug Baker & Paul Cogan," said Tribe Assistant General Manager, Scouting Operations John Mirabelli. "We invested a lot of man hours following Reid thru his amateur career and he has been on our radar screen since his days in high school in Hawaii. We are very excited to finally have the opportunity to bring Reid into our organization."   

Jim Ingraham reports in the LMJ that John Mirabelli says that the Indians will have a pretty good idea on who's going to be on the board at #11 going into the start of the draft. This contradicts reports from earlier in the week and is more in line with what we've been thinking all along. The article goes on to note that the Indians will select the player with the highest upside and money is not an object. The next sentence then says the Indians will take a player that they are very confident they can sign. Contradictory? Perhaps, but maybe it also means that if they take a high school kid they want to make sure he's willing to turn pro if the team meets his asking price. Ingraham notes that players the Indians may be considering for their 1st pick include California 3B (and Tribe 2000 draft pick) Conor Jackson, Florida HS outfielder Lastings Milledge, Pennsylvania HS outfielder Chris Lubanski, California HS third basemen Ian Stewart, and Ball State third basemen Brad Snyder. The list of pitchers include Texas HS lefthander John Danks, Massachusetts HS righthander Jeff Allison, Florida HS lefthander Andrew Miller, and Mississippi State lefthander Paul Maholm. Most of these names have been linked to the Indians in various mock drafts and speculations with the additions to the list being Snyder and Maholm.

Ingraham also has an interesting article on Brian Anderson and the 1993 draft (Anderson was selected third overall by the Angels).

Jayson Stark forecasts the top 10 picks in the draft in his latest Rumblings and Grumblings column on and all but Maholm, Allison, and Stewart would be available for the Tribe at #11 using his projections. It's interesting that Stark has the Orioles taking Nick Markakis at number seven as a "signability pick" when Markakis recently turned down $1.5 million from the Reds as a DFE. You would think that if Markakis and the Reds were close financially that something would have been worked out but since he re-entered the draft his asking price must be in the $2 million plus range or he knew that he could get $1.7 or $1.8 million from the Orioles. He must be pretty confident he's going to be popped in the first 15-20 picks to turn down that kind of jack. It will be interesting to see where he slots in next Tuesday.

Stark also reports that Adam Loewen's contract with the Orioles is a five-year major league deal worth $4,000,000. will offer FREE streaming audio of the MLB draft this Tuesday and Wednesday. In addition, they will be offering FREE streaming video of the first few rounds on Tuesday. I'm not sure exactly what they're going to but it will be interesting to check out nevertheless. Baseball America will be providing commentary between rounds but that may be part of the MLB Radio (pay site) portion of the broadcast.

Coming Monday: Some combination of mock draft, Indians overview, and potential draftee profiles.

Cleveland Indians Report -- Friday, May 30  
Record:20-32, 4th Place, 11.5 GB
Last:Won 8-2 in Detroit on Wednesday
Streak:Won two in a row
Next:Tonight vs White Sox, 7:05 PM ET
Matchup:Dan Wright (0-2, 5.66) vs CC Sabathia (3-2, 2.73)
On Deck:Three games in Colorado next week (Tues-Thurs)

Welcome to all the new readers who have subscribed to the newsletter or linked to the site through the ATM Reports or Baseball Blogs. The former you know all about, it's a CIR recommended newsletter, the latter is a new site that provides an index of baseball blogs along with links to the most recently updated. The CIR is excited to be a part of baseballblogs and I have a feeling that I'm going to be a frequent visitor.

Don't look now but a win tonight could clinch the Indians a winning month of May, which is pretty impressive when you consider they played 16 games against the AL West and 3 more against the Red Sox. Playing the Tigers seven times helped, but if I had asked on May 1 if you would have been happy with a 14-13 record for the Month, the vast majority of you would probably have responded with an enthusiastic yes.

CC Sabathia takes the mound tonight for the Indians in his first start since he sprained his ankle against the Tigers last week. Over his last five starts, he's been dominant (1.54, 35 IP, 22 H, 12 W, 26 K). Let's see if he can keep it going against the White Sox, who have lifetime averages of .241/.354/.470/.823 against CC.

Jason Bere was scheduled to have an MRI yesterday in Cleveland. Results have not yet been disclosed.

Mark Wohlers had an MRI on Wednesday and the results were inconclusive due to all the swelling. He'll be shutdown until they can get another look in a few days when the swelling subsides.

Paul Hoynes reports in the PD this morning that Ricky Gutierrez may begin a rehab assignment in Buffalo next week.

Did you notice that Brandon Phillips led off (0-for-5, K) on Wednesday afternoon? Eric Wedge says it was just a one-time stint so Matt Lawton could rest.

Does Victor Martinez read the CIR? Since his mention on Tuesday, he's 8-for-13 with four doubles and a homerun. More likely, here's what John Farrell says about Victor in the Canton Repository, “He is facing pitchers who are considerably more advanced than what he saw in A or Double-A,” Farrell said. “He has seen so many breaking balls and offspeed pitches that he started drifting toward the pitcher. It’s taken some of the power out of his swing and caused him to come out of his typical approach. This period of adjustment and counteradjustment is just part of his developmental process.” Let's hope he stays hot.

Speaking of hot hitters, I have to mention that Coco Crisp is still red-hot at Buffalo with his averages currently sitting at .354/.443/.508/.951 with 15 doubles, 5 triples, a homerun, 26 walks (20 strikeouts) and 17 steals.

Jeremy Guthrie's triple-A debut Wednesday night was not a pretty sight as he failed to make it out of the second inning and allowed six runs on eight hits in Louisville.

Cliff Lee did not allow a hit in four innings yesterday for Kinston in the first start of his rehab assignment. Lee struck out four, walked three, and was charged with an unearned run. John Farrell was quoted in the Canton Repository as saying that Lee has been bothered by three separate health issues, a hernia suffered two years ago while pitching with Montreal, strained abdominal muscles in January and strained muscles in his ribcage during extended spring training.   The article goes on to note that Lee’s hernia may require surgery after the season. Lee is scheduled to make his next start on Tuesday in Akron.

Bill Peavey is day-to-day with a bad hamstring according to

Chris De La Cruz is day-to-day with a hip flexor according to the Captains website.

Dave Wallace drove in four runs yesterday on a pair of singles and is now hitting .294/.423/.460/.883 with 11 doubles, 2 triples, four homeruns, 29 RBIs, and 27 walks. He's also been hit 10 times. Not bad for an undrafted free-agent.

The local papers are reporting this morning that Tucson, Arizona is wooing the Indians to relocate their spring training operations back to the desert where the Tribe trained from 1946-1993. Tucson would be in need of a team if the White Sox follow through with their plans to move to a new facility in Scottsdale and Sheldon Ocker notes in the ABJ that Jerry Reinsdorf contacted the Indians about taking over their facilities. With the Indians known to be shopping for a new home, it's logical that the two sides would talk. Keep in mind that an Indians move west would also require another team from Florida to make the move in order to keep the Cactus League schedule balanced. I have not heard of any other teams involved in negotiations to move to the Desert. I suspect the Indians are simply using Tucson as leverage to extract a better deal from Winter Haven, Port Charlotte, or Fort Myers.

The Redsox traded 3B Shea Hillenbrand to the Diamondbacks for P Byung Hyun-Kim yesterday. Great deal for the Sox. Kim should help the rotation while Pedro is out and then he could move to the bullpen if needed later in the season.

Joe Roa was designated for assignment by the Phillies.  To quote CIR spy Steve..."he's been pitching atrociously this season (an opposing BA of a preposterous .341), but was surprisingly decent last season and has upped his K-rate (and his K/BB ratio is 4:1, but then, why take a walk against a guy you can paste to the tune of .341?).

Greg Swindell left the Diamondbacks AAA team to spend more time with his family, but he has not retired, according to the ATM Reports.

John Rocker cleared waivers was assigned to double-A by the Devil Rays.

The ATM Reports also note that Reds pitcher Jeff Austin became the first pitcher to fail to get out of the first inning in consecutive starts since Scott Scudder with the 1992 Indians. That name is a blast from the past, isn't it? After the game, Austin was sent to triple-A and Russ Branyan was activated from the disabled list.

Twenty-six years ago today, 13,400 faithful saw Dennis Eckersley throw a 1-0 no-hitter against the Anaheim Angels at the old Stadium. Eck fanned twelve Halos and only a first inning walk to Tony Solaita kept him from a perfect game. Duane Kuiper and Jim Norris combined for the Indians lone run after Kuiper tripled in the first and scored when Norris made an out to Angels pitcher Frank Tanana (was this a squeeze bunt?).

Volleyball movies just don't get any better than Side Out.

Happy 26th Birthday to Aeros catcher Victor Valencia.

CLEVELAND (20-32, 4th Place, 11.5 GB): Jody Gerut had three hits and threw out two baserunners as the Indians defeated Detroit 8-2 on Friday. Gerut needed only a triple for the cycle as he homered (#3), doubled (#8), and singled to drive in three runs. Milton Bradley also had three hits and walked in his other two plate appearances for a perfect 5-for-5 day at the dish. Tim Laker also collected three hits and drove in three runs. Ben Broussard added a baseknock. John McDonald and Shane Spencer walked twice and Ellis Burks received one free pass. Ricardo Rodriguez went seven strong innings for his third win. Rodriguez allowed two runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out three. Jason Boyd finished with two scoreless innings.

The Tribe was off on Thursday.

BUFFALO (28-21, 1st Place, 1.5 GA): Welcome to triple-A, Mr.Guthrie. It was a rough debut for the Indians prize prospect as he gave up six runs on eight hits and a walk in 1.2 innings in a 11-10 loss to Louisville on Wednesday night. Guthrie fanned two and gave up a dinger. Jose Vargas was also hit hard as he was charged with five runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks in 1.2 innings. Jose Santiago worked a final 3.2 scoreless innings. Alex Escobar drove in three runs with a homer (#8) and single. Zach Sorenson (#3) and Scott Pratt (#1) also went deep. Coco Crisp doubled and scored twice. Victor Martinez banged out three hits, including a double. Jhonny Peralta doubled and Luis Garcia tripled with two walks. Travis Hafner walked twice and doubled and Greg LaRocca added a basehit. LaRocca made two errors and Scott Pratt made one.

The Bisons dropped their 8th in a row yesterday as they lost 6-5 to Louisville in 10 innings. The good guys actually took the lead in the top of the 10th but Chad Paronto did not record an out in the bottom half of the frame and three hits led to two runs and the loss. Aaron Myette (2.55) made the emergency start in place of the promoted Brian Tallet and allowed two runs in three innings on five hits and two walks. He struck out one. Lance Caraccioli allowed a run in two innings. Carl Sadler threw four innings of one run ball before giving way to Paronto in the 10th. Victor Martinez belted his fourth homerun, doubled, and singled. His average is now up to .256. Luis Garcia (.218) doubled twice with a single. Coco Crisp (.354) doubled and singled. Jhonny Peralta and Dusty Wathan had a pair of hits. Greg LaRocca, Travis Hafner, and Alex Escobar added basehits.

AKRON (33-21, 1st Place, 3.5 GA): Three Aeros hurlers combined for a 6-0 shutout in Altoona on Wednesday. Kyle Evans made the spot start and scattered three hits and three walks over six innings. He did not strike out a batter. Kazuhito Tadano fanned two in two innings and Ryan Larson worked a final scoreless frame. Ryan Church homered (#7) and singled. Victor Valencia doubled and singled, as did Hector Luna who also walked. Maicer Izturis doubled, Luis Gonzalez singled and walked, and Tyler Minges added a baseknock. Eric Crozier reached base twice via a HBP and walk while Ron Wright received one free pass.

The Aeros lost 5-4 to Altoona in 13 innings. The offense put a 4-spot on the board in the third inning but were blanked over the next 10 frames. Grady Sizemore homered (#5) and doubled to drive in three runs. Maicer Izturis had three hits, walked, and stole a base (#14). Brian Luderer also had three hits, including a double. Hector Luna singled twice with a walk. Luis Gonzalez and Ryan Church added basehits while Ron Wright walked twice. Derrick Van Dusen (4.18) allowed four runs (three earned) in 7.2 innings on nine hits. He fanned two and walked none. Ryan Larson threw 2.1 scoreless innings and Shea Douglas took the loss as he allowed a run (his first in 25 innings) in 2.1 innings on three hits and a walk. He struck out two. Izturis, Gonzalez, and Crozier committed errors for the Aeros.

KINSTON (26-26, 4th Place, 3 GB): The K-Tribe split a doubleheader with Frederick on Wednesday. In the opener, the Keys held on for a 9-7 victory. Mariano Gomez (3-3, 5.13) was charged with six runs (three earned) in 2.1 innings as he allowed seven hits and four walks while striking out just one. Scott Sturkie was touched for three runs (two earned) in 2.2 innings and Nate Fernley finished with two scoreless frames. Wily Taveras doubled, singled, was hit by a pitch, and stole a base (#24). Pat Osborn doubled, singled, and walked. Brian Wright swatted his third homerun and walked. Miguel Quintana doubled and singled. Eider Torres singled and stole a base (#31). Armando Camacaro was plunked and walked. Osborn and Gomez committed errors.

In the nightcap, the K-Tribe rallied with a run in the bottom of the 7th inning for a 4-3 victory. Jim Warden (6.11) turned in his best outing of the year as he did not allow an earned run (one unearned) in five innings, permitting four basehits and walking four. He struck out three. Chris Cooper allowed a run in an inning and Lee Gronkiewicz allowed a run in the top of the 7th but picked up the win when the offense rallied in the bottom half of the frame. Brian Kirby drove in two runs with a homer (#1) and single. Miguel Quintana (.305) had two hits as did Luke Scott (.315). Ben Margalski was plunked and singled and Pat Osborn added a safety. Wily Taveras committed an error for the good guys.

Cliff Lee threw four scoreless innings in his 2003 debut as the K-Tribe knocked off Frederick 3-2. Lee did not allow a hit but walked three which led to an unearned run to cross the plate. He struck out four. Victor Kliene (3.34) allowed a run in 3.2 innings of relief and Lee Gronkiewicz worked a scoreless 9th for his 11th save. Eider Torres had two hits and a walk. Pat Osborn doubled. Luke Scott, Rodney Choy Foo, Miguel Quintana, Brian Kirby, and Armando Camacaro all singled. Kirby and Wright also walked, as did Wily Taveras.

LAKE COUNTY (36-18, 1st Place, 6.5 GA): The Captains knocked off Delmarva 4-3 on Wednesday. Sean Smith (4.62) started and went the first 4.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits and five walks while striking out three. Dan Eisentrager (1.69) struck out five in 2.1 innings and Blake Allen (1.61) worked a scoreless final two innings. Micah Schilling singled, walked, and knocked in two runs. Nathan Panther, Jason Cooper, and Matt Knox added basehits. Dave Wallace walked three times and Shaun Larkin drew two free passes.

The Captains scored seven times in the first four innings and went on to a 10-2 victory over Delmarva. JJ Sherrill homered (#6), doubled, singled, walked, and stole a base (#16) from atop the lineup. Dave Wallace drove in four runs with a pair of singles. Bryan Kent homered (#1), singled, walked, and stole a base. Nathan Panther also swiped a bag (#16) and had a pair of hits. Jason Cooper extended his hitting streak to eight games with a pair of singles. He also walked and stole a base. Matt Knox doubled. Jonathan Van Every singled with a stolen base. Micah Schilling walked and scored twice. Keith Ramsey (6-3, 2.30) allowed two runs in five innings for his sixth win although he did give up nine hits and two walks. Ramsey struck out five and served up one big fly. Juan Lara picked up the save with four innings of scoreless relief, fanning three. Shaun Larkin committed an error in the field.


May 29, 2003  

Special Draft Preview Edition -- 2002 Draft in Review  
Thursday, May 29

Thanks to free-agency, much like in 2001, the Indians had another tremendous opportunity to add a huge amount of talent to the organization via the 2002 draft. The departures of Juan Gonzalez (Tex), Marty Cordova (Balt) and the failed signing of Alan Horne (Mississippi) from 2001 gave the Indians seven picks in the first three rounds. The first selection was a bit of a surprise as the Tribe took the most polished college pitcher in the draft, Jeremy Guthrie, who had slid to the #22 overall pick due to signability concerns (i.e., the Scott Boras factor). Although, if you read Moneyball you somewhat pick up the impression that this selection had been worked out in advance. With their next two picks, the Indians grabbed two pure hitters out of the high school ranks and then split the next four selections equally between hitting and pitching. The Tribe's draft was universally praised as one of the best (as it should have been with that many picks) and the debuts of Jeremy Guthrie, Matt Whitney, Ben Francisco, Jason Cooper, and Brian Slocum have done nothing but solidify those thoughts. Additionally, the Indians picked up a couple of mid-to-late round sleepers in Nathan Panther and Shea Douglas and they've also signed DFE Nick Pesco who blossomed into a potential second round pick this year at Cosumnes CC. The class is not without its early struggles as Micah Schilling, Pat Osborn, and Fernando Pacheco have not matched their performance to their draft positions but considering that none of these kids was in pro ball at this time last year, it's safe to say that they have time to develop. For now, this class receives a solid B grade.

Following is a pick-by-pick review of the Indians 2002 draft class...

1. Jeremy Guthrie, RHP, Stanford, $3,000,000
Signed late but the Indians weren't too concerned because his professional innings were going to be limited anyway due to his heavy workload in leading Stanford to the College World Series last year. Made his pro debut in the Arizona Fall League, impressed in spring training, and started this season at double-A Akron where he dominated to the tune of a 1.44 ERA and a .196 batting average against in 62.2 innings. There's some concern with his low low K/IP ratio (35/62.2) but he dominated and fanned eight in the game I attended. Promoted to triple-A Buffalo last week and is on pace to be the first member of the 2002 MLB draft to reach the big leagues. It's not a stretch to call him the best pitching prospect in the American League.

1a. Matt Whitney, 3B, Florida HS, $1,125,000
Supplemental pick for the loss of Juan Gonzalez to the Rangers.  
Lured away from a commitment to Clemson, Whitney had a great debut in Burlington last season, hitting .286/.359/.537 with 12 doubles and 10 homeruns in 175 at-bats. The best power hitting prospect in the systems, visions of Jim Thome were dancing in Tribe fans heads. Struck out a lot (49 times) but that's not unusual for a high school power hitter and he walked once every ten at-bats which indicates he has knowledge of the strike zone. Broke his leg this spring in a freak accident (stepped on a sprinkler head while chasing down a basketball) and is out for the entire season. Will likely return in the Instructional League this fall.  

1b. Micah Schilling, 2B, Louisiana HS, $915,000
Supplemental pick for the failure to sign Alan Horne in 2001
Considered one of the top high school bats in the draft last year, Schilling struggled in his pro debut, hitting just .206/.303/.270 in 126 at-bats in Burlington. The Indians pushed him to low-A to start this season and he's off to another slow start, hitting .192/.309/.272. Still looking for his first professional homerun, it's worth noting that his plate discipline has improved a little this season. It's not unusual for high schoolers to struggle as they switch to wood bats but you would like to see a higher level of performance than this. Still very young and the tools remain.

NOTE: I wonder if the struggles of Schilling, Fernando Pacheco, Mike Conroy, Sean Swedlow, Mark Folsom, etc., prompted John Mirabelli's requirement that all early round high schoolers have to hit with a wooden bat in front of Tribe scouts as a prerequisite for being drafted. This process could have been in place for previous drafts but 2003 is the first time that I can remember it being talked about so openly in the media.

2a. Brian Slocum, RHP, Villanova, $625,000
Pitched extremely well in the Valley last season, holding opposing hitters to a .230 average and posting a 2.60 ERA in 55.1 innings, striking out 48 and walking 14. Has been compared to Charlie Nagy in the past, although I think he throws harder, and Mark Shapiro stated on the radio in the offseason that he might have the highest raw upside of any pitcher taken in this draft. Skipped low-A and went right to Kinston where his numbers have fallen off this year. Currently has a 4.34 ERA and has allowed 40 hits in 37.1 innings with an unimpressive BB/K ratio (22 BB / 21 K). Has had injury problems in the past. I would expect a big second half from him as he makes adjustments to the higher-level hitters.

2b. Pat Osborn, 3B, Florida, $547,500
Supplemental pick for the loss of Marty Cordova via free-agency to the Orioles.
Hitting for average at Kinston (.293) but has not displayed the power you would expect from a 6'3", 210 lb. third basemen. Has a .352 career slugging percentage (20 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homeruns) in 341 at-bats split between Mahoning Valley and Kinston. Did not show a lot of power in college, either, but part of that was due to shoulder injuries during his freshman and sophomore years. It's still very early in his pro career and power usually develops late so we need to be patient (but concerned).

3. Jason Cooper, OF, Stanford, $472,500
Compensation pick from the Rangers for signing Juan Gonzalez.
Signed late but hit four homeruns and five doubles in 55 ABs for Columbus. Off to a strong start this season, hitting .313/.398/.553 with 12 doubles, five triples, and seven homeruns for Lake County and has improved his plate discipline from last year to a respectable level (21 BB / 34 K). Compared to Darin Erstad by when drafted while BA noted that he had the most power potential of any college draftee last year. Next to Matt Whitney, the best powerhitting prospect in the system.

Note: The loss of Juan Gonzalez via free agency turned into Matt Whitney and Jason Cooper.  Looks pretty good on paper for the Indians right now but it's more important how it will look in 2006.

3. Daniel Cevette, LHP, Pennsylvania HS, $400,000
Solid debut in Burlington, marked by the inconsistency you would expect from a high school pitcher in his first exposure to professional ball. Made 13 starts and posted a 4.67 ERA in 52 innings (52 H, 31 W, 36 K). Tore a biceps muscle at the end of March and is rehabbing in extended spring training. One of his fans writes in that his current stats in xspring are 17 IP, 10 H, 2 W, 27 K, 1.06 ERA. He'll make a few starts for Burlington before moving up to Mahoning Valley.

4. Fernando Pacheco, 1B, California HS, $250,000
Intriguing "pure hitter" struggled last year making the conversion to wood bats, hitting .188/.295/.293 and striking out 57 times in just 133 at-bats. Will likely return to Burlington this summer.

5. Ben Francisco, OF, UCLA, $170,000
Missed the last five weeks of his college season with a broken collar bone but never stopped hitting once he turned pro, posting .349/.405/.502/.907 numbers with 23 doubles, three homeruns, 22 steals, and a 22/28 BB/K ratio. Has missed the start of the season with a broken wrist but is expected to return in mid-June and he'll skip a level and report to Kinston. Best debut of this draft class. Also drafted by the Indians out of high school in 1999.

6. Michael Hernandez, LHP, Fresno State, $100,000
Projection pick by the Indians as his college numbers were not that impressive. Great debut last year in the Valley, holding opposing hitters to a .216 average and striking out 58 in 45.1 innings out of the Scrappers bullpen. He's a "Slinger" who looks like he could really be tough on left-handed hitters. Started the season on the Kinston disabled list and has not pitched in 2003.

7. Brian Wright, OF, North Carolina State, $22,500
College senior who had a solid debut in the NY-Penn league last year, hitting .285/.375/.413 with nine doubles, five homeruns, and 38 walks (35 K). Skipped low-A and went right to Kinston this year where he is hitting .276/.359/.404 with 10 doubles and three homeruns while maintaining his plate discipline (20 BB / 25 K). He needs to show more power.

8. Blake Allen, LHP, Union Univ. (TENN), $75,000
Debuted as a starter last year in the Valley, posting a 4.82 ERA in 15 starts (80.1 IP, 94 H, 17 W, 62 K). Switched to the bullpen this season in Lake County, Allen has responded by holding opposing hitters to a .160 average and striking out 28 in 26 innings (15 H, 9 K) with a 1.73 ERA.

9. Shaun Larkin, 2B, Cal State Northridge, $10,000
Has not hit for average as a pro but has demonstrated the ability to get on base, a skill that placed him on the Oakland A's draft wish list last year, according to
. Larkin hit .226/.345/.391 with nine homeruns and 42 walks (40 K) last year in the Valley. This season, he's at .267/.353/.426 with 11 doubles, 5 homeruns, and 23 walks (19 K) for Lake County. Versatile, he's played second and third, and he's a player to keep an eye on.

10. Keith Ramsey, LHP, Florida, $10,000
Signed for a bargain-basement price, all he has done is pitch and pitch well since turning pro.  Struck out 71 in 61.2 innings last year in the Valley while walking only 10 and giving up just 43 hits.  Moved up to Lake County this year and has a 3.17 ERA in 10 starts for the Captains.  His command has been impeccable as he's issued just three free passes in 59.2 innings while striking out 45.  Opponents are hitting .271 against him but the low walks make up for that.  It will be interesting to see how he fares against higher-level competition.

11. Bill Peavey, 1B, U$C
Has not displayed the power you would expect from a guy his size (6'4", 250).  Hitting .229/.343/.314 with nine doubles and only one homerun for Kinston this season.

12. Chad Longworth, OF, Virginia HS
Signed with the Indians in midsummer but did not play in 2002.  Will make his debut in Burlington this June.

13. Reid Santos, LHP, Saddleback CC (CAL)
Did not sign with the Indians.  Blew out his arm last year and returned to Saddleback CC.  Also drafted in 2000 (Montreal, 23rd round) and 2001 (Texas, 42nd round).  Shared Player of the Year honors in 2000 in the Oahu Interscholastic Association East Division with Kinston second baseman Rodney Choy Foo.

Note: Santos signed with the Indians right before the deadline and ESPN is reporting this in the transaction wire today. He sat out last season after Tommy John surgery and pitched in nine games for Saddleback CC with a 3-0 record and 3.12 ERA. He'll make his debut at Mahoning Valley next month.

14. Mike Mitchell, RHP, St. Charles JC (MO)
Did not sign with the Indians and returned to St.Charles.  Ranked as the #4 JUCO prospect and #3 prospect in Missouri by Baseball America.   Tribe could not ink him as a DFE and he'll reenter the draft where he's forecasted to go in the 3rd-5th rounds.  A sore elbow this spring could scare some teams away but his 90-95 mph fastball and plus slider ensures that someone will take a shot with him early on the first day.

15. Nathan Panther, OF, Muscatine CC (Iowa)
Mediocre debut in Burlington last year but toolsy player has opened prospect watcher eyes this year at Lake County as he's hitting .257/.310/.430 with 8 doubles, a triple, 7 homeruns, and 15 steals in 20 attempts.  Plate discipline is a concern (13 walks, 37 strikeouts) but the overall numbers are encouraging for a raw player in his first full season in pro ball.

16. Omar Casillas, C, Puerto Rico HS
Signed late with the Indians, passing on a commitment to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.  Did not play in 2002 and will likely make his debut in Burlington in June.

17. Jeff Ostrander, LHP, Virginia HS
Did not sign with the Indians and enrolled at Louisburg CC.

18. Jahseam George, LHP, San Jose State
Tossed 34.2 innings with a 4.93 ERA last year.  Released in March.

19. Curt Mendoza, OF, California HS
Flyer who signed with San Diego State.  Hit .244/.292/.395 with four homeruns with a poor 5/36 BB/K ratio for Aztec skipper Tony Gwynn.

20. Chris White, LHP, Kent State
Pitched in 14 games for Mahoning Valley last season with a 5.00 ERA (18 IP, 19 H, 11 BB, 12 K).  Did not break camp with a full-season club.

21. Zeke Parraz, SS, Southern Nevada CC
Enrolled at the University of Georgia and hit .189 in 37 at-bats this year.

22. Clayton McCullough, C, East Carolina
Organizational.  Hitting .118/.231/.147 in 34 at-bats for Lake County.

23. Aaron Tennyson, LHP, Michigan HS
Enrolled at the University of Kentucky instead of signing with the Indians.  Pitched in 17 games this year with a 8.14 ERA (21 IP, 26 K, 17 W, 11 K).

24. Dan Donaldson, LHP, Texas HS
Spurned the Indians for Texas A&M where he pitched in 35.1 innings this year, fanning 33 with a 2.31 ERA (35 H, 13 W).

25. Nick Pesco, RHP, Cosumnes River JC (CAL)
Signed with the Indians as a DFE last week.  We've talked plenty about him.

26. Jose Cardona, LHP, Puerto Rico HS
Did not sign with the Indians.  Enrolled at Cowley CC (KS) and pitched in 3.1 innings this year with a 10.80 ERA.

27. Derek Dunne, RHP, Missouri HS
Did not sign with the Indians and enrolled at Jefferson College (JC) in Missouri.  Posted a 2.48 ERA in 32.2 innings with 27 strikeouts (17 H, 6 W).

28. Tim Sabo, RHP, New York HS
Spurned the Indians in favor of Seton Hall.  Named to the all-rookie team by the New Jersey Collegiate Baseball Association this year after a 3-4, 3.09 (46.2 IP, 45 H, 29 W, 55 K, .239) freshman season.

29. Ruben Flores, RHP, Texas HS
Did not sign with the Indians.  Went 8-3 with a 5.11 ERA (75.2 IP, 73 H, 44 W, 66 K) for El Paso CC this year.

30. Daniel Eisentrager, RHP, Long Beach State
Signed late and did not play in 2002.   Solid in relief this year for Lake County with a 1.82 ERA in 29.2 innings.  Opponents are hitting .270 against him but he's walked only 4 while striking out 32.

31. Jeff Davis, RHP, Kansas
Pitched in two games for Burlington and was released in March.

32. Shea Douglas, LHP, Southern Mississippi
Sleeper alert.  Struck out 49 in 33 innings last year in Burlington with a 1.36 ERA.  Big numbers but not unexpected for a college player in the Appy League.  Broke camp with Lake County and has a 0.81 ERA in 33.1 innings out of the bullpen, striking out 43, walking only 7 and permitting only 16 hits.  Spending the week in Akron as a staff filler but could move into the rotation when he returns to Eastlake.

33. Jensen Lewis, RHP, Ohio HS
Flyer who did not sign with the Tribe.  Enrolled at Vanderbilt where he pitched pretty well for a freshman in the SEC, posting a 3.00 ERA with 62 strikeouts in 57 innings (50 H, 20 W, 3-6 record).  Pitched the first five innings (six strikeouts) of the first perfect game in Commodores history on May 6.

34. Chris Williams, C, Texas HS
Did not sign with the Indians.  Freshman at the University of Arkansas where he hit .186/.214/.278 in 70 at-bats this year.

35. Kevin Hawkins, RHP, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical College
Did not sign with the Indians after helping Embry-Riddle to a 4th place finish in the NAIA World Series.  Named Academic All-America and Honorable Mention All-American.  Founder and CEO of  Search for baseball on his diary.

36. Aaron Braithwaite, OF, Indian River CC (FLA)
Did not sign with the Indians.  Also drafted by the Mariners in 2001 (23rd round).  Not listed on the Indian River roster for 2003.  Whereabouts unknown.

37. Luis DeJesus, SS, New Mexico JC
Did not sign with the Indians and returned to NMJC where he hit an amazing .507/.544/.797 with 5 doubles, 7 triples, and 7 homeruns.  Was also drafted by Seattle in 2001.  Coach Ray Birmingham says that DeJesus is not committed to a 4-year school.

38. John Moran, SS, Mississippi HS
Did not sign with the Indians and enrolled at Memphis University.  Hit .136 in 44 ABs this year.

39. Blake Taylor, RHP, South Carolina
Gamecocks closer saved six games in Burlington last year with a 2.78 ERA (22.2 IP, 25 H, 9 W, 23 K).   Did not make a full-season roster out of spring training.

40. Shea McFeely, SS, Washington HS
Did not sign with the Indians.   Enrolled at Tacoma CC where he hit .418 with 7 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homeruns, and 13 steals this season.  Signed with Oregon State and BA noted that he was the most heavily recruited JUCO in Washington this year and that his .418 average was done with a wood bat.

41. Andrew Knight, LHP, Kansas HS
Did not sign with the Indians and enrolled at Barton County CC where he went 5-3 with a 5.10 ERA in 65.1 innings (78 H, 19 W, 73 K).  Was named as an honorable mention All-Jayhawk West Conference this year.

42. Chris Rosario, OF, Florida HS
Did not sign with the Indians.  Listed on the Daytona Beach CC roster but he was not listed on the stats page.

43. Matt Paz, RHP, Long Beach State
Did not sign and returned to LBSU for his senior year.  Paz sat out all last season after Tommy John surgery.  Posted a 7.80 ERA in 15 innings for the Dirtbags this year.

44. Richard "Boomer" Welles, 3B, Glendale JC (CAL)
Did not sign and returned to Glendale.  Hit .348/.439/.523 with 15 doubles and 4 homeruns this season.  Glendale SID Alex Leon says that Welles was first-team all-Western State Conference and that he is not committed to a 4-year school at this point but his grades are solid and he could go that route if he does not like his draft position this year.

45. Truan Mehl, OF, Hutchinson CC (KAN)
Did not sign with the Indians and returned to Hutchinson.  Signed with Maryland where he will enroll in the fall.

46. Aaron Davidson, 2B, Florida
Organizational who hit .180 in 50 ABs in Burlington last year.   Did not break camp with a full-season club this spring.

47. Jimmy Mayer, SS, Pennsylvania HS
Did not sign with the Tribe and was a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh this year.

48. Bryce Kartler, LHP, Arizona State
Did not sign with the Indians and returned to Arizona State.  Held opponents to a .225 average this season in 19 innings for the Sun Devils.  Ranked as the #27 prospect in Arizona by BA.  Both BA and Teamonebaseball say he has LOOGY (Lefty One Out Guy) potential.

49. Daniel Lindner, RHP, Potomac State JC (WV)
Did not sign with the Indians and returned to Potomac State.  Ranked as the #16 prospect in West Virginia by BA.

50. Ricardo Concepcion, OF, Puerto Rico HS
Cool baseball name.  Did not sign with the Indians.  Whereabouts unknown.

The keg is dry today.
Tomorrow: Draft Lists


May 28, 2003  

Wednesday, May 28
Special Draft Preview Edition: News and Notes

The scheduled 2002 draft review will be published tomorrow. It's taken a little longer than planned to put together but the good news is that all of the past draft reviews should be relatively easy to update next year. Here's today's draft news and notes.

John Mirabelli says in the Indians draft preview on that he has no idea what the teams in front of him are going to do. I'm sure there's some truth to this, as in, he's not 100% certain who they're going to take, but more than in any other draft (because picks can't be taken) teams talk about who they're going to take, if for no other reason than to guage signability and gain information. If teams can't trade up in front of you to get a player, the risk of losing someone (like in the NFL or NBA) is significantly reduced. If you've read Moneyball, you know what I mean. I find it hard to believe that the Indians won't have a good handle on what's going to happen in the first 10 picks by the time Tuesday morning rolls around.

Also in the preview is the note that the 1991 draft of Manny Ramirez, Herb Perry, Chad Ogea, Paul Byrd, Albie Lopez, and Damien Jackson as the strongest in Indians history.

Paul Hoynes notes in the PD this morning that Nick Pesco signed for $460,000.

Hoynes also reports that the Indians were close to signing another DFE before the Monday deadline but does not identify the player. I suspect it was 14th round pick Mike Mitchell from St.Charles JC (Mo) whom Baseball America had ranked as the #8 JUCO prospect in the country. He's a likely 3rd-5th round pick on Tuesday

Wednesday, May 28

Record:19-32, 4th Place, 11.5 GB
Last:Won 5-2 in Detroit on Tuesday
Streak:Won one
Next:Today in Detroit, 1:05 PM
Matchup:Ricardo Rodriguez (2-5, 4.70) vs Mike Maroth (1-9, 5.40)
On Deck:Off day on Thursday, three games vs Chicago this weekend

Terrific work by the bullpen last night in relief. Omar steals home. Ben Broussard working himself into a comfort zone. A good night for the Tribe, except...

"It's bad. This is way beyond simple discomfort.'' 

That's what Jason Bere said last night after he was removed from his second start after pitching only one inning (1H, 1R). Bere was placed on the disabled list this morning with inflammation in his shoulder and it sounds like surgery is likely and I'm going to speculate that he could be done for the season. This is the 538th time that Bere has been on the disabled list in his career, which includes elbow tendonitis (1995), elbow tendonitis (1996), elbow surgery (1996), elbow rehab (1997), elbow inflammation (1999), right knee and right groin (2002), restrained right groin (2002), shoulder (early 2003). I hate to say I told you so, but given his track record, is it any wonder that he's broken down again? I know he's never been disabled for shoulder problems but the shoulder was just about the only thing left on his body that hadn't broken down, so you know it was due to go any minute. I'm making light of this, but let's hope that Bere makes a complete recovery and can continue his career. Since he's only on a one-year deal with the Indians, I would say that whether or not that will be in Cleveland is very much in doubt right now. Aside from losing a player, the additional downside to the Indians is the loss of a potential trading chip at the trade deadline in July.

Brian Tallet was recalled from Buffalo to take Bere's spot on the roster. He's made 10 starts for the Bisonso and has a 4-2 record and a 4.27 ERA. Opposing hitters are hitting .229 off of him and he's struck out 50 in 59 innings. Of some concern is the fact that his walks are up significantly from years past (26 already this season) and he's already allowed seven homeruns. Tallet last pitched on Saturday (May 24) when he threw seven innings (7H, 3R, 1ER, 3W, 5K, 1HR) against the Richmond Braves and his next scheduled outing would have been tomorrow in Louisville so he should be ready to pitch today if needed. From the local papers, it sounds like Billy Traber will move into the rotation but it would not surprise me if the choice is Tallet simply because he's been starting all year and can work far deeper into a game than Traber can right now.

Thanks to the day off on Thursday, the Indians won't need Bere's replacement to take the mound until either Monday or Tuesday, depending on whether they give Ricardo Rodriguez an extra day of rest or not. I think we'll see the starters fall into this rotation...

5/28: Ricardo Rodriguez
5/29: Off
5/30: CC Sabathia
5/31: Jason Davis
6/01: Brian Anderson
6/02: Ricardo Rodriguez
6/03: Billy Traber or Brian Tallet

The above keeps Rodriguez on his regular five-day turn and it also separates lefthanders BA and Billy Traber (or Tallet). The downside is that either Billy Traber (2nd major league start) or Brian Tallet (3rd major league start) would be thrown to the wolves in Coors Field next Tuesday. (gulp). Jake Westbrook is apparently not a candidate to rejoin the rotation as the Indians remain concerned about his arm strength and don't want to overwork him this season. He also hasn't been pitching very well of late which makes that decision a little easier.

Karim Garcia's left wrist has been placed in a protective cast and has been told to rest for a week after his visit to a specialist in Baltimore on Monday. Eric Wedge is quoted in the Canton Repository as saying that the tests have shown nothing but inflammation. In the ABJ, Wedge is quoted as saying that Garcia will start a hitting program after his 7-day rest period and that he's at least two weeks away from returning to the lineup.

Mark Wohlers has been shutdown and was evaluated again in Cleveland yesterday. No word yet on the date of his next rehab appearance.

The ABJ confirms my speculation yesterday that Jason Phillips does have the right to refuse assignment if he clears waivers but Eric Wedge is quoted as saying that Phillips wants to stay with the organization. If the Indians had waited a day to make the Miceli/Phillips move, would Phillips have slid into Bere's spot in the rotation?

Jeremy Guthrie makes his triple-A debut tonight in Louisville. I wonder if this game will be on Empire?

Jose Vargas was promoted from Akron to Buffalo for the next few days as the Bisons are a man short on their pitching staff after the recent callups of Dan Miceli and Brian Tallet and Jason Phillips in assignment limbo. He's expected to return to Akron this weekend.

Jack Cressend is quietly posting some excellent numbers as he rebuilds his arm strength in Akron. Cressend has made eight appearances for the Aeros and has not been charged with an earned run in 16 innings, permitting 15 hits, walking only two, and striking out 10. His later performances have been better than his earlier performances too. Cressend was a pretty solid reliever for the Twins a few years ago and he might be able to help the big league bullpen in the second half of the season.

Grady Sizemore is inching his way back towards the .300 after a 3-hit game yesterday for the Aeros. Sizemore is now hitting .291/.363/.437/.800 with 11 doubles, 3 triples, and 4 homeruns whils sporting a solid 23/30 BB/K ratio.

Cliff Lee will start tomorrow night in Kinston and then move up to Akron for starts on June 3 and June 8 before joining the rotation in Buffalo.

Chris Kline answers my Ivan Ochoa question from yesterday by noting that Ochoa aggravated his hamstring on Monday and is listed as day-to-day. It's the same hammy that caused Ochoa to miss the first month of the season so the Indians will be cautious. Pat Osborn is also day-to-day after fouling a pitch off his knee on Saturday.

Jim Ingraham notes in the LMJ this morning that Shea Douglas will likely return to Lake County once Cliff Lee moves up to Kinston this weekend. This follows our line of thought from yesterday. What Ingraham adds is that Douglas could move into the Captains rotation when he returns and he quotes John Farrell as saying that Douglas profiles better as a starter but there weren't any openings in the rotation when camp broke this spring. So if Douglas is moving into the rotation, who is moving out? Certainly none of the starters (Fausto Carmona, Jake Dittler, Dan Denham, Keith Ramsey, Sean Smith) have pitched themselves out of a job so the likely scenario is that one of them will be promoted to Kinston. The K-Tribe's rotation currently consists of Travis Foley, JD Martin, Mariano Gomez, Brian Slocum, and Jim Warden/Victor Kliene and that last rotation spot (vacated by Nick Moran a few weeks ago) is ready to be filled by a promoted hurler. Carmona has pitched the best of the Captains five starters and would seem likely to get the call. We'll see what happens.

Jason Cooper had four hits yesterday in the Captains double-header sweep of Lakewood (NJ). He's now hitting .313/.398/.553/.951 with 12 doubles, 5 triples, and 7 homeruns with a healthy 21/34 BB/K ratio. I would be surprised if he's in Eastlake past the 4th of July.

Matt White had a rough major league debut last night in Yankee Stadium as he recorded only two outs and was charged with six runs on four hits and two walks. As a Rule 5 pick, the Red Sox need to keep him on their major league roster for the rest of the season or offer him back to the Indians for $25,000. I suspect the Indians would want him back.

In a procedural move designed to free a spot on the 40-man roster, the Devil Rays designated John Rocker for assignment yesterday. He was already in the minor leagues and it's expected that he will clear waivers and stay in the D-Rays organization.

Kenny Lofton had three more hits yesterday, including a double, and extended his hitting streak to 25 games. He's hitting .312/.375/.455/.830 with five homeruns this season.

Nerio Rodriguez is expected to be sold to the Kinetsu Buffalos of the Japanese League. He's currently pitching in triple-A with the Cardinals.

Larry Brown is a good coach but I don't want him in Cleveland. The last thing the Cavaliers need is the annual "will he stay or will he go" carnival that swirls around Brown every offseason. He's a coaching nomad and the Cavs need a rock.

CLEVELAND (19-32, 4th Place, 11.5 GB): Omar Vizquel stole home and Ben Broussard drove in three runs to lead the Indians to a 5-2 victory in Detroit. Broussard (.293) needed only a single for the cycle as he swatted a solo homer (#2), tripled in two runs in the 8th inning, and also doubled. Aside from stealing home, Omar (.255) also singled. Ellis Burks (.267) had two hits. Matt Lawton (.215) and Shane Spencer (.230) each had a single. Milton Bradley (.324) walked twice and was thrown out trying to steal home in the 3rd inning (five frames before Omar). Casey Blake (.255) also walked. Jason Bere lasted only one inning before being removed with a sore shoulder. He gave up one run on one hit. Billy Traber struck out three and allowed a run in three innings. Brian Anderson tossed two scoreless innings. Dan Miceli fanned two and was credited with the win for a scoreless inning of work. David Riske and Danys Baez combined to shut the door in the last two innings with Baez picking up his 10th save.

BUFFALO (28-19, 1st Place, 2.5 GA): Despite pitching well, Jason Stanford suffered his first loss of the season as the Bisons fell 3-1 in Louisville. Stanford (5-1, 3.11) allowed just two runs in seven innings, permitting eight hits, walking two, and striking out four. Alex Herrera was charged with an unearned in one inning of relief. Victor Martinez (.232) banged out a pair of doubles. Scott Pratt (.233) also had two hits. Zach Sorenson (.223) and Greg LaRocca (.333) added basehits. Luis Garcia (.203) doubled. Travis Hafner (.296) and Alex Escobar (.235) walked. Martinez made an error behind the plate.

AKRON (32-20, 1st Place, 4.0 GA): Corey Smith drove in all three runs to lead the Aeros to a 3-1 victory in Altoona. Smith (.246) had a two-run single in the 1st and added an RBI single in the 3rd. Grady Sizemore (.291) had three hits, including a triple, and also walked. Luis Gonzalez (.297) singled twice. Hector Luna (.224) singled and walked. Maicer Izturis (.280) added a basehit. Ron Wright and Eric Crozier walked. Fernando Cabrera (4-2, 2.60) went five innings for the win, allowing just one run on four hits and three walks. He fanned four. Jack Cressend (0.00) tossed 2.2 innings of scoreless relief and Rafael Betancourt (1.48) recorded three of his four outs via the whiff for his 8th save. Corey Smith made three more errors (#23-24-25) in the field.

KINSTON (24-25, T-3rd Place, 4.5 GB): Rained out. Previously scheduled doubleheader today. Yesterday's game will not be made up as Frederick and Kinston do not meet again in the first half.

LAKE COUNTY (34-18, 1st Place, 5.5 GA): The Captains had a fun bus ride home last night as they swept a double-header in Lakewood (NJ). In the opener, Fausto Carmona ran his record to 7-2 and lowered his ERA to 1.51 as he tossed six innings of scoreless ball, scattering five hits, walking one, and striking out four. Carlos De La Cruz was charged with an unearned run in 2/3 of an inning and Todd Pennington (1.10) recorded the final out for his 8th save. Ricardo Rojas (.269) singled twice and stole a base. Jason Cooper and Bryan Kent singled and walked. Shaun Larkin added a basehit. JJ Sherrill walked twice and stole a base. Nathan Panther and Micah Schilling walked. Larkin and Schilling committed errors.

In the nightcap, the offense banged out 13 hits as part of a 8-2 victory. Jason Cooper (.313) doubled twice with a single. Nathan Panther (.257) drove in three runs with a triple and single. He also stole his 15th base. JJ Sherrill (.249) doubled twice (#16-17), stole a base (#11), and was hit by a pitch. Jonathan Van Every (.197) had two hits and stole a base. Bryan Kent (.197) singled and swiped a bag. Jesus Colmenter (.188) singled, walked twice, and knocked in a run with a sac fly. Shaun Larkin (.267) walked and Clayton McCullough (.118) added a basehit. Matt Knox (.253) doubled with two walks. Dan Denham (3-2, 3.21) went six innings for the win, allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out four. He also hit two batters. Ignacio Montano mopped up with a scoreless inning of relief.

SLY FOX MASUGA (1-5): Lost 11-4 to Arturo's in the rain. The boxscore mysteriously disappeared this morning.


May 27, 2003  

Tuesday, May 27
Special Draft Preview Edition: 2001 Draft in Review

With five picks in the first 51 and six picks among the first 100, the second draft conducted by John Mirabelli was an excellent opportunity to add a mass of talent into the organization. And for the most part, the Indians did not disappoint. Whether by plan or not, the Indians focused on right-handed high school pitching in the early rounds and landed solid prospects in Dan Denham, JD Martin, Jake Dittler, and Travis Foley. Sean Smith joined the group when he signed the following May as a DFE and these five comprise the bulk of the Indians Class-A rotations in Kinston and Lake County. Another right-handed HS starter, Alan Horne, was selected in the first round but he passed on the Indians offer and enrolled at the University of Mississippi. If there's a weakness in this draft, it's with the position players. Granted, they only took one in the first six rounds (nine picks) but it was a first round pick and outfielder Mike Conroy (Who? Exactly) has yet to make it out of short-season ball. Only Luke Scott (9th round) has shown any promise as a prospect and there are questions surrounding him due to his age and level. Aside from the above group of starters, Marcos Mendoza, Chris Cooper, Scott Sturkie, Todd Pennington, and Doug Lantz all remain with the organization as relievers although none are considered serious prospects at this point. Matt Knox is the only other position player that is playing regularly and he's still in low-A ball. But this draft was about pitching and the Indians landed a bunch of it. It's still going to take another year or two before we are better able to evaluate this class due to its youth so, for now, we'll give it a B grade based on the strength of the starting pitching prospects and taking into account the lack of position player prospects.

One quick note about grading draft classes. There are so many different ways to evaluate a class: allocation of funds, success of early picks, success of late picks, balance between hitting and pitching, etc., that five people could look at a class and come up with a different grade. I mention this because the vast majority of people consider the Indians 1999 draft a complete disaster while the Tribe generally gets high marks for its efforts in 2001. We reviewed 1999 last week and you'll learn all about 2001 below but if you simply look at what's left in the organization from each class, is there a big difference between the two groups? 1999 has Jason Davis (big leagues), Fernando Cabrera (AA), and Kyle Denney (AA) all pitching well while 2001 has the quintet of Denham, Dittler, Foley, Martin, and Smith carrying the banner (others are left, but these are the top prospects). 2001 has the quantity but I bet some think 1999 may have the quality since none of the five '01 youngsters have experienced success beyond low-A ball. It'll be a few years before we know the answer to this question but it definitely will be interesting to look back and see which class, the universally panned 1999 group or the universally praised 2001 group, had the greatest impact on the Cleveland Indians.

Here's a pick-by-pick review of the Indians 2001 draft class....

1. Dan Denham, RHP, California HS (compensation from Red Sox for Manny Ramirez), $1,860,000
Highest draft pick and best arm among the Big Four high school right-handers drafted by the Tribe in 2001.  Has averaged almost a strikeout per inning in his career but had inconsistent command his first two seasons (155.1 IP, 91 W).   The Indians reworked his mechanics after drafting him and he returned to the Sally League this year in Lake County to continue to refind his mechanics and command and the results have been very encouraging (50 IP, 14 W).  His ERA is a career low 3.23, he's struck out 43, and opponents are hitting .265 against him. Be excited.

1a. Alan Horne, RHP, Florida HS (compensation from White Sox for Sandy Alomar)
Did not sign with the Indians and enrolled at Mississippi.  Blew out his arm this season and had Tommy John surgery in April.  Expected to be ready for the start of the 2004 season but there remains the possibility he could be out most (or all) of next season.  Was regarded as one of the top prospects for the 2004 draft but that status is very much up in the air right now.

1b. JD Martin, RHP, California HS (supplemental pick for Ramirez), $975,000
Best early results of the Big Four which included a dominant 2001 debut in Burlington (1.38, 45.2 IP, 26 H, 11 W, 72 K).  Because his offspeed stuff was so advanced, the Indians made him throw more fastballs last season in Columbus in order to increase his command and location with that pitch.  His numbers fell off but were still solid for a 19-year old making his debut in a full season league (3.90 ERA, 138.1 IP, 141 H, 46 W, 131 K).   JD moved up to Kinston this season and he's struggled early, posting a 5.12 ERA with opponents hitting .301 against him.  His recent starts have been better although he hasn't been dominant (17 W, 27 K).

1c. Michael Conroy, OF, Massachusetts HS (supplemental pick for David Segui), $870,000
Doesn't turn 21 until after the season so there is still hope but Conroy has not shown much in his first two seasons in the Tribe system, hitting .212 in 344 at-bats.  The fact that this is his third season of pro ball and he's headed for his third tour of duty in a short-season league says all you need to know about his development.  Critics said he was overdrafted (projected 3rd-5th round) and, so far, he's lived up to that.  Northern high school kids generally take longer to develop so the Indians have been patient but this is a HUGE year for him.

2. Jake Dittler, RHP, Nevada HS (compensation from Orioles for Segui), $750,000
Another big right-hander who has undergone a mechanical overhaul in his two years in the Tribe system.   Extremely inconsistent the last two seasons, Dittler's command has improved tremendously this season in Lake County (37.1 IP, 6 W) and he's struck out 30 with opponents hitting .245 against him.  Missed the first couple of weeks this year with a strained lower abdominal muscle but he's shown no ill effects since returning. 

3. Nick Moran, RHP, Fresno State, $400,000
College righty who has been plagued by elbow problems.  Solid debut in the Valley in 2001 and was off to a good start for the K-Tribe last year before having elbow surgery in June.  Returned to Kinston again this year and had a 3.55 ERA in six starts (33 IP, 32 H, 7 W, 20 K) before being shutdown with elbow problems again.  The Indians are saying he could be back in 7-10 days but the fear is that it's a recurrence of the same problem and will require surgery. Let's hope not, Moran has been impressive when healthy.

4. Travis Foley, RHP, Kentucky HS, $245,000
The least heralded of the high school Big Four, Foley put up the best numbers in his first two seasons (Mahoning Valley and Columbus), posting ERAs of 2.80 and 2.81 and K/IP ratios of 59/45 and 138/137-1/3.  He missed the beginning of this season with a muscle strain in his right forearm and has struggled since returning in Kinston, posting a 5.73 ERA and allowing 39 hits in 33 innings. 36 strikeouts, though, show that his stuff has not diminished. That's a good sign.

5. Marcos Mendoza, LHP, San Diego State, $170,000
Enjoyed a breakthrough 1st half last year at Kinston (0.97 ERA, 46.1 IP, 36 K) but struggled with his command after being promoted to Akron (37.1 IP, 24 W, 27 K).  Returned to Canal Park to start this season but had some off-the-field problems while struggling on the mound (10.87 ERA in 14.1 innings). Demoted to Kinston.

6. Jim Ed Warden, RHP, Tennessee Tech, $110,000
Big right-hander who debuted by striking out 52 in 52.2 innings in the Valley in 2001 before having shoulder surgery in February 2002.   Struggled after his return last year in Kinston (6.61, 30 W, 32.2 IP) and has not pitched well this season either.  The Indians maintain high hopes.

7. Josh Noviskey, OF, New Jersey HS, $99,500
The Indians are trying to convert him to catcher but he's had only 212 ABs in two seasons.  He'll probably play in the Valley this year.

8. Miguel Quintana, OF, Florida International, $20,000
Mediocre numbers his first two years in the system.  Hitting .275/.333/.319 in a limited role for Kinston this season.

9. Luke Scott, OF, Oklahoma State, $10,000
Did not play for the Indians in 2001 after having Tommy John surgery in July.  His debut last year was split between Columbus and Kinston where he hit a combined .249 and showed power potential with 22 doubles and 15 homeruns in 334 ABs.  Returned to Kinston this April and is hitting .309/.390/.507 with 9 doubles and 7 homeruns.   Numbers that are not that all far off from Ryan Church's start in Kinston last season.  Temper the enthusiasm by noting he turns 25 in June which is old for the Carolina League.  If he keeps this up, I think we'll see him in Akron sometime around July and I'm curious to see what he can do against higher level pitching.

10. Brian Harrison, RHP, Georgia HS
Did not sign with the Indians and enrolled at Georgia Southern where he's joined fellow former Tribe draftee Scott Tolbert in the rotation.  Harrison has struggled as a sophomore, posting a 5.13 ERA (66.2 IP, 88 H, 17 W, 51 K).

11. Brad Guglielmelli, C, Allan Hancock JC (Calif)
Released last summer after just 69 ABs in the system.  Signed and released by Colorado and is currently playing for Fort Worth in the Central League.  11th round picks should last longer than one year.

12. Scott Sturkie, RHP, Coastal Carolina
College starter turned reliever.  Dominate stretch (27.1 IP, 29 K, 4 W, 0.99) last year in Columbus earned him a promotion to Kinston.  Numbers fell but he held his own.  Returned to the Carolina League this year and has held opponents to a .227 average, walked only two, and struck out 20 in 26.2 innings (2.03 ERA).

13. Matthew Knox, OF, Millersville Univ. (PA)
Weak debut in 2001 but he rebounded with a solid second half in Columbus last year (.277, 13 2B, 6 HR in 191 AB).  Playing first base for Lake County this season and is hitting .256/.351/.448 with 14 doubles and 5 homeruns and showing a vast improvement in plate discipline (22 W, 27 K).  Needs to turn the doubles into homeruns (while maintaining his improved discipline) to start moving up in the organization.

14. Doug Lantz, RHP, Kansas
Another college starter turned reliever who is advancing through the system one level at a time.  Great 1st half in Columbus last year.  Currently in the K-Tribe bullpen and has a 2.88 ERA in 25 innings (25 H, 9 W, 16 K, .263 BAA).

15. Martin Vergara, RHP, New Jersey HS
Did not sign with the Indians and is now a sophomore at Notre Dame.  Has a 4.61 ERA in 11 appearances this season (27.1 IP, 21 W).

16. Sean Smith, RHP, California HS
High profile DFE who signed with the Tribe last May for a reported $800k-$1.2 million (depending on what source you read).  Currently in the Lake County rotation and while his ERA is not pretty at 4.50, his secondary numbers are not that bad for a 19 year old making his full season debut (46 IP, 42 H, 20 W, 41 K).   Keeping the ball in the park has been a problem (nine homeruns allowed).  His recent starts have been much better than his earlier ones.

17. David Jensen, 1B, BYU
Did not sign with the Indians as a draft-eligible sophomore and returned to BYU.  Drafted in the 3rd round last year by the Royals and he's hitting .178 for Burlington in the low-A Midwest League.

18. TJ Burton, RHP, Ontario HS
Signed late and made his debut last year in Burlington, posting a 7.36 ERA in 44 innings.  Missed some time after being hit in the face with a line drive.

19. Luis Alvarado, LHP, Puerto Rico
Spent the last two seasons in Burlington, posting a 3.31 ERA and striking out 60 hitters in 65.1 innings.

20. Michael Rogers, RHP, Oral Roberts
Signed late with the Indians and did not pitch in 2001.  Made his debut last season in the Valley and posted a 3.60 ERA in 15 starts (75 IP, 70 H, 31 BB, 64 K, 6 HR).  Underwent shoulder surgery in January and I have no idea if he will return in 2003.

21. Richard Spaulding, LHP, Lexington CC (KY)
28 walks in 24.2 innings in two years.  Released last year.

22. Jimmy Schultz, RHP, Texas HS
Shoulder surgery in July 2001 and January 2002 has allowed Schultz to throw only 27.2 innings in his pro career.  That's not surprising when you consider he also had shoulder surgery in high school.  Will probably start this season in the Valley, if he pitches at all.

23. Kenton Myers, C, Mesa State
Hit .232 in 112 ABs in two seasons.  Traded to the Red Sox this spring for infielder Bryan Kent (Lake County).

24. Matthew Blethen, LHP, West Virginia
Solid debut in Burlington in 2001 but that's not surprising given that he was a college player in a league full of high school players.  Did not pitch well in either Columbus or the Valley last season.  I could have sworn that he was released last year but he's in the Indians 2003 media guide so I'm going to assume that he's in extended spring training.

25. Rickie Morton, OF, Pacific
Big debut in the Valley in 2001 (12 HR, 15 2B, 238 AB, 37/55 BB/K ratio).  Skipped low-A last year and struggled at Kinston, posting similar power numbers (13-13) in 100 more ABs and seeing his BB/K ratio plummet to 30/100.  Released this spring by the Indians, not entirely for baseball reasons from what I remember.  Currently playing for Elmira in the Northeast League.

26. Bryce Uegawachi, SS, Hawaii Pacific
Small (5'6") utility player who became a fan favorite at Cafaro Field in the Valley.  Signed with Kenosha of the independent Frontier League in February.

27. Josh Lex, C, Sacramento CC
Did not sign with the Indians.  Currently a junior at Oral Roberts and he hit .274 with 4 homeruns this season.

28. Brandon Harmsen, RHP, Grand Rapids CC (Mich)
Did not sign with the Indians and returned to Grand Rapids CC.  Passed on a DFE offer from the Tribe and reentered the draft where he was selected (and signed by) the Yankees in the 6th round.  Currently pitching in the Midwest League where he has a 4-3 record with a 4.87 ERA in 7 starts (33.2 IP, 50 H) for the Battle Creek Yankees.

29. Chris Hunter, RHP, Utah HS
Did not sign with the Indians and enrolled at Utah Valley State.  Big right-hander (6'4", 215) was also drafted out of high school in 1999 by the Dodgers and in 2002 (32nd round) by the Angels.  From 1999-2001, he was on a Mormon mission in Utah.  BA ranks him as the #29 JUCO prospect and notes that he throws 91-94 mph.

30. Keith Lillash, 2B, Cleveland State
Played one season in the Valley and then retired.

31. Brian Kirby, C, Arkansas
Showed decent pop last season in Columbus (15 doubles, 14 homeruns, 337 ABs) but has gotten only 37 ABs this year in Kinston where's he serving as a backup first basemen, outfielder, and catcher.  Struck out a ton last year (123 times).

32. Andy Baxter, 1B, East Tennessee State
Recovering from shoulder surgery in extended spring training.  Hit .252 in the Valley last year with 4 homeruns and 13 steals.

33. Chad Peshke, 2B, UC Santa Barbara
Utility player with a good eye (47 W, 40 K last year).  Retired this spring.

34. Aaron Mardsen, LHP, Hutchinson CC (Kan)
Did not sign with the Indians and is currently the ace for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and forecasted as a possible 3rd pick in the draft next week.  BA ranks the 6'6" left-hander as the top prospect in the state and notes that he throws 86-89 with a plus slider.  Has plus command as evidenced by the 107/19 IP/BB ratio (2.78, 107 IP, 99 H, 19 W, 107 K, .243 BAA).

35. Chris Cooper, LHP, New Mexico
Smallish (5'11", 190) lefty who has moved up the system one level at a time and is the third college starter turned reliever from this draft in the K-Tribe bullpen.  Struck out 69 in 61.2 innings last year in Columbus and has a 1.67 ERA for Kinston this season (27 IP, 25 H, 10 W, 18 K, .250 BAA).  Big test will come in Akron later this season or next year.

36. Jose Cruz, OF, Metropolitan Univ (PR)
Did not play in 2001 and hit .225 in 178 ABs with two homeruns in Burlington last year.

37. Todd Culp, RHP, Pacific
Spent two years working out of the bullpen in the Valley before being released last fall.  Walked 27 batters in 20.2 innings last season.

38. Neto Quiroz, LHP, Saddleback CC (Calif)
Did not sign with the Indians.  Junior at College of the Southwest (NM) where he posted a 4.91 ERA in 14 innings this season.

39. Brian Farman, RHP, Pacific Lutheran
Decent debut in the Valley (16 IP, 12 K, 2.81 ERA) but has not pitched since and is no longer in the organization.

40. Aaron Russell, RHP, Cerro Coso CC (Calif)
Did not sign with the Indians.  The CCCC website lists Russell as recovering from an elbow injury which makes me suspect he sat out all of last season if he can still be enrolled at Cerro Coso.  He has not played this year.

41. Ross Lewis, RHP/OF, Florida HS
Did not sign with the Indians and enrolled at Central Florida CC.  Drafted in the 31st round last year by the Angels and is currently a DFE.  A big, skinny, right-hander (6'8", 198), he's only pitched 10.1 innings this season (19 strikeouts) and I suspect an injury.

42. Kyle Allen, LHP, California HS
Did not sign with the Indians.  Currently a sophomore at Orange Coast CC where he's struck out an impressive 120 hitters in 99.1 innings and is holding hitters to a .224 average.   Not listed among the top JUCO or California prospects by BA.

43. Vincent Davis, LHP, New Mexico JC
Did not sign with the Indians.  Senior at Southern University.  BA ranks him as the 43rd best prospect in Louisiana.

44. Garrett Mock, RHP, Texas HS
Did not sign with the Indians, choosing to attend Grayson CC.  Drafted in the 14th round last season by the Twins but did not sign and enrolled at the University of Houston.  Has a 5-4 record with a 4.24 ERA (80.2 IP, 62 H, 37W, 63K) and is holding opponents to a .221 average.  Barring injury, he'll be drafted again in 2004.

45. Brett Ashmun, RHP, Modesto JC (Calif)
Did not sign with the Indians.  Whereabouts unknown.

46. Todd Pennington, RHP, Southeast Missouri State
Doesn't throw hard but he's posted good numbers wherever he's pitched in the system.  Currently the closer for Lake County where he's struck out 33 in 16 innings with a 1.13 ERA and .140 average (16 IP, 8 H, 7 W, 33 K).  The big test for Pennington will come when he reaches double-A.

47. Billy Brian, RHP, LSU
Did not sign with the Indians.  Currently pitching for the Alexandria Aces in the independent Central League.

48. Douglas Brooks, RHP, Henry Ford CC
Did not sign with the Indians.  Played for Grand Rapids CC last season and is currently a junior at Wayne State (6.06 ERA).

49. Jason Columbus, 1B, New Mexico JC
Did not sign with the Indians.  Played last season at LSU and signed with the Giants as an undrafted free-agent.  Hitting .268/.348/.423 with four homeruns for Hagerstown in the South Atlantic League.

50. James Burok, RHP, Pennsylvania HS
Did not sign with the Indians.  Sophomore at Old Dominion.  Preseason All-CAA selection but has struggled this year with a 6.39 ERA.

Interesting article in the Canton Repository on Sunday in which John Mirabelli said that the Indians will take the best player available with their first two picks, regardless of position, and that those two selections will then dictate what they do from that point on. And when the players are rated equal, the Indians will choose the college kid over the high school kid. Mirabelli has seen over 200 players in person since January 24 and the most solid group of players in this draft are the college position players (Note: this contradicts what most "experts" have been saying). Most importantly, he confirms that the draft budget is similar to last years $8 million.

Adam Loewen signed with the Orioles five minutes before the DFE signing deadline of midnight this morning (or last night, whichever you prefer). Loewen reportedly will receive a major league contract and be added to the 40-man roster. Terms have not been disclosed but it's been rumored that he was asking for a $3.9 million bonus while the Orioles were holding firm at $2.5 million. The O's saved $645,000 last week when they lost Gary Matthews Jr on waivers to the Padres and it's probable that that money was used to increase their offer. If he had reentered the draft, Loewen was expected to be the second overall pick. There's two potential impacts on the Indians here. The first is that this moves everyone up one spot which leaves one less player for the Indians to choose from. The other line of thinking is that the Orioles will draft a "signable" player with their #7 pick to pair with Loewen financially and that this signing will not effect the Indians at all. We'll find in a week.

Nick Markakis did turn down the Reds reported offer of $1.5 million and will reenter the draft. He's a potential Tribe pick at #18 although that price tag may scare the Indians (and others) away if he really turned down $1.5 mil.

Speaking of DFEs, Jim Ingraham reported in the Morning Journal that Nick Pesco signed for just under $500,000 which is significantly less than what I originally speculated when "second round money" was tossed out by the Indians as a barometer. No word from the Indians on whether they signed any of their other DFEs (Mike Mitchell, Luis DeJesus, etc.) this morning.

Baseball America ranks the Indians 2000 9th round pick Scott Tolbert as the 19th best prospect in Georgia and that he has a hard slider and throws in the low 90s.

Allen Simpson speculated in a Baseball America chat session last Friday that the Indians would be interested in taking St. Ignatius lefty Greg Moviel and Midview lefty Ryan Feierabend in the first five rounds, perhaps overdrafting in order to get them. Sure, it would be a nice story having the local kids in our system, but I can't believe the Indians would overdraft just to make that happen. This isn't the NFL or NBA when draft picks can have an instant impact on the box office.
Peter Gammons notes in his latest Diamond Notes column that the Indians won't let Princeton right-hander Thomas Pauley (a Paul Quantrill clone) get past them with their #49 pick in the second round. I'm not sure if he's basing this on anything except the that Mark Shapiro also went to Princeton. The thought may have some merit, though, with all the Ivy League grads popping up in big league front offices. There's so few Ivy Leaguers worth selecting early (especially from your alma mater) that I bet there is a little competition amongst the group in getting these guys. Think of how your fantasy league works with local guys or personal favorites. You'd like to think that the big leagues work differently than your fantasy league but guys are guys and bragging rights are always important. Pauley is ranked the #2 prospect in New Jersey and was used mostly as a closer this spring, throwing primarily a 93-95 mph fastball and slider, and he averaged 13.8 strikeouts per nine innings. A late bloomer, he only threw 83-84 mph when he enrolled at Princeton. With all the talk from the Indians this season about pitchers needing to development secondary pitches, Pauley sure seems like a one-trick pony to me right now from that description. Not that he couldn't learn or improve his secondary offerings though. I just have to ask, is a Paul Quantrill clone really worth a 1st or 2nd round pick?

Coming Wednesday: 2002 Draft Review

Tuesday, May 27

Record:18-32, 4th Place, 11.5 GB
Last:Lost 6-5 to Detroit on Monday
Streak:Lost one
Next:Tonight in Detroit, 7:05 PM
Matchup:Jason Bere (0-0, 3.18) vs Nate CorneJO (3-3, 3.23)
On Deck:Three games at home against the White Sox this weekend

Hope everyone had a good holiday weekend.

This is the first of three reports you will receive today. Warning, it's pretty long. Following will be the continuation of the draft preview with a review of the 2001 draft. The recaps from the past few days should follow after that but, then again, they might not. We'll see.

Since we last talked, the Indians lost twice to Detroit, twice to Boston, and won at Fenway on Sunday. BTW, with the loss on Thursday, I am now 0-4 in attending games this year. On to the news.

CC Sabathia's left ankle is still sore so his scheduled start yesterday went to Jake Westbrook. CC's next appearance is expected to come Friday against the White Sox in Jacobs Field but that is still not a 100% lock. This might be a blessing in disguise for CC as it will give his arm a little rest. Sabathia is off to a fine start this season (3-2, 2.73) and has been especially tough over his last five appearances (1.54, 35 IP, 22 H, 12 W, 26 K). His K/BB ratio is improving which means that his command has improved which is even more impressive when you consider that his K/IP ratio is increasing. So he's striking out less but walking even less. The drop in strikeouts is a concern (you'd like your #1 starter to be more dominant) but he's done well in that regard over his last five outings. And while I've talked about his usage (pitch counts) this season, it should be noted that he's been more efficient this season as his Pitches per Plate Appearance and Inning have decreased. The only confusing stat with CC is his inability to get lefties out as they're hitting him at a .322/.365/.458/.823 clip this season.

As noted above, Jake Westbrook made the spot start yesterday and did not pitch well, allowing five runs on seven hits in three innings to the Detroit Tigers. This continues a disturbing trend over his last six starts in which he's allowed 25 runs and 43 hits in 29.1 innings. The first four of those outings came against Oakland, Texas (twice), and Seattle but the last two have been against the hapless Tigers. Hitters are now pounding Westbrook at a .306 clip and he's walked (20) more than he's struck out (18) which is as large a warning sign as you can possibly have. I'm sure the uncertainty about his role and eventual move to the bullpen has played into this slump, I just hope we don't start hearing it used as an excuse.

Jason Bere turned in a solid performance in his first outing against the Tigers on Thursday (5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 W, 2 K). In a bit of a surprise, Carl Sadler was the odd man out to make room for Bere and was sent to triple-A. In retrospect, I suppose we should have seen this coming as the Indians had stated they wanted to get more work for Sadler and had previously moved him out of the late inning Assenmacher role he spent the first quarter of the season working in. Sadler had a good ERA at 1.86 but he was being hit at a .306 clip and had a problem with inherited runners. He has not pitched well in Buffalo since the demotion.

The Indians made another move in the bullpen today as they called up Danny Miceli and designated Jason Phillips for assignment. Miceli was signed a few weeks ago and had pitched in five games in Buffalo with a 3.00 ERA (6 IP, 7 H, 1 W, 7 K). I wonder if he had a clause in his contract allowing him to become a free-agent if he wasn't called up in X number of days? Phillips pitched in three games for the Indians and had a 9.00 ERA in five innings of work. I believe he has previously been designated and that would mean that he has the right to refuse assignment to the minor leagues and can become a free agent if he clears waivers (similar to what Jerrod Riggan did last week). I like Phillips as a triple-A insurance policy and hope he sticks with the organization.

The Indians other rotation Jason turned in a splendid performance in Fenway Park on Sunday, retiring 17 straight batters at one point. It's his second straight solid outing and, hopefully, he's starting to grow into a comfort zone as a big league starter. Ricardo Rodriguez, on the other hand, continues to struggle. Like I've said previously, it's going to be a roller coaster ride with the young pitching this season and it's entirely possible these two could be flip-flopped in how we're talking about them next month.

Looks like Ben Broussard will be around for awhile as Travis Hafner was activated from the DL and optioned to Buffalo where he had been on a rehab assignment. Hafner is hitting .333/.417/.529 with two doubles and ten walks in eight games (24 ABs). Broussard is hitting .243/.317/.378 with two doubles and a dinger in 37 ABs. I don't have a problem with this. It's an opportunity for the Indians to extend their look at Broussard and find out what they have (or don't have) while giving Hafner time to regain his swing and confidence.

Casey Blake has raised his average to .260 after banging out two more hits yesterday. He's now at .260/.329/.425/.754 for the season but is hitting .308/.384/.446/.830 for the month of May. His BB/K ratio has also improved this month from 5/19 in April to 8/16. I've been impressed by his defense at third too. His playing time will suffer when Ricky Gutierrez returns (probably next month) but I think Blake has earned a spot on the roster.

Did Jason Boyd really give up a homer to Brandon Inge yesterday? Of course, that's similar to what Tigers skipper Alan Trammell is asking himself this morning after watching left-handed pitcher Steve Avery give up a dinger to the .138 hitting (vs lefties) Brandon Phillips in the 7th inning.

Ellis Burks was removed from Sunday's game with a strained left hamstring but returned to the lineup on Monday and had two hits.

Karim Garcia was in Baltimore yesterday to have his left wrist examined by a specialist after he continued to experience soreness in the wrist during his rehab assignment in Buffalo. Garcia had played in two games with the Bisons and went 2-for-9 with a double.

Mark Wohlers had soreness in his elbow after his outing on Friday (reached his pitch count without getting out of the first inning) and his scheduled rehab appearance in Akron was skipped yesterday. He'll now throw on Wednesday for the Aeros. The Indians are in no rush to bring him back given their place in the standings.  I think they're more concerned about having him healthy in July when a few good weeks could net the Tribe a prospect at the trade deadline.

Cliff Lee is expected to begin a 30-day rehab assignment in Kinston this week.  He'll make one start for the K-Tribe and then move up to Akron.

Jeremy Guthrie made his 10th start for the Aeros on Friday and was then promoted to triple-A Buffalo just like Mark Shapiro and John Farrell said was the plan way back in April. Guthrie finishes his double-A stint with a 6-2 record and 1.44 ERA (62.2 IP, 44 H, 14 W, 35 K) and he held opposing hitters to a microscopic .196 average. He'll start in Louisville on Wednesday for the Bisons. Mark Shapiro said that he'll make 10-12 starts in Buffalo and then be evaluated again. If he does what he did in Akron, it's possible he could be called up to Cleveland but Shapiro is expecting some ups-n-downs and doesn't think that is likely. Sounds like a GM not trying to put too much pressure on his prized prospect. Shapiro also correctly noted that his command was off in his last few starts (four walks on Friday) but stated that Guthrie was not being challenged and that wasn't an exaggeration (his words).

To make room for Guthrie, the Indians traded Mike Fyhrie to the Royals for minor league infielder Luis Cotto.  Cotto was the Royals 8th round pick in the 2000 draft out of Puerto Rico and was hitting .173/.267/.173 in 52 at-bats for Wilmington in the Carolina League.  He's played second, shortstop, and third base this season.  Fyhrie (acquired this spring for Wendell Magee from the Phillies) was 1-5 with a 5.80 in eight starts for the Bisons.  The 33-year old journeyman was being hit at a .304 clip and had allowed 55 hits in 45 innings.

Guthrie is number seven on the Top Prospect Alert Hot List and is an honorable mention on BA's Prospect Hot Sheet.

Lance Caraccioli was added to the Bisons rotation which now includes Guthrie, Caraccioli, Jamie Brown, Jason Stanford, and Brian Tallet. Where Jason Phillips fits into this group remains to be seen.

Chad Paronto (yes, that Chad Paronto) was named the International League pitcher of the week after recording three saves in four innings last week. Ignoring yesterday's outing, Paronto has been extremely effective for the Bisons this season, holding opponents to a .151 average and striking out 17 hitters in 14 innings with 0.64 ERA (14 innings). Likewise, Aaron Myette (.209, 2.19, 13 K, 12.1 IP) has also pitched well in Buffalo. Jose Santiago has a low ERA (0.71) in six outings but is being hit at a .261 clip and is allowing a hit per inning with a pedestrian BB/K ratio of 6/6. Didn't we see that in Cleveland? The one reliever in the Bisons bullpen who hasn't pitched in Cleveland this year (Danny Miceli too, but he just signed) is Alex Herrera and he's having control problems (21 W, 21 IP, .406 OBP, 6.43 ERA, 18 K).

The Buffalo News notes that Victor Martinez is hitting .174 at home and has thrown out only 10 of 42 baserunners. For the season, Martinez is down to .225/.337/.305 with only three doubles and three homeruns. Over the last two years, Martinez has been a doubles machine. I hate to say it, but I'm thinking undisclosed injury right now.

With Jeremy Guthrie out of Akron, the hottest pitcher on the Aeros staff is now Kyle Denney, who lowered his ERA to 1.99 yesterday with six scoreless innings. Over his last four starts, Denney has an unbelievable 0.37 ERA and has struck out 24 in 24 innings (17 H, 5 W). John Farrell was quoted in the ABJ that Denney has pitched well enough to warrant a AAA look. I would think so.

Kazuhito Tadano has not allowed an earned run in Akron in a stretch of 11 innings since his promotion from Kinston. Double-A hitters have had better luck at the plate against him (.244 BAA in Akron vs .191 in Kinston) but he's been able to maintain a healthy K/BB ratio of 13/1 and K/IP ratio of 13/11. Combined, he's worked 30 innings and allowed just 24 hits and four walks while striking out 41 (.213, 1.20). Keep an eye on him.

Rafael Betancourt is the other member of the Aeros bullpen who has opened some eyes with a sensational start (.1.55 ERA, .194, 44 K, 29 IP, 21 H). My notes are messed up but Mark Shapiro was quoted in one of the local papers as saying something like, when a guy dominates like that, regardless of age, sooner or later, you have to give him a shot. It was noted that Betancourt needs to develop a secondary pitch in order to move up and that the late action on his fastball makes him tough to hit.

Mark Shapiro referred to Maicer Izturis as a "top-rate, big-time middle of the diamond player" in the ABJ.

And the rich get richer as Shea Douglas joined the Aeros bullpen this weekend after being promoted from Lake County. Douglas had a streak of 22.2 scoreless innings at the time of his call-up and had a 0.81 ERA in 12 appearances for the Captains in 33.1 IP (16 H, 7 W, 43 K, .138 BAA). Last years 32nd round pick out of Southern Mississippi was also named the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week for the week ending May 22. The move may be temporary, however, as it appears that Douglas replaces Kyle Evans in the Aeros bullpen while Evans temporarily fills the recently promoted Jeremy Guthrie's spot in the rotation. Cliff Lee is expected to claim that spot next week and it's possible that Douglas could be returned to Lake County, sent down/promoted to Kinston, or stay with Akron depending on how he pitches and other moves. Doing his best best to stay in Akron, he tossed a perfect inning in his double-A debut yesterday.

Kevin Martin was activated from the Captains disabled list and promoted to Kinston where he joins his younger brother J.D. on the pitching staff. He had been disabled since May 4 with a strained left hammy. The K-Tribe played double-headers on Saturday and Monday and have another scheduled for Wednesday and I think this move ties into that stretch of games. Dennis Malave was placed on the disabled list for the 79th time this season to make room for Martin on the Indians roster. reports that Brian Jenkins and Shane Arthurs were released by the Indians after they violated the organization's "zero-tolerance" policy by being involved in an altercation, which I assume is a polite way of saying they tried to kick each others asses.

Speedy Ivan Ochoa was removed in game one of the K-Tribe's doubleheader yesterday for a pinch-runner and did not play in the nightcap. Could be nothing, could be something. Just thought I would mention it. notes that last years 3rd round pick, Dan Cevette, tore a bicep muscle at the end of March and is rehabbing in extended spring training. He's throwing 88-92 mph and could make 3-4 starts in Burlington before being moved up to Mahoning Valley. I'm not sure how accurate these stats are, but here's his numbers from xspring according to eteamz: 8 IP, 5 H, 2 W, 10 K, 2.25 ERA.

Baseball America notes that the Indians signed Alberto Garza to a minor league contract.  Garza had spent his entire career (while battling injuries) in the Indians system until he signed with the Yankees this past offseason as a six-year free-agent.  Garza made five appearances for double-A Trenton and walked 11 in 9 innings which led to his release earlier this spring.

BA also reports that former Indians reliever Dan Guillory signed a minor league contract with the Devil Rays.  I didn't even know that he was a "former".  Guillory was the Indians 41st round pick in the 1998 draft out of LSU and had a 2.61 ERA in 165.1 innings for the Indians, striking out 174.  He missed all of 2000 after rotator cuff surgery and a significant portion of last year with shoulder problems that led to surgery last August.

Jerrod Riggan elected to become a free-agent when he refused the Indians offer of a triple-A contract and signed with his former team, the New York Mets, where he'll join their triple-A squad. Riggan's Indians tenure ends with a 7.78 ERA in 37 innings (60 H, 19 W, 24 K). He's the second of the five players acquired in the Robbie Alomar trade to leave the organization. Earl Snyder was waived and claimed by Boston while Matt Lawton, Alex Escobar, and Billy Traber remain with the Tribe.

Boston activated Matt White (selected from the Indians in the Rule 5 Draft last December) from the disabled list. He did not allow an earned run (11.1 IP, 8 H, 3 W, 10 K) during six appearances of a rehab assignment (two games each in single-A, double-A, and triple-A).

The Indians released Rich Powalski from their minor league system.  He's the big left-hander the Tribe signed out of the Central League last year and he pitched in a few games for Kinston last year.

The Cubs signed Kane Davis to a minor league contract.

Kenny Lofton has a 24-game hitting streak (longest in the NL this season) for the Pirates.

Former Indian Dave Hollins announced his retirement. He went 1-for-5 with the Indians in 2001 and finishes with averages of .260/.358/.420/.779 and 112 homeruns for his 11-year major league career.

Did I read this correctly in Terry Pluto's column over the weekend? The Cavs will be approximately $10 million under the salary cap this season? Is this the first time this has happened since Hot Rod Williams said "I'm a Heat now" and the Cavs matched the offer sheet? My god, if this is true, they need to go after Gilbert Arenas to play the point. With LeBron on board, I have to believe that Cleveland has suddenly become an attractive place to play.

Why didn't anyone tell me there's a new Judge Reinhold series on TV?    Shame on you!


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