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June 30, 2005
CIR UPDATE: Life's a Pitch
I'm scheduled to be a guest on "Life's a Pitch" tonight on sportstalkcleveland.com at 9:05 PM to review the Indians draft.
June 28, 2005
CIR UPDATE: Denney Fractures Skull
Kyle Denney's skull fractured in two places when he was hit in the head by a Joey Gathright line drive on Sunday and he remains in the hospital pending further tests. Initial reports pegged his return at 4-to-6 weeks but the Indians are now saying his return date is unknown, pending the results of further testing. That said, it does sound like the news is positive regarding Denney and he should be able to pitch again. Whether his return will be this season remains to be seen. Best wishes to Denney and his family. Let's hope those tests all come positive.
June 27, 2005
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT: Monday, June 27, 2005
The Bisons had five players named to the International League All-Star Team, Ernie Young (.314/.408/.565, 18 HR, 62 RBI), Ryan Garko (.273/.342/.502, 13 HR), Jake Gautreau (.290/.350/.541, 14 HR), Brandon Phillips (.257/.315/.409, 10 HR), and Fernando Cabrera (0.89 ERA, 40.1 IP, 28 H, 8 BB, 57 K, .193 BAA). Young, Garko, and Gautreau were voted in as starters by the league managers, general managers, and media.
Garko and Cabrera will also play in the Futures Game on Sunday, July 10 at Comerica Park in Detroit as part of all-star weekend. Marty Brown and Torey Lovullo will serve as coaches.
Kyle Denney, 10 months removed from being shot on the Indians team bus, was struck in the head by a Joey Gathright line drive yesterday and left the field in a stretcher although the latest reports indicate that Denney suffered only a concussion and is expected to be ok. Gathright was the leadoff hitter in the game.
Jose Diaz remains on fire in Akron. In six appearances with the Aeros, Diaz has yet to been charged with a run and has struck out 16 in 12 innings of work out of the 'pen.
Kieran Mattison will replace Tony Sipp (recently promoted to Kinston) on the South Atlantic All-Star Team. Mattison has 13 saves as the Captains closer with a 2.84 ERA in 25 appearances.
Argenis Reyes will miss the Sally All-Star game tomorrow night as the fleet-footed infielder was promoted to Kinston. Reyes was hitting .322/.354/.416 with 16 steals for the Captains. He's off to a fast start in Kinston, going 5-for-8 with three steals in his first two games with the K-Tribe.
Nick Pesco (6-7, 3.99 ERA) and Chris De la Cruz (.238/.271/.280) were named to the Carolina League All-Star Team as replacements for the recently promoted Jeremy Sowers and Kevin Kouzmanoff. Kouzmanoff remains on the disabled list with a back injury has been promoted to Akron according to the Kinston Free Press.
Trevor Crowe is off to a slow start in the Valley, hitting .125 (2-for-16) with a double and three stolenbases. Fellow Arizona Wildcat Jordan Brown is hitting .200 (5-for-25) with a homerun. Matt Fornasiere (12th, Minnesota) is off to the quickest start, hitting .400 (10-for-250 with a double.
Adam Miller has made two rehab appearances for the Scrappers, allowing 10 hits and three runs in seven innings.
Down in Burlington, Carlton Smith tossed two scoreless innings in his pro debut while fellow 2004 draftees Mike Storey (27.00 ERA, 2R, .2 IP) and Doodle Hicks (54.00 ERA, 4R, .2 IP) struggled in their respective professional appearances.
The Burlington Times notes that Adam Hanson is learning how to throw a knucklehead. In one start, Hanson did not walk a batter but surrendered eight hits and eight runs (six earned) in five innings on the bump.
Burlington Indians Roster:
Pitchers: Gerson Mercedes, Jesus Soto, Edgar Morffe, Julio Pinto, Albret Vargas, Jorge Riera, Luis Valdez, Adam Hanson, Jeff Pry, Wilander Cruz, Carlton Smith, Mike Storey, Doodle Hicks, Josh Harris, Paul Lubrano, Mike Finocchi, Jason Schutt
Catchers: Enrique Vasqyez, Ryan Spilman, Josh Roberts
Infielders: Niuman Romero, Cristo Arnal, PJ Hiser, Jose Chavez, Nick Petrucci, Nick Weglarz
Outfielders: Evandy DeLeon, Alfred Ard, Jason Denham, John Drennan
The Indians agreed to terms with third round picks Jensen Lewis and Nick Weglarz. Lewis will likely report to Mahoning Valley while Weglarz will report to Burlington to begin his pro career. Incidentally, it was mentioned in the Plain Dealer over the weekend that Weglarz played against the Indians Dominican Team this spring while touring the Republic as part of the Canadian Junior National Team. The Tribe has now signed 17 of 52 picks with second rounder Stephen Head the lone unsigned draftee among their first 10 selections. I'm not sure if I mentioned this previously, but Mike Finocchi (14th) has also signed with the Tribe.
June 25, 2005
Life's a Pitch Up All Night Marathon
If you're looking for great baseball talk tonight, make sure to tune into the Life's a Pitch Up All Night Marathon on SportstalkCleveland.com. The marathon is a benefit show for the Carol Morris Scholarship Fund which seeks to help students overcome learning disabilities. I was scheduled to be on early tomorrow morning but unfortunately had to withdraw due to an unanticipated work schedule in the CIR household. I am scheduled to join Rick Morris this Thursday to talk about the draft and I'll keep you posted on that. Please turn into the marathon tonight, it's for a good cause and there should be some interesting discussions to keep you entertained.
In other news, the CIR has been absent the past few days due to a work trip to Maine. My internet access was limited and my free time was even more so. The CIR will return on Monday, hopefully to discuss a two-game winning streak.
June 21, 2005
CIR UPDATE: Sowers, Carmona, Sipp promoted
Scratch what I wrote earlier today. Sometimes you can just think too much ;-). Fausto Carmona was promoted to Buffalo, Jeremy Sowers was promoted to Akron, and Tony Sipp was promoted to Kinston today. Sowers will make his Aeros debut tomorrow night while Carmona looks to start Saturday for Buffalo. The projected Bisons rotation is Guthrie, Davis, Traber, Tallet, and TBD with the TBD spot formerly (?) occupied by Kyle Denney who threw last night. The K-Tribe rotation shapes up as Smith, Bay, Pesco, TBD, TBD and you have to assume that Sipp will fill one of those TBD spots. More in the next CIR.
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT: Tuesday, June 21, 2005
The Indians announced the signing of first round pick Trevor Crowe this morning. Terms were not disclosed but Crowe is expected to receive a bonus in the $1.6-$1.65 million range. The former Arizona star will report to Mahoning Valley, no word on whether he'll be in the lineup tonight, and, interestingly enough, the Canton Repository notes that Crowe will stay in the Valley for 10 days before moving up to Lake County.
The Tribe also signed RHP Joe Ness out of Ball State (6th) and LHP Ryan Edell out of the College of Charleston (8th) yesterday. Both will likely report to Mahoning Valley to begin their pro careers. 15 of the Tribe's 52 picks are now under contract and the Repository noted that John Mirabelli expects to have all of the Indians first 10 picks from the draft under contract by Monday. That would include the unsigned Stephen Head (2nd), Nick Weglarz (3rd), and Jensen Lewis (3rd). I suspect this also hints that negotations with 9th round pick Roman Pena (OF, Montgomery HS, California) are not going as smoothly as hoped/planned or that Pena is headed the DFE route.
Francisco Cruceta has been removed from the Bisons rotation, which now consists of Kyle Denney, Jeremy Guthrie, Jason Davis, Billy Traber, and Brian Tallet. Cruceta (5-3, 5.01, 70 IP, 78 H, 20 BB, 66 K, 13 HR)worked two scoreless innings last night in the Bisons 4-3 victory over Norfolk.
Akron reliever Travis Thompson was traded to the Phillies for a Player to be Named Later. Thompson, signed as a minor league free-agent this past offseason, was 4-0 with a 2.16 ERA for the Aeros (25 IP, 15 H, 8 BB, 16 K).
Replacing Thompson in the Aeros bullpen will be right-hander Edward Mujica who was promoted from Kinston. Mujica was 1-0 with 2.08 ERA and 14 saves as the K-Tribe's closer. Most impressive was his sensational K/BB ratio of 32 strikeouts to 2 walks in 26 innings.
Also earning a well-deserved promotion to Akron is first basemen Ryan Mulhern, who raked Carolina League hitters to the tune of .321/.395/.711/1.106 averages in the first half. Mulhern's 17 homeruns and 48 RBIs ranked third in the circuit and his .711 slugging percentage would have ranked second if he had enough ABs to qualify (making his standing in the HR and RBI categories all the more impressive). 28 of Mulhern's 51 hits have gone for extra-bases this season (17 homers, 11 doubles) and he's averaging a home run every 9.35 at-bats. Impressive, to say the least. Mulhern's performance has elevated his prospect status to 40-man roster consideration this offseason and double-A pitching will be a good test for him.
Interestingly enough, the PD quoted a scout in the paper on Sunday as saying (I'm paraphrasing here) that when you see a player with more homeruns than doubles, that usually indicates there is a hole in his swing, with the thought being that the player can punish the mistakes but can't handle a certain type of pitch or location of pitch. The article was in reference to Bisons veteran Ernie Young and sought to explain why Young can mash triple-A pitching but has struggled at the big league level (Young, by this scout's account, does not have the bat speed to get around on inside pitches). I mention this in regards to Mulhern and his 17 homeruns and 11 doubles. Combined with his 50 strikeouts to 19 walks ratio (which is often used as an indicator of higher level status), it's going to be interesting to see how Mulhern adjusts to the higher quality pitching at the double-A level.
Speaking of 40-man roster considerations, a couple of weeks ago, I heard John Farrell on the Indians warmup show indicate that Jeremy Sowers will be headed to Akron soon, possibly after the Carolina League All-Star Break. That may still happen (the CL/CL All-Star Game is next Tuesday, June 28), but Farrell was quoted in the PD on Sunday as saying "Jeremy could be pitching in Akron but we have a group of starters performing well there. We also have roster protect decisions, where we need to look at candidates for the 40-man roster this winter. We'll move other guys up before we move Jeremy because we're not pressed by time with him". Hmmm, doesn't sound like Sowers will be headed to Akron soon, does it? Part of the problem is that the Aeros rotation is already loaded with Jake Dittler, JD Martin, Fausto Carmona, Dan Denham, and Brian Slocum. To promote Sowers, or another pitcher, would mean one of those guys would have to move to the 'pen or up to Buffalo (or get injured, but we'll hope that doesn't happen). Compounding the problem is a loaded Bisons rotation of Denney, Tallet, Traber, Guthrie, and Davis which hampers the promotion of any of the Akron starters and, subsequently, a promotion of any of the Kinston starters to Akron. Given that, I wonder if we'll see Kyle Denney (the non-prospect of the Bisons bunch) moved to the 'pen or traded to open up a spot? I also wonder if this line of thought means that we'll see Nick Pesco, Rafael Perez, or Bear Bay moved up to Akron in front of Sowers? I believe that each of those three would be exposed to the Rule 5 draft if not added to the 40-man roster this offseason.
To clear room for Mulhern, Clayton McCullough was placed on the Aeros DL with a strained left calf. Todd Pennington was also sent down to Kinston after being activated off the Akron DL. Pennington had a 4.42 ERA in 18.1 innings for the Aeros.
South Atlantic League hurlers are breathing a sigh of relief this morning as Captains outfielder Brian Barton was promoted to Kinston where he'll now attempt to terrorize Carolina League hurlers. Barton, who began the season in extended spring training, hit .414/.506/.624 with 14 doubles and 4 homeruns in 35 games with the Captains. He also walked 18 times versus 21 strikeouts and swiped seven bags in nine attempts. Signed as an undrafted free-agent late last summer out of the University of Miami (FL), Barton was expected to have success at the low-A level given his age and experience. A 1.130 OPS, however, has definitely opened some eyes regarding Barton in the prospect world.
In other moves over the weekend, Dan Cevette was activated by Lake County while Reid Santos was sent down to Mahoning Valley. Interesting that Santos (2-3, 5.75 ERA, 67.1 IP, 85 H, 45 K) was not listed on the Scrappers roster. Victor Kleine was sent down from Buffalo to Akron. Kleine has a nifty 2.00 ERA in 15 combined appearances for the Bisons and Aeros but he's also walked 17 in 27 innings while striking out just 11. Michael Hernandez was placed on the Aeros DL with left shoulder inflammation. The southpaw pitched in only four games for Akron (6.23 ERA) after posting a nasty 1.82 ERA in 18 appearances for the Captains out of the 'pen.
I haven't talked much about him yet, but Jose Diaz, claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay a few weeks ago, has been lights out for Akron since joining the Indians organization. The right-hander struck out six in three perfect innings last night in the Aeros 9-2 loss to Reading and has allowed just one hit and one walk in eight innings while striking out 12 in four appearances. I'll have more on Diaz in a future report.
Adam Miller starts for Mahoning Valley as the Scrappers open defense of their 2004 title. Here's the Scrappers roster as of yesterday:
PITCHERS: Ryan Knippschild, Scott Lewis, Jose Amaya, Adam Miller, Shea Douglas, Dustin Roddy, Thomas Cowley, Josh Kite, Kevin Dixon, Matt Haynes, Jim Deters, Justin Pekarek, Ryan Edell, Nelson Hiraldo, Matt Loberg, Marc Jecman.
CATCHERS: Omar Casillas, Mike Woodson, Justin Pouk
INFIELDERS: Boodle Clark, Andrew Lytle, Jordan Brown, Julio Garcia, Chris Clem, Derrick Peterson, Matt Fornasiere
OUTFIELDERS: Jose Constanza, Cirilo Cumberbatch
The B-Tribe also opens tonight but has not yet released their opening day roster.
June 20, 2005
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT: Monday, June 20, 2005
The CIR household moved over the weekend so I'm playing catch-up here this morning.
What can you say about nine in a row? Other than, "yeah, but who have they beaten?" ;-).
Quick peek ahead at the schedule: The Indians have 20 games left before the All-Star break. Only three, this weekend against the Reds, come against teams below .500. The Tribe has six against the Red Sox (38-30), four against the Orioles (41-27), three against the Yankees (36-32), and three against the Tigers (33-33). It's a tough stretch, but going .500 or better (12-8, 13-7?) would go a long ways towards cementing this club as a contender. If they can survive it, the Indians will then have a major opportunity after the break to make up ground on the White Sox with 14 of their first 18 games coming against below .500 teams (KC, Seattle, Oakland, Seattle) and the other four coming against the Sox at Jacobs Field.
Kinston wrapped up the first half Southern Division Championship over the weekend while Lake County ended two games short in the Sally Northern Division race.
Mahoning Valley starts defense of its 2004 NY-Penn League title on Tuesday. Burlington starts Appy League play on the same night.
John Drennan, 1st round supplemental pick, 33rd overall, agreed to terms over the weekend. Terms were not announced but one of the local papers reported that Drennan signed for the same amount as last years number 33 pick which would be for a nice cool $1,000,000. Drennan graduates from high school on Wednesday and is expected to be in the Burlington lineup this weekend.
Paul Hoynes reported in the PD yesterday that the Indians were close to inking first round pick Trevor Crowe with Mark Shapiro indicating that only a physical remained before the deal becomes official. Upon signing, Crwe will leadoff in the Valley for the Scrappers.
Mike Conroy (.181/.250/.313) was placed on the Kinston DL with a broken left hand (hit by pitch). Rodney Choy Foo was activated out of extended spring training to replace him on the K-Tribe roster. According to the Kinston Free Press, Choy Foo, a native of Hawaii, broke his foot surfing this offseason.
In other injury news, the ABJ noted that Michael Aubrey is out "indefinintely" with a deep bone bruise in his back. That's the first time I've heard it's "indefinitely". Not good, but it could also mean they simply don't know when the bruise will heal.
A pair of former Indians enjoyed two-homer games on Saturday. Ryan Church went deep twice for the Nationals while Julio Franco (.269/.336/.444/.781) did the same for the Braves. Church is now hitting .318/.373/.532/.905 with 7 homeruns and 26 runs batted in 54 games for the Nationals and is a prime candidate for NL Rookie of the Year with the Rockies Clint Barmes out with an injury. Another former Indian outfielder, Willy Taveras, is also making a case for RoY honors, hitting .288/.327/.373/.700 with 17 stolen bases for the Astros. Scott Stewart and Jeriome Robertson, meanwhile, are currently toiling in triple-A.
Colorado purchased the contract of Dan Miceli from triple-A, the Angels activated Maicer Izturis from the 15-day disabled list, and Brent Abernathy was placed on the 15-day DL by the Twins with a bruised right shoulder.
CIR UPDATE: Gammons on Tribe
Peter Gammons talks Tribe in his latest Diamond Notes.
June 16, 2005
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT: Thursday, June 16, 2005
It was a game they had to win. Not because it was vital in the standings. Not because it halted a losing streak. But because this is the type of game that good teams come back to win. This is the type of game that good teams do not simply make it close only to fall a run short. This is the type of game that good teams do not allow bad teams to escape with a victory. Good teams find a way to win. And they did. The bullpen was sensational with 7-2/3 innings of three-hit relief (recording 13 of 23 outs via the whiff), Johnny Peralta homered in the bottom of the 9th, and Aaron Boone won it in the 11th with a solo shot. They're now three games over .500 (33-30), won five in a row, eight of nine, and since May 21 (when CC homered in Cincinnati) the Indians are 16-7. The brooms will be out in force tonight. Kevin Millwood will be activated off the disabled list to keep the streak going (Jason Davis was optioned to Buffalo late last night).
Some interesting nuggets from John Farrell on the Indians pregame show yesterday...
Jeremy Sowers (8-3, 2.78), who tossed five innings of one-run ball yesterday in the K-Tribe's 9-2 victory over Lynchburg, will head up to Akron after the CL/CL All-Star game on June 28.
Coinciding with that move, Tony Sipp will be promoted from Lake County to Kinston after the Sally League All-Star Game, also on June 28. Interestingly enough, Farrell compared Sipp to Cardinals reliever Ray King who has a "dominant" fastball from the left side and does not allow hitters to get a good read on the pitch. For now, Sipp is developing a changeup to remain in the rotation but the Indians see his long-term future as a reliever. When the switch to the 'pen does occur, Sipp could move quickly through the system. Interesting.
Farrell also noted that Kevin Kouzmanoff will head to Akron "soon" and it sounded like the promotion would have been after the ASB (like Sowers) if the Kouz was not currently on the DL with a sore back. Coincidentally enough, there was a blurb in the ABJ earlier this week that Aeros third basemen Pat Osborn has been taking balls at first base during practice to add to his versatility. With Kouzmanoff headed to Canal Park, the move makes sense in order to keep Osborn in the lineup.
Of course, if Ryan Mulhern keeps hitting like he has since being activated off the Kinston DL on June 2, the question of who's on first in Akron may me a moot point. Mulhern, with John Farrell in attendance, belted three homeruns last night for the K-Tribe, a three-run blast in the first, a two-run dinger in the third, and a solo shot in the fifth, to give him 17 for the season and 10 in his last 14 games. Over that span, Mulhern is raking at a .383 (18-for-47) clip with the 10 longballs and 21 runs batted in. For the season, Mulhern is now hitting .331/.410/.750/1.160 with 11 doubles and 17 big flys. At 24 years old, Mulhern may be considered old for the Carolina League but production like this is hard to ignore, especially with an empty position in front of him in Akron.
Of course, Michael Aubrey remains in the mix as well and he was in Los Angeles yesterday for an examination with Dr.Watkins (?) on his ailing back. Farrell did try to spin the fact that all of Aubrey's injuries have been separate incidents and this is not a chronic condition but you could tell there was disappointment in his voice that the Tribe can't keep Aubrey on the field. He did note that they hope to get him some triple-A at-bats before the end of the season.
And finally, Farrell also indicated that Scott Lewis (3rd, '04, tOSU) will pitch four games for Mahoning Valley before moving up to Lake County. He also discussed Adam Miller's projected time in the MV but a poorly timed tantrum blocked that out.
The Buffalo News reports that Bisons infielder Jake Thrower may be placed on the DL with a sprained right knee.
June 15, 2005
CIR UPDATE: Five More Picks Sign
The Indians announced today that they have signed INF Jordan Brown (4th round, U of Arizona), RHP Kevin Dixon (5th round, Minnesota State), INF Matt Fornasiere (12th round, U Minnesota), RHP Michael Finocche (14th round, Louisburg) & OF Trevor Mortensen (33rd round, Cal State Fullerton). 11 draftees are now in the fold. More in the next CIR.
Cleveland Indians Report: Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Excellent start to the homestand last night. Let's see if the Big Fella can keep it going tonight.
Down on the farm, Eider Torres had four hits, including a pair of doubles, in the Aeros 6-2 victory over Erie last night. Torres, suspended earlier this year for steroids/supplements (I forget the official terminology), is quietly putting together a solid season for the Aeros, hitting .285/.333/.409 with 13 doubles and 10 stolen bases. A little more patience at the plate (10 walks) and a little more power would help nudge Eider up the prospect ranks.
Brad Snyder, recently promoted from Kinston, belted his second homer for the Aeros and is now 6-for-14 (.429) in his first taste of double-A ball. Prior to the promotion, Snyder was hitting .278/.365/.431/.796 with 10 doubles, 6 homeruns, 12 stolen bases, and 24 walks for the K-Tribe. The caution comes with the 64 strikeouts in 209 ABs which would have Snyder on pace for 153 whiffs based on a 500 AB season. Not that strikeouts alone are a bad thing necessarily (see Jim Thome) but you would certainly like to see a better K/BB ratio than what Snyder posted. This is primitive analysis I know, but if you're striking out 150 times against single-A pitching, that doesn't bode well for your chances against higher caliber arms at the upper levels and on into the big leagues. It's going to be interesting to see how Snyder handles double-A the rest of the summer.
Ryan Mulhern went deep again for Kinston, his 14th of the season and 7th in the last two weeks. Alas, the last blast was for naught as the good guys fell 7-2 to Lynchburg. The K-Tribe's magic number remains at four with five games to go in the first half.
If he had been healthy in May, Mulhern would have likely joined teammates Jeremy Sowers and Kevin Kouzmanoff in being named to Carolina League All-Star team which will square off against the California Leage All-Stars on June 28. Sowers has been splendid in his pro debut, going 7-3 with a 2.85 ERA and .218 BAA while striking out 72 in 66.1 innings and allowing just 55 hits and 15 walks. Kouzmanoff, currently on the DL with a strained back, has battered CL pitching all season to the tune of .346/.398/.616/1.014 averages with 17 doubles and 9 homeruns.
The South Atlantic League announced their all-stars as well and representing Lake County will be Argenis Reyes, Tony Sipp, and Aaron Laffey. Reyes is hitting .330/.363/.432 with 13 doubles, 5 triples, 2 homeruns, and 14 stolen bases from atop the Captains lineup. Sipp has been downright filthy at times and is dominating Sally League hitters with a .192 BAA, 2.14 ERA, 0.952 WHIP, and 65 strikeouts, 42 hits, and 18 walks allowed in 63 innings. Laffey has also been strong on the bump, going 5-3 with a 2.67 ERA, .230 BAA and limiting opposing hitters to just 56 hits and 26 walks in 67.1 innings. Only 30 strikeouts, though, which is down from his first two years in the system. Nice accomplishment, though, being named to the All-Star team.
Fernando Cabrera is in the team photo in the return of Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet.
Since clearing waivers and being outrighted to Buffalo, Ryan Ludwick is hitting .229/.341/.457 (8-for-35) with a pair of homeruns and 11 strikeouts.
Paul Hoynes reports in the PD that Indians first round pick Trevor Crowe is close to signing with the Indians and quotes Crowe's agent Terry Bross as saying "the deal is not yet done, but one is imminent". Based on the Orioles signing of #13 pick Brandon Snyder for $1.7 million and the White Sox signing of #15 pick Lance Broadway for $1.55 million, figure on Crowe coming in around $1.6-1.65 million. Last years #14 pick, Billy Butler, received $1.45 million from the Royals. Crowe will likely begin his pro career next week in the Valley.
Any chance the Indians are talking to the Reds about Austin Kearns?
Danny Graves worked a scoreless inning last night in his debut with the Mets.
Marquis Grissom was placed on the 15-day DL by the Giants with a strained left hamstring. The 38-year old Grissom was hitting just .211/.246/.293 and may be reaching the end of the line. According to baseball-reference.com, Grissom has earned over $50,000,000 in his career. I don't why, but I'm fascinated by total numbers like that.
June 14, 2005
CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT: Tuesday, June 14, 2005
One game over .500. Longest homestand of the year. 21-40 Colorado Rockies in town to kick things off. Can you say "momentum"? One note of caution, the Rox throw lefties Jeff Francis and Joe Kennedy in the first two games and Tribe hitters are dead last across the board in the American League this year against left-handers (.211 BAA, .277 OBP, .363 SLG, .640 OPS). Ooof. The Indians need to overcome these two southpaws and get this stretch of games off to a good start.
Down on the farm, Fernando Cabrera ran his scoreless streak to 25.1 innings last night in dominating fashion as he struck out the side in his lone inning on the bump. Cabrera is now unscored upon in his last fourteen outings and has struck out 34 over that span while allowing just 12 hits and five walks. For the season, FCab has 49 strikeouts in 34 innings with just 6 walks and 24 hits allowed. He's holding IL hitters to a .192 BAA and has a microscopic 0.77 ERA to go along with five wins and a save. That save came on Thursday in his first appearance as the Bisons closer. The Indians bullpen has been stellar this season but don't be surprised if Cabrera forces his way into the mix later this summer. There's a lot of arms in the Tribe's pen that could draw interest come the end of July.
Cabrera came on in relief of Francisco Cruceta last night who threw well, striking out 10 in six innings, but fell victim to the long ball as he served up two taters and took the loss in the 4-3 Louisville victory. The big fly is a problem that has plagued Cruceta all season as he's allowed 13 homers in 66 innings which helps explain the 5.32 ERA despite a solid K/IP ratio (63K, 66 IP) and K/BB ratio (63K / 20W).
One of my favorite players, Joe Inglett, is on a roll in Buffalo, hitting .636 (7-for-11) over his last three games with a double, triple, walk, and stolen base, Aside from his usual infield duties, Inglett is also seeing time in the outfield this season which hasn't affected his stroke at the plate. In limited duty (90 ABs), the Stanford product is hitting .322/.364/.444/808 with five walks, six strikeouts, and four stolen bases.
In Kinston, Ryan Mulhern continues to rake, adding a longball last night (#13) and raising his averages to .314/.400/.671/1.071. Mulhern, who's gone deep six times in 12 games since being activated off the DL (broken Jaw) on June 2, is tied for third in the Carolina League with homers (13), seventh in RBIs (39), and second in slugging percentage (.671).
Mariano Gomez tossed three perfect innings of relief for the K-Tribe last night, punching out four in the process. Gomez continues to throw well out of the 'pen as he's holding CL hitters to a .225 BAA and has 24 strikeouts in 28.1 innings with a 3.18 ERA in 13 appearances for Kinston.
The K-Tribe's magic number for clinching the first half championship is down to four after last night's 6-5 victory over Lynchburg in which the good guys rallied for six runs after trailing 5-0 early. Six games remain in the Carolina League first half.
Much like Seth and Bones, Brian Barton is stayin' hot in the LC, going 3-for-5 with a homer (#4) last night in the Captains 10-3 loss to Delmarva. In 30 games, Barton is now stroking at .415/.493/.636/1.129 with 12 doubles, four homers, and 12 walks versus 18 strikeouts. He's also been plunked seven times. I know it's only been a month, give or take a few days, but the Sally League hasn't proven to be much of a challenge for Mr.Barton and you have to start wondering how much longer the Tribe can hold off moving him up to Kinston to face better competition.
In that Captains loss, Cody Bunkelman (last years 6th round pick) worked five innings, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks in his second start of the season. His debut was quite similar, three runs on six hits in five innings of work.
The Indians traded Buffalo outfielder John Rodriguez to St.Louis for veteran catcher Javier Cardona. Rodriguez, who impressed early this spring after signing with the Tribe as a minor league free-agent, was hitting .247/.323/.447 as one of the few Bisons not stroking at the plate. With the return of Ryan Ludwick and promotion of Jason Cooper, Rodriguez was expendable at the triple-A level. The 29-year old Cardona is a former two-time draft pick of the Tigers (19th 1993, 23rd 1994) who has a .206 career major league average after short stints with the Tigers and Padres. He's also spent time in the Cubs and Mets system as well as indy ball. Splitting time between AA and AAA this season, Cardona was hitting .191 with a pair of longballs for the Cardinals. He's been assigned to Akron.
The Giants released former Indian Jim Brower who had several good seasons with the Giants serving as a swing-man on their staff.
June 13, 2005
CIR UPDATE: Adam Miller Update
Adam Miller threw two innings (32 pitches) of a simulated game yesterday for Mahoning Valley. He's on track to start the Scrappers opener against Jamestown on June 21.
CIR UPDATE: Indians Sign Six Draftees
The Indians announced the signing of six 2005 draftees today: James Deters (7th), Jason Schutt (10th), Nick Petrucci (11th), Andrew Lytle (25th), Thomas Cowley (26th), Matt Loberg (31st). More in the next CIR.
June 08, 2005
CIR UPDATE: Day 2
ROUND 19: Tim Dennehy, LHP, Oak Park HS (IL)
Skinny: "Flier", signed with Texas, 6'1", 195, Longhorns PR says throws 87-91 mph with good command, named to 2004 Area Code Games All-Star team. MLB.com says "Medium, well developed, athletic frame. Broad shoulders. Arm works well. Good arm speed. FB has moderate late tail w/ occasional cut action. Occasional good rotation, fair bite CB. Throws inside frequently. Tries to work both sides of plate."
ROUND 20: Scott Sumner, RHP, Louisiana College
Skinny: College senior, easy sign if interested in pro ball, 6'2", 185, threw one-hitter in February (albeit five innings due to the run rule, they have that in college?), also played hoops for LC.
ROUND 21: Neal Wagner, RHP, North Dakota State
Skinny: BA #3 Dakotas prospect, Hurt knee in the fall, adjusted mechanically to compensate this spring, couldn't throw strikes, and velocity fell to the mid-80s.
2005 stats: 8.07 ERA, 35.2 IP, 30 BB
2004 stats: 1.40 ERA, 38.2 IP, 16 BB, 59 K, .175 BAA
ROUND 22: Clinton Storr, OF, Key West HS (FL)
Skinny: Key West HS has a strong baseball tradition, just won 11th state title. DFE signed with St.Petersburg CC (FL). MLB.com says "Built like a brick house. Makes hard contact w/ quick bat. Power to all fields. Runs well, but gets better once underway. Makes the plays in CF and has accurate throws. Aggressive on the bases. Always making adjustments and improvements to his game." BA adds football player (linebacker) with good power and speed.
ROUND 23: Dexter English, OF, Encinal HS (CA)
ROUND 24: Jake Hale, RHP, Albany Alexander HS (OH)
Skinny (literally): Hale is 6'8", 170. Can you say projectable? Throws low-90s. Signed with Ohio State. Internet message boards say the D-Rays scouted him heavily, looks like they couldn't work out a deal. Given size, not a surprise he was All-State honorable mention this year. Interesting pick. Can the Tribe talk him out of joining the Buckeyes rotation?
ROUND 25: Andy Lytle, SS, Iowa
Skinny: College senior, solid defense, lack of power, .338/.405/.418, 6-3-2 this year for the Hawkeyes, Garden City CC, drafted 43rd round out of HS by Philly, see you in the Valley in three weeks.
ROUND 26: Thomas Cowley, LHP, Oklahoma State
Skinny: College junior, finesse lefty, BA says throws 86-87, gets righties out with change, 10-5, 3.04, 109.2-97-21-80, .240 BAA in '05. Just a hunch, but might go back to school to try and improve his stock (and $$) next year. If he turns pro, I wouldn't be surprised to see him have success up until the double-A litmus test.
ROUND 27: Brandon Laird, 1B, La Quinta HS (CA)
Skinny: Brother of Rangers catcher Gerald Laird.
ROUND 28: Angel Claudio, RHP, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
MLB.com says "Large frame. Well-toned pitchers frame. Wide, square shoulders. Body similar to a young Jaime Navarro. Fluid arm action. Good extension out front. Avg FB, occasionally sinks when down. Works both side of plate. Short slider, tight break at times."
ROUND 29: John Curtis, C, Fullerton
Skinny: College Sophomore-Eligible, red-shirted in 2003, hit .236/.330/.287 with 10 doubles, 0 home runs this year, suspect he'll return to school.
MLB.com says "Angular, well proportioned, athletic frame. Good upper body strength. Similar to AJ Pierzynski. Solid hit approach. Attacks ball w/ aggressive, level, compact stroke"
ROUND 30: Joel Martin, LHP, Marion Center HS (PA)
MLB.com says "Medium frame. Square shoulders. Long arms. Easy arm. Quick release. Sneaky FB works down, around plate. Tight rotation, 12-6 CB. Effective change, good location. Keeps it in the zone. Stronger and improved since last season."
ROUND 31: Matt Loberg, RHP, Minnesota
Skinny: College Senior, 8-5, 4.07 ERA, 95 IP, 115H, 14 BB, 54 K, .302 BAA, 25 scoreless inning streak this season helped him get drafted, throws upper 80s.
ROUND 32: Brent Thomas, OF, Texas Tech
Skinny: College junior, interesting speed-power combo, drafted 15th (04) by Seattle out of JC, recurring hamstring injury limited Thomas on bases, hit .330/.386/.615 with 13 of 30 hits for extra-bases (5 doubles, 3 triples, 5 longballs), could return to school to improve his stock with a healthy senior year.
ROUND 33: Trevor Mortensen, OF, Fullerton
Skinny: Also drafted by the Tribe in round 43 last year out of Santa Ana College, hit .315/.386/.416 in limited duty for Titans, good speed-power potential, spent 2002-03 with Fullerton, transferred to Santa Ana CC in 2004 for playing time, four years in school, he should be ready for pro ball.
ROUND 34: Arshwin Asjes, RHP, Gloucester CC
Skinny: Native of Curacao, big right-hander (6'3", 220 lbs), unsure if freshman or sophomore at CC, tossed four-hit shutout in NJCAA semifinal.
ROUND 35: Levi Laughlin, RHP, Connors State College (JC)
Skinny: DFE, freshman at Connors State, 64 IP, 55 H, 15 BB, 46 K
ROUND 36: Matt Yokley, RHP, Collierville HS (TN)
ROUND 37: Cody Satterwhite, RHP, Hillcrest Christian HS (MS)
Skinny: Very interesting pick, albeit a long shot to sign. BA ranked Satterwhite as #39 overall prospect in draft, signability and strong committment dropped him to round 37. Teammate of Tribe #2 pick Stephen Head in high school according to BA. Throws in mid-90s. It will cost a bunch to sign him. MLB.com says "Body similar to Aaron Sele. Effective on RHH w/ loose, easy motion. Has three main pitches FB, slider and CB."
ROUND 38: Daniel Lima, SS, Florida Christian School
Skinny: Signed with Florida Atlantic
MLB.com says "Medium build. Athletic frame. Room for continued development. Similar to Chris Gomez. Generates bat speed through zone. Line drive hitter to all fields, goes well the other way. Makes plays w/ glove. Arm has strength for ball in hole. Good make-up. Hard worker."
ROUND 39: Jessie Mier, C, Irvine Valley College
Skinny: 1st player drafted from Irvine Valley College, 1st team All-Orange Empire Conference, hit .275, 2 HR, 10 2B, strong defensively, rep for calling a good game.
ROUND 40: Dewayne Carver, RHP, Oklahoma State
Skinny: Sat out 2005 with an injury. Drafted twice by the Mets, 39th in '02 out of Daytona Beach CC and 41st in '01 out of high school. Okie State notes Carver throws in the low 90s.
ROUND 41: Ashton Shewey, LHP, Chandler Gilbert CC (Az)
Skinny: Also drafted by Tribe in round 34 last year, 3-1, 6.00, 27-30-17-20, .294 BAA in '05, Had signed with Arizona out of HS but elected to go the JC route.
ROUND 42: Tim Lincecum, RHP, Washington
Skinny: Another interesting pick. Draft-eligible sophomore. BA ranked him as #72 overall prospect in draft. Reported $1 million price tag dropped him to round 41. Smallish (5'10", 160) lefty, live arm, struggles with control. Tough sign. MLB.com says "Small-medium frame, evenly proportioned. Explosive arm speed from high arch overhand power delivery. FB velocity holds up, most 91-93. Hard, overhand downer CB w/ plus velocity, bite for out pitch. Resilient arm. Remarkable arm speed."
ROUND 43: Chadd Hartman, OF, Olympia HS (FL)
Skinny: #52 Florida prospect (BA), signed with Central Florida
MLB.com says "Strong, well proportioned, athletic frame. Similar to Steve Finley. Good hitting approach. Generates bat speed. Drives ball to LCF and RCF. Pull power. Throws carry. Reacts well in OF. Strength, quickness. Has arm for RF."
ROUND 44: Travis Turek, RHP, Westlake HS (CA)
ROUND 45: Drew Fiorenza, RHP, Clemson
Skinny: Drafted 29th round (03) by Anaheim, 45th round (04) by Yankees, 2-1, 5.41, 21 IP, 26 H, 15 BB, 22 K, .306, 17 games, Tribe landed Clemson lefty Tony Sipp in 45th round last year.
ROUND 46: Blake Davis, SS, Fullerton
Skinny: Draft-Eligible sophomore, #78 California prospect by BA, small size (5'11", 155), but decent bat (.333/.394/.493, 10-8-2-36), good field, seems likely to return to school to add bulk and improve draft stock as junior.
ROUND 47: Gus Milner, OF, Kansas
Skinny: College junior, hoped to go in first 15 rounds, KU coach expects Milner to return to school, impressive size (6'5", 235), two years at Hutchinson CC, hit .298/.380/.516, 14 2B, 4 3B, 9 HR, 45 RBIs this year
ROUND 48: Joseph Hunter, OF, Mississippi State
Skinny: College Junior, good defense, missed time in '04 with hand injury, started in center as true frosh in '03, impressive for major program like MSU, hit .348/.401/.410 with 8 extra base hits, not a lot of power, 6'0", 195, needs to add strength, likely to return to school.
ROUND 49: Ryan Wood, SS, Hylton HS (VA)
Skinny: Combo SS/RHP, signed with East Carolina
ROUND 50: Cameron Satterwhite, OF, Cincinnati Moeller HS (OH)
Skinny: Any relation to Cody? A cousin, perhaps? Just thinking. Signed with Indians, bio says he plans on playing three years for the Hoosiers and then turning pro.
CIR UPDATE: Rounds 13-18
ROUND 13: Barry Laird, 1B, Lee HS (TX)
Skinny: 6'4", 220 lbs (perhaps skinny is not the right choice of words here), commitment to Houston, football scholarship as QB, switched from TE senior year of HS, second straight year Tribe has selected a Texas QB prospect (Jordan Chambless, QB, Texas A&M, 12th, 2004).
ROUND 14: Michael Finocchi, RHP, Louisburg College
Skinny: Sophomore JC pick, commitment to Pittsburgh, 6'0", 195
MLB.com says "Pitches w/ a large, strong and sturdy frame. Active FB that reaches 90-92 w/ tailing, sinking action when down in the zone. Bores in on a hitter's hands. Showcases a slider and change-up."
ROUND 15: Chase Phillips, RHP, Monterey HS (TEX)
Skinny: #42 Texas prospect per BA, likely DFE with Weatherford JC (Tex), 6'4", 175, projectable.
MLB.com says "Tall, RHP w/ very long arms. Arm is loose. Very competitive demeanor. FB tails into RHH. CB is tight and his best breaking pitch. Good feel for a straight change. Throws a split change.
ROUND 16: Aaron Shafer, RHP, Troy Buchanan HS (MO)
Skinny: #5 Missouri prospect per BA, commitment to Wichita State, 6'5", 185, Flier selection, Tribe usually signs one per year from middle rounds (Aaron Laffey)
MLB.com says "Tall, slender frame. Long legs and arms. FB has armside run, sink, most 88-90. Decent 12 to 6 CB w/ depth. Good athlete. Competes. Projectable ML pitchers frame.
ROUND 17: Eric Barrett, LHP, Marion HS (IL)
Skinny: #27 Illinois prospect per BA, 6'2", 180, DFE with John A Logan JC.
MLB.com says "Medium, slender frame. FB w/ sink and tail. Throws several cutters. Developing circle change w/ occasional depth and fade. Competes, works fast. LHP who continues to show improvement.
ROUND 18: Desmond Jennings, CF, Pinson Valley HS (AL)
Skinny: 6'2", 180, R/R, three sport HS star, signed with Alabama (football scholarship), not qualified academically, may be ineligible, good speed, hit .489 with 45 steals this year, Montgomery Adviser, Intersting pick, nice mid-round flier selection.
MLB.com says "Tall, slender, streamlined build. Built like ex-ML Devon White. Shows occasional pop. Gets jump on ball in OF, goes easy after fly balls. Will steal some bases. Athletic enough to make adjustments."
June 07, 2005
CIR UPDATE: Rounds 8-12
ROUND 8: Ryan Edell, LHP, College of Charleston
Skinny: 8-2, 3.67 ERA, 100.2-104-26-86, transferred from UC-Irvine, 2005 Southern Conference Pitcher of Year
ROUND 9: Ramon Pena, OF, Montgomery HS (CA, San Diego)
Skinny: #83 California prospect per BA, line drives to all fields, "eager to sign", 85-88 mph as LHP, 6-0, 185 lbs.
ROUND 10: Jason Schutt, RHP, Central Missouri State
Skinny: 12-2, 4.04, 78-66-16-89, .224 BAA, #8 Missouri by BA, 89-92 mph with heavy fastball, needs to refine secondary pitches. Sounds like a reliever to me
ROUND 11: Nicholas Petrucci, 3B, College of the Canyons (JC)
Skinny: Freshman JC pick, first "flier" selection, always comes around this round. 6'2", 195 lbs
ROUND 12: Matt Fornasiere, SS, Minnesota
Skinny: .335/.413/.483, 18-2-4-40, 29BB/23K, 20/25 SB, coaches kid, gap power, BA suggest may move to 2B in pros.
CIR UPDATE: That's a Wrap
For me, anyway. The draft will continue through 18 (or 20) rounds today and then wrap up with the final 30 rounds tomorrow. I'm going to step aside from the live updating but the site will continue to be updated with the Indians selections throughout the night and tomorrow. Check back often for the latest on the newest Indians!
CIR UPDATE: ROUND 7 (#214 overall)
With their seventh pick, the Indians selected right-handed pitcher James Deters from D3 Calvin College in Michigan. If stats alone guaranteed your draft slot, the 6-4, 180 pound Deters would have been one of the top five picks in the draft. Check out these numbers: In a 121-pitch effort against Kalamazoo, Deters struck out twenty while working 10 innings. He followed that up with a one-hitter two starts later and followed that up by punching out twenty against Olivet. Pretty incredible, huh? For the season, the right-hander went 7-1 with 2.79 ERA with 99 strikeouts in 71 innings while allowing 57 hits and 17 walks with a .218 BAA. Deters works with a 88-92 mph fastball and average curve according to Baseball America. A college senior, Deters should be an easy sign. Level of competition aside, his numbers alone make Deters an intriguing selection.
CIR UPDATE: ROUND 6 (#184 overall)
With their sixth pick, the Indians selected right-handed pitcher Joe Ness from Ball State. The 6-5", 225 pound Ness was named the top prospect in the Great Lakes summer league last year after throwing in the mid-90s. Back at school this spring, Ness fell back to the 85-88 mph range according to BA. Ness was named second-team All-MAC this year after going 5-5 with a 4.01 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 89.1 innings (97 IP, 34 BB, 9 HR) for the Cardinals.
Jeff Corsaletti, last years 22nd round selection, was just taken by the Red Sox with the 198th overall pick.
CIR UPDATE: FIFTH ROUND (#154 overall)
With their fifth round pick, the Indians selected right-handed pitcher Kevin Dixon from D3 Minnesota State-Mankato. Hmmm, BA notes that there is a "lot of intrigue" surrounding Dixon who can throw in the mid-90s but has pitched only 32 innings in two years with the Mavericks. Serving as the closer, Dixon made 20 appearances this year, working 23 innings and striking out 23 while walking only three and allowing 21 hits with a 1.77 ERA and seven saves. The use out of the bullpen allowed Dixon to also play full-time as a first basemen where he hit .377/.436/.786 with 18 homeruns this season which helped him earn MVP honors for the North Central Conference. Interestingly enough, BA also noted that Dixon usually came into the game without warming up. He was the best pitcher on a Mavericks staff which featured five hurlers who could throw in the nineties. Pretty impressive for D3, if you ask me. A draft-eligible sophomore, Dixon red-shirted in 2003 with back problems after initialing reporting to school as a catcher. This is the second consecutive year the Indians have taken a raw pitcher from Minnesota in the early rounds following last years selection of Cody Bunkelman in the sixth round out of Itasca JC. Interesting selection and certainly a lot of projection here by Tribe scouts.
Jeff Sues, the Indians 14th round pick out of Vanderbilt last year as a draft-eligible sophomore, was just selected by the Pirates at pick #151.
MLB.com says "Large frame. Similar to fomer ML Gregg Olson. Confident, hard-throwing RHP who challenges hitters. Excellent slider & change-up. Sound, proper delivery and arm action. Size, arm, mechanics for ML value. Features three solid pitches".
CIR UPDATE: FOURTH ROUND (#124 Overall)
With their fourth round selection, the Indians selected Jordan Brown, 1B, University of Arizona, teammate of first round pick Trevor Crowe. MLB.com just compared him to Wally Joyner, as does BA, who notes they have similar ability and are both left-handed swingers who went undrafted in high school, had a strong college career, and were drafted in the third round out of college (Absorbine Joyner out of BYU by the Angels in 1985). This season, Brown hit .336/.377/.584 with 17 doubles, 13 homeruns, and 80 RBIs with 18 walks and 29 strikeouts which earned him all Pac-10 honors. BA notes that he is "aggresive" at the plate which you can tell by the relatively low walk total although I would have expected the strikeouts to be higher for such an approach. Most impressively, Brown accomplished the above while dealing with family issues back home, according to this article. Another "power" pick from the left side, it's going to be interesting to see where the Indians fit Head and Brown into the system.
Incidentally, Arizona was eliminated from the College World Series so the first time we're likely to see these two of the newest Indians will be in the Valley this summer.
CIR UPDATE: THIRD ROUND (#102 overall)
With their second pick of the third round (acquired from the Giants as compensation for Omar Vizquel), the Indians selected right-handed pitcher Jensen Lewis from Vanderbilt. It's the second time the Tribe has called Lewis' name on draft day as they also selected him in the 33rd round of the 2002 draft. It's also the second consecutive year the Tribe has drafted the top pitcher on the Vanderbilt staff after taking Jeremy Sowers with their number one pick last year.
Lewis was named second team All-SEC by SEC coaches this year after posting a 8-3 record with a 2.62 ERA in 15 appearances (14 starts) for the Commodores. In 92.2 innings, Lewis struck out 95, walked 23, and allowed just 74 hits while holding opposing hitters to a .218 BAA. BA ranked him as the #5 prospect in Tennessee and the #120 prospect overall while noting that Lewis "has the athletic ability and stuff to be either a third or fourth starter or quality relief pitcher. He doesn’t have a plus pitch, but he has a cerebral approach and excellent command of his fastball, changeup and slider. He throws in the 88-91 mph range, touching a 92 but getting more movement and better location in the 87-89 range. He has the savvy to add and subtract from the pitch, and his loose arm and pitcher’s frame leads scouts to believe he has more velocity to come. Lewis’ best secondary pitch is his changeup; it has decent sink and looks like his fastball coming out of his hand. If he improves his servicable slider, a fringy pitch by pro standards, Lewis’ competitiveness and developing frame should allow him to remain a starter as a pro."
MLB.com says "Body similar to Orel Hersheiser. Establishes FB and goes after strike zone. Pitches, mixes it up. Slider-CB occasionally tight, late life w/ some down bite. Fade change w/ arm speed best pitch, spots it, throws anytime. Pitchability is his strength."
Despite being a born and bred Cincinnatian (family is from Cleveland), Lewis lists the Indians as his favorite team with his bio reading "If he had another career besides pro baseball it would be cooking with Emeril or being the play-by-play voice of the Cleveland Indians". BAM!
Lewis, incidentally, is on MLB radio right now and says being selected by the Tribe is a "dream come true", "is honored to be following in the footsteps of Jeremy Sowers", and "can't wait to get started".
CIR UPDATE: THIRD ROUND (#94 Overall)
With their third round pick, the Indians selected high school first basemen Nick Weglarz out of Ontario, Canada. Weglarz was the highest ranked Canadian in the draft by BA and #136 overall. Although young, he doesn't turn 18 until this December, Weglarz is a big kid at 6'3", 205 who brings raw power from the left side. BA notes that he has long arms and good bat speed but, mechanically, his swing will need work which shouldn't come as much of a surprise considering the short season up north. Weglarz has committed to Oklahoma State University and just returned from a tour of the Dominican Republic with the Canadian National Junior team. One of the interesting subplots of this years draft was how the Canadian players would be affected with a limited number of visas available. The Toronto Globe and Mail recently speculated that a team may choose to let Weglarz spent the summer with the Canadian Junior team and then let him make his US debut in 2006. As a native of Fort Erie, Ontario, I wonder if Weglarz has made the trek to Dunn Tire Park to check out the Bisons and, now, his potentially future teammates sometime down the road.
MLB.com says "Tall, broad and strong. Huge, muscular thighs and forearms. Swings w/ an uppercut stroke w/ good strength and quickness in hands. Definite home run threat. Smooth play around the bag, w/ good hands and feet. Loves the game and plays w/ a kid's enthusiasm."
CIR UPDATE: SECOND ROUND (#62 overall)
With their second round pick, the Indians selected Stephen Head, 1B, University of Mississippi. Head also closed for Ole Miss.
BA ranked Head as the #1 prospect in Mississippi and the #36 prospect overall, noting that "Head has had one of the best careers in Mississippi and Southeastern Conference history as a two-way star for three seasons. He falls into the next tier behind the all-time great two-way SEC players such as Tennessee’s Todd Helton and Florida’s Brad Wilkerson because he’s not as athletic as those lefthanded sluggers. He has similar raw power, though, thanks to a big, strong frame. Head’s average has tumbled this year as SEC coaches worked around him to keep him from beating them, and he’s become more impatient and tried harder to hit home runs. He has enough strength to hit them with a more patient, level approach, and profiles to hit 20-30 homers annually in the majors. Most scouts expect him to become a better hitter after he gives up pitching, and he should fill out in his upper body. Head is also a good fielder at first base with soft hands."
MLB.com says "Large frame, strong, durable body. Similar to Travis Lee. Good bat speed, ball rockets off bat. Ability to go the other way. Throws on-line. Soft, sure hands at 1B. Picks throws well. Good makeup. Potential impact type bat."
Interesting pick. Another potential impact bat. Head hit .319/.392/.596 with 16 doubles, 18 homeruns, and 68 RBIs this year with 26 walks to 37 strikeouts. That follows a 2004 campaign in which Head hit .346/.419/.583 with 13 doubles and 13 longballs. He was also named first-team All-SEC this year as a DH. Head and Ole Miss will face off against Texas in a super regional this weekend, check ESPN.com for TV times.
CIR UPDATE: SUPPLEMENTAL FIRST ROUND (#33 overall)
With the third pick of the supplemental first round (#33 overall), the Indians selected outfielder John Drennan, outfielder, Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego. I like it.
BA had Drennan ranked as #32 overall, #7 in California, and the #7 overall outfielder. The 6'0", 180 lb, left-hander hit .500 with 15 homeruns this season. Here's a snip of what BA says about him: "...and Drennen is the latest phenom. Scouts say he has a striking resemblance to Danny Putnam (Oakland 1st 2004). Both players have small, powerful builds (Drennen is listed at 6 feet, but scouts say is closer to 5-foot-10), both have explosive bats, both are limited to left field and both play the game with passion. With a .440 average and 15 home runs, Drennen has also had a big senior year. But unlike Putnam and more in keeping with RB alum Hank Blalock, he has a strong desire to get his professional career started. Though he is small, Drennen is extremely strong, and he can flat-out hit. He has excellent bat speed and the ball jumps off his bat. He leaves nothing in the tank. The rest of his tools are just ordinary. He runs OK and gets good jumps in the outfield, but his arm is short, limiting him to left field." BA also ranked Drennan as having the best strike-zone judgment of any high school player in the draft.
What MLB.com says "Mark Kotsay clone w/ Popeye-sized forearms. Solid hitting approach. Powerful, quick bat. Makes consistent, hard contact. Ball jumps off bat to all fields. Excellent makeup and dedication. Alert fielder."
Alumni of Rancho Bernardo High School. Note the recent high draft picks.
Drennan has a commitment to UCLA but, as noted above, appears ready to play pro ball and is not viewed as a tough sign. The Indians went a similar route two years ago when they snagged Adam Miller (31st overall) in the supplemental round despite a commitment to Arizona. Reinforcing that notion, check out this quote from Drennan: "I want to sign and get out there and get on the field and get to the big leagues as quickly as I can."
CIR UPDATE: #33 Speculation
Round one is complete. The Tribe's next pick comes in the supplemental first round as compensation for losing Omar Vizquel to the Giants. Could the Indians possibly be interested in Cuban shortstop Yunel Escobar? John Mirabelli was quoted pre-draft as saying that the Tribe had serious interest in two of the five (and now six with Maels Rodriguez in the draft) Cubans. Perhaps California HS outfielder John Drennen from the same high school as Hank Blalock might draw interest as a potential impact bat? On the mound, what about fast-rising Massachusetts right-hander Matt Torra? The draft resumes in about five minutes
CIR UPDATE: FIRST ROUND (#14 Overall)
With the 14th overall pick, the Indians selected Trevor Crowe, CF, University of Arizona.
Crowe is a 6'0", 190 pound, 21-year old switch-hitter. MLB.com says "Medium-large, compact. Athletic frame. Developed lower half. Short, compact stroke. Sprays line drive to all fields. Aggressive, intense, gamer w/ plus baseball instincts."
BA ranked Crowe as the #1 player in Arizona, #29 overall, #17 position player, #5 outfielder overall, and the #2 college outfielder. Here's a snip of what BA has to say about him: "Crowe has played himself into a potential first-rounder on the strength of one of the best offensive seasons in college baseball. As the catalyst atop a potent Arizona lineup, Crowe has hit .422 with 43 extra-base hits, most in the country. Even with a .766 slugging percentage, he is an ideal leadoff man with a .500 on-base percentage, above-average speed and the kind of fiery personality that can light a fire under a team. Though he can be undisciplined at times at the plate and lacks raw power, Crowe has juice in his bat and can hit almost anything thrown at him. Area scouts say he may be a more complete player than former Wildcats and current White Sox minor league outfielder Brian Anderson, who was the 15th pick in the 2003 draft."
Crowe shared Pac-10 Player of the Year honors this season with Oregon State outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (another rumored Tribe selection who went #23 to Boston) after hitting .403/.477/.715 with 25 doubles, 15 triples, 9 homeruns, and 54 RBIs. Viewed as a potential leadoff hitter, Crowe walked 36 times versus 30 strikeouts and swiped 27 bases in 33 attempts. That followed a 2004 campaign in which Crowe hit .350/.416/.576 with 13 doubles, 9 triples, 5 homeruns with 21 walks, 39 strikeouts, and 26 steals in 27 attempts. He's also a finalist for the Golden Spikes award, is a nationally recognized racquetball player, and his Dad is/was a pro golfer.
More from BA (interesting note about the conversion from/to second base, MLB radio did compare him to Craig Biggio)..."Crowe is an ideal leadoff man with a .500 on-base percentage, above-average speed and the kind of fiery personality that can light a fire under a team. He can be undisciplined at times at the plate and lacks raw power, but has juice in his bat and can hit almost anything thrown at him. A switch-hitter, he tends to be a slightly better hitter from the left side while displaying more power from the right. Crowe arrived at Arizona as a second baseman and may end up back there, though he has spent most of his college career in left field."
BA also ranked Crowe as the second fastest college baserunner in the draft.
CIR UPDATE: Braun goes #5 overall
The Brewers just popped Miami 3B Ryan Braun, another long-rumored potential Tribe pick at #14, with the fifth overall pick.
CIR UPDATE: Clement goes #3 to Seattle
Jeff Clement, long rumored to be a potential Indians selection at #14, just went to the Mariners with the third overall pick.
CIR UPDATE: Draft starts at 1:00 PM ET
Justin Upton just went #1 overall to Arizona. Thirty seconds between picks in the first round this year. Alex Gordon #2 overall to Kansas City.
CIR UPDATE: BA Projections
Baseball America projects that the Indians will select Arizona outfielder Trevor Crowe with the 14th overall pick in the first round and North Carolina State reliever Joey Devine with the 33rd overall pick (the pick acquired as compensation for the loss of Omar Vizquel to the Giants via free-agency).
Here's what they say about Crowe: "The Indians are seeking a college bat, and earlier thoughts that Braun or Clement would make their way to No. 14 haven't materialized. Maybin and McCutchen would be considerations, but they won't be options either. That leaves Cleveland with Crowe, who combines tools, performance and makeup and is a darling of several teams just below. If the Indians switch up and take a pitcher, Miami righthander Cesar Carrillo is the leading candidate."
Crowe is rated as the #29 overall prospect by BA and finished the season hitting .403/.477/.715 with 25 doubles, 15 triples, and 9 homeruns while walking 36 times versus 30 strikeouts with 27 stolen bases in 33 attempts. If you see a future leadoff hitter here, you're right in line with the Indians (and a lot of other teams) thinking. They really don't have a true future leadoff hitter in the system so Crowe would make a good fit, albeit into a crowded organizational outfield picture.
As for Devine, the Wolfpack closer punched out 72 in 48.2 innings with a 2.03 ERA and a .204 BAA. Ranked as the #35 prospect overall by BA, Devine has been rising up the charts the last few weeks after a dominating performance in the ACC tournament where he was dealing in the mid-to-upper 90s with a nasty slider. Like most relievers, Devine is considered close to the big league ready and could be viewed as a potential heir apparant to Bob Wickman.
Much of the pre-draft speculation has had the Indians focused on either Miami third basemen Ryan Braun and USC catcher Jeff Clement but BA has both of those players going in the first five picks.
More updates throughout the day...
June 06, 2005
CIR UPDATE: 2005 Draft
For the fourth consecutive year, the CIR will again be updating live during the 2005 MLB draft, starting Tuesday at 1:00 PM ET. See you then!
June 03, 2005
CIR UPDATE: Doodle
The Bristol Herald Courier is reporting today that Doodle Hicks, the Indians 28th round pick in last years draft, will sign with the Indians today. BA also notes Hicks among the DFE signings prior to the 2005 draft. More in the next CIR.
June 01, 2005
CIR UPDATE: Coco back early?
Juan Gonzalez is headed back on the DL but not quite yet. According to the AP, the Indians have decided to hold off on the move for one day with the speculation being that Coco Crisp will be ready to rejoin the big league club on Thursday. The move (or lack thereof) leaves the Tribe a man short for tonight's game against the Twins. More in the next CIR.
CIR UPDATE: Three Pitches
Quick thoughts on Juan Gonzalez...
If you had three pitches in your Gonzalez injury pool, you deserve every penny you won. I figured he would have lasted at least a week, but then I underestimated the hard turf at the Metrodome (sic).
If you're looking for a bright spot, it looks like he was running hard down the line.
Seriously, though, tough break for Gonzalez and the Tribe. While we all suspected (knew) this was coming, it would have been nice to see what he could have done with a month's worth of at-bats. Certainly, it couldn't have been any worse than what Casey Blake, Jose Hernandez, and Aaron Boone have been up to the first two weeks of the season.
If you're looking for another bright spot, the fact the Indians would risk losing a young power bat like Ryan Ludwick to take a chance on Gonzalez indicates that they are serious about contending this season and no longer rebuilding.
No, the Indians cannot un-designate Ryan Ludwick.
But they could trade him and another player for a player to be named later that could just turn out to be Ryan Ludwick. If they were so inclined, of course.
Eric Wedge says Gonzalez appears to be headed to the DL. Here's what available at Buffalo:
Eric Young: .316/.417/.612, 13 HR, 25 BB, 40 K
Mike Kinkade: .295/.382/.571, 8 HR, 16 BB, 25 K
Jeff Liefer: .283/.337/.484, 8 HR, 12 BB, 35 K
Darnell McDonald: .282/.354/.423, 1 HR, 6 BB, 17 K
Andy Abad: .272/.333/.550, 10 HR, 14 BB, 17 K
John Rodriguez: .232/.296/.430, 5 HR, 9 BB, 36 K
All of the above would have to be added to the 40 but I believe the Indians have an open spot so they shouldn't have to designate anyone to clear room for them.
Note that Ludwick was out of options so even though the Indians had 40 space available, they could not simply option him to the minors to clear a spot on the 25-man active roster for Gonzalez.
Franklin Gutierrez is also on the 40 but he was just placed on the Aeros DL (still tracking down the reason why)