Today we continue on with the year-end IBI Awards and move down to the minor leagues with the annual Tony Awards. We kick things off with the Rookie of the Year which is given to the Indians minor leaguer who had the best professional stateside debut this year. The Indians had several impressive debuts from players out of Latin America and the last two drafts, and Tony runs through all of the performances.
The Akron Aeros did not defend their Eastern League championship in 2013, but the Aeros served a greater purpose over the course of the season: Developing the next wave of Cleveland players who will soon play at Progressive Field. Jim Piascik sat down with Aeros manager Edwin Rodriguez at the end of the year to discuss the development of some of the top players on the team. In part one of this two-part series, we break down the Aeros' hitters in 2013.
In this week’s Minor Happenings, Tony takes a look into the rise of left-hander Luis Lugo and how his stuff improved this season and has him racing up the prospect lists. He also provides several comments from Ross Atkins on players such as Tyler Naquin, Jesus Aguilar, Carlos Moncrief, Joey Wendle and others, provides an update on if there is any concern with Francisco Lindor’s back injury, notes a recent surgery for an upper level starting pitching prospect, provides some insight into some unique internal stats the organization uses, and more.
In today’s edition of Minor Happenings, Tony takes a look at the impressive 15-month run that infielder Jose Ramirez has had going from an unknown player to one currently in the big leagues helping the Indians playoff push. He also provides tons of comments from the front office on players like Francisco Lindor, Clint Frazier, Jesus Aguilar and others, looks into what Nellie Rodriguez needs to improve most, provides details on what is the number one goal in Giovanni Urshella’s development plan, looks at Matt Packer’s bounce back season and future, and provides insight and information on Brett Brach, Richard Stock and others...
"The Radar Report" is a premium feature that lists fastball velocities and other notes for several pitchers in the Indians' system which Tony has recorded during his visits to see the teams/players. Today's listing has almost 20 radar readings for pitchers in the Indians' minor league system, and he includes some scouting notes on all of them and where available he has also included the velocity ranges for their secondary pitches.
The minor league season is over, but there is still a lot to wrap up. In today’s piece Tony looks at the sensational pro debut for short season Single-A Mahoning Valley right-hander Cole Sulser and his prospect future, looks at the exceptional season that Low-A Lake County outfielder LeVon Washington had at the plate, the amazing consistency of High-A Carolina outfielder Jordan Smith and what kind of prospect he truly is, and tons of comments from Triple-A Columbus pitching coach Tony Arnold on several of his pitchers such as Trevor Bauer, T.J. House, Bryan Price and others.
Three months ago, Kyle Crockett was treading the ball field at the University of Virginia. He was a junior ending his collegiate career with hopes of playing professional baseball. He’d spent the past three years converting holds and saves and on June 7, he converted his dream into a reality. Fast-forward to today, and he's already on the Major League doorstep and considered an option for the Indians in the bullpen in the very near future.
On the surface, calling a 68-73 season a success -- especially when that season follows a championship campaign -- would be ludicrous. In the case of the 2013 Akron Aeros, however, it would be true. While last year brought Akron an Eastern League championship, 2013 saw the arrival of numerous top prospects and brought the future one step closer to Cleveland. If you made it out to Canal Park this year, you saw the future of Cleveland. To recap that future and everything that happened in 2013, join Jim Piascik for one last time and go Launching off with the Aeros.
On Saturday, the Aeros matched a season-high with four home runs, shortstop Ronny Rodriguez drove in four runs, and lefty Matt Packer earned his league-leading 12th win of the year, as Akron defeated the Altoona Curve, 9-0, at People-s Natural Gas Field.
Professional baseball bears witness to an inevitable path of highs and lows. Players fall victim to the unsympathetic elements of the game beyond their control. One of those things beyond their control are injuries, which is something that Double-A Akron right-handed Shawn Armstrong had to deal with this season. The IBI's Stephanie Metzger recently caught up with him and talked with him about how he has handled such a frustrating season.
hen the bases are loaded, Eastern League pitchers would rather see any other human being at the plate besides Akron's Jesus Aguilar.
On Friday night in Altoona, Aguilar, the league's top run producer and, by many estimates, the circuit's most feared hitter, cracked a bases-loaded single with two outs in the eighth inning to lift the Aeros to a 3-1 victory over the Curve in the opener of a four-game series at People's Natural Gas Field.
The catching depth in the system might not be of the elite variety, but there are some intriguing names to follow heading into 2014. One of those is Eric Haase, who displayed why he is someone to pay attention to Thursday night. To read all about Haase's powerful showing and everything else you need to know about the night in the minor leagues, join Jim Piascik as he takes you Around The Farm.
The Erie SeaWolves, still in contention for the EL Western Division championship, scored four runs in the top of the 11th inning Thursdaynight, and outlasted the Akron Aeros, 9-5, in the final home game of the season at Canal Park.
The 2013 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider book featuring the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is now available. Also, previous editions from 2008-2012 are also available at a discounted rate. Just click on the book image for more information. Thanks again for all the support!