IBI Digest: 12/29/13 - 1/4/14
Recapping the week on Indians Baseball Insider
The new year is upon us and as new year's goals and resolutions are made (and broken), Indians fans can begin to look forward to the 2014 season as Terry Francona and his crew hope to push to the next level. The IBI staff gives their final reflections on 2013 as well as their previews and goals for the Tribe in the new year. In winter ball, the playoffs have begun in the Carribean and with it the end of the season for Jesus Aguilarand the end of the third base experiment for Carlos Santana. Also, Tribe Madness has now reached the Final Four stage of the tournament.
Here's what happened this week on IBI:
Around the Farm: December 28, 2013: It appears that Leones is not interested in continuing the third base experiment for Carlos Santana as they are now in the playoffs. Meanwhile Jesus Aguilar continues to show consistency at the plate as of late reaching base four times in five at-bats. Tony Lastoria reports.
IBI Power Poll: Is Danny Salazar elite?: For the casual fan, Danny Salazar pretty much came out of nowhere in 2013 and provided a unique pitching talent to get very excited about. Now the question is after less than a year in the big leagues, is Salazar already pitching at an elite level? Jim Pete throws it out to the fans in this week's power poll.
Tribe Madness: Quicken Loans and First Energy Region finals: Two more players have been crowned regional champs as the Tribe Madness tournament draws nearer to its dramatic conclusion. Addie Joss and Tito Franconahave won the Quicken Loans and First Energy Region champions, respectively. Rick Lamborn has the latest.
Around the Farm: December 29, 2013: Carlos Santana has now played two straight games at first base, which suggests that the third base experiment has come to an end. However, he did have a decent night at the plate recording two RBI. Arthur Kinney discusses Santana's performance in-depth.
The Winter Ball Experience: So what's the big deal with offseason leagues? Why do players choose to participate and what is their experience like? Tony Lastoria turns things around and looks at winter ball from the players' perspective and how they feel about playing in the winter.
Winter Ball Notebook: Is the Santana third base experiment over?: Carlos Santana moves to first base as the Dominican Winter League playoffs heat up. It's a brief edition of the Winter Ball Notebook this week as the Santana experiment at third base appears to be over with the playoffs underway. Steve Orbanek recaps the week.
Around the Farm: December 30, 2013: In another brief winter ball report, Jesus Aguilar records another multi-hit game while Carlos Santana had a poor showing at the plate with no hits in four at-bats. Michael Hattery recaps both performances.
Swinging for the Fences: New Year's resolutions: With New Year's Eve now upon us, Jake Dungan takes time to look at what the goals are (or should be) for the Indians heading into 2014 as they hope to push to the next level and bring more than one playoff game to Cleveland.
Tribe Madness: Progressive Field & Jacobs Field Region finals: The last two regional finals have concluded withJoe Jackson and Lou Boudreau being crowned champions as we are now down to the "Elite Eight" of the Tribe Madness tournament. Rick Lamborn recaps the latest matchups.
Happy New Year 2014!: A New Year's greeting from Tony Lastoria and everyone at IBI!
Around The Farm: December 31, 2013: There were no games played on Tuesday because of New Year's Eve, but the playoffs now loom for Venezuela and Puerto Rico. Arthur Kinney explains the format and schedule for all the winter leagues as their regular seasons have concluded.
Get Lucky: The 2013 Cleveland Indians year-in-review: Jim Piascik delivers the ultimate 2013 Indians recap using the lyrics of "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk. From the Harlem Shake to the Rally Chicken. From Justin Masterson's complete-game shutouts to Jason Giambi's dramatic walk-off home run vs. Chicago in September. Jim touches on it all.
Tribe Madness: Super Regional I & II results: Luis Tiant knocks off Gaylord Perry while Bob Feller takes down Jim Thome in the first set of Super Regional matchups. The field is becoming narrower as the tournament is coming to its conclusion and Rick Lamborn has all the highlights.
Sulser has built himself up into an intriguing prospect to watch: Cole Sulser was selected in the 25th round by the Indians in the 2013 draft and spent time pitching for low-A Mahoning Valley where he posted an impressive 1.83 ERA in 15 games. Stephanie Metzger discusses career aspirations with the young right-hander.
Positive resolutions at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario: There are high expectations for the Indians in 2014 after their unexpected 92-win wild card campaign last season. What specifically should fans get excited about heading to the new year and new season? Jim Pete explains why there's so much to be optimistic about for the Tribe.
Around the Farm: January 2, 2014: Well, it's official. Jesus Aguilar has been shut down for the remainder of the winter ball campaign as the playoffs have begun. He finishes with an outstanding .327 batting mark with 18 homers and 50 RBI in 58 games. Tony Lastoria recaps Aguilar's winter ball campaign and more.
MLB News and Rumors: Phillies latest to land new TV contract: With the holiday season now over, Hot Stove baseball should begin to heat up again as the Masahiro Tanaka negotiations continuover the course of the next month. Andy Nichols discusses the post-holiday news and rumors.
Orbiting Cleveland: The rotation has a huge hole: Do the Indians have adequate depth to fill out the remaining spot in the starting rotation? Steve Orbanek says no. While the current internal options do have upside, the Tribe would be better off adding another proven and reliable starter.
Tribe Madness: Super Regional III & IV results: We now have our "Final Four" matchups as Joe Jackson and Addie Joss advance to the next round. Jackson and Joss joun Luis Tiant and Bob Feller to make up the final two head-to-head matchups before the big showdown. Rick Lamborn has all the latest Tribe Madness news.
Around The Farm: January 3, 2014: Carlos Santana and Ryan Battaglia were the only Indians in action on Friday night. It was a quiet night for Santana as was hitless once again. Battaglia, on the other hand, reached base twice, recorded an RBI and scored a run in four at-bats. Arthur Kinney reports.
MLB News and Notes: Ayala drawing interest from Indians: Right-handed reliever Luis Ayala has recently been linked to the Indians as he seeks a big league contract. Ayala went 2-1 with a 3.27 ERA in 39 appearances with the Orioles and Braves. Andy Nichols discusses that, the new Phillies TV deal and more.
The Ultimate Indians Draft: Rounds 20-11: Jeff Ellis continues to construct the ultimate Indians draft using the top picks from each round over all their past drafts. In this edition, Jeff discusses rounds 20-11, which includes arguably the team's best draft pick ever in Jim Thome.
Friends of the Feather
Are Similarities to 2008 Cause for Concern?: The 2013 Indians brought us a season of magic that we hadn't seen since the 2007 team that came one win shy of the American League pennant. So if that is the case, does that mean 2014 will end up resembling the disappointing 2008 season that followed? Brian Heise of Wahoo's on First speculates.
Bauer's winter workouts encouraging for Tribe: Young prospect regressed last year while retooling mechanics on mound. This offseason, former third overall pick Trevor Bauer has focused on getting his mechanics to a point where he can return to his dominant collegiate form. MLB.com's Jordan Bastian discusses the right-hander's progress this offseason.
Q&A: Clint Frazier, Cleveland Indians Outfield Prospect: David Laurila of Fangraphs goes one-on-one with Indians first round pick Clint Frazier to discuss a variety of topics, including being drafted by the Tribe and his experience thus far in pro baseball as well as his approach at the plate and career aspirations.
Cody Anderson: Unknown Pitcher of the Year: While Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer have taken up the spotlight among Indians pitching prospects, one right-hander has quietly, but steadily ascended through the Tribe farm system and looks to make an impact in the big leagues sooner rather than later. Joseph Coblitz of Burning River Baseball discuesses the career of Cody Anderson and his major league potential.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.