IBI Digest: 2/9/14 - 2/15/14
Recapping the week on Indians Baseball Insider
Yes, it's finally here! Players have officially reported to Goodyear, Arizona to officially kick off spring training for the Indians and hopefully start another chapter in the magical ride Terry Francona has taken Tribe fans on so far. As far as offseason business for the team, the 20-plus year streak without an arbitration hearing has finally been broken as Vinnie Pestano went to arbitration against the Tribe, but lost. Michael Brantley, on the other hand, fared nuch better as he received a multi-year extension. Elsewhere around baseball, Julio Teheran has become the latest to receive a mega-extension and Derek Jeter has decided to hang it after the 2014 season.
Here's what happened this week on IBI:
2014 IBI Top 50 Prospects: #37 RHP Kieran Lovegrove: Drafted in 2012 by the Tribe, Kieran Lovegrove is a right-hander with a high ceiling and potential to be a big league starter. After spending his first two pro seasons in Rookie League, he is projected to start the year either in Mahoning Valley or Lake County.
2014 IBI Top 50 Prospects: #36 3B Giovanny Urshela: This undrafted free agent was signed by the Tribe in 2008 out of Columbia. Urshela has put up solid numbers throughout his minor league career and may end up being a solid big leaguer. For now, he'll most likely start the year back at AA Akron.
2014 IBI Top 50 Prospects: #35 RHP Bryan Price: The Indians acquired Bryan Price in the Victor Martinez trade to the Red Sox back in 2009. Since then, he has converted from a starter to a reliever and has started to show consistency in the new role. Price should be a major league bullpen option at some point this season, barring injury.
2014 IBI Top 50 Prospects: #34 LHP Giovanni Soto: In 2010, the Indians acquired Giovanni Soto in a trade with the Tigers for Jhonny Peralta. The left-hander has a lot of upside, but injuries have held him back, especially last year when a back injury sidelined him for the whole season. If healthy, though, he should receive a major league callup at some point in 2014.
2014 IBI Top 50 Prospects: #33 RHP Joseph Colon: The Indians selected Colon in the 12th round of the 2009 draft. Over the last couple years, though, he has begun developing into a sleeper starting pitching prospect. If he can manage to stay on the mound, he could quickly work his way up the depth chart.
2014 IBI Top 50 Prospects: #32 RHP Caleb Hamrick: After getting his first taste of pitching at a minor league affilliate in 2013, Caleb Hamrick has made strides as a starter and should continue to develop as he is projected to start the year at Single-A Lake County.
2014 IBI Top 50 Prospects: #31 OF Logan Vick: The biggest question with Logan Vick is which position he best fits in. He can play center field and right field, but his defense isn't good enough to be considered a top center field prospect and he doesn't have enough power for the corner outfield spots. His big league projection at this point is being a fourth outfielder.
MLB Storylines: Pestano loses arbitration case: For the first time in over 20 years, the Indians have gone to an arbitration hearing. Vinnie Pestano has lost the arbitration case and will only receive $975K in 2014. Andy Nichols has all the details on that and the other news and notes of the day.
IBI Power Poll: The greatest Indians player from the 90's?: In this week's power poll, Jim Pete reflects back on the now-legendary Indians teams from the '90s. The question is who among the various All-Stars on those rosters stands out to fans as the greatest?
The dual offensive profiles of Carlos Santana: As a switch-hitting slugger, Carlos Santana already possesses a healthy advantage over most hitters in the league, but when you break down his production from both sides of the plate, how much difference is there between each side? John Grimm analyzes.
MLB Stoylines: Brantley signs deal, Indians eyeing Santana?: The Indians have avoided arbitration with left fielder Michael Brantley with a 4-year/$25 million contract extension and are also reportedly interested in free-agent starterErvin Santana. Andy Nichols has all the latest.
2014 Indians Organizational Depth Chart: With spring training now underway, Tony Lastoria has officially released the 2014 IBI Indians depth chart, which projects where the current minor league prospects fit in as far as major league positional depth.
Swinging for the Fences: New beginnings: Heading into spring training and looking toward the 2014 season, the Indians and Major League Baseball have numerous fresh opportunities to take advantage of and new innovations to implement. Jake Dungan takes a look at all the new beginnings that lie ahead this season.
Tribe Happenings: Several NRIs could impact the roster: With Indians players now reporting to Goodyear, Arizona, Tony Lastoria takes time to look at the players signed to minor league deals by the Tribe this offseason and what kind of impact they may have on the big league squad.
MLB Storylines: Is Suk-min Yoon headed to Baltimore?: Following the posting of a photo of free-agent Korean pitcher Suk-min Yoon wearing an Orioles hat on social media, speculation began as to whether Baltimore is close to signing him. Also, veteran starter Roy Oswalt has officially retired from baseball. Andy Nichols reports.
State of the Union at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario: The time has come for Jim Pete's annual State of the Union address as he looks at what the Indians look like now compared to what they looked like a year ago and what has changed and improved since then. There's good reason to be excited for 2014 in Cleveland!
MLB Storylines: 2014 season to be the last for Jeter: After a Hall of Fame career that has spanned two decades, the last remaining member of the Core Four in the Bronx will be hanging it up after the 2014 season. Andy Nichols has all the details about Derek Jeter's decision to retire.
Do the Indians need a left-handed starter?: The Indians made the playoffs last year with Scott Kazmir in their rotation. This offseason, Kazmir has signed with Oakland leaving the Tribe without a viable left-handed starter. The question is do they need one? Jim Piascik speculates.
Brown wants to keep things simple this year: Right-hander Mitch Brown spent last year bouncing between Single-A Lake County and Arizona Rookie League due to struggles and injury. The second-round pick of the Indians in 2012 is now looking ahead to 2014 and planning to keep things simple on the mound. Stephanie Metzger discusses his future with him.
MLB Storylines: Trout appears headed for unrivaled contract: With some of the game's young and up-and-coming stars receiving major contract extensions this offseason, the Angels have decided to begin negotiations with superstar outfielder Mike Trout on what could be a record-breaking extension. Andy Nichols has all the details.
Orbiting Cleveland: A look at Brantley's extension: When you get down to it and break down his stats and production, is Brantley's extension a fair assessment of his talent? Steve Orbanek says yes and believes it was a good deal for both sides. He explains in this week's edition of Orbiting Cleveland.
MLB Storylines: Teheran the latest to get an extension: Atlanta is continuing the process of locking up their young talent long-term as young starter Julio Teheran joins first baseman Freddie Freeman and outfielder Jason Heyward as the latest Braves player to get a multi-year extension. Andy Nichols has all the latest news and rumors from around the major leagues.
Trend Spotting: Ryan Raburn, regression candidate: Ryan Raburn came to the Tribe on a minor league deal a year ago after coming off a career-worst year as far as offensive production. With his new club, he promptly followed that up with a career-best season in 2013. Now Michael Hattery wants the real Ryan Raburn to please stand up.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.