IBI Digest: 3/16/14 - 3/22/14
Recapping the week on Indians Baseball Insider
The biggest news out of Goodyear this week was the report that the Indians and Justin Masterson had broken off negotiations on a multi-year extension. Elsewhere around the league, Tommy John surgery is becoming an epidemic as several more players are having to undergo the reconstructive elbow procedure. Tony Lastoria concludes his 2014 prospect countdown and the staff begins to make their predictions for the upcoming season.
Here's what happened this week on IBI:
2014 IBI Top 50 Prospects: #3 RHP Trevor Bauer: While there is still definite upside with Bauer, time is starting to catch up with him as he still has yet to figure things out at the big league level. He is currently in the running for the fifth spot in the starting rotation, but he is more likely to start the year in AAA Columbus.
2014 IBI Top 50 Prospects: #2 OF Clint Frazier: After being drafted last year, Clint Frazier has quickly worked his way up through the prospect rankings and has become the top outfield prospect for the Indians heading into 2014. While he likely won't sniff the big leagues this season, it will be interesting to see how he plays in affiliate ball.
2014 IBI Top 50 Prospects: #1 SS Francisco Lindor: Not surprisingly, 2011 Indians first-round pick Francisco Lindor tops the prospect rankings once again as he is now one step closer to Cleveland and could potentially receive a big league call-up at some point in 2014.
2014 Minor League Spring Game recap: March 15th: Minor league exhibition play started with intra-organization play between the affilliates with Columbus taking on Akron and Carolina facing Lake County. It was the Clippers and Captains who came out on top.
2014 Minor League Spring Game recap: March 16th: With the big league club in a split-squad effort, no game took place for the Columbus Clippers since many of their players were needed to fill out both Tribe rosters. Akron and Carolina emerged victorious while Lake County ended their game in a 3-3 tie.
2014 Minor League Spring Game Recap: March 17th: It was back to intra-organization play on Monday as the Clippers and RubberDucks faced off with Columbus winning once again 4-1 and the Mudcats were shut out by the Captains 3-0 with Nelson Rodriguez powering Lake County to victory.
2014 Minor League Spring Game recap: March 18th: The Clippers remain undefeated as they take down Charlotte 5-4. Jesus Aguilar and Jorge Martinez each drove in a pair of runs in the victory. Meanwhile, the Captains topped Kannapolis while the Mudcats played Winston-Salem (no score provided).
2014 Minor League Spring Game Recap: March 19th: Columbus was handed their first loss of the minor league exhibition campaign as Louisville defeated the Clippers 3-1. Akron was successful in their bout against Pensacola with a 6-1 victory. Also, Carolina tied with Bakersfield at three and Lake County fell to Dayton 7-5.
2014 Minor League Spring Game Recap: March 20th: The Clippers and Sacamento played to a 2-2 tie on Thursday while Akron buried Midland 9-2, Carolina fell to Stockton 7-3 and the Captains dropped one to Beloit 6-4. Trevor Bauer pitched five innings for Columbus and allowed two runs on three hits, but struck out eight.
2014 Minor League Spring Game Recap: March 21st: The Clippers continue to prove why they are the upper affilliate as they defeat Akron once again 9-4. Aaron Harang pitched five innings for Akron and allowed six runs, but didn't get much help from his defense as only four were earned. Meanwhile, the Mudcats finally won one against Lake County with a 5-2 victory.
MLB Storylines: Tigers lose Iglesias to shin injury: Detroit is now without their starting shortstop possibly for the entire season as Jose Iglesias was diagnosed with injuries to both his shins. Could this be the opening free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew has been waiting for? Andy Nichols has the latest.
IBI Power Poll: And the Final Starter is?: While there are four candidates, the race for the final spot in the starting rotation appears to be a two-man race between Carlos Carrasco and Josh Tomlin. Carrasco has the advantage of being without options, but Tomlin's performance this spring is hard to ignore. Jim Pete throws it to the fans.
Indians sweep split-squad bill against Cubs and Giants: The Indians were in action in Mesa against the Cubs and Scottsdale against the Giants and emerged victorious in both games thanks to strong pitching and just the right amount of offense. Jake Dungan recaps all the action from both games.
MLB Storylines: Diamondbacks' Corbin could need surgery: Injuries to pitchers seem to be a dime-a-dozen this spring with many injuries ending with Tommy John surgery. Could Arizona's scheduled opening day starter Patrick Corbin be heading for the same fate? Andy Nichols updates news from around the league.
Command Statistics: A sortie into the unknown: On the surface, Zach McAllister and Corey Kluber may appear to be very similar pitchers. Both right-handed, acquired in trades, not highly-thought-of prospects and even had breakout years last season before suffering similar injuries. But by digging deeper, how much alike are the two pitchers really? John Grimm examines.
Injury concerns for Bourn; Reds rally over Indians, 5-4: In addition to losing to the Reds, the Indians got some unpleasant news regarding center fielder Michael Bourn, who had been lifted from Sunday's game early with a hamstring issue. He has been diagnosed with a hamstring strain and is currently questionable for opening day. Jim Berdysz recaps the game and provides the latest news on Bourn.
Storylines: Oakland's pitching depth gets put to the test: Pitching woes continue around Major League Baseball his spring. In Oakland, opening day starter Jarrod Parker is set to undergo his second career Tommy John surgery while A.J. Griffin will likely miss the first month of the season with arm issues. Andy Nichols has all the latest news and notes.
Swinging for the Fences: Spring Training Week In Review: Jake Dungan, now back home in cold and miserable Northeast Ohio, recaps his week at spring training in Arizona going day-by-day.
Indians best Giants in twilight 12-11 shootout: In a late-night battle in Goodyear, the Indians came out on top against San Francisco in a 12-11 slug fest. Jeff Francoeur, vying for a spot on the bench drove in four runs, thanks mostly to a three-run homer in the third inning. Jake Dungan has all the highlights.
Storylines: Rollins, Phillies drama grows: Sources within the Phillies organization have said that the team may be better off trading shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Also, the Indians have reunited with former farmhand Adam Miller on a minor league deal. Andy Nichols has the latest news from around the league.
2014 Key Players: John Axford: The Indians added right-hander John Axford this offseason to become the team's new closer. After his breakout year in Milwaukee in 2011, Axford has struggled the last couple seasons until he was traded to St. Louis late last season. After working with Cardinals coaches, he rebounded with a strong late-season performance. Michael Goodman discusses Axford's role and his outlook for 2014.
Carrasco struggles as Tribe falls to Oakland, 13-3: Danny Salazar started and pitched well against Oakland in three and two-thirds shutout innings, but things came apart for the Tribe when Carlos Carrasco came into the game. The A's scored eight runs (five earned) in just two and two-thirds innings of work. Jim Berdysz recaps the loss.
Storylines: Shortstops in high demand as season approaches: Arizona, in need of starting pitching, may be offering shortstop Didi Gregorious in hopes of getting a starter in return. In other news, Shaun Marcum has said that would be willing to stay with the organization beyond opening day even if he doesn't make the roster. Andy Nichols has all the news and notes.
Spring Training: A look back through the years: How did spring training first start and where and when did the Indians begin their preseason camp? DJ Sebastian goes down through the years and discusses the evolution of Indians spring training and shares fond memories along the way.
MLB predictions: 10 bold predictions for the 2014 Indians: With the season fast-approaching, it's time to start making predictions for 2014. Jim Berdysz has ten bold predictions for the Indians this season.
Storylines: Extension talks between Masterson, Indians falter: In somewhat shocking, but certainly disappointing news, the Indians have discontinued extension talks with ace Justin Masterson after the two sides could not reach an agreement. Does this mean Masterson is gone after this season? Andrew Zajac discusses all the latest news.
How walking away from Masterson could be reasonable: Were the Indians right to turn down Masterson's offer for a contract extension? It's not a popular opinion following news on Thursday night that negotiations had broken off between the two parties, but Jim Piascik explains why the decision may turn out to be a wise one moving forward.
MLB Storylines: Tigers lose another player to injury: The injury bug has hit Detroit pretty hard so far this spring as they have lost outfielder Andy Dirks for over two months, shortstop Jose Iglesias for the whole season and now setup man Bruce Rondon also for the whole season as he is set to undergo Tommy John surgery. Andrew Zajac covers all the lateste MLB news.
Six hitting prospects who can help in Cleveland in 2014: The Indians have several position player prospects who either are or are close to being ready to make an impact at the big league level. Jim Piascik lists six prospects who could be receive a call-up in 2014.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.