Indians Have Relief In Sight at AAA Buffalo
(For games from Friday April 21 through Wednesday April 26)
Minor League Player of the Week:
Fernando Pacheco (1B- Lake County Captains): .455 avg (10-22), 2 2Bs, 3 HRs, 10 RBIs
After an awful start to his season through two weeks (4-42 for a .095 avg), Pacheco finally got his season going with an outstanding week. With his hot week, Pacheco bumped his season average 124 points to .219, and now has 5 Hrs and 15 RBIs in 17 games. His hitting was so bad going into this week, that Captains manager Lee May Jr. actually moved him out of the cleanup spot to 8th in the order. He is slowly climbing back up the order, and while he is firmly buried in the system at 1B behind prospects like Ryan Garko, Michael Aubrey, Stephen Head, and Ryan Mulhern, he is one of the top offensive threats at Lake County to watch this season.
Honorable Mention: Scott Lewis (SP- Kinston), Ryan Mulhern (1B- Akron), Jake Dittler (SP- Buffalo)
Quote of the Week:
“This is what we all dream about. I can't imagine how it must feel.'' – Akron Aeros catcher Javier Hererra after learning his teammate Eddie Mujica almost got the call to the Indians when relievers Matt Miller and Rafael Betancourt went down to injury.
News and Notes:
Ryan Garko was hit in the hand last Wednesday, and missed the Thursday (4/20) game, but was back in the lineup Friday and appears to be fine….With the callup of Jeremy Guthrie to the Indians, reliever Rob Bell has moved into the Buffalo rotation. In his first start Monday he went 5 innings without allowing a run, and only gave up 1 hit…..CC Sabathia is scheduled to pitch for Buffalo today (Thursday), and will throw between 90-100 pitches. If all goes well, he will return to the Indians and pitch May 2nd versus the White Sox…..Sabathia has never pitched a game at the AAA level.
A few weeks back, it was announced that the Akron Aeros plan to install a new center-field scoreboard in June. The main scoreboard will be an 18-by-25-foot Daktronics LED display unit, and new LED auxiliary scoreboards will be installed on the first and third baselines….Last week, the Aeros placed LHP Chris Cooper on the DL with left shoulder inflammation and activated LHP Victor Kleine from extended spring training….The Lake County Captains placed 1B/OF PJ Hiser on the DL and activated C Josh Noviskey….The Captains also placed SP Ryan Edell on the DL and activated SP Jorge Riera.
In his weekly radio interview Wednesday, Indians Farm Director John Farrell mentioned he is down in Kinston for the week getting a firsthand look at some of the Tribe’s young prospects at the high A level….Farrell reports that 2005 3rd round draft pick Jensen Lewis is throwing good, and this being his first full season as a professional he will be challenged to go well beyond his college workload and make 25-26 starts and throw 140+ innings….Steven Head is a pure power hitting infielder who puts a good swing on fastballs down and in. The focal points of the organization regarding Head are to develop a consistent starting point with his swing, and keep a natural rhythm in his swing. Doing this will create a consistent bat path, and put more backspin on the ball, leading to him driving the ball more and making contact more frequently.
Outside of Kinston, Farrell reported on Adam Miller. The organization is excited with his performance to date, but mostly with how he is going about it (especially for a 20-year old). In Farrell’s eyes, Miller has shown two things that he is progressing rapidly: 1.) He is using all three of his pitches effectively, and 2.) he has matured in his usage of the three pitches with location rather than just velocity (in other words, Miller no longer is just firing the ball in there, he is “pitching”)….John Drennen dislocated the end joint to his thumb, and the organization is breathing a sigh of relief as it could have been more serious. The early prognosis is Drennen will sit and rest for 10-14 days to allow the swelling to go down, and then he will begin a hitting program. He’ll be out a few weeks.
The Bisons went 2-3 on the week, and currently are 11-9 on the season in 3rd place in the North Division of the International League…..Offensively, Buffalo is 2nd in the league in hitting with a .272 avg, and are 7th out of 14 teams in pitching with a 3.10 ERA.
League Top 10: Lou Merloni is 10th in batting average (.346)….Jason Dubois is tied for 3rd in RBIs (16), and tied for 5th in HRs (4)….Ryan Garko is tied for 3rd in RBIs (16)….Jeremy Sowers is 8th in IP (24), and 8th in ERA (1.50).
With relievers Matt Miller and Raffy Betancourt on the DL, the Indians will need some pitchers from the minors to step in and step up. Interestingly, the Indians called up relievers such as Rafael Perez, Jeremy Guthrie and Brian Slocum, when better relief options may be available….Some of those relief options at Buffalo: Steve Karsay (1.59 ERA, 5.2 IP, 3 hits, 4 Ks), Fernando Cabrera (0.00 ERA, 6.2 IP, 6 hits, 10 Ks), Andrew Brown (0.75 ERA, 12 IP, 3 hits, 11 BBs, 8 Ks), and Jason Stanford (3.71 ERA, 17 IP, 17 hits, 15 Ks)….Brown has been nasty, but also wild (11 BBs in 12 IP), which is why he wasn’t immediately called up….Cabrera will no doubt be activated from the DL when he is eligible to come off (4/29)….To activate Karsay, the Indians will need to release a player from the 40-man roster since Karsay is currently not on it.
Utility infielder watch: Lou Merloni (.346 avg) and Joe Inglett (.321 avg) continue to impress….Andy Marte has more stolen bases (1) than home runs (0)….The Bisons offensive woes the past week are due in large part to Franklin Gutierrez at the top of the order in a 3 for 21 slide the past 5 games….Not to be outdone, Ryan Garko is currently in a 1 for 25 funk. This is nothing new for Garko, as last May he experienced an 0 for 30 slide.
Buffalo Six Pack:
Andy Marte (3B): .318 avg (21-66), .413 OBP, 8 2Bs, 0 HRs, 4 RBIs, 12 BBs
Jason Dubois (RF): .313 avg (20-64), 4 2Bs, 4 HRs, 16 RBIs, 20 Ks
Franklin Gutierrez (CF): .289 avg (22-76), 6 2Bs, 2 Hrs, 6 RBIs, 22 Ks, 4 stolen bases
Ryan Garko (1B): .284 avg (19-67), 5 2Bs, 1 HR, 16 RBIs
Ben Francisco (LF): .250 avg (15-60), 2 2Bs, 3 HRs, 7 RBIs, 2 stolen bases
Jeremy Sowers (SP): 2-1, 1.50 ERA, 24 IP, 25 hits, 9 BBs, 17 Ks, 1.42 WHIP
Akron continued to play well this week, going 4-2, and currently are 12-9 on the season good for 4th place in the Southern Division of the Eastern League….Offensively, the Aeros are ranked 2nd in the league with a .263 batting average, and on the pitching front are ranked 8th in the league out of 12 teams with a 3.61 ERA.
League Top 10: Ryan Mulhern is 9th in batting average (.329), 4th in RBIs (16), and tied for 4th in HRs (5)….Kevin Kouzmanoff is 1st in batting average (.375)….Todd Donovan is tied for 1st in steals (14)….Eider Torres is 3rd in steals (10)….Adam Miller is 5th in WHIP (0.75), tied for 2nd in wins (3), and 10th in ERA (1.59)….Tony Sipp is 1st in Ks (31)….Rafael Perez is 8th in Ks (25)….Eddie Mujica is tied for 3rd with 5 saves.
Adam Miller was named Eastern League Pitcher of the Week last week….The Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde Award goes to pitcher Nick Pesco. Last Thursday, Pesco started and pitched only one inning and gave up 9 runs and 7 hits, but his next time out on Tuesday (4/25), Pesco went 5 innings and didn’t allow a run and only one hit. Do figure….Ryan Mulhern has cut down on the Ks recently and has had a hot bat for Akron (9 for 19 on the week), but Brad Snyder continues to struggle at the plate (2 for 19 on the week) and has 32 Ks in 80 ABs.
Quietly, outfielder John Van Every is putting together another solid season at Akron. After hitting .244 with 27 HRs and 64 RBIs at Akron last year, he is off to a good start hitting .306 with 3 HRs and 12 RBIs….Eddie Mujica was close to getting a call to Cleveland last week. The Akron closer has a 0.00 ERA in 8 games (9.2 IP) and has only allowed 5 hits while striking out 7, but his 8 walks probably kept him from the show for the time being. At some point this season he should make his major league debut….Indians 4th Outfielder Alert: Todd Donovan is hitting .319 and now has 14 stolen bases in 18 games.
Akron Six Pack:
Ryan Mulhern (1B): .329 avg (26-80), 5 2Bs, 5 HRs, 16 RBIs, 23 Ks
Brad Snyder (RF): .238 avg (19-80), 3 2Bs, 1 3B, 3 HRs, 11 RBIs, 32 Ks
Kevin Kouzmanoff (3B): .375 avg (21-56), 2 2Bs, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 7 Ks
Eider Torres (2B): .313 avg (26-83), 3 2Bs, 1 3B, 0 HRs, 8 RBIs, 10 stolen bases
Adam Miller (SP): 3-0, 1.59 ERA, 22.2 IP, 14 hits, 3 BBs, 18 Ks, 0.75 WHIP
Tony Sipp (SP): 2-0, 2.14 ERA, 21 IP, 15 hits, 6 BBs, 31 Ks, 1.00 WHIP
Kinston went 3-2 on the week, and currently are 13-6 on the season which is good for 1st place in the Southern Division of the Carolina League…..Offensively, Kinston ranks 1st in the league with a .255 team batting average, and are 1st in pitching in the 8-team league with a 2.55 ERA.
League Top 10: Trevor Crowe is tied for 2nd in steals (7)….SS Brian Finegan is tied for 3rd in RBIs (14)…Argenis Reyes is 8th in RBIs (12)….Matt Whitney is tied for 2nd in HRs (3)…. Chuck Lofgren is tied for the league lead in wins (3), 4th in ERA (1.33), and 7th in Ks (20)….Scott Lewis leads the league in WHIP (0.68) and ERA (0.00), and is tied for 4th in Ks (22)….Sean Smith is 1st in IP (25) and 3rd in the league in Ks (23)….Joe Ness is tied for 4th in Ks (23)….Scott Roehl is 2nd in ERA (0.56).
2004 3rd round draft pick Scott Lewis out of The Ohio State University has come back from injury and simply been dominating. He has yet to allow a run in 17.2 IP, and has surrendered only 11 hits while walking 1 and striking out 22. Just filthy….Catcher Wyatt Toregas has returned to the Kinston lineup from his 9-game suspension to start the season, and has been on a tear. Toregas is a nice hitting catcher, and has been driving the ball everywhere (8 of his 12 hits are for extra bases). He also hit a walk-off Grand Slam on Monday night to give Kinston the win.
Trevor Crowe is not only hitting (.306 avg) and stealing bases (7 steals), but his walk-rate has been astounding (16 walks in 18 games). I think the Indians would love a guy like Crowe in their lineup with a .438 OBP….Future utility infielder alert: Not only is Eider Torres hitting well in Akron, but Argenis Reyes is playing well in Kinston as well. Through 18 games he is hitting .297 with 12 RBIs and 2 stolen bases….
Kinston Six Pack:
Stephen Head (1B): .217 avg (15-69), 3 2Bs, 2 HRs, 8 RBIs, 8 Ks
Trevor Crowe (CF): .306 avg (19-62), 3 2Bs, 1 HR, 10 RBIs, 16 BBs, 7 stolen bases
Wyatt Toregas (C): .387 avg (12-31), 7 2Bs, 1 HR, 9 RBIs, 6 BBs, 4 Ks
Matt Whitney (3B): .184 avg (9-49), 1 2B, 3 HRs, 7 RBIs, 24 Ks
Chuck Lofgren (SP): 3-1, 1.33 ERA, 20.1 IP, 17 hits, 5 BBs, 20 Ks, 1.08 WHIP
Joe Ness (SP): 1-0, 2.87 ERA, 15.2 IP, 12 hits, 5 BBs, 22 Ks, 1.09 WHIP
Lake County Roundup:
The Captains offense woke up and paced them to a 5-1 record on the week, improving them to 12-8 overall which puts them in 2nd place in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League standings….Offensively, the Captains are ranked 9th in the league out of 16 teams in hitting with a .255 avaerage, and are ranked 2nd in pitching with a 2.80 ERA.
League Top 10: Fernando Pacheco is 6th in RBIs (15) and tied for 3rd in HRs (5)…Mike Conroy is 8th in RBIs (14)….Jim Deters is 9th with 23 Ks….Kevin Dixon is 1st with 27.2 IP and 10th with a 1.63 ERA.
With Drennen out for an indefinite amount of time, Conroy will likely get more time in the outfield (he was primarily DHing) and Juan Valdes will start in CF. When Drennen officially goes on the DL, a player will be activated from extended spring training since the Captains only have three active outfielders. Depending on health, Mike Butia or Nick Weglarz are the most likely candidates to be added to the roster…..Catcher Josh Noviskey returned from the DL this past week, and upon returning is hitting .353 (6-17) with 2 HRs and 5 RBIs in 4 games.
Lake County Six Pack:
John Drennen (CF): .333 avg (20-60), 2 2Bs, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 4 stolen bases
Mike Conroy (LF): .270 (20-74), 2 2Bs, 3 HRs, 14 RBIs, 10 BBs, 15 Ks
Jose Constanza (RF): .300 (18-60), 2 2Bs, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 7 stolen bases
Niuman Romero (SS): .309 avg (21-72), 4 2Bs, 0 HRs, 7 RBIs, 9 BBs, 13 Ks
Kevin Dixon (SP): 1-1, 1.63 ERA, 27.2 IP, 22 hits, 5 BBs, 16 Ks, 0.98 WHIP
James Deters (SP): 1-0, 2.35 ERA, 23 IP, 22 hits, 2 BBs, 23 Ks, 1.04 WHIP
Part 2 of the two-part Q&A with Baseball America’s Chris Kline will post on Friday, April 28th.