Minor Happenings” covers
the important developments and news in the Indians farm system over
the course of the past week. Information in this report is collected
from the various news outlets that cover each team, some national news,
and in some cases from private sources connected to the Indians organization.
Indians Farm Director John
Farrell focused mainly on Akron prospects this week in his weekly interview.
Here are his comments on an assortment of players:
On Brian Barton:
He is a non-drafted free agent they signed out of the University of
Miami who is hitting .325 with 18 HRs, 75 RBIs and 39 steals in 100
games. With the path he has taken and the strides he has made,
he has the potential to become a remarkable success story considering
he was not drafted. The Indians are still scratching their heads
how he went undrafted. He had originally went to Loyola and then
transferred to Miami, and the thought is because he had to sit out a
year after the transfer along with the concern that he was not serious
about baseball (he majored in aerospace engineering) it plummeted his
draft stock and led to him not being selected in the draft. Barton
hits for power, average, has very good speed, and can play all three
outfield positions. He is on the radar now.
On Trevor Crowe:
He recently debuted at 2B for Akron. The plan is to see more of
him at 2B for at least the rest of the regular season at Akron and in
the Arizona Fall League this winter. Crowe has infield experience
prior to college, and with the need at 2B in the system and for the
major league club, the Indians are looking at every possibility to get
him up here quickly. The Indians will assess his play at 2B, and
if they feel the move to 2B is slowing his progress to the majors they
will put him back in CF. Crowe projects as a future leadoff hitter
because he is an on-base machine, has speed, and is very patient at
the plate. The Indians feel he will hit for more power in the
future, and feel his best comp is Brian Roberts of the Orioles.
Roberts is exactly the player they envision Crowe being.
On Ryan Mulhern:
This has not been a successful season for him. While he has been
productive (.268 avg, 14 HRs, 61 RBIs), his production to date pales
in comparison to the numbers he put up in 2005 (.315 avg, 32 HRs, 94
RBIs). Much of his problem has been a lack of aggressiveness early
in the count in not attacking fastballs, and then late in the count
being over-aggressive when the pitchers are throwing more breaking balls.
He is over-thinking his at bats and just not had a good plan of attack
when he steps into the batters box.
On Brad Snyder: The
power is there, and there is no denying his physical abilities, but
he is still working on his strike zone discipline. His swing is
geared for pitches in the zone as when he stays within himself he hits
almost everything hard. But, his lack of discipline has led to
him being very susceptible to high and outside pitches and pitches in
On Ryan Goleski: One
of the biggest turnarounds in the system this year, with his strikeout
improvement a big key behind Goleski’s success. He is much more
disciplined and has developed a much better two strike approach at the
plate (Goleski’s development in these areas is exactly what they wanted
to see from Snyder).
Miller Gets a Short Promotion
Top pitching prospect Adam
Miller was called up to Buffalo this past Monday to make a spot start
for the Bisons. Miller was dominant early on pitching 4 shutout
innings, but eventually wore down (94 pitches) in the 5th inning.
Overall, Miller lasted 4.2 IP and gave up 3 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks
while striking out 4. His time at Buffalo was short-lived, as
he was sent back to Akron shortly after the game and is expected to
make his next scheduled start today (8/26) for Akron. With Buffalo
pretty much out of the playoff picture in the International League,
and Akron all but in the playoffs in the Eastern League, Miller’s
return to Akron was expected so he could help lead the Aeros and win
their 3rd league championship in four years.
The Indians decided to skip
Kinston left-hander Chuck Lofgren’s scheduled start this past week
in order to rest him. Lofgren is fine physically, and he is 100%
healthy; however, the Indians are aware that Lofgren currently has pitched
128 innings at Kinston this year after pitching only 93 innings last
season for Lake County in his first full professional season.
The Indians did the same thing with Adam Miller at Akron back in early
July, and since then Miller has been unbelievable. Kinston manager
Mike Sarbaugh has already tabbed Lofgren as the Game 1 starter when
the postseason kicks off for Kinston in early September. Scott
Lewis and Joe Ness are expected to round out the rotation in Game 2
To date, Akron outfielder Brad
Snyder has 147 strikeouts and is on pace to shatter the single-season
strikeout record. The record for most strikeouts in a season is
155, which was set by John Van Every last year. It should be noted
that while Van Every set the single season strikeout record at Akron
in 2005, he also tied the single season HR record (27). For Snyder,
this is not exactly the type of company you want to be in if you envision
playing in the big leagues anytime soon, especially when coming into
this season you were tabbed the team’s #1 position player prospect
(before the Marte deal).
Snyder has been somewhat of
a disappointment this year. He currently is hitting .260 with
15 HRs, 65 RBIs and 18 stolen bases, which are decent numbers.
But, after striking out 158 times in 2005, the idea was to return to
Akron and work on his plate discipline and two-strike approach.
Snyder is just not consistently making contact and can’t lay off pitches
high and outside. This has been nothing but a lost season of development
for Snyder, and one can only hope he learns from this season and bounces
back in 2007 when he likely is at Buffalo.
Francisco Callup Looming?
Buffalo outfielder Ben Francisco
is currently not on the 40-man roster, but when the Buffalo season ends
Labor Day weekend, he could be added to the 40-man roster and called
up to Cleveland. Reason being, Francisco is Rule 5 Draft eligible
this winter and if he is not 40-man roster protected he almost certainly
will be selected in the draft by another team. Francisco is a
4th outfield candidate next year and he does it all.
He can play any outfield position, he hits for average, power, and steals
bases. On the year, he is hitting .277 with 17 HRs, 58 RBIs and
24 stolen bases at Buffalo. The Indians should call him up now
to get at least a quick look at him before deciding whether to roster
him or not.
Also, Francisco’s hit steak
that ended July 9th will officially go down in the books
as a 25-game hit streak. A game that had been suspended during
the streak was recently completed this week. Had he not gotten
a hit in the makeup of the suspended game, the streak would have reverted
to a 13-game hit streak. Francisco doubled in the game to keep
the streak at 25 games.
Akron placed 2B Eider Torres
on the disabled list with a strained left intercostal muscle this week.
Torres had been bothered by the injury for about a week, and the Aeros
finally decided to shut him down and put him on the disabled list.
The injury comes at an unfortunate time for Torres, as he currently
has 40 stolen bases which is tied for the all-time franchise record
with Damian Jackson. Torres needs one more stolen base to eclipse
the mark that Jackson set in 1995. On the season, the switch-hitting
Torres has had somewhat of a breakthrough season as in addition to the
40 stolen bases, the 5’9” 175 pound middle infielder is hitting
.273 with 2 HRs and 41 RBIs at Akron.
Right-hander JD Martin continues
his comeback from Tommy John surgery, and was called up to Kinston this
week. In his first two appearances, he has totaled 7.1 IP without
allowing a run and has given up 5 hits while striking out 8. Prior
to his callup to Kinston, in 5 appearances at Lake County (15.0 IP)
was 0-1 with a 4.20 ERA with 16 strikeouts, and at Mahoning Valley in
6 appearances (18.0 IP) he was 0-1 with a 1.50 ERA with 13 strikeouts.
To date, there have been no reported setbacks with Martin’s rehab.
Congrats to Akron outfielder
Ryan Goleski. Friday night, he knocked in his 100th
RBI of the season. Putting up 100 RBI seasons in the minors is
a rare thing, and Goleski has given no signs of letting up. On
the year, he is hitting a combined .305./.392/.553 with 24 HRs and 100
RBIs at Kinston and Akron. He is Rule 5 Draft eligible in the
offseason, and most certainly will be added to the Indians 40-man roster
to protect him from the draft. He will likely start in Buffalo
in 2007, and being on the 40-man roster could see some action with the
big league club if the need for an outfielder presents itself.
The Eastern League announced
their post-season All-Star team this past week. Three Akron players
made the team: 2B Eider Torres, 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff, and SP Adam Miller.
Also, Adam Miller was named Eastern League Pitcher of the Year, and
Akron manager Tim Bogar was named Manager of the Year. On the
season, Miller is 13-6 with a 2.88 ERA at Akron. In 140.2 IP he
has held opponents to a .229 batting average against and has struckout
142 batters. He is tied for the league lead in wins, 3rd
in ERA and 3rd in strikeouts.
On the season, Akron (79-51)
is cruising to an Eastern League Southern Division title. With
10 games remaining, they own a 7.5 game lead and their magic number
to clinch is 4.
After battling so hard to get
back into the International League playoff race by going 18-7 in a 25
game stretch from July 20 through August 15th, the Bisons
have gone 3-7 in their last 10 games and pretty much are out of the
playoffs. With 10 games to play, Buffalo is 6 games behind wild-card
leading Rochester and at this point an extreme longshot to make the
playoffs. What makes this worse, is in 5 of the 7 losses the Bisons
have blown leads of at least two runs, and squandered many late leads.
Down In the Valley
Mahoning Valley (33-30) is
battling for a spot in the NY-Penn League playoffs. Currently,
the Scrappers are tied for 1st with the Auburn Doubledays
in the NY-Penn League’s Pinckney Division. The regular season
ends on Sept 7th, and the Scrappers have 13 games remaining.
Four of those games are head-to-head 2-game series matchups against
Auburn, of which the final two games of the season are at Auburn.
This race should come down to the wire, as another team (State College)
is only ½ game out of 1st and another two (Batavia and Jamestown)
are both within 3.5 games of first.
Also, right-handed pitcher
Erik Stiller won Pitcher of the Week honors in the NY-Penn League.
The 6’5” 200 pound pitcher went 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA after pitching
6 innings and allowing only one baserunner (a hit) while striking out
4. On the season, Stiller is a combined 4-5 with a 4.71 ERA in
11 total appearances at Burlington and Mahoning Valley.
Last, the Scrappers almost
threw a no-hitter Thursday Night. William Delage and Neil Wagner
threw 8.2 innings of no hit baseball only to lose the no-hit bid in
the 9th inning with two outs on an infield single.
Delage went 7 innings with 11 strikeouts.
Below Average Debut in the
The debut season in the Gulf
Coast League (GCL) for the rookie level GCL Indians came to a close
this past week. The GCL Indians finished 21-29 on the season,
and in 4th place of the GCL North Division 11 games out of 1st place.
The Indians finished 6th in the league out of 13 teams in hitting (.254),
but the reason for the poor record and inconsistent play is a direct
result of a bad pitching staff that was 12th in the league in ERA (4.58).
Here are some of the final
noteworthy statistics (league ranking in parentheses):
Roman Pena (OF): .311
avg (5th), 5 HRs (7th), 23 RBIs, 6 SBs, .911 OPS (2nd)
Lucas Montero (OF):
.263 avg, 6 HRs (6th), 26 RBIs, 23 SBs (1st), .781 OPS
Carlos Rivero (SS):
.284 avg, 2 HRs, 22 RBIs, 0 SBs, .711 OPS
Jeanmar Gomez (SP):
4-3 (6th in wins), 2.48 ERA (9th), 54.1 IP (3rd), 34 Ks, 1.14 WHIP
Kelvin Diaz (SP): 3-2,
3.65 ERA, 44.1 IP, 43 Ks (7th), 1.29 WHIP
AFL Roster Set
The rosters for the Arizona
Fall League (AFL) have been set, and eight Indians minor leaguers will
take part in the winter league. The players chosen were pitchers
Kyle Collins, Jake Dittler, Scott Roehl, and Tony Sipp along with C
Javier Herrera, 1B Michael Aubrey, 2B Trevor Crowe, and OF Brian Barton.
Recent Roster Moves
Pitcher Dan Cevette activated
from Lake County disabled list…Pitcher Dan Frega and OF Lucas Montero
transferred from the GCL to Mahoning Valley….Pitcher Ryan Morris,
pitcher Chris Archer, and C Rob Alcombrack transferred from the GCL
to Burlington…..Pitcher TJ Burton was placed on the Kinston inactive
list…. Pitcher Mark Jecmen was placed on the Lake County inactive
list….OF Roman Pena was transferred from the GCL to Lake County…..Pitcher
Ryan Edell was activated from the Lake County disabled list….C Josh
Noviskey was released from the Lake County roster.
With Torres on the disabled
list in Akron, outfielder Juan Valdez was called up from Lake County
to replace him on the roster….Kinston 1B Stephen Head’s 37-game
on-base streak with a hit or walk came to an end last Saturday August
19th…. Burlington 1B Felipe Garcia is the lone Burlington
All-Star representative selected for the Appalachian League All-Star
Game. On the season, Garcia is hitting .303 with 7 HRs and 39
RBIs in 55 games….Buffalo added infielder Ramon Vazquez to the roster
after he cleared waivers, and also called up catcher/infielder Chris
Gimenez from Lake County….Jason Stanford and Eddie Mujica combined
to pitch a 4-hit shutout last Sunday August 20th. Stanford
pitched 6 innings and struckout 7 batters.