“Minor Happenings” covers the important developments and news in the Indians farm system. 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.
New CBA Helps Farm Systems
Draft Pick Compensation: There was no change in compensation for Type A free agents, as the team that loses a Type A player still gets a 1st or 2nd round pick from the signing club and a compensatory pick between the 1st and 2nd rounds. But, a tweak made to the compensation process for Type B free agents will help teams keep some of their draft picks when they sign a free agent. Effective immediately, Type B free agents were modified so that teams that lose Type B free agents now only get a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds and no longer receive a pick from the signing club.
Signing 1st round picks: A new rule has been implemented where if a team is unable to sign a 1st round pick from the current year’s draft, that team will get a compensation pick that is virtually the same pick in the following draft. For example: if the Indians took a player 10th overall in 2006, and were unable to sign him, they would get the 11th overall pick in the 2007 Amateur Draft. This same process holds true for 2nd round picks, and for 3rd round picks the team would receive a pick between the 3rd and 4th rounds. These changes will provide clubs more leverage in drafting and signing their players since they now have an option to walk away from a player knowing they get that pick back in the following year’s draft. Although, it should be noted, that the following year’s compensation pick is not subject to compensation, so if in the example above the Indians 11th overall pick in 2007 went unsigned, they get no compensation for the 2008 Amateur Draft.
Rule 5 Draft changes: A significant change to the CBA which directly affects the minor leagues is the update to Rule 5 eligibility where teams have been given one extra year to protect players. This rule change is immediate, and is in effect for the upcoming 2006 Rule 5 Draft. With the new change, players signed at 19 or older now get four years before they become Rule 5 eligible, and players signed at age 18 or younger get five years before they become Rule 5 eligible (previously it was three and four years respectively). The change allows teams to keep their own prospects longer, provides more flexibility with their roster, and helps prevent teams from having to push players onto the 40-man roster before they are ready.
With the changes to player eligibility, players like Max Ramirez, Asdrubal Cabrera, Scott Lewis, Adam Miller, Wyatt Toregas, and Tony Sipp no longer need to be protected this year as they are no longer eligible for the draft. With that, the top 10 players in the Indians system that will be available for selection in the Rule 5 draft this year are listed below:
Ryan Goleski OF
Sean Smith RHP
Nick Pesco RHP
Reid Santos LHP
Ben Francisco OF
Ryan Mulhern 1B
JD Martin RHP
Argenis Reyes IF
Jim Ed Warden RHP
Jon Van Every OF
Prior to the end of the season, there were no rumblings that Farrell would be leaving the Indians, and in a recent radio interview Indians GM Mark Shapiro even admitted he was sort of surprised by Farrell’s departure. But, according to Farrell, the lure of getting back into the dugout was too much for him to pass up. Farrell’s friendship with Boston Red Sox Manager Terry Francona and Farm Director Mike Hazen carried a lot of weight with his decision to leave and go to
New Guy In Charge
His transition to his new role should be relatively smooth because of his prior experience with the player development side within the
US . Prior to becoming the Director of Latin Operations in August 2003, Atkins was an assistant under Farrell from 2001-2003, so he has a very good understanding of the job. Under his old role as Director of Latin Operations, Atkins efforts had primarily focused on overseeing the academies in the
Dominican Republic and
Venezuela , as well as all budgetary, amateur scouting, and player development activities.
Indians Also Lose Scouting Director
Farrell’s former assistant Mike Hazen left the Indians last year to become the Red Sox Director of Player Development. With the recent exodus of Farrell, Hazen and Watson the strength of the Indians front office and scouting is being shown, and very much resembles when some of former Tribe GM John Hart’s top assistants were popping up as GM’s and in other important roles with various teams.
While Farrell and Watson have left for more challenging opportunities and greener pastures, Special Assistant Ellis Burks has elected to stay with the Indians after being offered the first-base coach job for the Colorado Rockies. Besides being comfortable working directly with Indians GM Mark Shapiro, Burks also preferred the more flexible schedule his Special Assistant role with the Indians provides.
Former Director’s Cuts
On Wyatt Toregas: Farrell mentioned that Toregas was up with the Indians in September to get a firsthand look at the atmosphere and how players prep for games. Toregas actually sat behind home plate at Indians games and watched the action while charting games. Right now, the Indians are working with Toregas on blocking balls in the dirt and how to smother and control them.
On Sung-Wei Tseng: Farrell mentioned that Tseng will start 2007 at
Kinston . He has a compact build, throws right-handed with average velocity, and has good control of his body throughout his delivery.
Prior to leaving, Farrell and the Indians decided to nix the 2B experiment for top Indians prospect Trevor Crowe. The general feeling was that it would take at least two years for him to become adequate at the position defensively, and when weighing this with where he is at currently as an offensive player, they just did not want to slow down Crowe’s progress. Crowe even admitted he never seemed to get comfortable at 2B as he was thinking too much, rather than reacting like he does when he plays in the outfield.
JD Martin Shutdown
Both players persevered in their recovery from serious injuries in 2005, as Kouzmanoff missed almost two months of the 2005 season with a back injury, and Miller (who won the award in 2004) suffered an elbow injury that forced him to miss pretty much the first two months of the 2005 season. At
Buffalo , Kouzmanoff combined to hit .379 with 22 HRs and 75 RBIs in only 94 games and 346 at bats. Miller went 15-6 with a 2.75 ERA in 26 games at
Akron , and was the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year.
Baseball America recently completed a Top 20 Prospect list for each league in the minors, and the Indians were well represented. Here are the Indians six affiliates, and who made the list in the respective league:
In addition to doing their League Top Prospects, Baseball America also recently compiled a top prospect listing by position. Once again, the Indians were well represented:
Top 10 Catchers: Matt McBride (#9)
Top 10 Third-Basemen: Kevin Kouzmanoff (#8)
Top 20 Right-handed Starters: Adam Miller (#7)
Top 12 Left-handed Starters: Chuck Lofgren (#7)
Top 5 Closer Prospects: Tony Sipp (#2)
Indians Minor League Free Agents
Winter Ball Update
Arizona Fall League (AFL)- The Indians have several players playing in the AFL. Here is a quick update on how some of the Indians prospects in the Arizona Fall League are performing, statistics-wise (through 10/29):
Joe Inglett (2B)- .481/.531/.481 (13-27), 0 2Bs, 0 3Bs, 0 HRs, 2 RBIs
Kevin Kouzmanoff (3B): .429/.487/.743 (15-35), 5 2Bs, 0 3Bs, 2 HRs, 8 RBIs
Javi Herrera (C)- .429/.600/.500 (6-14), 1 2B, 0 3Bs, 0 HRs, 1 RBI
Trevor Crowe (OF)- .348/.436/.413 (16-46), 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 HRs, 8 RBIs, 2 stolen bases
Reid Santos (LHP)- 0-1, 6 games, 0.00 ERA, 6.1 IP, 4 Ks, 1.11 WHIP
Kyle Collins (RHP)- 0-0, 6 games, 9.00 ERA, 5.0 IP, 6 Ks, 2.40 WHIP
Tony Sipp (LHP)- 0-0, 5 games, 7.71 ERA, 4.2 IP, 6 Ks, 1.71 WHIP
Jake Dittler (RHP)- 0-1, 2 games, 11.25 ERA, 4.0 IP, 4 Ks, 2.25 WHIP
Ryan Edell (LHP)*- 0-0, 2 games, 4.76 ERA, 5.2 IP, 3 Ks, 1.41 WHIP
* Edell replaced Dittler on the roster.
Latin Winter Leagues- Play in the Dominican, Venezuela, and Mexican Winter League's are under way. Here are some of the stats on noteworthy players (through 10/29):
Ryan Garko (1B): .158 avg (6-38), 1 2B, 0 3Bs, 0 HRs, 2 RBIs
Wyatt Toregas (C): .344 (11-32), 6 2Bs, 0 3Bs, 0 HRs, 4 RBIs
Asdrubal Cabrera (SS): .250/.270/.278 (9-36), 1 2B, 0 3Bs, 0 HRs, 2 RBIs
Ben Francisco (OF): .277/.356/.462 (18-65), 2 2Bs, 0 3Bs, 3 HRs, 10 RBIs, 2 stolen bases
Fausto Carmona (RHP): 0-0, 2 games, 3.38 ERA, 8.0 IP, 9 Ks, .188 BAA
Jeremy Guthrie (RHP): 0-0, 2 games, 4.00 ERA, 9.0 IP, 4 Ks, .226 BAA
Jim Ed Warden (RHP): 0-0, 6 games, 3.85 ERA, 4.2 IP, 4 Ks, .143 BAA
Albert Vargas (RHP): 0-1, 3 games, 6.35 ERA, 11.1 IP, 6 Ks, .302 BAA
Hawaii Winter League- The Indians only have two players playing in the Hawaii Winter League, infielder Rodney Choy Foo and right-handed pitcher Scott Roehl. Through 10/29, Choy Foo is hitting .294/.390/.426 (20 for 68) with 2 HRs and 11 RBIs in 19 games, and in 9 appearances (14.0 IP) Roehl has a 3.21 ERA and has held opposing batters to a .255 average.
The ClevelandFan.com’s first foray into the world of ranking the Indians top prospects is on the horizon. Be on the lookout for that sometime in mid-November, as well as a November update of Minor Happenings sometime in late-November.