2014 Columbus Clippers Preview
The Clippers will return to Huntington Park to kick off the season Thursday and although many of the players will be returning for another season, there will be many fresh faces in Columbus this season.
Catcher Roberto Perez will be returning to the Clippers after splitting his time between Akron and Columbus last season. During his 67 games with Columbus Perez put out a .176/.269/.241 line. Perez tossed out 34.9% while playing in PR Winter league and was named by Baseball America as the best defensive catcher in the system entering the 2014 season.
Jesus Aguilar will most likely start out on first before other option David Cooper. The 23-year-old is rising from Double-A Akron after setting the franchise record with 105 RBI in the 2013 season. Aguilar is a power-hitter and blasted 16 homers while with the formerly known Aeros last year, second best on the team. Aguilar produced a line of .275/.349/.427 during the 2013 season.
Cooper was signed by Cleveland to a major league contract Dec. 9, 2013. The lefty spent 2013 without a team after being released by the Toronto Blue Jays during spring training, due to injuries.
After taking the fast track through the Indian's farm system Jose Ramirez will be covering second base for Columbus to kick off the 2014 season. Ramirez leaped from Class-A Lake County in 2012 up to Double-A Akron followed by the big leagues in 2013. In Akron Ramirez spent 50 games at shortstop and 53 at second and posted a .272/.325/.349 line. The 21-year-old was sent to Cleveland during September call-ups, Ramirez would ultimately appear in seven games as a pinch runner, five games at second base, two games at short stop and two at third.
In the hot corner familiar face Ryan Rohlinger will join the Clippers. Rohlinger spent 2013 in Columbus and racked up a .266/.353/.367.
Justin Sellers rounds out the diamond at shortstop. Sellers was purchased by Cleveland from the Los Angeles Dodgers in March. Sellers spent 27 games with the dodgers in 2013, but hit just .188 before being optioned back to Triple-A.
The Clippers will also have two utility players at their disposal with Audy Ciriaco and Bryan LaHair. LaHair is still working through an injury that caused him to have surgery on his wrist in 2013. LaHair played last with the Chicago Cubs in 2012 racking up a .259/.334/.450 line.
Carlos Moncrief will fill a spot in the outfield for Columbus. Moncrief is a converted pitcher who led his team in almost all offensive categories in 2013. While with Akron Moncrief hit 17 homers and ended his season with .284/.354/.470. Moncrief was recognized as having the best outfield arm in the system by Baseball America this offseason.
Joining Moncrief will be Columbus veterans Tim Fedroff and Matt Carson. Carson spent his 2013 season in the outfield of Huntington Park hitting .252/.322/.394. The 27-year-old produced 14 home rubs, 49 RBI and stole 14 bases for the Clippers in 2013. Fedroff batted .242 with 48 RBI and 22 stolen bases in 2013.
Michael Bourn is currently listed in Columbus for a Major League rehab assignment for his left hamstring.
The southpaws are taking over the bullpen in Columbus this year. Scott Barnes is looking for a bounce back year after a disappointing 2013. The Lefty spent time in Cleveland three times during the first two months of the season, but spent most of that time in Columbus. After posting a 7.81 ERA in Columbus and a 7.27 ERA for Cleveland, Barnes did not pitch in the regular season after July 2 due to a sprained left wrist.
Another lefty looking for improvements this year is Nick Hagadone. Hagadone split his 2013 season between Cleveland and Columbus. Hagadone earned seven saves while in Columbus and pitched scoreless innings in 23 out of 27 of his appearances. During his time in Cleveland Hagadone was branded with one loss putting up a 5.46 ERA. Hagadone transitioned to a closers role in Columbus, but continued to make relief appearances.
C.C. Lee is another guy worth mentioning. The right-handed reliever spent the first half of the 2013 season rehabbing after undergoing elbow reconstruction surgery in 2012. Lee spent time in Lake County, Akron, Columbus and Cleveland during 2013. Lee's slider got him the call up to Cleveland twice in the season. The first in July Lee pitched three scoreless outings before being optioned back to Columbus. Lee then made five appearances in September (7.71 ERA, 2.1 IP).
Mark Lowe and Austin Adams will also be making their Columbus debuts. Adams is rising from Double-A Akron, the righty spent all of 2013 with Akron after not pitching in 2012 after undergoing shoulder surgery. Adams came back strong in the relief role, tossing a 2.62 ERA and earning himself three wins and four saves.
Bauer and Tomlin were both in contention for the fifth rotation spot in Cleveland this spring before Carlos Carrasco was ultimately named to the role. Bauer is in need of a strong season after struggling at both levels in 2013. Bauer earned himself a 4.15 ERA during his time in Columbus. Bauer is still considered one of the Indians top prospects and holds a strong curveball and change up, but will have to show consistency in 2014.
We only got a taste of Tomlin in 2013 as he spent the first four months of the season rehabbing from Tommy-John surgery. Tomlin however shined in spring training with a 2.57 ERA in fourteen innings.
TJ House is the only lefty in the rotation. House spent some time in Akron before being bumped to Triple-A. House pitched a combined total of 9-11 with a 4.17 ERA in his 28 starts.
New to the system, joining the rotation is Tyler Cloyd and Travis Banwart. Cloyd is an innings eater who bounced between Philadelphia and Triple-A Lehigh a Valley in 2013. Banwart spent his entire 2013 season in Triple-A transitioning to the rotation after pitching out of the bullpen the first half of the season.
Columbus' coaching staff saw little changes, the crew kept two-thirds of its staff from 2013. Chris Tremie will return as the teams skipper, for his second year in Columbus. Tremie' steam fell just under .500 last year, ending with a 71-73 record.
Pitching Coach Tony Arnold will also be returning for his second year with the Clippers. Arnold coached his pitching staff to the fourth lowest ERA and second in strikeouts in the international league during the 2013 season.
Hitting Coach Jim Rickon is the new comer to the Clippers. Rickon continues to progress through the Indians farm system, coming up from Double-A Akron where he filled the same role.
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