Five minor league players added to Indians 40-man roster
The Cleveland Indians today announced the club has selected the contracts right-handed pitcher Cody Anderson, right-handed pitcher Shawn Armstrong, left-handed pitcher Ryan Merritt, third baseman Giovanny Urshela and catcher Tony Wolters.
Anderson, 24, was named the club’s 2013 Minor League and Carolina League Pitcher of the Year after going 9-4 with a 2.34 ERA in 23 starts at Class A Carolina (123.1IP, 105H, 32ER, 112K). He spent 2014 with AA Akron where he was 4-11 with a 5.44 ERA in 25 starts (125.2IP, 141H, 76ER, 45BB, 81K). The Quincy, CA native was Cleveland’s 14th round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Feather River (CA) College. He owns a 4-year professional ERA of 3.75 (365.0IP, 358H, 152ER, 118BB, 278K).
Armstrong, 24, spent the 2014 season between AA Akron and AAA Columbus, going a combined 6-2 with a 2.41 ERA in 49 relief appearances (56.0IP, 43H, 15ER, 22BB, 72K, .213 AVG, 11.6 SO/9.0IP). The New Bern, NC native wrapped up the season with 3.0 scoreless innings for the Clippers in the International League playoffs. The 6-2, 210-lb right-hander was Cleveland’s 18thround selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of East Carolina University. He owns a 4-year professional ERA of 2.43 in 128 relief outings (162.2IP, 123H, 44ER, 80BB, 200K, .212 AVG, 11.1 SO/9.0IP).
Merritt, 22, earned Carolina League postseason all-star honors in 2014, going 13-3 with a 2.58 ERA in 25 starts for the Class-A Carolina Mudcats (160.1IP, 128H, 46E4R, 25BB, 127K). He led the Carolina League in wins (13) and innings pitched (160.1) while finishing 3rd in ERA (2.58) and 4th in strikeouts (127). He led all organizational pitchers in ERA, was 2nd in wins and 3rd in innings. The 6-0 lefty from Celina, Texas was the club’s 16th round pick in the 2011 draft out of McLennan C.C. and has posted a 4-year professional ERA of 3.16 (370.0IP, 369H, 130ER) in 69 games/64 starts.
Urshela, 23, split the 2014 season between AA Akron and AAA Columbus, hitting a combined .280 (136-485) with 36 doubles, 6 triples, 18 home runs, 84 RBI and 78 runs scored. On the season, Urshela ranked 1st in the Indians system in runs (78), 2nd in RBI (84), 3rd in hits (136) and 4th in home runs (18) while compiling a.977 fielding pct. at third base for Columbus (5E, 220TC). The Cartagena, Colombia native was signed as a 16-year old free agent in July of 2008. He recently completed a winter ball stint in Venezuela, hitting .398 (43-108) for Zulia in the Venezuelan Winter League with 2 2B, 3 3B, 3HR & 22 RBI in 27 games before suffering a left knee injury running out a triple on November 15. At the time of his injury he was first in the LVBP in average (.398) and second in RBI (22) and total bases (60).
Wolters, 22, spent the entire campaign at AA Akron, his second since being converted to the catching position. In 2014 he hit .249 (85-341) with 15 doubles, 2 triples, 1 home run and 34 RBI in 94 games before left knee soreness ended his season on July 26. Last season the versatile Vista, CA native appeared in 66 games at catcher and 18 games between shortstop and second base, throwing out 47% (25/53) of would-be base stealers while behind the dish. The 2010 third round selection recently completed a stint in the Arizona Fall League where he batted .255 (14-55) with 5 runs scored and 8 RBI in 15 games.
The Indians 40-man roster is currently full at 40.
Should have found a spot for Soto. He has the LOOGY splits to stick
I would hate to see them lose any of the three, but chances are, none of the three would be selected. Roberts doesn't fit the profile, doesn't have sexy stuff but seems to have some upside. Soto is an intriguing LHRP, has had some health concerns. Colon again an intriguing arm, power sinker and FB, but has some health concerns. Overall, I think Soto could be targeted by other clubs looking for a LH and maybe Colon as a RHRP. Roberts doesn't fit the profile, of a rule 5 pick, so I think he might be safe.
As for the Tribe rostering Anderson and Merritt, it seems the Tribe was protecting two intriguing arms they thought might get snatched. Both probably would have been arms that other teams converted to the BP. Wolters versatility might have garnered some attention, and Urshela and Armstrong were near locks to be added.
Wolters MIF and ability to C provided him versatility that may have meant being selected as a super UTL guy. I suspect the Tribe wanted to protect him because he is a legit MIF and / or C prospect.
Would have kept Soto over Barnes, but he's probably already considered the fall guy once a FA is added.