IBI Digest: 2/16/14 - 2/22/14
Recapping the week on Indians Baseball Insider
Full squads have reported and preperation for the upcoming season can officially commence in Goodyear, Arizona for the Tribe.Justin Masterson and the Indians avoided arbitration at the last minute with a one-year deal while Homer Bailey got a long-term extension in Cincinnati. Speaking of extensions, the Braves continue to lock up their young talent with multi-year deals extended to Craig Kimbrel and Andrelton Simmons. Also, Ubaldo Jimenez's name finally comes off the market and it's not the Indians who claimed him.
Here's what happened this week on IBI:
2014 IBI Top 50 Prospects: #30 1B Nelson Rodriguez: While originally drafted as a catcher, Nelson Rodriguez has become one of the more intriguing first base prospects as far as power and run production is concerned. The primary concern with him is maintaining consistency on offense and defense throughout the course of the season.
2014 IBI Top 50 Prospects: #29 RHP Dace Kime: In last year's draft, Dace Kime was the next highest pick of the Tribe behind Clint Frazier. In his pro ball debut, the right-hander posted a 2.92 ERA in nine starts for Mahoning Valley. What the Indians will be keeping an eye on with him moving forward is if he can sustain the workload as a full-time starter.
2014 IBI Top 50 Prospects: #28 OF Bryson Myles: The power and speed combo Bryson Myles possesses makes him an appealing outfield prospect as he continues to work his way closer to the big league level. If he can stay healthy and improve his approach and pitch selection at the plate, his future should continue to look bright.
2014 IBI Top 50 Prospects: #27 RHP Mitch Brown: Despite an impressive showing last spring, Mitch Brownstruggled last season due mostly to injury and poor defense behind him. However, if healthy and fully recovered, he could have a chance to make a name for himself in 2014 as a starting pitching prospect.
2014 IBI Top 50 Prospects: #26 OF LeVon Washington: Among the top Tribe prospects, LeVon Washington has probably the highest upside, but since being drafted in 2010, constant injuries and ailments have held him back in his development. His bat and his speed could take him a long way if he can manage to stay healthy.
2014 IBI Top 50 Prospects: #25 RHP Adam Plutko: Thanks to a minor shoulder injury suffered during the College World Series last year after UCLA had won the title, Adam Plutko has yet to throw a pitch in a professional setting. Still, the right-hander comes in boasting a great deal of success as a starter in college and hopes to translate that to the pros with the Tribe.
2014 IBI Top 50 Prospects: #24 LHP Sean Brady: The upside Sean Brady has as a left-handed starter is pretty high right now considering that he was fresh out of high school when the Indians selected him in the fifth round of last year's draft and already in dominant form in pro ball throwing strikes and missing bats. The Tribe will primarily focus on building up his size and increasing his arm strength in order for him to maintain his role as a starter.
MLB Storylines: Indians add Harang to the rotation competition: The Tribe has added another veteran candidate for the last vacant spot in the starting rotation while another veteran has had his comeback attempt stalled due to injury. Andy Nichols covers all the latest news and notes.
IBI Power Poll: Is there an Impact Surprise in 2014?: There were several surprise impact players for the Tribe in 2013 who ended up being key contributors to their playoff run. Now Jim Pete wants to know who fans think will be the surprise impact player or players for the Indians this coming season in this week's power poll.
Final 2013-2014 Winter Ball stats: With all players now in camp and spring training fully underway, the 2013-2014 winter ball statistics for the Indians are now final. Tony Lastoria recaps them all.
MLB Storylines: Braves continue to lock up young core: All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel becomes the latest to receive a multi-year extension in Atlanta and Ryan Dempster announces that he will not pitch in 2014 due to health and personal reasons. Andy Nichols has all the latest news and rumors.
Tribe Happenings: Seeing is believing for Santana: With spring training now finally upon us, we will get a better look at what Santana can do at third base as opposed to reading a box score every night from the winter leagues. Tony Lastoria discusses Santana at the hot corner as well as the right field situation and pitchers making mechanical adjustments during the offseason.
MLB Storylines: Ubaldo's name finally comes off the board: After months of speculation, the answer as to whether Ubaldo Jimenez would return to Cleveland has finally come and unfortunately, it's no. The right-hander has signed a four-year deal with Baltimore worth $50 million. Andy Nichols has all the details.
2014 Kent State baseball preview: With college baseball kicking off, Jeff Ellis takes a look at the outlook for the Kent State Golden Flashes for the 2014 season and discusses why they are considered the top college for baseball in the state.
Swinging for the Fences: 2013 Indians vs. 2009 Rangers: After watching the Indians as an outsider last season, new Tribe outfielder David Murphy compares the team to the 2009 Rangers, where Texas surpassed the powerhouse Angels and began what would become a sustained run of playoffs and World Series contention. Jake Dungan takes the time to examine the similarities between the two teams.
MLB Storylines: Indians, Masterson avoid arbitration: Just hours before his scheduled arbitration hearing, Indians ace Justin Masterson reached an agreement with the club on a one-year deal worth $9.76 million. Andy Nichols discusses the deal and what it means for extension talks moving forward.
Star-Crossed Batters: Yan Gomes and Lonnie Chisenhall: In just one year, Yan Gomes has had a breakout year and earned himself a starting job. Meanwhile, Lonnie Chisenhall is still waiting to have a breakout season and may be in the process of being forced out of his everyday role. But are there more similarities between the two hitters than what meets the eye? John Grimm explains.
MLB Storylines: Reds, Bailey agree to long-term extension: The 2014-2015 offseason free-agent starting pitching market just got considerably thinner with the news that Homer Bailey has reached an agreement on a six-year deal worth over $100 million. Andy Nichols has all the details on the terms of the extension.
Ubaldo and Masterson at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario: Now that Ubaldo Jimenez is out of the equation for the Indians rotation in 2014, what does it mean for the rest of the staff? What does it mean for Masterson? Are the Indians using the right approach to build up their rotation? Jim Pete addesses all of the above this week at the Corner.
MLB Storylines: Braves continue extensions, lock up Simmons: Anyone else in Atlanta looking for a multi-year contract extension with the Braves? Premier shortstop Andrelton Simmons has been locked up for the next seven years, marking the fifth multi-year extension the Braves have completed this offseason. Andy Nichols reports.
Phillies deserve the backlash from Wetzler fiasco: In a breaking story earlier this week, it was revealed that the Phillies played the role of whistleblower in activities against NCAA regulations involving pitching prospects Ben Wetzler and Jason Monda. Since then, the backlash against the Phillies organization from player agents has been significant. Jeff Ellis explains the situation and provides his take.
Orbiting Cleveland: Remembering Ubaldo Jimenez: With Ubaldo Jimenez officially ruled out for a return to Cleveland this offseason, Steve Orbanek, one of the right-hander's biggest fans, sums up Jimenez's time with the Tribe and shares fond memories of his tenure here.
MLB Storylines: Draft pick compensation not scaring Orioles: Dan Duquette and the Orioles have been throwing caution to the wind as far as draft pick compensation is concerned as they have signed Ubaldo Jimenez and now have reportedly shown interest in Kendrys Morales and Nelson Cruz. Andy Nichols has the latest.
Nixon loves hockey, but his focus is on his future in baseball: As Canada celebrates victories over the U.S. in Olympic hockey, Ontario native Rob Nixon is turning his focus on the upcoming season as he continues to adjust to his new role as a reliever. Stephanie Metzger talks with the right-hander about his future with the Tribe organization.
Friends of the Feather
Formula for Winning: In baseball, there are many ways to win games and there are many ways to build a playoff contender. After getting a brief glimpse of the postseason last season, do the Indians have a "formula for winning" to pick up where they left off and push their way up to the next level in 2014? Matt Anderson of More Than A Fan examines.
Rejuvenated Francoeur able to smile again on field: After a dismal season with the Royals and Giants in 2013, veteran outfielder Jeff Francoeur is pleased to have a fresh start with a new club this spring as he competes for a roster spot with the Tribe. MLB.com's Jordan Bastian discusses new opportunities and expectations in Cleveland with Francoeur.
Price Ready to Help When He Gets the Call: Relief pitching prospect Bryan Price is knocking on the door of the big leagues and will likely get the call sooner rather than later, barring any serious injury this season. Bob Toth of Did The Tribe Win Last Night sits down with the right-hander and discusses his pro ball career thus far and what his goals are moving forward.
The Tribe's future rests with the development of Salazar, Carrasco and Bauer: Homer Bailey got a long-term contract extension from the Reds earlier this week and now those in Cleveland are wondering if Justin Masterson may be sticking around much longer. TD Dery of Waiting For Next Year says the future of the Tribe's pitching staff rests in the continued development in younger starters Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.