IBI Digest: 3/30/14 - 4/5/14
Recapping the week on Indians Baseball Insider
The 2014 Major League Baseball season has officially begun and the Indians are off to a nice start after taking the first series in Oakland two games to one. The front office has also been busy as they have signed catcher Yan Gomes and second baseman Jason Kipnis to multi-year extensions as they continue to lock up their young core. Plus, the rosters of the Tribe affiliates have been released as the minor league seasons also begin. Also the IBI staff has their official predictions for the 2014 Indians and MLB season.
Here's what happened this week on IBI:
2014 Minor League Spring Game Recap: March 29th: Carlos Carrasco got in his final tuneup before the season in minor league camp, where he pitched six innings of two-run ball for AA Akron, but it was Alex Monsalve's homer that helped push the Clippers to victory as those two runs would be all they needed.
The Radar Report 2014: Volume 1: With spring training wrapping up in both major and minor league camp, Tony Lastoria is back with another report of velocity readings from the various pitchers in minor league camp this spring.
2014 Minor League Spring Training stats: Minor league spring training is officially in the books for 2014 and with it, the stats from exhibition play. Jose Ramirez, Yandy Diaz and Eric Haase were among those who impressed this spring. Tony Lastoria compiles all the final stats here.
2014 Indians minor league full season rosters: The Indians have officially released the rosters of all of the full-season minor league affiliates. Bryan LaHair and David Cooper have opted to stay with the organization and will start the year in Columbus. Meanwhile, Jesus Aguilar and Carlos Moncrief have earned promotions while Tony Wolters and Joe Wendle have earned trips to Akron. Tony Lastoria has the full rosters.
2014 IBI Positional Rankings: The Catchers: This year's IBI positional rankings continue with a look at who will be manning the backstops on the farm in 2014. Francisco Mejia, Tony Wolters and Eric Haase top the list with guys like Jake Lowery and Roberto Perez rounding it out.
2014 IBI Positional Rankings: The Left Fielders: LeVon Washington, Bryson Myles and Luigi Rodriguez are among the organization's top left fielders heading into 2014. Injuries have gotten in the way of the development of Washington and Rodriguez, but both could become top prospects if they manage to stay healthy.
2014 IBI Positional Rankings: The Right Fielders: Carlos Moncrief had a breakout season in 2013 at AA Akron and figures to be on the big league radar as soon as this season. Anthony Santander, Jordan Smith and Logan Vickalso made the list as they look to continue their development.
Storylines: Tribe, Gomes agree to long-term extension: For the time being, the Red Sox have discontinued negotiations on an extension with their ace Jon Lester. In Cleveland, it was announced that the Tribe had agreed to a 6-year extension with catcher Yan Gomes as well as signing reliever Mark Lowe. Andy Nichols reports all the news.
Ranking the 2014 Cleveland Indians opening day roster: Part two: Jim Piascik reveals the upper half of his 2014 preseason Indians roster rankings with Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana topping the list and Yan Gomes cracking the top three. How will this list change over the course of the season?
This IS next year: It's bold prediction time and DJ Sebastian is going out on a limb to say that the Indians will not only repeat their 2013 success, but improve on it to win 100 games. Is it a sound projection? You be the judge.
IBI Power Poll: Your 2014 Indians predictions are...: Now that baseball analysts have begun to make their predictions for 2014, the fans and readers will have their chance to make their projections for the Indians and Major League Baseball for the upcoming season. Jim Pete posts this week's Power Poll.
Storylines: Indians sign Kottaras, finalize roster: The Indians finalized their roster by adding Jason Giambi, Nyjer Morgan and Scott Atchison to the roster. In addition, they signed veteran catcher George Kottaras to a minor league deal. Andy Nichols has all the latest.
2014 IBI Roundtable: Indians and MLB predictions: It's that time of year and the IBI staff has their Indians and MLB predictions for the 2014 season in this year's IBI Roundtable. Will they match or improve on their success from 2013? Find out what our contributors think.
MLB Storylines: Extension talks with Kipnis ongoing: The Indians are continuing extension talks with All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis, although a deal has not yet been reached. Also, Bobby Abreu and Joe Blanton have found new homes. Andy Nichols covers all the news and notes from around the league.
Second Thoughts Game #1: Indians 2, A's 0: Despite pitching seven shutout innings, Justin Masterson did not earn the win as the game would remain scoreless until the ninth inning, where the Indians finally broke through for a pair of runs to take the opening night win. Kevin Dean gives his thoughts and analysis on the victory.
2014 Akron RubberDucks Preview: As the minor league affilliates are set to begin their season, Jim Piascik has the official IBI season preview of the newly-rebranded Akron RubberDucks. Top prospects Francisco Lindor and Cody Anderson headline the roster with Dave Wallace at the helm.
Storylines: Mets lose their closer to injury: It was bad news for the Mets on Wednesday as they announced that they have lost closer Bobby Parnell to a torn elbow ligament. Former Tigers reliever Jose Valverde has been named the interim closer in New York. Andy Nichols has the details on that and the latest MLB news and notes.
2014 Lake County Captains Preview: The 2014 Indians minor league affiliate previews continue with the next stop being Eastlake to check in on the Lake County Captains. Stephanie Metzger breaks down the opening day roster and points out who to look out for this season.
Salazar & Kipnis at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario: It's baseball season once again and Jim Pete has analysis from the opening night game in Oakland as well as thoughts on the Yan Gomes contract extension and players in MLB history that Michael Brantley most resembles.
Storylines: Rays continue model of extending young talent: Former Indians prospect Chris Archer has received a multi-year extension from Tampa Bay as they continue their practice of locking up their young talent. Andy Nichols has the details on the latest MLB contract extension.
2014 Carolina Mudcats Preview: Rising from the Ashes: Heading into 2014, the Carolina Mudcats don't have nearly the star power on the roster as far as prospects with Francisco Lindor, Cody Anderson and Joe Wendle moving up to Akron, but that leaves the floor open for someone currently under the radar to step up. Jim Pete previews the Tribe's single-A affiliate.
Second Thoughts Game #3: Indians 6, Athletics 4: After rain postponed the second game of the season in Oakland, the Indians and A's played a day-night doubleheader on Wednesday with the Indians splitting the twin-bill to win the series. Corey Kluber and Zach McAllister struggled while Scott Kazmir shut down his former team in game one. The offense rebounded in game two to bail out McAllister and secure the series win. Charlie Adams recaps both games.
2014 Columbus Clippers Preview: The Clippers hope to boast one of the better rosters in the farm system with the promotions of Jesus Aguilar and Carlos Moncrief as well as the addition of veteran big leaguers attempting to revive their careers in David Cooper and Bryan LaHair. Adrienne Robbins breaks down the AAA roster.
2014 IBI Roundtable: Minor League opening day is here: Now that the major league projections are finished, the IBI staff focuses more on the Tribe farm system and provides thoughts and predictions on the different affiliates and the prospects that could make strides during the upcoming season.
Storylines: Mets closer Parnell 50-50 on Tommy John: Another pitcher may be heading for Tommy John surgery as Bobby Parnell has been diagnosed following his injury. Also, Former Indians reliever Clay Rapada has reportedly signed with the Mariners and will report to their AAA affiliate. Andrew Zajac reports on all the news and notes.
Second Thoughts: Opening series pros and cons: With the Indians getting the day off on Thursday as they travel back to Cleveland, Jake Dungan provides some positives and negatives from the season-opening series.
Around the Farm: April 3, 2014: Around the Farm returns for the regular season to provide daily highlights from all the minor league affilliates. Cody Anderson and Shawn Morimando each had strong outings while Giovanny Urshela came a triple shy of the cycle and racked up four RBI. Jim Piascik recaps the highlights from Thursday's games.
Jason Kipnis is more than a "blue-collar" star: Following the news that the Indians have reached an agreement with second baseman Jason Kipnis, Jim Pete looks at the Chicago native's journey to the big leagues and how he has constantly had to prove himself at almost every stop in his baseball career.
Orbiting Cleveland: The potential of Zach McAllister: Indians manager Terry Francona slotted right-hander Zach McAllister third in the rotation behind Justin Masterson and Corey Kluber to start the season. Despite his struggles in Oakland in his first start, could he still live up to being a number three starter? Steve Orbanek believes so.
Storylines: Ike Davis likely to be dealt: The Indians have signed All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis to a six-year contract extension. Also, the Mets appear likely to trade first baseman Ike Davis at some point this season. Andrew Zajac recaps all the latest news.
Around the Farm: April 4, 2014: Trevor Bauer made his first start of the season for AAA Columbus and dominated over six innings of one run ball walking two and striking out nine. Meanwhile, Matt Carson, Dorssys Paulino and Eric Haase each had multi-hit games. Arthur Kinney has the highlights from the Indians minor league affiliates.
Second Thoughts Game #4: Twins 2, Indians 7: The Indians returned home for the first time in 2014 and despite a slow start by Danny Salazar and the offense, they exploded for a big 7-2 home opener win against the Twins. Yan Gomes, Nick Swisher, Lonnie Chisenhall and the bullpen all came up big for the Tribe on Friday. John Grimm recaps the victory.
MLB and the Draft: A 20 year look: Over the course of the last 20 years, the A's and Cardinals, not surprisingly, have been among the class of the league as far as drafting. Unfortunately, the fears of many have been confirmed as the Indians have ranked near the bottom in drafting and developing talent. Jeff Ellis looks back over the last couple decades of the MLB draft.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.