IBI Digest: 4/6/14 - 4/12/14
Recapping the week on Indians Baseball Insider
After a series win in Oakland and a big home opener victory, the Indians have had bouts with inconsistency over the past week against the Twins, Padres and White Sox. The starting pitching has probably been the most inconsistent element of the team thus far with the offense being not too far behind. Nyjer Morgan and Lonnie Chisenhall have been playing very well, however, which makes the looming roster decisions with Jason Giambi and Michael Bournset to return seemingly tougher. In the minor leagues, Jesus Aguilar has picked up where he left off in winter ball while Joe Wendle and Tony Wolters have made strong first impressions at the AA level.
Here's what happened this week on IBI:
2014 IBI Positional Rankings: The Right-handed Starters: Trevor Bauer made a nice impression in his last big league spot-start against the Padres. He tops the list of right-handed starters within the Indians farm system. He is joined by Cody Anderson, Dylan Baker, Joe Colon and more.
2014 IBI Positional Rankings: The Left-handed Starters: Luis Lugo has turned some heads lately as he is ranked as the top left-handed starting pitching prospect for the Tribe. T.J. House could be a major league option for the rotation while guys like Shawn Morimando and Sean Brady continue to work their way up through the system.
2014 IBI Positional Rankings: The Right-handed Relievers: The top three pitchers on this list could be at the big league level at some point this season. C.C. Lee is currently in the big league bullpen with Austin Adams andBryan Price waiting in the wings.
The WAR Room: The 2013 Columbus Clippers hitters: Since advanced statistics are tougher to come by in the minor leagues, Jim Piascik is doing what he can to evaluate Tribe prospects using such numbers. Here he takes a look at the 2013 Columbus Clippers hitters.
Around the Farm: April 5, 2014: Jordan Milbrath pitches a gem for Lake County on Saturday while Jesus Aguilar records multiple hits in both games of a double header. Claudio Bautista also had a pair of hits as he hit a home run and racked up three RBI for the Captains. Arthur Kinney reports.
Storylines: Rays' Escobar latest to receive extension: The Rays finally have a shortstop in Yunel Escobar, whom they acquired from the Marlins last offseason shortly after they had acquired him from the Blue Jays. They officially announce a 2-year extension with the infielder. Andy Nichols has the latest.
Second Thoughts Game #5: Twins 7, Indians 3: After a big home opener win for the Tribe, the Twins bounced back in the second game of the series to tie it at one game a piece. John Grimm discusses Carlos Carrasco's struggles as well as the regression of Vinne Pestano.
The WAR Room: Introduction: Jim Piascik introduces a new bi-weekly feature on IBI which will deal with prospect evaluation for a pure statistics standpoint.
2014 MLB Draft: Mock Draft 3.0: As the college baseball season continues, the talent rankings continue to shift ahead of the upcoming MLB Draft. IBI draft guru Jeff Ellis debuts his third mock draft of the year as he previews who the Indians and other MLB teams could take.
Storylines: Indians send Hynes to Dodgers: Lefty Colt Hynes spent spring training with the Indians and after not breaking camp with the team, he spent some time in roster limbo before being traded to the Dodgers for minor league pitcher Duke Von Shcamann. Andy Nichols has all the latest news.
Around the Farm: April 6, 2014: Jesus Aguilar continues to impress in the early goings of the season down in Columbus as he racked up another pair of hits and jacked another homer. Also, Cole Sulser had an impressive debut at High-A Carolina by pitching five innings while allowing only one unearned run. Tony Lastoria has the daily minor league recap.
Second Thoughts Game #6: Twins 10, Indians 7: Indians ace Justin Masterson struggled with command on Sunday as he and the Indians were unable to hold back the Twins. Should we be concerned about the starting pitching. Plus, the Tribe may have some tough roster decisions ahead. Jake Dungan gives his thoughts on the loss.
Storylines: Sandoval, Giants far apart in extension talks: San Francisco is still in negotiations with third basemanPablo Sandoval on an extension, but the two sides are reportedly still far apart. Also, the Indians have traded relief pitching prospect Preston Guilmet to the Orioles for infielder Torsten Boss. Andrew Zajac reports.
Second Thoughts: A week's worth of stray observations: With the Indians game against the Padres being rained out on Monday, Kevin Dean takes the opportunity to provide random and observations about the Indians from the past week, including thoughts on Masterson, Carlos Santana and the lefties in the bullpen.
Burning Tread with the RubberDucks: 4/3/14 – 4/7/13: Joe Wendle has made a nice first impression at the AA level by batting over .300 during the first several games. Also, Francisco Lindor appears to be fully healthy and back on track and Cody Anderson was dominant in his opening night start.
Storylines: Rays' Moore to get second opinion on injured elbow: Rays left-hander Matt Moore has been sidelined with arm and elbow issues and will attempt to get a second opinion in hopes of being able to avoid Tommy Johnsurgery. Closer to home, reliever Frank Herrmann has cleared waivers and will be be sent outright to AAA Columbus. Andy Nichols has the latest news and notes.
Sailing with the Clippers: 4/3/2014 - 4/7/2014: The Clippers have been off to a slow start to the 2014 season despite strong pitching by Trevor Bauer and a sizzling hot start at the plate by Jesus Aguilar. On the other hand, veteran infielder Bryan LaHair and reliever Mike Zagurski haven't looked as sharp. Adrienne Robbins recaps the first week of the Clippers season.
Around the Farm: April 8, 2014: It was another full stat line for Jesus Aguilar in Columbus as he hit a pair of homers and drove in five runs. In Carolina, Dylan Baker was flat-out dominant in six no-hit innings against Frederick with four strikeouts. Arthur Kinney recaps the day's action from the minor leagues.
Second Thoughts Game #7: Padres 6, Indians 8: The Indians got back to their winning ways against the Padres asCorey Kluber bounced back with a quality start and David Murphy's three-run homer wound up being the difference in the victory. Charlie Adams discusses the highlights as well as the struggles of Vinnie Pestano.
Nyjer Morgan: Back where he belongs: Michael Bourn's hamstring injury during spring training seemed to leave a huge hole in center field, but Nyjer Morgan has done more than an adequate job of filling the role. The question now is will the Indians keep him around? Jim Berdysz discusses Morgan's triumphant return to the major leagues.
Storylines: Angels lose Hamilton to thumb injury: The Angels will be without the services of former MVP outfielderJosh Hamilton for at least six weeks as he has been sidelined with a thumb injury. In AA Akron, Jason Giambi is set to begin his minor league rehab with the RubberDucks during the upcoming weekend series. Andy Nichols reports.
Around the Farm: April 9, 2014: LeVon Washington reminds everyone how exciting a prospect he is when he can stay healthy. On Wednesday, the Mudcats left fielder recorded a home run, a double, two RBI and two runs scored. T.J. House had a solid start for Columbus pitching six innings of three-run ball. Jim Piascik has the highlights from all the affilliates.
Second Thoughts Games #8 & #9: Indians split doubleheader: The Tribe and Padres split their doubleheader on Thursday with Zach McAllister dominating in game one and the Padres handing Trevor Bauer a tough-luck loss in the nightcap. Michael Goodman gives his thoughts on both games.
Frank riding a wave of success to Lake County: Indians relief pitching prospect Trevor Frank's life outside of baseball mostly involves surfing and after being drafted by the Tribe last year, he is hoping to ride the waves up through the farm system during 2014 and the seasons to come. Stephanie Metzger sits down with the right-hander.
Storylines: Bourn expected back with Indians soon: Indians manager Terry Francona said that center fielder Michael Bourn would rejoin the team early next week. Also, Lonnie Chisenhall has been placed on the paternity list and infielder Justin Sellers has been called up to take his spot. Andrew Zajac has all the latest Indians news and other notes from around the major leagues.
Around the Farm: April 10, 2014: Joe Wendle continues his hot start at the AA level with three hits, including a triple and a run scored on Thursday. Plus, Eric Haase hit a pair of doubles for the Captains with a walk and a run scored. The strikeouts are still a bit of a concern for him, though, as he had a pair of whiffs. Jim Piascik has all the minor league highlights from the day.
Second Thoughts Game #10: Indians 3, White Sox 7: It was a bit of a strange night for Danny Salazar as he only pitched three and two-thirds innings and allowed five runs. However, he still managed the historical feat of double-digit strikeouts within that short time frame. Jake Dungan gives his thoughts on a Tribe loss on the South Side.
Storylines: MLB urged to look into comments from Olney report: As Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew head into the season without MLB jobs, anonymous executives have revealed what price they would be willing to sign them at, which is a violation of the collective bargaining agreement that could launch an investigation. Andrew Zajac has all the news and notes from around the league.
Around the Farm: April 11, 2014: Michael Bourn has been getting his reps in at Columbus and Akron in order to get back into the swing of things so he can return to Cleveland. However, he has struggled at the plate and it's becoming harder to ignore. Also, Francisco Lindor hit an extra-innings walk-off homer for Akron. Arthur Kinney has the latest from the minors.
Second Thoughts Game #11: White Sox 9, Indians 6: Carlos Carrasco continues to struggle despite his high strikeout rate thus far this season. Will he get a long leash similar to Ubaldo Jimenez when he struggled early last season? John Grimm discusses another tough loss for the Tribe.
A day at Canal Park: The 2014 Akron RubberDucks home opener: Jim Piascik provides a visual recap of the home opener for the newly rebranded AA affiliate of the Indians, the Akron RubberDucks, as they fell to the Bowie Baysox.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.