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IBI Update: What we have in store for the offseason

IBI Update: What we have in store for the offseason
September 5, 2013
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The minor league season may be over, but the real fun is about to begin.

Those who have been around the IBI in the past know that just because the games have stopped it does not mean the coverage stops too. In fact, there will be as much or even more coverage on the minor leaguers and major league team the next several months leading into next season.

In September and October the Indians will have Instructional League, and the IBI will be your only source with game write-ups for all games as well as on-site reports of the happenings there. I will be traveling to Arizona in October to see the happenings in Goodyear and report on the latest developments with some of the Indians’ young prospects and those that are rehabbing.  In addition to that the Arizona Fall League gets underway in October and lasts until mid-November, of which I will also be visiting and then providing stories and updates on.

The winter leagues in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and Mexico all kick up in mid-October and November and last until early January, and the IBI will provide daily “Around the Farm” reports on how all of the Indians players do each night.

The 40-man roster deadline looms in mid-November and the Rule 5 Draft comes up in early December, and the IBI will be reporting on both of those events with insight, information and more on decisions that will be made leading up to both.

On top of that, the major league offseason kicks into gear at some point in October, which means there will be tons of articles following the developments of how the Indians improve the big league roster in the offseason.  The IBI may also be present for the annual Winter Meetings from December 9-12 this year in Orlando, and no matter what, will provide tons of updates from one of the busiest baseball news/rumor weeks of the year.

Also, the Tony Awards will be back again this year. For those unfamiliar with it, I do a year end awards piece that is quite detailed and I hand out eight awards in the minor leagues. These will begin to post the final week of September with nine articles in all in the series.

There will be several premium level features over the course of the offseason:

  • Scouting the 2013 Draft – A four or five part series with insight and quotes from Indians personnel on all of their 2013 picks.
  • Minor Happenings – Several more minor league features on Indians prospects throughout the rest of this month.
  • Insider Year in Review – A review series for each of the six Indians affiliates with tons of commentary from the Indians front office.
  • Instructional League Recaps – Recaps of the action for every Instructional League game.
  • IBI Stock Reports – Reports for each of the six Indians affiliates with insight and analysis on how each player there helped or hurt their prospect status going into next season.
  • Radar Report – Reports showing the velocity readings for several minor league pitchers
  • Instructs/AFL Notebooks – Notebooks with tons of information gathered from my visits to Instructional League and the Arizona Fall League.
  • Coach’s Corner – Several in-depth Q&A pieces with coaches and coordinators in the Indians farm system.
  • Rule 5 Draft – Coverage leading up to the Rule 5 Draft with a deep look into who the Indians may or may not lose in the draft as well as who is available.
  • Positional Rankings – One of the biggest offseason pieces of the year (12 pieces in total) where every single position is broken down in the system, players are ranked, and mini-scouting reports are provided.

Of course, starting in early January, the new 2014 IBI Prospect Countdown will commence with a daily countdown leading into mid-March. You won’t find more detailed and informative scouting reports on the players anywhere. It remains to be seen if a new book will be printed this year – I am 50-50 on that – but I will still do over 200 scouting reports on all of the players in the system and post at least the Top 60 on the site (premium only). If I don’t publish the book then the remaining scouting reports may be made available in another subscriber area only on the site, though I am still working through all of that.

As you can see, it is going to be a very busy offseason here at the IBI. And most of what I just listed is what I will be doing.

Steve Orbanek will have his weekly winter/spring notebook and his Orbiting Cleveland feature, Jim Pete will bring back the Power Poll and continue with his Corner of Carnegie feature, and Michel Hattery will continue weekly with his very informative Trend Spotting pieces. Also, Jake Dungan will have a weekly Indians/MLB feature, Rick Lamborn will provide some history pieces, Jeff Ellis will provide lots of analysis on various Indians’ related topics, and Stephanie Metzger will chime in two to four times a month with minor league player features. There will be several contributions from others as well.

Thanks for continuing to read and support the IBI. Congrats to all the players for a great 2013 season, and here is to a fun offseason with lots of excitement leading into a very successful 2014 campaign for everyone.

Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.

User Comments

DJ Sebastian
September 8, 2013 - 11:26 AM EDT
Keep up the excellent work, Tony. Your coverage of all things Tribe is unparalleled. Looking forward to reading much more about the Tribe's push to the playoffs, off-season moves, and prospect fortunes.
September 6, 2013 - 11:13 AM EDT
Thanks everyone. Rich and Mike, we will see on the book. There are a lot of things involved with it that make it difficult to do, but I am considering several things.

Ramirez was not eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this offseason. The Indians rostered him early because they believe he can help now and because they want to get a look at him as a possible utility option for next season if they deal Cabrera (Aviles moves to SS). He won't be removed from the 40-man because if he is then he would have to clear waivers (he wouldn't). He's on the 40-man now for some time unless he fails.

Matt, I can't answer either of your questions ha! I am indifferent to Underwood and really dislike that home run call (always have), but he's also a good guy and pretty well ingrained on the TV side. But, then again, now that Fox Sports has an entire offseason to structure their Indians TV programming and personalities for 2014, there is a chance there could be some changes coming down the pipe. As for the Indians front office and the scouting and minor league people changing, I don't see that happening. If it were going to happen it would have happened after last season. This year has actually been a very positive year, not just on the ML side but also on the minor league side and scouting too.
September 6, 2013 - 11:05 AM EDT
Love. This. Site. Thanks Tony and the rest of the crew!
Matt underwood
September 6, 2013 - 12:03 AM EDT
Looking forward to it Tony, you are awesome. Keep up the good work!

2 major off season questions....

how much longer can an organization continue on with the "strategy" of drafting with little to no return? To say theShapiro regime has been awful is a gross understatement. And this guy was our minor league director back in the 90s glory days. the organization has to realize this short fall, no? When can we expect changes? It's been 13 yrs...

Also, when will we be relieved of the on air disaster of Matt underwood? souvenir city... Are you freakin kidding me?
MT88 in WI
September 5, 2013 - 10:49 PM EDT
I also hope you still do the book. Always enjoy it & appreciate the work you put in for it.

If you decide against the book, I beg that you format the reports in a way that subscribers can download/ print the reports with limited effort to create reference binders.....
Rich Smith
September 5, 2013 - 9:33 PM EDT
As always, Tony, your site is loaded with high quality articles daily. With IBI's coverage the off-season is not down time as it used to be before your solid coverage.

One question on Jose Ramirez relating to off-season. He wasn't eligible for Rule 5 draft till 2014, meaning he didn't need to be added to 40-man until then. Since he is now rostered, can he be taken off of roster and not have to be put back on until after next season? Or would his surprise rostering in September mean his Rule 5 status changed?
September 5, 2013 - 6:14 PM EDT
Sure hope you do your book , I look forward to it every year. I call it my Bible on minor league players.

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