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Down on the farm: Weekly Indians minor league report

Jul 05, 2015 -- 4:13pm

By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/MiLB.com

ESPN Cleveland’s weekly report on the Cleveland Indians' minor league prospects.

 

Indians Top Five Prospects

1. Clint Frazier OF (High-A Lynchburg) – Frazier in his last 10 games is hitting .306 with one home run and four RBI. In that stretch, he's hit safely in seven out of his last 10, including a 4-for-6 performance on Saturday. Overall this year, Frazier is batting .257 with eight home runs and 39 RBI.

2. Bradley Zimmer OF (High-A Lynchburg) – Like Frazier, Zimmer has been swinging a hot bat lately, going 13-for-43 (.302) with one home run and 10 RBI in his last 10. Zimmer this year has also posted solid numbers, recording a slash line of .304/.399/.489 with 10 homers and 36 RBI in 72 games.

3. Justus Sheffield LHP (Class-A Lake County) – In his last two starts, Sheffield has allowed just three earned runs on eight hits, while striking out 13 in 10 2/3 innings. However, Sheffield has nothing to show for in the win column, going 0-1 with a no-decision in those previous two starts. In 15 starts this season, the 19-year old is posting a 6-2 record with a 4.40 ERA.

4. Tyler Naquin (Triple-A Columbus) – Since his promotion from Double-A Akron on June 8, Naquin has struggled at the plate in Columbus, hitting .226 with three home runs and seven RBI in 22 games. In Naquin’s last 10 games, he’s gone 6-for-35 (.171) with four walks and 13 strikeouts, but has slugged two homers and four RBI in that span.

5. Bobby Bradley 1B (Class-A Lake County) – In the last eight days, Bradley has two homers and five RBI, but is batting just .152 (5-for-33) in that span. Bradley, who hit .277 with seven home runs and 20 RBI in June, has seen his average drop from it’s highest point at .279 on June 14, to .249 presently. Despite his recent skid at the plate, the 19-year old this year leads Lake County with 13 homers and 42 RBI.

 

How they're doing

TeamWLHomeRoad
Triple-A Columbus (second place)434023-1620-24
Double-A Akron (third place)433924-1919-20
High-A Lynchburg (third place)541-24-2
Class-A Lake County (eighth place)371-52-2
Low-A Mahoning Valley (fifth place)5101-54-6

*Lake County is in the second half of their season. First half record was 36-32.

#Lynchburg is in the second half of their season. First half record was 33-37.

 

 

 

Series preview: Indians vs. Pirates

Jul 03, 2015 -- 2:30pm

By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/AP

 

What to know

Indians

  • The Indians (37-41) are in fourth place in the American League Central Division, but are coming off a four game series where they swept Tampa Bay on the road.
  • In three out of their last four games, Indians’ starters have carried perfect games into at least the sixth inning.
  • The Tribe’s pitching staff as whole has allowed just eight runs and 13 hits in 37 innings, while walking six batters and striking out 46.
  • The Indians are 6-3 in Interleague play this season.

 

Pirates

  • The Pirates (45-33) sit in second place in the National League Division, and are 6-4 in their last 10 with a series win against Atlanta and a three game sweep over Detroit.
  • Pittsburgh has won seven straight in Interleague play, and is 8-4 overall this season against AL teams.
  • Leading up to Friday in their previous series against Detroit, the Pirates churned out 22 runs on 49 hits.

 

Who's hot, and who's not

Indians

Who’s hot – Michael Brantley enters Friday riding an eight game hitting streak, and has hit .353 (12-for-34) with two doubles and five RBI in that span. Brantley in a recent four game series against Tampa Bay, went 6-for-17 (.353). This season, Brantley is batting .297 with four home runs and 41 RBI.

Who’s not – Carlos Santana had his worst offensive stretch of the season, hitting .189 with three homers and nine RBI in June. He also posted a .294 on base percentage and a .347 slugging percentage in that month. Overall this year, Santana is posting a slash line of .211/.347/.367 to go along with nine home runs and 36 RBI.

 

Pirates

Who’s hot – Like Brantley, Neil Walker enters Friday with a hitting streak of his own. In his last seven games, Walker is batting .538 (14-for-26) with three doubles, two home runs and seven RBI. Walker, in the Pirates previous series, went 10-for-17 (.588), raising his average by 19 points from .257 to .278.

Who’s not – This season, Josh Harrison is posting a .276 average, while slugging in four home runs and 22 RBI. Harrison is also coming off back-to-back months in May and June where he had a .300 or better average, despite starting the first month of the season hitting .213. However, the 27-year old has slumped a bit, going 5-for-26 (.192) with one walk and five strikeouts in his last seven games.

 

How they rank

RankIndiansRankPirates
 Pitching Pitching
17th3.92 ERA2nd2.91 ERA
16th40 Quality Starts4th50 Quality Starts
13th1.26 WHIP9th1.22 WHIP
24th.247 batting avg against13th.247 batting avg against
 Offense Offense
18th317 runs17th320 runs
17th.252 batting avg9th.259 batting avg
6th.324 on base percentage12th.320 on base percentage
17th.391 slugging percentage20th.385 slugging percentage
 Defense Defense
14th45 errors25th54 errors
18th.984 fielding percentage22nd.983 fielding percentage
21st-6 defensive runs saved22nd-7 defensive runs saved
27th-15.0 ultimate zone rating26th-13.6 ultimate zone rating

 

Series pitching matchups

 

Injury report

Indians – Nick Swisher was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 14 with left knee inflammation. Swisher has resumed baseball activities, according to reports. However, there’s no firm timetable for his return. Pitchers Gavin Floyd (elbow) and Josh Tomlin (shoulder) are both on the 60-day disabled list.

 

 

 

Just how good is this Indians' pitching staff ?

Jul 02, 2015 -- 9:04am

By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com

 

On a date when Indians’ pitching great, Bob Feller captured his third career no-hitter 64 years ago, Carlos Carrasco on Wednesday flirted with history, carrying a no-hit bid into the ninth inning with two outs.

Carrasco, however, saw his chances of a no-hitter taken away when Tampa Bay’s Joey Butler, who drew a walk in the seventh to end his perfect game, singled to right field.

For the Indians, it was the third-straight night that one of their starting pitchers had carried a no-hitter into at least the sixth inning. It also marked the first time in Major League Baseball’s expansion era (1961) that a team had five perfect innings in three straight starts.

The Indians, who haven't thrown a no-hitter since Len Barker's perfect game against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 15, 1981 have had had six chances this year of breaking the 34-year old drought. However, they've come up short in all six of their attempts.

Despite not being able to throw a no-hitter this season, the Indians pitching staff has looked pretty darn good. So here’s a list of what the Indians’ pitching staff has done so far this year.

 

Corey Kluber

RecordERAGSIPBBSOFIPWHIPK/9BB/9AVG
3-93.6616110.2231272.631.1510.331.9.251
  • Flirted with a no-hitter on Opening Day on April 6 against the Houston Astros, however, he lost it in the sixth inning, giving up a single to Jose Altuve with two outs.
  • Made history on May 13 against the Cardinals, becoming just the 15th pitcher in Major League Baseball history to have 18 strikeouts or more in a game.
  • In that same start against the Cardinals, Kluber had a second chance at a no-hitter, but lost it when former Indians’ shortstop Jhonny Peralta broke it up in the seventh with a single up the middle.
  • Has had four 10-strikeout games this season, and owns 18 in his career overall.
  • Owns the worst team run support in the MLB at 2.27 runs per game.
  • Ranks third in the American League, and fifth in the MLB in strikeouts.

 

Carlos Carrasco

RecordERAGSIPBBSOFIPWHIPK/9BB/9AVG
10-63.881588.219972.931.229.851.9.261
  • Carrasco carried a perfect game all the way into the seventh on Wednesday, but lost it when he walked Tampa Bay’s Joey Butler. He lost his no-hitter in the ninth with two outs, when he gave up a single to Butler.
  • Has pitched four career complete games, with his last being on May 17 in a 5-1 loss at Texas.
  • Has five career 10-strikeout games, with two of them coming from this season.
  • Ranks fourth in the AL, and eighth overall in the MLB in strikeouts.

 

Trevor Bauer

RecordERAGSIPBBSOFIPWHIPK/99BB/9AVG
6-53.961591.042903.991.308.904.2.224
  • Bauer was pitching a no-hitter against the Astros all the way into the sixth inning on April 9, however, he was taken out of the game after accumulating 111 total pitches. The Indians’ bullpen carried the no-hit bid into the ninth, but reliever Nick Hagadone lost it with one out, when he gave up a solo homer to Jed Lowrie.
  • Has three 10-strikeout games this year, and four overall in his career.
  • Ranks first in the AL in walks and second overall in the MLB behind San Diego’s Tyson Ross.

 

Danny Salazar

RecordERAGSIPBBSOFIPWHIPK/99BB/9AVG
7-33.801485.1241013.531.1610.652.5.234
  • Salazar lost his bid at perfection against Tampa Bay in the sixth inning on Tuesday, when he walked former Indians' shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. He lost his no-hitter in that same inning with two outs, when he allowed a double to left-center from Curt Casali.
  • Has had four 10-strikeout games this season, and has a total of six in his career.
  • Ranks sixth in the AL and 15th overall in the MLB in strikeouts.

 

Cody Anderson

RecordERAGSIPBBSOFIPWHIPK/9BB/9AVG
1-00.57215.2163.340.573.450.6.148
  • Anderson made his Major League debut with the Indians on June 21 at home against Tampa Bay, pitching 7 2/3 scoreless innings, where he walked one and struck out four in a no decision.
  • In his second career start on Monday, which was also against Tampa Bay, but on the road, Anderson carried a perfect game into the seventh. However, he lost it after giving up a solo homer to former Indians' outfielder Grady Sizemore.
  • In 13 starts between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus, Anderson posted a 4-3 record with a 1.89 ERA.

 

 

Flirting with history

DateNameTeamWhat They DidResult
4/6Corey Kluber@ Houston5.2 No-Hit InningsL 2-0
4/9Trevor Bauer@ Houston6.0 No-Hit InningsW 5-1
5/13Corey KluberSt. Louis6.2 Not-Hit InningsW 2-0
6/29Cody Anderson@ Tampa Bay6.1 No-Hit InningsW 7-1
6/30Danny Salazar@ Tampa Bay5.2 No-Hit InningsW 6-2
7/1Carlos Carrasco@ Tampa Bay8.2 No-Hit InningsW 8-1

*Bauer taken out after the sixth due to pitch count. Tribe bullpen lost the no-hitter in the 9th inning with one out.

 

Indians no-hitter facts

  • There's been 14 no-hitters thrown in the Indians history.
  • The Indians have the second longest no-hit drought in baseball, with San Diego being the only franchise in the MLB to never throw one.
  • The last no-hitter by the Indians on the road was on June 30, 1948 by Bob Lemon in Detroit.
  • Bob Feller has a club-record, three no-hitters. Addie Joss has two.

 

The last time the Indians threw a no-hitter

  • Hall & Oats, "Kiss On My List" was No. 1 on The Billboard Top 100 during the week of Barker's no-hitter.
  • MTV is launched on cable TV.
  • Ronald Reagan is President of the United States.
  • Muhammad Ali loses to Trevor Berbick, in his last-ever fight.
  • The thrash Metal band Metallica is formed in Los Angeles.
  • Ric Flair defeats Dusty Rhodes to win his first World Heavyweight Wrestling Championship in Kansas City.
  • A postage stamp cost 15 cents.
  • Bread cost 54 cents.
  • Milk cost $1.79.
  • Gas cost a $1.13 a gallon.
  • The average car cost $5, 743.
  • The average income was $11,661.

 

 

 

Will the real American League All-Star second baseman please stand up?

Jun 30, 2015 -- 10:45am

By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/AP

 

There’s a wrinkle in the system -- and it has to be fixed sooner than later.

The issue?

It’s the way Major League Baseball allows its fans to vote starters into the All-Star Game.

Simply put, the game is nothing more than a popularity contest -- and it’s been that way since the All-Star Game's inception in 1933.

However, out of the American League second basemen that are in the top five in All-Star voting for a starting spot, only one stands out.

No, it’s not the Indians' Jason Kipnis, who is tied for second in the AL in batting average with a .348 clip.

It’s not the Astros' Jose Altuve, last year's batting champ and a guy who has a chance to help his team reach the postseason for the first time since its World Series appearance in 2005.

Instead, it’s a guy who is currently hitting .233 with no homers and 23 RBI for the Kansas City Royals. Who’s that guy, you ask, standing out for all the wrong reasons?

It’s Omar Infante, and he leads all AL second baseman in voting for the right to start in the All-Star Game on July 14 in Cincinnati.

And why’s that? Because the MLB says fans can vote whoever they want to start an event that has been billed since 2003 as a game that “counts”.

For a game that allegedly “counts" because it decides home-field advantage in the World Series. Shouldn’t this sort of thing be taken a little more seriously then?

There needs to be a better system in place in which the best players actually play and start in the game -- not a guy who's part of a team that's trendy right now. But how do you fix it? And how do you get it right?

That’s the million-dollar question that will be probably be answered eventually.

Certainly a number of Kansas City Royals deserve to be on the AL All-Star team, but Infante?

Come on, man!

Not only has he hardly contributed offensively, but according to reports the Royals are looking to upgrade the position via trade. Even the Royals realize he's probably not the answer for them at second.

Nothing against Altuve, who's batting .292 right now, but he too hasn’t had the season that some others have had. One could make the argument that Boston’s Dustin Pedroia, who’s not even in the top five for voting for AL second basemen, deserves to start the game over Altuve or any guy in that top five not named Kipnis. However, Pedroia, who’s hitting .306 with nine homers and 33 RBI, is on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring issue. So, count him out.

The obvious choice to start is Kipnis, who leads all AL players this season with a 4.6 WAR, meaning right now he’s contributed more wins to his team than Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera, whose WAR is 3.9. The only other players above Kipnis in WAR in all of baseball are Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt and Washington’s Bryce Harper, who each have a WAR of 5.3.

Kipnis, who’s third in the AL in voting, also leads the league in hits with 102, and on-base parentage at .424. His OPS of .934 ranks fourth in the AL, and is good enough for 10th overall in baseball.

In case you haven’t noticed, Kipnis is putting MVP-caliber numbers together this season. But if he doesn’t garner 3,672,745 votes needed to leap frog Infante for first by Thursday -- he won’t be starting.

There’s no doubt that Kipnis will be an All-Star, but if you want to see some sort of change made where the right guy is starting, and not the popular guy -- then voting is the only way to change that.

Power to the people!

But serioulsy, voting ends this week, so make it count -- and if you have to, use all 20-email accounts that you never use. After all, you can vote up to 35 times with each email account.

 

American League All-Star Voting for second baseman as of June 29

#PlayerTeamVotes
1.Omar InfanteRoyals7,514,642
2.Jose AltuveAstros7,282,934
3.Jason KipnisIndians3,841,898
4.Ian KinslerTigers3,522,753
5.Devon TravisBlue Jays2,910,668

 

 

 

Series preview: Indians vs. Rays

Jun 29, 2015 -- 2:55pm

By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/Getty

What to know

Indians

  • The Indians (33-41) sit in fourth place in the American League Central Division, and are 3-7 in their last 10 games.
  • This season against the Rays, the Indians are 1-2, and are 4-9 overall against American League East Division opponents.
  • With runners in scoring position this season, the Indians are batting .224, ranking them 28th in Major League Baseball. They also rank last with two outs and runners in scoring position, hitting .165.
  • The Indians are 6-12 since June 6, which was when the Indians were just one game a way from reaching .500.

 

Rays

  • The Rays (42-35) are tied for first place in the AL East Division with Baltimore, but are 5-5 in their last 10.
  • Tampa Bay’s pitching staff held the Indians to just three runs in their last series against them.
  • Former Indians player Grady Sizemore, who signed a minor league contract earlier this month with Tampa Bay, went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI on Sunday against Boston.

 

Indians

Who’s hot – David Murphy has been on fire in his last seven games, going 7-for-13 (.538) with one homer and one RBI. In Sunday’s second game of a double-header, Murphy went 4-for-4, collecting half of the Indians eight hits in that contest. Murphy in 63 games this year is batting .336 with four homers and 19 RBI.

Who’s not – In game 1 of Sunday’s 4-0 loss to the Baltimore Orioles in a doubleheader, Yan Gomes went 0-for-3, dropping his season average to .192. In his last three games, Gomes is 1-for-11 with two RBI, one walk and four strikeouts. Gomes also hasn’t hit a home run since his mult-homer game on June 9 against Seattle.

 

Rays

Who’s hot – Asdrubal Cabrera in his last seven games is batting .400 (10-for-25) with two doubles, a triple and one homer. Against the Indians in a three game series earlier this month, Cabrera went 3-for-11 (.273) with a homer and an RBI against his former team. In 73 games this season, Cabrera is posting a .226 average with six homers and 19 RBI.

Who’s not – Outfielder Steven Souza Jr. has struggled in his last five games, going 1-for-17 with 10 strikeouts. Despite batting just .217 on the season, he leads Tampa Bay with 14 home runs.

 

How they rank

RankIndiansRankRays
 Pitching Pitching
17th4.02 ERA4th3.24 ERA
19th36 Quality Starts25th32 Quality Starts
20th1.30 WHIP3rd1.19 WHIP
16th.255 batting avg against1st.231 batting avg against
 Offense Offense
23rd291 runs25th280 runs
17th.253 batting avg22nd.245 batting avg
6th.327 on base percentage20th.311 on base percentage
16th.393 slugging percentage20th.387 slugging percentage
 Defense Defense
13th41 errors6th36 errors
16th.984 fielding percentage5th.987 fielding percentage
19th-4 defensive runs saved10th12 defensive runs saved
27th-15.0 ultimate zone rating2nd28.6 ultimate zone rating

 

Series pitching matchup

 

Injury report

Indians – Nick Swisher was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 14 with left knee inflammation. Swisher has resumed baseball activities, according to reports. However, there’s no firm timetable for his return. Pitchers Gavin Floyd (elbow) and Josh Tomlin (shoulder) are both on the 60-day disabled list.

 

 

 

Down on the Farm: Weekly Indians Minor League Recap

Jun 28, 2015 -- 1:55pm

By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/MiLB.com

ESPN Cleveland’s weekly report on the Cleveland Indians' minor league prospects.

 

Indians Top Five Prospects

1. Clint Frazier OF (High-A Lynchburg) – In his last 10 games, Frazier is hitting just .179 (7-for-39) with four walks and 12 strikeouts, but has hit two homers in that span. In 69 games this season, Frazier has hit eight homers and 36 RBI, but is posting a slash line of .253/.341/.411.

2. Bradley Zimmer OF (High-A Lynchburg) – Zimmer returned to Lynchburg’s lineup for the first time since June 20 after fouling a ball off of his right foot. Saturday night, Zimmer had an RBI double, but the game was suspended due to rain. In 65 games this season, the 22-year old is batting .300 with nine home runs and 27 RBI. It was also announced on Thursday that Zimmer would represent the Indians in the Futures Game, which is similar to an All-Star Game for the top prospects in Major League Baseball. The game will take place on July 12, during the All-Star week in Cincinnati.

3. Justus Sheffield LHP (Class-A Lake County) – On Tuesday, Sheffield appeared in the Midwest League All-Star Game for the Captains, pitching a scoreless inning, where he allowed one hit and one walk, while striking out two. In 13 starts this year, Sheffield is posting a 6-1 record with a 4.27 ERA. Out of all the Indians’ Minor League pitchers, Sheffield ranks first in K/9 IP, averaging 10.3, while also ranking second in wins behind Double-A Akron’s Adam Plutko, who has seven.

4. Tyler Naquin (Triple-A Columbus) – After hitting .348 with a homer and 10 RBI in 34 games in Double-A Akron, Naquin has struggled since his promotion to Columbus on June 9, batting just .233. In his last 10 games, he’s 8-for-39 (.205) with two RBI, three walks and 13 strikeouts. 

5. Bobby Bradley 1B (Class-A Lake County) – Bradley continues to hit the ball well, going 12-for-40 (.300) with two homers and eight RBI in his last 10 games. This month has been Bradley’s best so far, hitting .296 with six homers and 18 RBI in 21 games. Overall on the season, the 19-year old is posting a .273 average with 12 homers and 40 RBI.

 

How they're doing 

TeamWLHomeRoad
Triple-A Columbus (second place)403022-1421-16
Double-A Akron (third place)403521-1619-19
High-A Lynchburg (third place)020-20-0
Class-A Lake County (eighth place)030-30-0
Low-A Mahoning Valley (fourth place)350-33-3

*Lake County is in the second half of their season. First half record was 36-32.

#Lynchburg is in the second half of their season. First half record was 33-37.

 

 

 

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