August 16, 2014

MLB News: Indians’ prospect Dillon Howard gets 50-game suspension

According to Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland Indians minor leaguer Dillon Howard has been suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

Major League Baseball issued this release:

“The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Cleveland Indians Minor League right-handed pitcher Dillon Howard has received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for an Amphetamine, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

The suspension of Howard, who is currently on the roster of the rookie-level Arizona League Indians, is effective immediately.”

Howard was drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft, one round after the team selected shortstop Francisco Lindor. MLB.com lists Howard as the Cleveland’s 10th best prospect. Indians Baseball Insider has Howard ranked as the team’s 21st best prospect.

Howard was 1-7 with a 7.90 ERA in 12 games for the Arizona League Indians last fall.

[Related: Indians hoping Nick Swisher can get back on track soon]

Trevor Bauer, and the Indians’ starting pitching outlook

Trevor Bauer is a game-changer. Yes, the new Cleveland wunderkind is only 21 (he turns 22 in January) and has just 4 (bad) games of MLB experience under his belt, but his sheer presence drastically changes the starting pitching algorithm for the Cleveland Indians going forward.

Obviously, there’s a certain amount of risk associated with Bauer. I’d be amiss if I didn’t address that. According to all the reports out there, he’s eccentric, stubborn, abnormally intelligent, a bad rapper, practically revolutionary and thus, seemingly was at odds with Arizona’s upper management, which is why the No. 3 overall pick in 2011 was on the trade block at all. He could not become the star many expect him to be. That’s possible, and you always have to address that fact when dealing with a very limited MLB sample size.

But, undoubtedly, the UCLA product has more upside and MLB-readiness by far than any other starter in the entire Indians system. He could immediately slot into the starting rotation from day one — but it’s not exactly certain if that will be the case. Either way, with the Indians owning his rights through 2018 (at least), and the fact he’s dominated AA/AAA batters, he’s the bright future of the Indians pitching outlook for many years to come. [Read more...]

WFNY Wednesday Wahoos: Indians Minor League Weekly Review 8/1

Each and every Wednesday, I try to bring you all of the news and notes from the Cleveland Indians minor league system. Enjoy.

With lots going on in the minor leagues compared to the slumping Indians, there’s plenty to digest in today’s Wahoos. Here are some of the highlights: two red-hot outfielders in Columbus, the latest 10 prospects update, another link roundup from around the web and my analysis of yesterday’s 1B/OF Lars Anderson-RHP Steven Wright trade. [Read more...]

WFNY Wednesday Wahoos: Indians Minor League Weekly Review 7/25

Each and every Wednesday, I try to bring you all of the news and notes from the Cleveland Indians minor league system. Enjoy.

And the trading madness has begun. … Oh wait. The Indians have only acquired IF/OF Brent Lillibridge thus far? That’s not that incredibly exciting then. But Tuesday’s series-opening victory over Detroit sure got Cleveland fans back in the excitement of the playoff race, at least. [Read more...]

WFNY Wednesday Wahoos: Indians Minor League Weekly Review 7/4

Each and every Wednesday, I try to bring you all of the news and notes from the Cleveland Indians minor league system. Enjoy.

Happy Fourth of July everyone! For this edition of the Wahoos, I’m going to spare you my usual introduction. Instead, I’ll later be passing the baton to some of the other great baseball writers out there with a new link roundup section. I’ve also got tons of details on Francisco Lindor’s struggles, another Jesus Aguilar hot streak, how some local guys are doing in the system, the amazing Akron bullpen and much, much more. Click forward for all the info. [Read more...]

WFNY Friday Wahoos: Indians Minor League Weekly Review 6/22

Oops. For the first time since I started out the WFNY Wahoos, I missed my Wednesday goal. So today, even though it’s Friday, enjoy your weekly dose of Cleveland Indians minor league news and updates. No Tribe game last night, so this is your morning substitute.

Yes, the Indians remain 36-32 entering this weekend’s series against the Houston Astros. Yes, Cleveland still has a slight half-game lead over the Chicago White Sox and a 2.5-game lead over the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central, and appears on the verge of possibly entering July in first place. [Read more...]

WFNY Wednesday Wahoos: Indians Minor League Weekly Review 6/13

Every Wednesday, I provide tons of updates from the Indians minor league system. Today’s a special edition with a new top 10 ranking and some special insight on the MLB Draft. Enjoy.

For now this season, I hope you all have enjoyed my six or seven editions of the WFNY Wednesday Wahoos. They’ve been a great deal of fun to write each week, and I’m looking forward to continuing it for the rest of the season. Today’s post is a bit of a special one, as with the middle of the minor league season approaching quickly, I decided to expand a bit with some new features.

[Read more...]

Indians Notes: Kipnis as Leader, Chisenhall Returns, Strength of Schedule

There aren’t particularly too many Browns storylines right now and my brother and I covered many of the pivotal NBA ones yesterday, so today is Tribe time. Check out my usual WFNY Wednesday Wahoos for more of my regular Tribe coverage.

– Who are the new Cleveland Indians? Of course, people reminisce all the time about the Tribe teams of the ’90s. Those teams were the classics for many current sports fans in NE Ohio, featuring such legends like Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Sandy Alomar and more. Then, moving forward, the Indians continued to win games and AL Central titles up till 2001, before having a six-year playoff lapse.

Looking back, the team that went to the 2007 ALCS featured names such as Victor Martinez, CC Sabathia and Jhonny Peralta, all guys on other AL teams also fighting for the 2012 playoffs, along with long-gone folks like Ryan Garko, Casey Blake, Josh Barfield and Joe Borowski. Outside of players that then hardly played like Asdrubal Cabrera, Rafael Perez, Fausto Carmona/Roberto Hernandez and Shin-Soo Choo, there are hardly any guys still around from just five years ago. [Read more...]

WFNY Wednesday Wahoos: Indians Minor League Weekly Review 5/9

Every Wednesday, I bring you all the highlights from the week that was for the Cleveland Indians organization, along with some added insight on what it means for the major league squad.

The topic du jour in the Cleveland Indians organization has to be the bullpen. After last night’s disappointing 5-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox, people must be asking what is the future for the Tribe pen, or as many call it, the “bullpen mafia”? Are there any players down in the minors that could join it soon and what would they contribute? [Read more...]

WFNY Wednesday Wahoos: Indians Minor League Weekly Review 5/2

Sorry for the delays y’all, but starting today, I’ll be bringing you all of the latest news from the Cleveland Indians minor league system every Wednesday. With DP’s departure from WFNY, there’s been a severe lack of regular minor league coverage following his awesome work with the Clip Show. Hopefully, this will serve as some sort of replacement in his absence.

The big story over the past week and more for the big-league club has been the lack of offensive production. While RHP Derek Lowe has led the rotation to a hot start and the team to first place in the AL Central, the hitters have not been keeping up their end of the bargain. [Read more...]

Indians Sign Top Two Draft Picks Lindor and Howard

The Cleveland Indians, as they did at this very time last season, broke out the check book and inked their top two draft selections heading into Monday evening’s deadline. In the 11th hour – status quo for most early-round MLB draft picks in today’s age – the Tribe brass locked up first-round draft choice shortstop Francisco Lindor and second-round right-handed pitcher Dillon Howard.

Signing 17 of their top 19 selections, the Indians (once again) spent considerable money to ensure that the recent selections were brought on board.  The 17-year-old Lindor had committed to Florida State University, a route which would have served as a fall-back plan in the event that the two sides were unable to come to terms.  Instead, the team reportedly offered the electric switch-hitting infielder, selected eighth overall, a signing bonus of $2.85 million versus the slotted value of $2.043 million. 

[Read more...]