August 26, 2014

Aeros Reliever Nick Hagadone Re-Adjusting to Familiar Role

Before the 2010 season started, Baseball America named Nick Hagadone the third-best prospect in the Cleveland Indians system. A dominating presence on the mound at 6’5″, 230-lbs and a left-hander, it made perfect sense for the publication to view him in such a fashion.

He was arguably the player with the most upside acquired from Boston in last year’s Victor Martinez deal alongside Justin Masterson and current teammate Bryan Price. The Red Sox clearly viewed him as a top prospect earlier as well, selecting him as the 55th overall pick (supplemental first round) in the June 2007 Draft after a successful career at the University of Washington.

Unfortunately, June 2008 Tommy John surgery on his left elbow limited his development process. He resumed pitching last season but remained on a strict pitch count up through this year as well. Struggling to find his consistency in his few innings as a starter, it then made a ton of sense for the Indians to decide to shift Hagadone into a more natural role as a reliever last month.
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Aerodynamics: Catching up with the Double-A Akron Aeros 7/24/10

Seven straight wins started the second half of the 2010 season for the Akron Aeros and moved the team into a great position for a playoff run. After continuing to dominate the last-place Erie SeaWolves for four contests, the Aeros then also swept the first-place Altoona Curve to move to only 5.5 games behind the division lead. This is the lowest margin for the team since mid-April while the seven games above .500 was also a season high. Led by many of the top young prospects in the Indians system such as Alex White, Jason Kipnis (pictured to the right) and others, this is a dangerous team that could continue to improve as the summer progresses.

The Aeros return home again Monday night for the start of a seven-game home stand. There are many specials going on from Christmas in July Tuesday to Tropical Beach Night Thirsty Thursday and Fireworks Friday Kids Cancer Survivors Celebration. Join the team at Canal Park for yet another exciting summer of Double-A baseball.

Last 10 Days: 7-2
Current Record: 52-47, 3rd place (of six) in the Eastern League’s Western Division

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Starter Alex White Gaining Confidence for Double-A Akron

From bizarre to typical to incredible, the story of Alex White in the Cleveland Indians organization continues to intrigue every passing day. Drafted in the first round of last year’s MLB Draft out of North Carolina, White was slated from the beginning as an eventual reliever for the long-term in Cleveland.

The comments from the Indians were immediate, including those from Bud Grant, director of amateur scouting, who was paraphrased as saying to the Plain Dealer that: “White likely will be converted to a reliever, a process that would begin next season. The Indians view him as a power arm in the back end of the bullpen.”

Since that point in time, the organization has fallen away from that track and had White begin his professional career this April in Kinston as a starter. Not only has he proved to be worthy of his $2.25 million last-minute signing bonus since that time, but he has promptly emerged as possibly the best right-handed pitching prospect in Cleveland in the last decade.
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Aerodynamics: Catching up with the Double-A Akron Aeros 7/14/10

Tonight is the Eastern League All-Star Break as the Aeros enjoy their second day off in a row in the middle of the 2010 season. After a mediocre past week and a half, Akron remains right at .500 for the season and still just 2.5 games behind second-place Bowie. The team is in position to compete for a playoff spot again this year and the fun restarts Thursday night against the Erie SeaWolves at Canal Park. Join WFNY for the annual Cleveland Sports Blog Outing as Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrara continues his rehab assignment on affiliates night and another Thirsty Thursday.

Last 10 Days: 5-5
Current Record: 45-45, 3rd place (of six) in the Eastern League’s Western Division [Read more...]

Aerodynamics: Catching up with the Double-A Akron Aeros 7/3/10

Cleveland’s five-game winning streak ended last night as their Double-A affiliate won their fourth consecutive game. The Akron Aeros smacked a season-high four home runs in their 9-4 victory over the Bowie Baysox, moving to only 2.5 games behind Bowie for the second-place wild card spot in the Western Division.

Back at .500 now for the year, the Aeros are certainly in a solid position to make another run at the playoffs. One of the most surprising stories of the week in causing this recent winning streak is the power burst of OF Matt McBride, who actually played first base for nearly a month while 1B Beau Mills was on the disabled list. McBride has six homers already this week, including three Thursday night alone, and is having an amazing season in games played on the road.

Last 10 Days: 6-4
Current Record: 40-40, 3rd place (of six) in the Eastern League’s Western Division

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Aerodynamics: Catching up with the Double-A Akron Aeros 6/23/10

The hot streak from earlier this month is long gone but the Aeros remain in a decent position for the second-half burst to the playoffs. Tonight’s contest against the Richmond Flying Squirrels (with returning starter RHP Paolo Espino on the mound and pictured on the right) will mark the exact midpoint of the 142-game Eastern League regular season schedule and the team is right in the middle of a crucial part of the year.

The newly named Flying Squirrels enter the series in fifth place in the division, yet only 1.5 games behind the third-place Aeros. Akron then hosts the Binghamton Mets from the Eastern Division this weekend before embarking on a huge week long road trip back to Richmond and then the second-place Bowie Baysox. These next two weeks will definitely dictate if Akron falters back to the bottom of the division or makes yet another July/August/September charge for a chance at a sixth consecutive pennant.

Last Week: 2-4
Current Record: 34-36, 3rd place (of six) in Eastern League’s Western Division
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Aerodynamics: Catching up with the Double-A Akron Aeros 6/16/10

The franchise-record winning streak is over, but the Akron Aeros still have a chance at contending for the Eastern League title again this season. The team is back at .500 after two straight losses on Sunday and Tuesday, but still right in the middle of the Western Division playoff race.

Hot pitching along with clutch hitting performances have been the key of late for manager Joel Skinner’s squad. The Aeros enter the 2010 season winners of five straight pennants in the EL and will need a miracle in order to add to their EL-record run of five consecutive seasons of 80 wins or more. Stay tuned below for more information on the club and several prospects in the Indians organization.

Last Week: 4-2
Current Record: 32-32, 3rd place (of six) in Eastern League’s Western Division

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Lonnie Chisenhall On Fire in Double-A

The 2008 and 2009 drafts for the Cleveland Indians keep looking better by the day. Sure, everyone is excited about ’09 top selection Stephen Strasburg and the yet-to-be-signed first pick in the 2010 draft in Bryce Harper, but the Indians have themselves quite a load as well.

From last year’s draft, starter Alex White is dominating through five games in Double-A while Jason Kipnis (second round) and Jordan Henry (seventh round) were recently promoted to Akron as well.

Meanwhile, Lonnie Chisenhall, Cleveland’s first-round pick in the ’08 draft out of Pitt Community College, has revitalized himself recently as one of the top hitting prospects in the minor leagues.

Since returning from a nagging right shoulder injury on May 28th, the 21-year-old Chisenhall has been the offensive leader for the now red-hot Aeros. Both Chisenhall and the team struggled to start the season, but Chisenhall is currently tearing up the Eastern League and showcasing why the Indians selected him 29th overall two years ago.

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Aerodynamics: Akron Ties Franchise Record with 11th Straight Win Friday

As a reminder, I’ll be serving this summer as the media relations director for the Akron Aeros. I presented my first update earlier in the week and will be writing many more articles in the future from the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.

The best team in Northeast Ohio continues to fight through adversity here in 2010. Fresh off a 2009 Eastern League Championship, the Akron Aeros are now red-hot and in the driver’s seat for another playoff run this year.

After starting just 8-16 on the season, the Aeros won again Friday night to improve to 31-30 with an 11th consecutive victory. The win over the visiting Portland Sea Dogs of the Boston Red Sox organization tied a franchise record for longest winning streak. The previous mark was set in 2002 when the team finished with the best record in professional baseball at 93-48.

Following the jump, take a look at who led Akron’s comeback victory last night at Canal Park as well as read about some of the notable performers recently for the team.

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2B Cord Phelps Leading Akron Aeros

You’ve seen this story before. College draft pick, middle infielder with average tools and a grinder mentality. Player likely won’t ever be a threat to hit 15 home runs or steal 30 bases in the major leagues, but in the meanwhile could be a very serviceable player in the organization.

Well, 2B Cord Phelps is exactly that kid. He turned 23 years old in January and the 3rd round pick from the 2008 June Draft is having an impressive start to the 2010 season.  In just his first 13 games in Double-A with the Aeros, Phelps is batting .388 with a pair of home runs and seven runs batted in. He already has seven multi-hit games and 10 runs scored despite being the usual #7 batter for new Akron manager Joel Skinner thus far this season.

His start to the season is a huge sign of relief for the organization. The system is usually low on middle infielders that can hit, but Phelps is starting to turn some heads for the Aeros. [Read more...]

Cleveland Indians Offseason News: Rule 5 Draft Results and Coaching Staff Finalized

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

(The following is a look at the recent movement in the Cleveland Indians organization. This follows in line with my article about the first batch of offseason news for the Indians about three weeks ago. For other recent Tribe updates, check out Scott’s article on Adam Miller/Carlos Santana and TD’s take on the winter meetings from earlier this week.)

Hector AmbrizIt had been a while since the Indians selected a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft, let alone a player with so much risk as this 25-year-old from the Diamondbacks organization. A fifth-round selection in the 2006 June draft, he showed tons of potential in his first few seasons out of UCLA. He has been a starter throughout his career and he was dominant early last season in Double-A before mixed results in Triple-A with Reno. In five starts for Mobile in the Southern League, he went 3-2 with a 2.17 ERA and 32 strikeouts. Moving up to the Pacific Coast League for the first time in his career, he then went 9-9 with a 5.57 ERA in 23 games and 127.2 innings pitched.
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Tribe News: Sarbaugh Takes Over in C-Bus, Skins To Akron

sarbaughIt’s a slow period in baseball right now, but the Indians organization actually has some news that isn’t Grady Sizemore/stolen photos related. Akron Aeros manager Mike Sarbaugh, who has risen in the ranks of the Tribe minor league system, will be promoted to skipper of the AAA Columbus Clippers for the 2010 season.

On the other side of the coin, former Tribe third base coach and resident good soldier, Joel Skinner, has been named the manager of the Aeros, taking the spot left open by Sarbaugh’s promotion.

Sarbaugh is coming off an Eastern League Championship season and at age 42, was voted by Baseball America as the ESL’s “best managerial prospect.” He takes over for Torey Lovullo, who essentially was Sarbaugh before Sarbaugh. Lovullo had been slowly working his way up the ladder and became one of the four finalists for the vacant big league job, eventually losing out to Manny Acta.

There was some thought that with his vast experience with many of the Tribe’s young players, Lovullo would be a shoo-in for Acta’s staff. Instead, he was passed over and moved on. Don’t cry for Torey though, he landed on his feet as the new manager of the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox.He took the high road on his way out the door. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Cutler bad for the Bears & Browns, DA Expectations, Shaq(s) plays college football

85787679JP015_CHICAGO_BEARSWhile We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email in the sidebar.

Assessing the Bears both today and for the future: “I’ve never understood all of the hype surrounding QB Jay Cutler. Sure, he has shown the potential to be a very productive quarterback. But there are other games where he’ll make decisions throughout the game that prevent the offense from doing much of anything. For all of the potential he has had the past several years, he has failed to move on to the “next level”, which is why I was thrilled when Cutler was not dealt to the Cleveland Browns early in the offseason. If you recall, the Browns were one of the teams reportedly interested in the former disgruntled Bronco.” [Chirs Pokorny/Dawgs By Nature]

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