July 25, 2014

Proud Canadian Nick Weglarz Relishes Moment in Spotlight for Akron Aeros

Sunday was a special day for Nick Weglarz.

No, not just because it marked his 29th game out of 31 in the Akron Aeros starting lineup. And not only because he just finished one of the best months of his career.

But Sunday, July 1, was Canada Day. And for the 24-year-old and only Canadian on the Aeros team, that meant a special observance at Akron’s Canal Park.

Before the afternoon game, a local hockey fan sang the national anthem while draped in a red maple leaf flag. Throughout the game, Weglarz and teammates shared their love for Canada on the Aeros video board. There were Canadian random facts, plenty of beavers and many, many snippets of “Oh Canada”1.

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Footnotes:

  1. Those lucky enough to be in the Canal Park press box also heard Akron Beacon Journal writer Stephanie Storm and I belt out the anthem, too, in the seventh inning. Weglarz laughed at the idea of that after the game. []

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 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...]

WWWFNYD? – Struggling Cleveland Indians

The Indians just chalked up their fourth loss in a row. This now officially marks the worst losing streak for the Tribe so far this season. Their lead in the A.L. Central is looking precariously small. The bats that carried them to a lead seem to be failing them now. Recognizing the fact that baseball isn’t a sprint but a marathon, how quickly do the Indians need to react? TD brought up Cord Phelps in his weekend recap this morning. How long do you wait? Do the Indians HAVE to do something before their lead disappears completely? Do they need to show patience to give these veterans a chance to start contributing again? Is it a matter of waiting to see if Travis Hafner comes back healthy? Is it time to trade outside of the organization? If you were Chris Antonetti, what would you do, and in what timeframe?

Rick: I think the trade route is the least likely, and probably my least favorite if it means giving up on our top prospects. We aren’t losing because Cord Phelps is sitting in Columbus. I am looking straight at Shin Soo Choo, Carlos Santana, Grady Sizemore and Matt LaPorta. These are supposed to be the stud hitters in this line-up. [Read more...]

The Boots: Crucial 2011 Season for Top Cleveland Indians Prospects

The Boots are my form of reporting current information from around the sports world. Boot Ups and Boot Downs are assigned to various events, people or stories as I now use for the University of Dayton’s Flyer News. For possible topics in future articles, e-mail us at Tips@WaitingForNextYear.com.

Boot Up: Reflective Rankings – Three baseball publications (Baseball America, Minor League Ball and Hardball Times) recently released end-of-season updated top 10 rankings for each of the MLB systems. These new lists included 2010 draft picks and highlighted the continued development of prospects throughout the past minor league season. It’s always nice to see yet another opinion on each of these top players before the calendar year even begins, so here are some of the highlights from those updates:

- Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall and right-handed pitcher Alex White were the consensus top two for all three rankings. White surpassed Chisenhall in the Hardball Times, but the other two selected the third baseman over the right-handed pitcher for the start of their lists. [Read more...]

Does Shelley Fit?

I’m going to blow your mind grapes for a second.  Do you know the Indians have not had a single position-player on their active roster for the entire 2010 season?  Not one.

That means that every hitter on the team has either spent some time on the DL, some time in Columbus, or has been otherwise dismissed.

So in this environment, it’s kind of hard to identify important pieces to the Indians’ offense moving forward.  Sure, it looks like most of the positions next year will be fairly set in stone: two of the three OF positions should be manned by Grady and Choo, and Cabrera, LaPorta and Santana look to be here to stay.

But that leaves a lot of room on next year’s roster, both for starters to emerge into an everyday role and for reserves to take their spots on the bench.  Both third base and second base come to mind, as does the remaining outfield spot.

In that vein, I thought we’d take a look at everyone’s favorite instigator: Shelley Duncan and whether he fits with this club going forward. [Read more...]

Tribe Trade Tracker: The Review

I know I know, the Dolan’s are cheap. The Indians can’t contend. Baseball is sunk in Cleveland. The system stinks. All the Indians do is sell of their best players. Yada, Yada. Yada. I get it. But here is the thing, Tribe fans – the trades I am about to discuss were all the right calls. There is zero point in keeping around guys like Kerry Wood, Jhonny Peralta, and Austin Kearns (Jake Westbrook, still had value to this club in terms of leadership). Lets get it straight and out there in the open: in the situation the Indians are in, this was absolutely the right thing to do. So lets review the deals to put this into better perspective. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Trick Shot Montage, Thoughts on Barnes and Starting Safeties

While 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 at tips@waitingfornextyear.com

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0egbmPVB9Bs]

The above video was sent to us by some Columbus-based Cavalier fans.  Coupling some pretty amazing shots with the Black Keys is always a winner in my book.  The fact that they edited out a few clips due to a specific individual wearing a “Witness” t-shirt is icing on the cake.  Do enjoy.

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Updates on Baseball America’s Top 10 Prospects in the Cleveland Indians System

With the MLB All-Star Break underway, it is time to take a look back at the top prospects in the Cleveland Indians organization. The major league club has shown some promise in the early goings of the 2010 season, but sit at the halfway point in last place in the Central Division with a 34-54 record.

Two of these top 10 players below are currently with the Indians major league team and have had very different early results. Among the other eight players as ranked by Baseball America prior to the season, three currently play for the Class AAA Columbus Clippers, two are with the Double-A Akron Aeros and another has yet to play at all this year. Without any further ado, here is an update on how they are progressing so far (stats as of games completed Saturday):

1. Carlos Santana, C – 5’11″, 190-lbs, Born 4/8/86
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Rochester’s Late Runs Sink Clippers 7-5

The Clippers did their best to stay in the game on a rainy and chilly night at Huntington Park last night, but in the end their bullpen just couldn’t put zeros up on the board when it counted. Michael Brantley went 5-for-5 with 2 RBI, Carlos Santana hit his team-leading 12th home run, and Josh Rodriguez drove in two of his own, but it was not enough as single runs in the eighth and ninth innings off of losing pitcher Jeremy Sowers provided the final margin for the Red Wings. In addition, Matt LaPorta got his first start and played left field. He went 0-3 with two walks.

After a quick 1-2-3 first inning for Clippers hurler Aaron Laffey, the Red Wings greeted him in the second with a single and a double to take a 1-0 lead with nobody out. After the runner moved to third on a wild pitch, it looked like Laffey might work out of it without any more damage as he got a ground ball right to third baseman Brian Buscher, who kept the runner at third. But Laffey could not escape; he issued a two out walk followed by a single to make it 2-0 Rochester. [Read more...]

Clippers Notch Walk-off Win Over Chapman, Louisvile

The night started as a matchup between the Clippers’ best starter and the Cincinnati Reds’ biggest phenom. Josh Tomlin and Aroldis Chapman went toe-to-toe for seven innings apiece; but while Chapman left the game with a 3-2 lead after seven innings, the game came down to the Clippers’ hottest hitter and pitcher.

Frank Herrmann pitched two perfect innings in the clutch, and Jordan Brown knocked a walk-off double to score Nick Weglarz in the ninth to give the Clippers a 4-3 win and a 6-1 record on their current home-stand. Herrmann moves to 3-0 on the year with a 0.31 ERA, and runs his consecutive-scoreless-innings streak to 27.0 innings. Herrmann struck out three and didn’t allow a Bats hitter to reach in his two innings of work. And, his three strike outs all came in the 9th inning when he fanned the side to slam the door and set up the Clippers’ last-at-bat heroics.

Both starting pitchers were solid through seven innings, with Tomlin allowing three runs on five hits and a walk while striking out two. Chapman worked seven as well and allowed two runs on four hits and three walks while striking out five. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… The Villain’s Heroics, Tight Ends and LeBron’s Blocks

While We’re Waiting serves up an early morning breakfast buffet of WFNY-esque goodies for your daily viewing pleasure. Have something else you think we should see? Send it to our fancy tips email address at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

Well that was dramatic. Enjoy the video folks: “Any more questions about who should be the Player of the Year? I didn’t think so.” [Chris/Eleven Warriors]


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Cleveland Indians Offseason News: 40-Man Roster, Rule V Draft and Free Agency

Jeanmar GomezThe Indians brought seven new minor leagues into the mix on their their official 40-man roster Friday morning. TD first mentioned the story on the blog yesterday in talking about how Jordan Brown finally received his well worth promotion to the big leagues. That was not the only story of the day however, or even the Indians offseason as it stands right now, and thus here is a breakdown of the other players in that 40-man move and some other things for the coming weeks.

RHP Jeanmar Gomez: The young kid that threw a perfect game and also won Eastern League Pitcher of the Year honors for Akron this season led the class of the other six people rostered by the Indians yesterday. The 21-year-old Venezuelan is just a week older than close friend Hector Rondon, but showed similar promise last season. His final numbers of 10-4 with a 3.43 ERA in 22 Akron starts showed he is relatively close to MLB potential, and could be an option down the stretch this year if absolutely needed. He will probably start the season in Columbus alongside Rondon in 2010.

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Jordan Brown, Others added to 40-man Roster

j_brownThis morning, the Cleveland Indians announced that they have purchased the contracts of seven players and added them to their 40-man roster.  Among the seven is Jordan Brown, whom we have discussed around these parts for a good portion of the last two seasons.

With Andy Marte getting his just due with the big boys last season, the move kept Brown with the Columbus Clippers.  In fact, Brown was in Triple-A for two straight seasons – something that is not very common among top prospects.  But with the influx of young talented outfielders like Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley, Brown had been placed on the back burner despite solid hitting statistics.

The team press release had the following on Brown: [Read more...]

Aeros Dominate EL; Aim for Fifth Straight Championship Appearance

akron-aerosAs was mentioned on the site Friday, the Double-A Akron Aeros took home all of the major awards in the Eastern League this season and have also clinched first-place in the Southern Division. With only two contests remaining in the regular season, their playoff schedule is set and the team with the Manager of the Year, Pitcher of the Year and League MVP aims for yet another successful post-season run in 2009. With a current record of 87-53, the Aeros also became the first franchise in the 86-year history of the Eastern League to record 80+ wins in five consecutive seasons.

Last night, Akron defeated the visiting Erie SeaWolves at Canal Park to knock the ‘Wolves out of the playoff race and secure a match-up with the Reading Phillies. A series victory in the Southern Division Championship would then bring the Aeros to their fifth straight Eastern League Championship although the team has only won the title in 2003 and 2005. With all of the top prospects in tow this season however, it certainly appears that great things are still possible for this young and promising team, and baseball at Canal Park should still be exciting over the next two weeks.

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Double Dose of Double-A: Akron Aeros Bi-Monthly Review 8/9/09

aerosAfter changing this feature from every week to every two weeks and now effectively to every two months, I have decided to return to action on my last day as an Aeros employee. It has been an incredible summer working alongside one of the most successful minor league baseball teams in the past decade, as Akron is well on pace to become the first team in the 86-year history of the Eastern League to ever win 80 games in five straight seasons. The Aeros are also looking for a fifth consecutive Southern Division pennant this post-season and welcomed the addition of #6 prospect 3B Lonnie Chisenhall yesterday afternoon. Without any further touting of the franchise, here is my look at some of the recent events behind the scenes with the Akron Aeros.

Last Two Weeks: 10-2 (.833); Ever since a loss Sunday, July 26th against the last-place Altoona Curve, the Aeros have won 10 of their 12 games. In these 12 games, including a four-game sweep against then second-place Erie at Canal Park, Akron has out-scored their opponents 87-42 and out-hit them by a mark of 133-101.

Current Record: 71-43 (.623); the Aeros now have an eight-game lead over second-place Reading in the Southern Division. After winning two of three games over Connecticut from the Northern Division earlier in the week, Akron also has a 5.5-game lead on the Defenders for the best record in the entire league. The top two teams in each division make the playoffs and also currently contending for a playoff spot in the South are the Erie SeaWolves (9.0 games back) and Bowie Baysox (10.5 games back).

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Memo to the Tribe FO: Moves the Organization Should (and Should Not) Make

large_mark-shapiro1

Now that the dust has settled a bit—and it’s quite clear that the only playoffs anyone in the Tribe’s organization should be worried about are at the AA level—Jacob and I thought we might take a moment to draft a few notes for Mark Shapiro and Co about the minor league system and the near future. From playing time for certain players to roster protection moves for others, we aim to offer up our ideas for the best course of action for the rest of the 2009 season. Please note that we won’t be discussing the potential for further waiver-trades at the ML level, but instead are focusing on guys down in the ranks a bit.

DP: Call up Jordan Brown and give him every-day at bats for the Tribe.

It’s no secret that I’ve been lobbying hard for Brown for most of the last month or so, especially given the fact that Chris Gimenez continues to languish in the majors. [Read more...]

Best Team in NE Ohio? The 2009 Akron Aeros

akron-aerosThe five-time defending Southern Division champions are on pace for greatness again here in 2009 as the Akron Aeros currently stand at 53-28, a mark that is good for the second best record in full-season professional baseball. Led by several marquee prospects, the Aeros look as good as ever this year as they look to win their third Eastern League championship in franchise history (also won in 2003 and 2005). Instead of going with my “Double Dose of Double-A” feature, I decided to simply recap the season as it stands right now, just a handful of games over the halfway mark.

I could go on and on about every single one of the players on our team, but I first want to mention the incredible pitching staff. While the Indians have had their struggles on the mound thus far this season prompting several responses of varying degrees from our very own TD, Akron has just been amazing this season and especially recently. Over the past 28 games, the Aeros pitching staff has a combined 2.02 ERA while holding opponents to one run or less a spectacular 11 times en route to a 19-9 record. On the season, the Aeros now lead the entire 12-team Eastern League with a 3.17 team ERA.

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While We’re Waiting… NBA Free Agency, Shaq and Portland, and Berea’s QB Decision

While We’re Waiting aims to be the round-up of the recent WFNY-esque information for your morning viewing. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email in the sidebar.

shaq-blazers

The Big Veto? “During [Shaquille O'Neal and Steve Kerr's] midseason conversations Kerr never raised the possibility of a trade with Cleveland, according to O’Neal, who said he asked Kerr to not deal him to Portland because the Blazers weren’t close to winning a championship.  “They have a young team, and their team is pretty good the way it is,” O’Neal said of the Blazers. “When he called me, he didn’t mention (Cleveland). He said, ‘Portland is really making the move for you.’ And I said, `I don’t really want to go to Portland.”‘ [Ian Thomsen/SI.com]

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Santana and Weglarz Going to Futures Game

img_6921In an announcement from minor league baseball yesterday, catcher Carlos Santana and left fielder Nick Weglarz were named to the rosters for the Futures Game during All-Star Weekend this year in St. Louis. The Akron Aeros teammates learned of their recognition prior to yesterday’s 4-3 walk-off victory over the Trenton Thunder, and this year marks the third time in four years that the two Cleveland participants in the Futures Game came from the Double-A affiliate. Since the Futures Game takes place on Sunday, July 12, it is expected the the pair will miss at least one Akron game that weekend and then go immediately to Trenton as they are both expected to be named Eastern League All-Stars as well.

The Futures Game is always an exciting atmosphere, and I was fortunate enough to attend the 2007 event in San Francisco. It was great seeing some of the top minor league players in baseball, and it was actually the first time I was able to see hot-shot prospect Max Ramirez live at the time (he was soon after traded for Kenny Lofton). Both of these players will appear on the World Team as Weglarz is a native of Stevensville, Ontario and Santana is from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Here is a look at the all-time breakdown of Cleveland Indians prospects in the Futures Game: [Read more...]