August 17, 2014

Da Clip Show: Keeping an Eye on the Tribe’s AAA Squad – 7/13/10

Clip Show aims to be your weekly update for all things Columbus Clippers. Jacob in control here this week with DP on vacation, but check back each Tuesday afternoon for records, rosters, and performance updates on some of the top prospects in the Tribe system.

Despite a rough week overall, the Clippers head to the All-Star Break this season with a sizable 7.5 game lead in the IL West Division. With only 50 some odd games remaining, that should definitely put the franchise in a position to compete for the championship come later this September. While many players continue to move up I-71 from Columbus to Cleveland, the Clippers roster should include many if not all of the top prospects in the organization by the end of the year. A tough pennant race always attracts the best and it should be even more exciting second half down at Huntington Park.

This Week: 2-4
Current Record: 55-36, 1st place (of four) in ILW (International League West)

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Catching Up with The Backstops

ComebackKidsGo back 365 days. The Indians catching situation looked like the envy of the rest of the league. You had Victor Martinez, one of the top hitting catchers in the game, coming back strong from a shoulder injury. He would be bouncing between catcher and first base so that Kelly Shoppach, the previous season’s breakout Indian, could get the at-bats he had earned.

After all, Shop did lead all American League catchers in 2008 with 21 home runs. Vic the Stik is a career .300 hitter and a fixture in the middle of the Indians order. Oh, the best laid plans…..

Three hundred and sixty-five days later, neither player is on the team. Victor, as we all know, played his way out of town with his great play/the Indians on-field collapse/attendance debacle/payroll slashing. Shoppach in the meantime essentially jettisoned himself.

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Examining the Columbus Crew

marteA third straight Monday without a game for our Wahoo Warriors. Most of you didn’t miss it last night, but I know I did. My two and a half year old son actually said to me “I wanna watch the Tribe” around 7:20. A tear came to my eye. Who knew he’d be so attracted to fourth place baseball? Nonetheless his heroes take the field tonight against the West leading Los Angeles Angels. I thought while we were basking in the glow of another series win within the division, we should examine that new blood that seemingly takes up the bottom of the order each night.

Andy Marte – 36 AB’s/.194 BA/0 HR/3 RBI/.532 OPS

36 at-bats does not a season make, and in reality, shouldn’t be nearly enough for a first impression. But the truth is, for Marte, 36 at bats speaks plenty. After being designated for assignment and being passed over by every other major league team, Marte returned to the Indians organization and started the year in Columbus. The thought was he would backup prospects Wes Hodges at third and both Matt LaPorta and Jordan Brown at first. Hodges was hurt early, and Marte pounced on the opportunity.

In Columbus, Marte blossomed, dominating the league in his 300 at bats. He hit .327 with 18 HR and 66 RBI’s, while playing stellar D at third base. The Indians brass was impressed enough to want to see more. So the former top prospect, still just 25 years old, got the recall when Ryan Garko was shipped to San Francisco to play first base every day. The word was the looping swing had been shortened, and his plate disciplined had improved. [Read more...]

For At Least One Week, The Tribe Owns The Central

Indians White Sox BaseballDoes any manager get his team to play harder when there is nothing at stake than Eric Wedge? The Grinder’s crew won it’s third straight series over a division rival this weekend in Chicago, taking two of three from a White Sox team who had just won back to back series against the Yankees and Angels. Go figure. How exactly are the Indians pulling this off?

Friday, they dealt yet another veteran, Carl Pavano, to the Minnesota for a Player to be Named Later. That night, they opened the series with Jeremy Sowers on the hill against the perfect game man himself, Mark Buehrle. Sowers has been very good in his previous two starts, while Buehrle has been off his game in his past two. As I told someone I work with on Friday, “I don’t bet baseball, but if I did, this would be the night. The White Sox are lock city.” I mean, Sowers was due for a reality check, while Buehrle was ready to snap back into his all star form.

That, my friends, is why they play the game.  [Read more...]

The Fall of Kelly Shoppach

shoppachThis is one of my all time favorite photos. Its from the ’07 season when Kelly Shoppach hit an improbable walk-off homer against the A’s at Jacobs Field. Those were the days. Four of the six players waiting at home plate are no longer donning the Red, White, and Blue.

Remember last year when the Indians organization had not one,  but two everyday catchers? While Victor Martinez was out with an injury which robbed him of his bat speed and power, Shoppach took over the reigns as the regular receiver and ran with it. Not only was he Cliff Lee’s personal caddy during his 22-3 Cy Young season, at the plate Shop was raking like an all star.

In just 112 games last season, Shoppach led all American League catchers in home runs with 21. He hit a more than respectable .261 and was managing the pitching staff fairly well. Once known for his defense and his arm, it was Shop’s bat that was turning heads. [Read more...]

Just Your Average Week in Wahoo World

03sTRIBEj.jpgHow things change in a week. A short seven days ago, Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, Ryan Garko, and Ben Francisco were all still members of the underachieving Tribe, who suddenly were playing their best ball of the year, carrying a four game winning streak into Anaheim. On Monday, the Wahoos took their fifth straight in a stunning, come from behind ninth inning against Angels closer Brian Fuentes. They took the lead on a Martinez three-run homer, in what would turn out to be his last big hit for the Red, White, and Blue.

Earlier that evening, Garko was dealt to San Francisco for A pitcher Scott Barnes.

On Wednesday, Lee and Francisco were shipped to Philadelphia for AAA pitcher Carlos Carrasco, AAA Catcher Lou Marson, AAA SS Jason Donald and A pitcher Jason Knapp.

On Thursday, the fan backlash over the Lee trade was so brutal within the Cleveland fan base, that the Martinez trade talk seemed to die down. Conventional wisdom was that the Dolan’s wouldn’t see fan one the rest of the way and into next season if another key veteran, the heart and soul of the team, and arguably its best hitter, was traded before Friday’s 4 PM trade deadline.

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Trade Analysis: Indians Acquire Four Phillies Prospects for Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco

cliff-lee-picThe deal is done. After much speculation and trade rumors and conflicting reports galore, the Indians have officially traded lefty Cliff Lee to the Philadelphia Phillies. Along with Ben Francisco, Lee will work with the defending World Champions in a crucial playoff setting for the rest of the season while the Indians have added four more prospects to their system. All of this adds to what was supposed to be an already tense day in the system with the organizational debuts of Scott Barnes in Kinston and Connor Graham in Akron.

So let’s see here… the Indians have traded away the defending AL Cy Young winner (and an MLB outfielder) to the defending World Series Champions for four minor leaguers. Say what you want to say about ever trading Cy Young winners in two straight seasons, but it is intriguing to see what this does to Cleveland’s minor league system. General Manager Mark Shapiro has received a ton of criticism over the past year plus, but this trade is in line with several others he has made for young minor leaguers with MLB-potential. The players the Indians received in this trade were not the same prospects other team’s were looking for in the Phillies organization, so I was just curious to investigate again and see what we have here:

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Indians, Farm System Goes 0-For-4

Rays 8, Indians 4 (box)
Indians 5, Bisons 2 (box)
Curve 4, Aeros 3 (box)
Pelicans 4, Indians 3 (box)

From the looks of things above, it wasn’t a good night to be involved with the Clevleland Indians in any shape or form. 

Starting things off with the big league team, all you need to know is “13.”  As in, the Indians left 13 men on base last night, despite nine of 10 players getting hits (Ben Francisco subbed in for David Dellucci in the sixth).  The down side was that both Grady Sizemore and Francisco each left two men in scoring position.

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