This post is the second in a four-part series looking at players from the Indians organization involved with fall or winter baseball. The first post on the Arizona Fall League (which is now underway) was posted the other day. Now I’ll take a look at the people playing in the Dominican Republic this winter. Up next – Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
Dominican Republic – started October 11. Name of their winter ball team listed after their position.
Tim Fedroff, outfield, Aguilas Cibaenas – Fedroff split the 2012 season between Akron and Columbus, with slightly more at-bats coming with the Clippers. Between the two he hit .316/.394/.485 with 12 home runs. What I find most impressive about Fedroff’s 2012 campaign is the fact that he didn’t really miss a beat when he moved up to Triple-A; in fact his stats actually improved. Sometimes players will take a step back as they adjust to the league and its pitching, but that was not the case with Fedroff. In Akron he hit .305/.396/.443 with three home runs in 203 at-bats, and in Columbus he hit .325/.393/.517 with nine home runs in 265 at-bats. After the Indians announced their September 1 call-ups, there were a lot of people that were baffled that Fedroff was not on the list. There were some theories that the Indians did not want to start the 25-year-old’s service clock yet, which is obviously a possibility. It still seemed somewhat unpractical to leave him in the minors – the Indians were desperate for any kind of outfield production, even though Fedroff is another left-handed bat. Drafted by the Indians in the seventh round of the 2008 out of UNC Chapel Hill, I would like to think that he would be in the mix to compete for the left-field spot in spring training, although a lot could happen between now and then. The Indians could always attempt to use him as trade bait as they look to fill holes in their roster.
Kevin Slowey, RHP, Azucaeros del Estes – If you’re anything like me, at one point this summer you found yourself thinking, “wait, what happened to Kevin Slowey?” I think the first time this thought passed my mind was when the Indians were free-falling after the All-Star break and would have done anything to try someone new in their rotation. After he didn’t make the starting rotation out of spring training (he had a pretty dreadful spring) he reported to Triple-A Columbus. He went on the disabled list in mid-May with a rib injury and never returned. Slowey’s off-season was pretty eventful – after going 0-8 with a 6.67 ERA and 1.399 WHIP with the Minnesota Twins in 2011 (he was sent to Triple-A Rochester for a portion of the season as well), he was traded to the Colorado Rockies in December of 2011. Just over a month later, the Rockies flipped him to Cleveland for 25-year-old reliever Zach Putnam in what I considered a moment of panic (OMG FAUSTO’S NOT FAUSTO WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING). Before he went on the DL in Columbus, he wasn’t very impressive – 3-3 with a 5.14 ERA and 1.327 WHIP in 49 innings pitched. Putnam pitched most of the season with the Rockies’ Colorado Springs Triple-A affiliate, where he went 3-4 with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP in 60.2 innings pitched. He pitched two innings with the Rockies, going 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 2.00 WHIP, allowing three hits. The 28-year-old Slowey was drafted by the Twins in the second round of the 2005 draft out of Winthrop University in South Carolina. The Indians are desperate for starting pitching, but I’m not holding my breath that Slowey will somehow become a savior for the rotation. Although, with a strong showing in winter ball, he could be in the mix come spring training.
Juan Diaz, infield, Estrellas Orientales – I sometimes forget that Diaz came to Cleveland in the same trade as Ezequiel Carrera, when the Indians sent Russell Branyan to the Mariners in 2010. The 23-year-old Diaz was originally signed as an international free agent by the Mariners in 2006. The switch-hitter actually had a brief cup of coffee in the majors this season with the Indians, hitting .267/.353/.267 with 0 home runs in 15 at-bats. Even though Diaz was at Double-A Akron at the time of his call-up, he was on the Tribe’s 40-man roster and could provide coverage relief to some of the Indians’ banged-up players. With Akron in 2012 he hit .259/.309/.423 with 11 home runs in 371 at-bats, and improved during his short time in Columbus, hitting .306/.342/.458 with two home runs in 72 at-bats. Diaz is still young and has a chance to improve. I doubt he’ll be on the 25-man roster in 2013 (barring injuries to other players), but he could fight for a spot down the road. Much like Fedroff, he may also be used as trade bait to benefit holes on the roster.
Fabio Martinez, RHP, Toros del Este – The 22-year-old Dominican Republic native was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2012. After the deal he reported to the Carolina Mudcats, where he went 0-2 with an 8.53 ERA and 2.053 WHIP in 6.1 innings pitched. Prior to the move, he pitched for the Angels’ Class-A Inland Empire affiliate, where he went 0-5, with a 10.72 ERA and 2.559 WHIP in 22.2 innings pitched. He was a highly-rated prospect with the Angels until he missed most of the 2011 season with arm troubles (he only pitched two innings at any level all year). Prior to 2011, his ERA averaged under four in pretty much every season except for his first in baseball – 2007. If he’s fully recovered, and the Indians can help him find his form, he could be a nice bullpen arm in the future. He will be an interesting player to watch in winter ball this year.
You can follow all of the fall and winter leagues here.