Some long awaited prospect news for you to catch up as we start the new year and get closer to the 2014 season!
Starting off in the Dominican Winter League where SS Ronny Rodriguez is not having a great winter. He hasn’t played since December 11th and is hitting 0.48, going just 1-21. Last year, Rodriguez had a mildly good showing in the AFL last year but has scuffled in the DWL. This is a bigger year developmentally for Ronny-Rod, as now Francisco Lindor has moved up the organizational ladder and Rodriguez needs to establish himself somewhere or at least for the Indians sake, show enough to be a trade asset.
RHP Enosil Tejada was coming off a tremendous 2013 regular season that saw him move a little up in the prospect rankings. He’s only had two outings so far the DWL and a 10.80 ERA.
The Carlos Santana 3rd base experiment has been good on the hitting side, as expected. He’s hitting .313 with a homer and two RBIs in eight games and only has four errors so far. The Indians sent Mike Sarbaugh down to the Dominican to work with Santana on the training at third. This experiment alone says a lot about the Indians preference of Yan Gomes behind the plate and how much they could be concerned about Lonnie Chisenhall putting it together at third.
RHP Joe Colon is having a phenomenal showing in the Roberto Clemente Puerto Rican League after spending the early portion of the 2013 season on the shelf. Not usually a swing and miss type pitcher, Colon posted a 22/8 K/BB ratio in 32 innings of work in seven starts. He has a bit of a checkered medical history already but if he can stay healthy, he’s someone to keep an eye on.
RHP Bryce Stowell ran into the injury bug a bit again in 2013 but managed to squeeze out 11 more appearances this time around. He pitched solidly last year in the winter leagues but this year has a 5.79 ERA in six games. Stowell in 2012 looked to be moving up fast with improvement in his changeup. His 100mph fastball wasn’t there as much in 2013, down to a still solid 95 at times, but didn’t have the same brilliance he did in early 2012.
RHP Tyler Sturdivent also ran into injury issues in 2013 and struggled in Columbus. He has pitched solidly albeit limited work in the winter, with a 3.00 ERA in four games. At one point Sturdivent was up near a 100mph fastball but time could be running out for him.
RHP Brett Brach has a 4.98 ERA with a 2-1 record in 21.2 innings. Brach was apart of the 2010 Lake County Captains championship ring and a great clubhouse guy. Organizationally at this point he is a filler arm.
Coming off a breakout year in Akron, OF Carlos Moncrief isn’t having the same success in the regular season. Coming in at .230/.274/.280 slash line and one home run. The most alarming thing is the 34K/5BB ratio that shows a regression back to his issues previous to his nice year in Akron. The Caribbean Winter Leagues do offer very good competition, often with former major leaguers as well as other good prospects. Hopefully it doesn’t carry over into spring training, one that could be big for the Indians top outfield prospect at this point.
C Roberto Perez might be the best defensive catcher in the Indians system, even with Gomes in the conversation. However his .167 average in the winter league isn’t outlier or mirage. He’s never been able to handle the bat, but none the less he should start in AAA Columbus this year.
One pitcher the Indians would love to see healthy for a full season is healthy is LHP Elvis Araujo. He made just two regular season starts due to a variety of medical issues. So far in the Venezuelan Winter League in 11 outings (four starts) in 22.2 innings of work, he’s struck out 14 and walked eight. He likely will repeat Carolina in 2014 and the Indians would probably like to see him in Akron at some point as well.
RHP Bryan Price is having a nice winter with a 1.89 ERA in 15 appearances after a stellar 2013 regular season. He could have a shot a being a injury replacement callup with a good spring and become a viable option.
C Alex Monsalve also had an injury plagued 2013 as well and has a .250 average in just five games and hasn’t played since October 29th. He is still the Indians best catching prospect, though that doesn’t mean as much right now as the Indians have Gomes now. Also Eric Haase and Tony Wolters could surpass him in 2014.erry Fr
RHP Toru Murata continues to produce results with a 2.38 in five games and 22.2 innings of work. He’s also still likely an organizational arm.
The star of the Indians winter league is 1B Jesus Aguilar. 18 home runs in 58 games. He broke out with 105 RBIs in 2013 and after a rough winter league in 2012 has really bounced back. The Indians need a run producing bat and at some point in 2014, maybe Aguilar finds his way there. It’s all a matter of where he fits. He did play third base a little for his club but that was mostly out of injury problems, nothing the Indians were controlling.
In some other Indians prospect related news, in case you missed it, INF Jose Ramirez tore a ligament in his thumb and had surgery that will keep him out 8-10 weeks but might have him back on track to be ready around spring training. The injury doesn’t seem to be something that will affect him in spring training. The presence of David Adams however would be, considering the Indians, Terry Francona really like him, but probably don’t want him to make the 25 man roster and just sit on the bench. He should be ticketed for Columbus to start the year but don’t be shocked to see him at some point in 2014.
Former Indians prospect RHP Jason Knapp is also attempting a comeback. The Tribe received him in the Cliff Lee deal, considering him the key piece. a 6’5 235 19 year old had a 100mph fastball and a sharp 12-6 curve. After needing another major shoulder, the Indians opted to release him when he wanted the surgery and they preferred rehab. The Indians have reportedly been in contact with Knapp and his agent and said he could be an option if he decides to make a comeback.
And for more nostalgic fans; Andy Marte is with the Arizona Diamondbacks and is hitting .257 in the Dominican League.
Just a nice little reminder about prospects.
Happy New Year
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