Results tagged ‘ Carolina Mudcats ’

Tribe’s top prospects attend the Indians Winter Development Program

New York Mets v St Louis Cardinals

Thirteen Tribe prospects are in town this week as part of the Indians Winter Development Program, introduced by then-Director of Minor League Operations Mark Shapiro in 1996 as a way to strengthen the physical, mental and fundamental skills of some of the organization’s top prospects prior to Spring Training. Now in its 20th year, the program still acts as a way to help young talent of the Indians farm system prepare for the majors.

Again this year, the prospects will participate in classroom sessions, conditioning and fundamental work, while also hearing from multiple guest speakers including Shapiro, manager Terry Francona, pitching coach Mickey Callaway, new bullpen coach Jason Bere and St. Ignatius football coach Chuck Kyle, among others.

“These guys are close,” said Director of Player Development Carter Hawkins, regarding the group’s expected timeline of reaching the Major League level.

James Ramsey, who was acquired on July 30 in the Justin Masterson trade, may be the closest out of all and expressed his respect for the Indians organization.

“Growing up in Atlanta in the 90s when the Braves and Indians were going back and forth, you have a respect for the fan base and the fans of Cleveland for such good support,” he said.

After arriving at Class AAA Columbus, Ramsey hit .284 (31-109) with 9 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs and 16 RBI in 28 games. He enters the 2015 season as the 12th-best prospect in the organization according to Baseball America.

Another participant in this year’s program is lefty Ryan Merritt, who recently received the organization’s 2014 Bob Feller Award, given to the Player Development System’s top pitcher. He, too, sees the program as a great way to build on his success. Merritt finished the 2014 season with a Carolina League-best 13 victories holding down a 2.58 ERA (46 ER/160.1 IP) in a career-high 25 starts at Single-A Carolina. He was named to the Carolina League and organizational (MiLB.com) postseason all-star teams and led all Tribe minor league pitchers in ERA (2.58).

“It’s great; I think it’s awesome that they bring us in and help us become major leaguers,” said Merritt, who was recently added to the 40-man roster. “They really just try to give us a good experience of everything. All these guys here are on the brink of making it so I think it’s great. They really care about us and want us to be productive major leaguers.”

–TribeVibe contributor Angela Martin

Indians prospects taking advantage of extended season in Arizona Fall League and elsewhere

Ronny Rodriguez has followed up a strong regular season by excelling in Arizona. – Photo by Ken Inness/MiLB.com

Update: Two Indians prospects, catcher Alex Monsalve and pitcher Trey Haley have been selected to play in the Arizona Fall League’s Futures Game. The game will take place on Saturday, November 3 at 8:00PM ET and will be broadcast live on MLB Network and MLB.com.

Although the Major League season ended Sunday night, many young players will continue to play through the winter as they aim to speed up their development by playing extended seasons. The Indians have a number of young players currently working on their game in the Arizona Fall League, while several others will be participating in Winter Leagues across Latin America.

The Arizona Fall League (AFL) began its 2012 season on October 9 and eight players from the Indians organization are taking part by representing the Scottsdale Scorpions in the extended season. Several players, such as shortstop Ronny Rodriguez and left-handed pitcher T.J. House, have excelled in the AFL as they look to improve on strong 2012 seasons in the minor leagues.

Rodriguez, 20, is rated the No. 5 prospect in the organization by MLB.com after showing impressive power (19 HR and 66 RBI) with the Carolina Mudcats (Hi-A) in the 2012 regular season. He is hitting .273 through 11 games in the AFL, with six RBI and three stolen bases.

House is coming off a promising season in which he was promoted from Carolina to Double-A Akron, compiling a 10-5 record and 3.56 ERA between the two teams. He has built on his 2012 regular season campaign with several strong performances in Arizona, striking out 18 batters over 17 innings of work, and posting a 1.59 ERA.

Both Rodriguez and House hope to follow in the footsteps of a number of current Indians players who have spent time developing their game in the AFL in recent years.

Jason Kipnis excelled in the AFL in the fall of 2010, and Vinnie Pestano appeared in the league in 2009. Both players went on to make their Major League debuts the following season.

The Arizona Fall League schedule ends on November 15, but similar leagues in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Mexico will take place throughout the fall and winter.

Notable current Indians have played in these leagues as well in recent years. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera played in the Venezuelan Winter League from 2007-2011, while catcher Carlos Santana and pitcher Rafael Perez each made appearances in the 2009 Dominican Winter League. Pitcher Esmil Rogers is expected to play in the Dominican this winter.

For more on the Indians prospects currently plying their trade in off-season leagues, read Tyler Emerick’s feature for MLB.com.

— TribeVibe Contributor Max Lom

Indians prospect Justin Toole does it all for Carolina

Photo by Tom Miller/Carolina Mudcats

— Article appears courtesy of Mike Brandyberry of DidtheTribeWinLastNight.com

Little Leaguers and boys in the backyard always dream of playing all over the field and having the ball hit to them all night long. Few get the opportunity, and even fewer get the chance to do it professionally.

For Cleveland Indians minor leaguer Justin Toole, Saturday night was a reward and tribute to his versatility.

“At the beginning of the season he and the Indians told me he could play everywhere,” Carolina Mudcats Manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “Originally, I thought, ‘yeah right,’ but after working with him, he really could play anywhere.”

Toole, a utility infielder in the Indians system playing most of his season with the High-A Carolina Mudcats, played all nine positions for one inning each on Saturday night during a 4-2 Mudcats victory against the Salem Red Sox. He has had brief stints this year at both Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus, but has played in 77 games in Carolina, hitting .236, while playing five different positions before Saturday evening. Toole’s chance to play all nine positions started with a promise from Rodriguez.

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