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Category Archives: ZN. March 2014

2014 Akron RubberDucks Preview (4.1.14)

The 2013 Akron Aeros failed to repeat as Eastern League champions, finishing with a 68-73 record, but the first year under new owner Ken Babby proved to be a success. Babby brought a new energy to Canal Park, an energy that spread into the offseason.

Canal Park now features a new restaurant above right field, picnic and premium seating in the outfield, and most importantly, a rebranded team: the Akron RubberDucks.

The RubberDucks will make their debut in Binghamton Thursday night, starting the season with a seven-game road trip. Their first home game is next Thursday, April 10 against the Bowie Baysox.

Note that 26 players are listed; the team still has to make a move before Thursday’s game.

In-text photos from MiLB.

Catchers

Alex Lavisky (23), Jake Lowery (23), Tony Wolters (21)

After successfully making the transition from middle infielder to catcher last season, Wolters is the marquee name to watch here. Wolters posted a .277/.369/.353 line in High-A Carolina in 2013, results that are even more impressive considering he was learning a new position on the fly. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, April 1, 2014

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2014 in ZN. March 2014

 

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Ranking the 2014 Cleveland Indians opening day roster: Part two (3.30.14)

With a new season upon us, it is once again time for me to rank Cleveland’s roster from bottom to top. Many of the names are familiar from last year’s 92-win playoff season, but there is new blood at positions (and a noticeable lack of Chris Perez).

Today includes players ranked #12 to #1, which means a lot of players projected to receive most of the playing time (see: position players and starting pitchers). Cleveland may not have a player on the level of Mike Trout or Clayton Kershaw, but what the team does have is quite a few very good players at the top. Teams do not need a star to win (though it always helps) and this Cleveland squad has some pretty good depth in its starters.

In-text photos from ESPN

#12 David Murphy, OF

This ranking of Murphy is putting faith in seeing the outfielder’s BABIP bounce back to something approaching a normal level. With a .227 BABIP in 2013, Murphy will almost certainly see some more balls in play fall in, which should go a long way toward raising his pedestrian .220/.282/.374 line. For his career, Murphy has a normal BABIP and has essentially been the definition of average. If Cleveland gets that Murphy in 2014, it will be an upgrade and a good investment. Plus, if Terry Francona spells him against left-handed pitching (.657 OPS, 71 wRC+ in his career) and lets him feast on right-handers (.816 OPS,  113 wRC+), then Murphy could be even better, especially when paired with a platoon partner like Ryan Raburn. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, March 30, 2014

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2014 in ZN. March 2014

 

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Gomes, Cleveland reach agreement on six-year extension (3.29.14)

Cleveland agreed with a six-year, $23 million contract extension with catcher Yan Gomes according to Ken Rosenthal (pending a physical). The extension also includes two club options that would keep Gomes under team control through 2021 if exercised. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, March 29, 2014

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2014 in ZN. March 2014

 

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Ranking the 2014 Cleveland Indians opening day roster: Part one (3.29.14)

With a new season upon us, it is once again time for me to rank Cleveland’s roster from bottom to top. Many of the names are familiar from last year’s 92-win playoff season, but there is some new blood (and a noticeable lack of Chris Perez).

Today includes players ranked #25 to #13, which means a lot of players projected to receive less playing time (see: relievers and bench players). But Cleveland has assembled an interesting bench and bullpen, rendering this exercise less tedious and boring than a few years ago. An example is the first player, who despite being ranked 25th, is still an intriguing player.

In-text photos from ESPN

#25 Blake Wood, RHP

Given that Wood is listed at 6’5″, 240 pounds and has a fastball that can push triple digits, there is a good chance that Wood will not be ranked last throughout the season. Wood has the raw stuff to make some noise in the bullpen, but for now, he does not have the past performance to back it up. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, March 29, 2014

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2014 in ZN. March 2014

 

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Nine pitching prospects who can help in Cleveland in 2014 (3.28.14)

In the recently completed 2014 IBI Top 50, the projection of each player contributed heavily to the final rankings. Clint Frazier has no chance of playing in Cleveland in 2014, yet the 2013 first round pick was ranked #2 (for very good reason).

But Cleveland has designs on contending for the playoffs again and will need to dip into the minor league ranks at some point in the season. With that in mind, here are nine pitching prospects who can help the team in 2014 (the hitters ran on Saturday).

Note that these ranks are only for 2014. All that was considered was how each player could help the team this year.

Ready to help now

Preston Guilmet, RHP

Over half of this list contains right-handed relief pitchers, a position that Cleveland is simply bursting at the seams with. Guilmet is one of those relievers and someone who logged a little bit of time with the big league club last year. Though the right-hander’s first 5.1 major league innings were less than encouraging (six runs allowed on eight hits, three walks, and only one strikeout), he should offer be a strong depth option when called upon this season. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, March 28, 2014

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2014 in ZN. March 2014

 

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Six hitting prospects who can help in Cleveland in 2014 (3.22.14)

In the recently completed 2014 IBI Top 50, the projection of each player contributed heavily to the final rankings. Clint Frazier has no chance of playing in Cleveland in 2014, yet the 2013 first round pick was ranked #2 (for very good reason).

But Cleveland has designs on contending for the playoffs again and will need to dip into the minor league ranks at some point in the season. With that in mind, here are six hitting prospects who can help the team in 2014 (the pitchers will run second in the near-future).

Note that these ranks are only for 2014. All that was considered was how each player could help the team this year.

Ready to help now

Jose Ramirez, INF

Ramirez, either you like him or you love him. He is a tiny guy, listed at 5’9″, 165 pounds, but that has never held the 21-year-old back. He posted a .354/.403/.462 line as a 19-year-old in Low-A, skipped High-A to hold his own in Double-A Akron, and played a key bench role down the stretch for the major league team. Sure, Ramirez is set to start the season in the minors due to the presence of ace bench bat Mike Aviles, but if needed, Ramirez could help right now. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, March 22, 2014

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2014 in ZN. March 2014

 

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How walking away from Masterson could be reasonable (3.21.14)

So how on Earth could Cleveland not finish negotiations with current #1 starter Justin Masterson and keep him long-term?

That is the question on everyone’s mind this morning after news broke Thursday night that extension talks between Masterson and the team are over. The typical ranting and raving over the cheap Dolans and the stupid front office and other typical complaints followed.

But what if Cleveland is making a reasonable decision?

First, let’s go over what we know (it is also important to note that each of these offers would be tacked on top of Masterson’s $9.7 million contract he already signed for 2014).

Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer reported Thursday night that Masterson’s side offered a two-year contract for $35 million and a three-year contract for roughly $51 million. Both of these come out to about $17 million per season.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that Cleveland’s counter was a two-year deal with a club option. That offer carried around a $14 million per season salary.

On one hand, the difference between Masterson’s two-year, $35 million contract and Cleveland’s two-year, $28 million contract does not seem like much; split the difference, call it two years, $31.5 million, and sign on the dotted line. But in reality, these contracts are much farther apart. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, March 21, 2014

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2014 in ZN. March 2014

 

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