Cleveland only needs to look a few miles East to see the goal.Â The Tribe’s Class A affiliate, The Lake County Captains, brought home the hardware in 2010.Â And it’s some gorgeous hardware, at that.Â
The Captains finished the season a healthy 77 – 62, but still started the playoffs a heavy underdog to win it all, finishing 13 games back of the division winner, the Great Lakes Loons.Â But the Captains, after defeating the West Michigan Whitecaps two games to one in a three game series, exacted revenge on their divisional rivals by upsetting the Loons two games to one as well.
If two upsets in a row weren’t enough, the Captains rode SS Casey Frawley’s hot bat (.310 playoff AVG), Giovanni Soto’s strong arm (5 2/3 dominating innings in the championship game) and both RH reliever Francisco Jimenez (2-0 with 1.74 ERA in 5 playoff games) and RH reliever Preston Guilmet (a 3 inning, no hit save in the clinching game) game saving performances to the franchise’s first Championship.
Of those clutch playoff performances, keep an eye on whether Soto and Guilmet can continue their minor league successes.Â Soto is a 20 year old lefty acquired from Detroit in the Jhonny Peralta trade who has a lot of potential.Â I’m not going to spend the season screaming about how much I love him, but he’s certainly worth a paragraph.Â Guilmet is another arm that not many people are familiar with, but who’s worth keeping an internet eye on.Â He’s a righty reliever who performed in the clutch for the Captains, posting pretty eye-popping playoff stats.Â He pitched 11 2/3 scoreless playoff innings, posting five saves in six appearances, giving up only three walks, three hits but striking out 18.Â
Let’s be honest, most of the guys on this team aren’t going to making millions in the big leagues, but it sure does say something for a team of people to get together, come from behind, and win a Championship.Â That’s a special thing, no matter how many “A”s are in front of your team name.
Keep an eye on Down on the Farm for reviews of the Indians’ other affiliates, and how I think they’re going to do in 2011.Â