Today is a very special day here in the Down on the Farm folder at 90 Feet and Running, it’s Minor League Opening Day. The Lake County Captains and the Columbus Clippers are defending their league titles, the Akron Aeros are looking to bounce back from a rare off year and the Kinston Indians want to give the organization something to remember them by in their last year in existence.
Here at MTAF, we’ve spent countless hours writing, researching and arguing about the Indians players. We’ve had email strings about Grady Sizemore, Lonnie Chisenhall, Travis Buck, Matt LaPorta and many more of both the Tribe’s established players and the team’s highly touted prospects.
Since March 11th the Indians major league spring training roster has been cut down from 62 players down to 47, with another cut yet to come.
Going to AAA Columbus Clippers are RHP Corey Kluber, RHP Hector Rondon, RHP Zack McAllister, INF Jared Goedert, and OF Nick Weglarz. Going to AA Akron are LHP Kevin de la Cruz and LHP Nick Hagadone. Finally, the players that are re-assigned to minor league camp, to be placed later are LHP Drew Pomeranz, RHP Zack Putnam, RHP Bryce Stowell, RHP Alex White, CA Jaun Apodaca, CA Chun-Hsiu Chen, 2B Jason Kipnis and 3B Lonnie Chisenhall.
The largest struggle for a minor league baseball club is often not having enough attendance revenue. These clubs have years of experience dealing with the ever changing lineups that being part of a major league organization saddle entail. They’ve learned how to coach the young up and comers into contention while keeping the not quite there and the never going to happen guys in good shape, mentally and physically. But you can’t coach money, you either have it or you don’t.
The Cleveland Indians Triple-A affiliate, the Columbus Clippers, did exactly what an organization wants from it’s top level farm club. The Clippers provided a season starting point for a load of big league level talent, utilized a great coaching staff to deal with the constant player movement, and played their way into a league championship.
The Indians announced yesterday that catcher Chun-Hsiu Chen will be a non roster invite to major league camp.Â It may seem a little odd to get excited about a player that shares a position with our most exciting young talent in Carlos Santana, Chen spent last season in Lake County and Kinston giving us a reason.
Class A Advanced is a full season league jammed in between Class A and Class AA. Which makes no sense to me, because Kinston is clearly not close to being between Eastlake and Akron, OH, but I don’t decide these things.Â Really, though, Advanced A (or High-A) is just like Single A, but is usually a promotion for the players, as opposed to being placed here.
One of the things we can do with the Down On The Farm section of 90 Feet And Running is recap the previous week’s minor league action, and deliver all any juicy news coming from the farm system.Â Another thing that Down On The Farm affords us is a chance to introduce some key Indians minor league players.Â Last week featured the players that I think are the Indians top three prospects; Lonnie Chisenhall, Jason Kipnis and Drew Pomeranz.Â This week I’ll be sitting down to introduce you to another Tribe prospect, Jared Goedert.
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.