Looking at the Top Prospects for the 2017 Cleveland Indians

For the Cleveland Indians, 2016 was a great year with 94 regular season game wins, making their first appearance in the World Series since 1997. Vegas has the team winning about the same this year and winning the AL Central according to BoydsBets.  And when you look at the top prospects for 2017 the Cleveland Indians have coming from the minors you can see why. I see players like Greg Allen, Francisco Mejia, and Bradley Zimmer as standouts. See my top 5 picks below:

1) Greg Allen – Outfielder
Greg Allen, a 23 year old American from San Diego State State University. In the 2016 season Allen had 78 strikeouts in 491 at-bats, 77 walks, 45 steals, and a slash line of .295/.416/.413. Allen’s talent is well rounded as he excels in both offensive and defensive performance. Highlighted by being one of nine players in minor league baseball to win the Rawlings Gold Glove in 2016 for defensive excellence. He was also named Player of the Week in the Arizona Fall League and made MLB.com Columnist Jonathan Mayo’s Top 10 breakout prospects from Arizona Fall League.

2) Francisco Mejia – Catcher
Francisco Mejia, the name many have come to know in 2016 due to a 50 game hitting streak. This 50 game streak is the fourth longest hitting streak in the history of Minor League Baseball. Mejia, a 21 year old catcher from the Dominican Republic had 63 strikeouts in 407 at-bats, 28 walks 11 homers, and a slash line of .342/.382/.514 in the 2016 season.

3) Bradley Zimmer – Outfielder
Bradley Zimmer is a 24 year old American player with above average speed from California. Zimmer is a baseball legacy; his father Eric Zimmer pitched and played the outfield at UC San Diego and his brother Kyle Zimmer is a pitcher for the Kansas City Royals. Zimmer is full of potential with raw power and a nice throwing arm. Zimmer had 77 walks, 38 steals, 15 homers and a slash line of .250/.365/.425 in the 2016 season. In 2016, Zimmer claimed the title in the fourth annual Bowman Hitting Challenge on opening day of the Arizona Fall league.

4) Erik Gonzalez – Shortstop
Erik Gonzalez, an aggressive 25 year old from the Dominican Republic, could make a good choice for utility player. Gonzalez had 88 strikeouts in 429 at-bats, 19 walks, 12 steals, 11 homers, 31 doubles and a slash line of .296/.329/.450 in the 2016 season. He boast an excellent throwing arm and above-average speeds.

5) Yu-Cheng Chang – Shortstop
Yu-Cheng Chang, a 21 year old from Taiwan, is back after multiple injuries. Chang had 110 strikeouts in 41 at-bats, 45 walks, 30 doubles, 13 homers, and a slash line of .259/.332/.463 in the 2016 season. Not only was Cheng invited to participate in the 2016 Arizona Fall league, he was named by MLB.com Columnist Jonathan Mayo as one of the Arizona Fall league’s Top 10 breakout prospects.

There’s so much talent out there for the Cleveland Indians in terms of 2017 prospects coming from the minor league. With such a large talent pool some of you may have a different top 5 prospect list for 2017. What are some of your thoughts? Let’s discuss in the comment section.

Why the 2017 Cleveland Indians Could Be Even Better

One 17-minute rain delay slowed all the momentum the Cleveland Indians had built after erasing a 3 run deficit in the 8th inning of Game 7 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs. Those 17 minutes changed the entire complexion of the game. So can the Cleveland Indians improve over their impressive postseason run from last year? I think so. Let me explain.

The Cleveland Indians were a few plays away from winning the World Series last season, so it seems difficult to see them improve a lot. The loss of Mike Napoli could be a problem, but with the offseason moves they have made, that seems like a wash to me.

The Indians have had a phenomenal winter, signing DH Edwin Encarnacion to a 3-year $60 million deal, to replace the power lost by losing Napoli. The Indians pretty much stole Encarnacion away from the other teams in the league, and they managed to do it while playing in a “small” market.

Another great move Cleveland made was to sign reliever Boone Logan. Logan is not Aroldis Chapman, but he does what his job is extremely well. He was brought in to get left-handed batters out, and that is his specialty. Getting him for less than what the Mariners paid for Marc Rzepczynski is what makes this move great for the Tribe.

While the lineup doesn’t change a lot, with the exception of Encarnacion, the Indians will improve because of the experience gained during the World Series run. They swept the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS, and almost swept the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS. Heck, they were up 3 games to 1 in the World Series before the Cubs mounted a furious comeback.

The Indians know how to win after the regular season now. Last season, they didn’t have that experience, so when they found themselves in the World Series, I was pleasantly surprised. The Indians seemed to come alive during the postseason, and it showed.

Cleveland has last season’s experience behind them, and that will propel them to an even better season than last. Francisco Lindor is already cementing himself as the face of the franchise, and that will only become more apparent this season.

After winning a Gold Glove and being voted an All-Star in his first full season with the Tribe, Lindor proved that his leadership skills are that of a 5-year vet. With him leading the way for the Indians in 2017, the Tribe are in good shape.

Along with Lindor, Tyler Naquin looks to move on from his rough postseason, and get back to the way he played during the regular season. He finished 3rd in AL Rookie of the Year voting, and also had a walk-off inside-the-park home run in August.

Jose Ramirez also returns next season, and that is a big boost for the Indians. He led the team with a batting average of .312 during the season, and proved himself to be an everyday starting 3rd baseman.

What can really send the Indians over the top, would be the long-awaited return of Michael Brantley. A lot of people think the Indians’ season hangs on weather or not Brantley can return in 2017, but I don’t think so. The Indians’ are already stacked with talent both in the lineup and the rotation. If Brantley plays, it will be an embarrassment of riches for Cleveland.

If the bullpen plays like they did last year, and Encarnacion stays hot, the Tribe should be a favorite to win the AL, and a solid pick to win the World Series.

Posted in MLB

Why Andrew Miller is the Best Reliever in Baseball

I think Andrew Miller is the best relief pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB). He started his career, playing for the Detroit Tigers, which later lead to a contract with the New York Yankees. The breakout really occurred when Miller was traded to the Cleveland Indians during the 2016 baseball season because he helped take his team to the World Series.

Andrew Miller was born in Gainesville, Florida. He was a pitcher in high school and during his college years at North Carolina University he was a starter.

His Amateur Career highlights are listed below:

* 2004- 2005

He became the starting pitcher during his freshman year. In 2005, he was selected as the ACC Pitcher of the Year with 16 starts, 96 innings, 2.98 ERA, and 104 strikeouts. He also earned a second team ACC honor that same year.

* 2006

He won many awards in 2006 including College Player of the Year, and there were many other awards that he received. He had a great college year.

Professional Years

He started with Major League Baseball in 2006 with the Detroit Tigers. He went on to start pitching with the Florida Marlins in 2007. While playing for the Marlins had to stop playing, because of an injury. He finished the season with 7 innings. In 2010, he was assigned to a Triple A- Minor League until 2011.

In 2011, the Florida Marlins traded him to the Boston Red Sox. Miller’s 2012 totals were 3.35 ERA, 1.9 Whip, 9.0 innings, and k/9 (11.38) career. He was named the Red Sox Fireman of the Year.

In 2013, he suffered a foot injury, where he missed time towards the end of the season.

In 2014, he had a great year where his totals were 2.34 ERA, 13 walks, 1.05 WHIP and 69 strikeouts. Also, the Boston Red Sox traded him to the Baltimore Orioles where his totals were 1.35 ERA and 103 strikeouts, but at the end of the year, he would be signing with another MLB team.

On December 5, 2014, Andrew Miller made an agreement with the New York Yankees.

In 2015, he won the American League Relief Pitcher of the Year Award, where he finished with 2.04 ERA, 100 Strikeouts, 61 innings, and 36 saves. He was also honored at the Thurman Munson Awards.

The New York Yankees traded Miller to the Cleveland Indians in 2016. With Cleveland his totals only improved to a 1.55 ERA over 29 innings, allowing two walks, and striking out 46. He became the first person in the MLB to record 120 or more strikeouts. He played an awesome game in the American League Championship vs. the Toronto Blue Jays. In game 5, he Miller completed 2 2/3 innings as the Indians won the ALCS. In game 3 of the World Series he helped contribute to the 1-0 win. In game 4, he struck out two players bringing the playoff total to 29. His pitching skills were phenomenal!

The reason why Andrew Miller is considered the best relief pitcher in baseball, is because he helped take the Cleveland Indians to the World Series, and he’s a fantastic pitcher.

Posted in MLB

Top 5 Cleveland Indians of All-Time

Baseball, a sport that has become not only America’s favorite pastime since the beginning but one that has seen many records made and broken. In addition to the solidity of what the game of baseball has meant to the fabric of the American culture several outstanding players have made a name for themselves and, as a result, have (at one time or another) become big house names for the major league ball clubs in which they played for. This article will briefly discuss the best all-time pitchers of the Cleveland Indians.

5) Early Wynn 1949-57, 1963
Armed with a rough and gruff personality, Wynn was not only known for his ability to master the curveball under the direction of Mel Harder during his first years as the Indian’s hurler. While there were a lot of accumulated walks that were tallied on his pitching record, Wynn had an average ERA that never went above 3.5. While his major league career included stops in Washington and Chicago his glory years were spent with the Indians where he won his 300th win at age 43.

4) Stan Coveleski 1916 – 24
Although he and his older brother Harry pitched for separate ball clubs young Stan turned out to be an ace by his own right. While the most common pitch used by the young hurler was the spitball (a pitch that is no longer legal) Coveleski was given permission to continue using the pitch after it was all but eliminated from the game. As a result, Coveleski not only won well over 20+ games three of four years running. In addition to that Coveleski won the ERA crown in 1923 for his 2.76 ERA performance but also had several career 24 game winning seasons.

3) Addie Joss 1902 – 10
Prior to a tragic death at the tender age of 31, Joss had thrived as a pitcher earning his stripes in the deadball era. While one great accomplishment was his 1.78 ERA that placed him behind Ed Walsh for second all-time Joss threw a no-hitter in his first Cleveland game in 1902. In addition to his early success Joss won 20+ games four years in a row and even had a 1.16 ERA during the last 20+ win season. After collapsing prior to an exhibition game in 1911 Joss died of tubercular meningitis.

2) Bob Lemon 1941 – 42, 1946 – 58
Teamed up with the likes of Early Wynn, Mike Garcia, and others to form the greatest pitching rotation of all-time Lemon was best known as a position player that was converted to the ways of the mound. Lemon won 10 games in his first year as a pitcher before going on to win 20+ games in 7 of 8 seasons; this included a no-hitter, 10 shutouts, and many other accomplished feats. Considered to be the top ace of all pitchers in number one slot in a given rotation, Joss’s fielding skills were at its zenith as a result of his early career field position.

1) Bob Feller 1936 – 41, 1945 – 56
The only pitcher to ever throw a no-hitter on Opening Day, by the time Feller reached age 20 he had his first 20+ game winning season under his belt and just two short years later a total of 100 wins overall. While both these accomplishments were records it was predicted that had it not been for his enlistment into WWII he could have very well had a 300+ game winning career. His most common pitch velocity was over 100 mph and led the AL in strikeouts as well as walks. The hurler, nicknamed “Rapid Robert”, later on would need to rely on finesse as he longer possessed the speed that he had during the early portion of his career.

In conclusion, although the above stated Cleveland Indian greats are all pitchers from decades before the modernization of the game of baseball this list can stand as proof that there are many amazing feats and accomplishments that have unfolded over the years since the game began well over 100 years ago.