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Cleveland Indians 2013 in Review: AZL Indians

Next up in our minor-league level review is the lowest-level club in the US

Rob Tringali

Arizona League Indians (R-)

Roster - Schedule - Scoreboard

Record: 28-28 (2nd AZL Central, 6.0 GB)

Lost in AZL Quarterfinals

About the Arizona League

The Arizona League is one of two "Spring Training" leagues in the minor league system (The Gulf Coast League being the other), as the teams play in their parent clubs' minor-league stadium. Not every club has an affiliate in the AZL or GCL, instead having a club in the Advanced Rookie Leagues (Appalachian League or Pioneer League). The players in the AZL/GCL are typically players right out of high school or International players (Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Taiwan, etc) making their US debut. The average age is around 19, excluding the higher-level players rehabbing from injury.

The AZL is a hitter's league, with the ball carrying well in the dry Arizona air. And though there aren't the home runs that you see in Spring Training, there's still a lot of offense. 34 players (min 55 AB) had an OPS over .800, and that's with only 13 teams in the league.

This year's club was the only Indians minor-league club to make the playoffs, and their postseason consisted of just one game, a quarterfinal loss to the AZL Rangers (doesn't that sound familiar?)

Position Players

Player Pos.
17 Francisco Mejia C
113 .305/.348/.524 .872 9 5 18 5
22 Grant Fink 1B
183 .263/.355/.425 .780 3 5 51 20
19 Ordomar Valdez 2B
165 .279/.329/.388 .717 9 3 24 12
18 Ivan Castillo SS
165 .231/.258/.269 .527 6 0 23 4
19 Yonathan Mendoza 3B
179 .281/.367/.346 .714 4 3 26 22
19 D'vone McClure LF
110 .218/.282/.297 .579 6 1 40 5
18 Clint Frazier CF
196 .297/.362/.506 .868 11 10 61 17
19 Victor Cabral RF
171 .216/.278/.268 .546 6 1 31 12
18 Gerald Bautista DH
151 .256/.360/.326 .686 7 1 36 18
18 Silento Sayles UT
127 .186/.331/.245 .686 7 1 36 18

The lineup had two legitimate prospects in Mejia and Frazier, along a couple other intriguing players. Gerald Bautista, who grew up in the United States, was an International free agent signing by the Indians last year, and he had a great July (.340/.446/.489) before slumping badly in August (.203/.301/.219). Yonathan Mendoza and Ordomar Valdez had solid US debuts after spending 2011 and 2012 in the DSL.

But Mejia and Frazier are the players to watch. Mejia was a high-profile signing last year out of the Dominican Republic, and has the defensive tools to be a quality major-league catcher. Add to that an outstanding pro debut as a 17-year-old (he skipped the DSL entirely), and you have perhaps the best catching prospect in the system that has several decent to good catching prospects. Clint Frazier was the Indians' first round pick in this year's draft, and he made good on the enormous power potential that he showed in high school. We'll see if he'll stay in center field or eventually move to a corner, but regardless, he's also going to be high in the organizational rankings this winter. I'm fairly certain that both Mejia and Frazier will be in Lake County next year given what they did in Arizona.


Age Player Role IP G ERA H/9 SO/9 BB/9
18 Kieran Lovegrove SP 58.1 13 5.25 9.7 7.9 4.8
19 Mitch Brown SP 52.0 12 5.37 9.9 8.3 5.0
19 Juan Santana SP 52.0 12 4.33 10.2 6.4 3.5
19 Anthony Vizcaya RP 35.1 12 6.88 13.2 8.4 3.6
19 Sean Brady SP 32.0 10 1.97 6.8 8.4 1.7
17 Casey Shane RP 29.0 11 6.52 10.2 6.8 5.0
20 Jose Zapata RP 26.0 14 3.46 4.8 10.4 6.6
20 Anderson Polanco RP 25.1 12 1.78 5.3 13.1 4.6
21 Martin Alcantara RP 22.1 14 4.03 7.7 12.5 3.6

The Indians have drafted a lot of high school pitchers in the top rounds of the last couple drafts, and a lot of them are shown above. Mitch Brown (2nd, 2012) started in Lake County, struggled, was injured, and ended his season in Arizona. Kieran Lovegrove (3rd, 2012) was also back in Arizona. Sean Brady (5th, 2013) and Casey Shane (6th, 2013) were also in the rotation. And there was Dillon Howard (2nd, 2011) who was on the roster but spent most of the season on the Suspended List thanks to a violation on the minor-league PED system. Also on the roster were DSL graduates Juan Santana and Anthony Vizcaya.

Sean Brady, who the Indians signed away from a scholarship at the University of Floria, was by far the best pitcher on the staff this season. He'll probably skip Mahoning Valley and make his full-season debut in 2014 at Lake County. Mitch Brown may join him, or perhaps he needs another season in short-season ball.

Prospects That Matter:

Potential for 2013 review: Francisco Mejia

Potential for 2014 mid-season: Clint Frazier, Sean Brady, Mitch Brown (based on potential), Gerald Bautista

Rule 5 Eligibles: None

Minor-League Free Agents: None