For the third week in a row, only one Tribe affiliate managed a winning record. Last week it was the Ducks, the week before it was the Clippers and this time it was the Hillcats. I guess that augurs well for the Captains this week, if nothing else.
Current team records (as of Sunday night):
Columbus Clippers: 44-40 (individual 2015 stats)
Akron RubberDucks: 43-40 (individual 2015 stats)
Lynchburg Hillcats: 38-42 (individual 2015 stats)
Lake County Captains: 40-39 (individual 2015 stats)
Mahoning Valley Scrappers: 5-11 (individual 2015 stats)
Arizona Indians: 5-8 (individual 2015 stats)
DSL Indians: 12-19 (individual 2015 stats)
On the plus side, it looks like some reinforcements may be on the way for the Tribe's fragile starting pitching depth. Last week both Josh Tomlin and former Dbacks AAA starter Charles Brewer began their comebacks by making short rehab outings with the AZL Indians. Unfortunately, it looks like T.J. House is still at least a couple of weeks away from being able to throw. Clearly the ideal scenario would be that none of those players would be required to put on an Indians unform this year, but some additional options would be handy just in case someone goes down.
Angling for Position Players
Jose Ramirez and Lonnie Chisenhall continue to rake at AAA. Each has an OPS of over .900 since they were demoted last month, as does Jerry Sands, who has now hit 12 homers in just 46 AAA games.
There was one significant roster move this week, when Carlos Moncrief was demoted to Akron. His hold on a 40-man roster spot is looking increasingly tenuous.
The Ducks offense has stalled at the moment, as they have only scored five runs in the last four games., The lineup did see the addition of Carlos Moncrief, but Tony Wolters' poor season with the bat got even worse when he was placed on the DL with a torn meniscus.
The Hillcats' offense continues to crush. In their last eight games they have scored an incredible 56 runs, including 15 on Saturday alone. The top five in the order, Luigi Rodriguez, Clint Frazier, Bradley Zimmer (who is still alternating between CF and DH as he recovers from injury), Nellie Rodriguez and Mike Papi are in amazing form right now.
Lake County (A)
Having recently lost their most consistent hitter, Claudio Bautista, to the Hillcats, someone needed to step up for the Captains. And so far that has been Dorssys Paulino, who homered twice yesterday to crown a terrific week (for which he was rewarded as the Midwest League "Player of the Week"), along with the newly promoted Anthony Santander, who has carried over his good start with the Scrappers.
State of the Rotation
Shaun Marcum and Toru Murata both struggled last week on their return to the Clippers from the Indians, and Michael Roth has also regressed of late. However, Will Roberts made a fine AAA debut and the newly acquired Jarret Grube has been solid through three starts. Having struggled in a starting role, Nick Maronde is back in the bullpen.
Having flip-flopped with Will Roberts, Jordan Cooper made a decent debut with the Ducks, but the rest of the rotation had a strangely disappointing week, with even Adam Plutko and Mike Clevinger not at their sharpest.
D.J. Brown has surprisingly emerged as the most reliable option in a very disappointing rotation. He had been somewhat hit-and-miss all year, but strung things together over two starts last week for a superb 14.0 IP, 9 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 8 SO line.
Neither Luis Lugo nor Mitch Brown has lived up to their preseason prospect billing so far.
Lake County (A)
The Lake County rotation has been superb at generating strikeouts (all five pitchers have at least 70 to date), but has been much less effective at preventing hits, walks and runs. Hopefully, things will click for Justus Sheffield, Sean Brady and co. in the second half.
With C.C. Lee and Kyle Crockett not impressing at AAA this year, the "next man up" spot for the Tribe's bullpen looks wide open. Although he's been pitching well all year, Giovanni Soto might not be a great fit right now because he is a lefty, but Shawn Armstrong hasn't allowed a run since June 8 and is already on the 40-man. He might be very close to a call-up.
Josh Martin, Enosil Tejeda and Jeff Johnson continue to impress — all three have an ERA below 1.50 and a WHIP below 1.10.
With Trey Haley going on the DL due to a concussion, the 30yo Casey Weathers finally had a chance to return to AA for the first time since 2012. Weathers had been pitching well in Lynchburg, so it will be interestig to see if he has finally rid himself of his Achilles' heel, allowing walks.
Justin Brantley had a rare rough outing last week, while Grant Sides was promoted from the Scrappers, although he never actually played for them, so this was effectively just a demotion from the Rubberducks.
Lake County (A)
Nothing much to report here — the quadrumvirate of Cameron Hill, Justin Garcia, Nick Pasquale and Caleb Hamrick continues to deal.
Minor league players of the week (as voted by LGT)
Week 1 (Apr 9-19): Bradley Zimmer (72% of the vote)
Week 2 (Apr 20-26): Dace Kime (33%)
Week 3 (Apr 27-May 3): Tyler Naquin (76%)
Week 4 (May 4-10): Shaun Marcum (45%)
Week 5 (May 11-17): Francisco Lindor (51%)
Week 6 (May 18-24): Bradley Zimmer (42%; the only repeat winner to date)
Week 7 (May 25-31): Cody Anderson (36%)
Week 8 (June 1-7): Nellie Rodriguez (45%)
Week 9 (June 8-14): Bobby Bradley (76%)
Week 10 (June 15-21): Ronny Rodriguez (46%)
Week 11 (June 22-28): Greg Allen (27%)
2015 prospect write-ups: Bradley Zimmer, Michael Clevinger, Bobby Bradley/Yu-Cheng Chang/Francisco Mejia/Justus Sheffield, Giovanni Soto