With the Clippers season over in Columbus (a positive one at 75-69, but not good enough for the playoffs) the Indians are bringing up most of the rest of the players they will want to look at for the last month of the season. The new faces on the roster as of tomorrow will be Vinny Rottino, Cord Phelps, David Huff and Scott Maine. Rottino will be making his second appearance with the Indians after a short stint with the Tribe last month while Travis Hafner was on paternity leave. Phelps and Huff have both played with the Indians in past seasons but will be making their first appearances of 2012.
There are a few options for Huff, the most likely of which is that he will be placed in long relief. Other options include the Indians expanded to a six man rotation, but with eight starters on the team (Masterson, McAllister, Jimenez, Kluber, Gomez, Hernandez, Seddon and Huff) even a six man rotation seems small. It is possible that the Indians will keep the regular rotation of Masterson, McAllister, Jimenez and Kluber going while splitting starts among the rest of the options as well. Phelps will be another middle infield reserve, joining Jason Donald. This is another position that may get crowded as Lonnie Chisenhall is set to return any day now. The roster currently set at 33 with a maximum of seven more players allowed to be called up.
Scott Maine pitched 21 games with the Cubs before the Indians picked him up off waivers. He has played with Chicago for three seasons throwing 40.2 innings in relief and accruing 42 strike outs with an ERA of 4.87. Maine's greatest talent is that he throws a baseball with his left hand, a talent in great demand in the Major Leagues, especially by a certain team that plays a little to the north of Cleveland. They must be so jealous of the Indians. With Tony Sipp and Scott Barnes already, Maine just adds to the excess.
The rest of this piece goes to congratulate those Cleveland Indians Minor League affiliates that did make their respective playoffs. The Akron Aeros won the Eastern League (AA) Western Division and will go on to face the second place Bowie Baysox (Baltimore) in the first round of the playoffs. The Aeros have won the Eastern League championship three times since 2003. Lonnie Chisenhall and Carlos Carrasco are expected to rehab with Akron during their playoff series.
The Carolina Mudcats finished 7.5 games out of a playoff spot in the Carolina League Southern Division (Advanced A) with a record of 31-39.
The Lake County Captains finished 40-30 in the Midwest League Eastern Division (A), good enough for second place and the first Wild Card berth. They will go on to play the division champion Bowling Green (KY) Hot Rods (Tampa Bay). Most of the stronger players from Mahoning Valley and the Arizona Summer League have been brought up to Lake County to help them in their playoff run.
At 30-43, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Short Season) were the most disappointing team in the Indians farm system. Despite having star 2012 draft picks Joseph Wendle, Tyler Naquin and Joe Sever and great pitching from Luis DeJesus (4-2, 2.02 ERA in 14 starts), they finished fifth out of the six teams in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division (yes, a league that has teams from Ohio, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maryland is called the New York-Penn League and yes they have silly divisional names).
The Arizona Summer League Indians (Rookie) finished in second place with a record of 31-25. They were 3.5 games behind Los Angeles from winning the Arizona League Central Division (the Indians are the furthest team west of all the AZL teams, but are somehow lumped in the Central with the AZL Reds who play at the same facility).
The Dominican Summer League Indians (Rookie) finished the season at 35-35 and ended in fifth place (of eight) in the Boca Chica Northwest Division.
Let's make sure to root on our two Ohio teams that did make the playoffs this year, the Akron Aeros and the Lake County Captains! Hurrah!