Saturday, August 13, 2005

Minor Matters

Rather than dwelling on the aberration that was last night's loss to the Rays, (the team flight did get in at 3:30 AM and anyone who has ever flown knows that means that they actually probably got home closer to 5:00 AM), I thought that we could take a look at what's happening on the farm and how the September call-ups may be affected by recent movement on the farm.
The pitching staff at Buffalo has been loaded with some of the best young arms in the organization. And, I do mean young. Their starting rotation, with ages listed, is as follows:
Jason Davis - 25
Fausto Carmona - 21
Dan Denham -22
Brian Tallet - 27
Jeremy Guthrie - 26
The old men in this rotation, Tallett and Guthrie, probably figure into the bullpen in the future or will be packaged in the off-season to acquire more depth at positions of need. Billy Traber, who is the long reliever in Buffalo (you read that correctly), would fit into that category as well. It will be interesting to see if the Tribe tries to turn Tallet or Traber into a left-handed specialist in the event that Scott Sauerbeck moves on for 2006.

For September, I would expect Davis, Carmona, Tallet, Guthrie and more bullpen arms (Francisco Cruceta, Andrew Brown, Jose Diaz) to be brought up to give some depth and also to audition for (presumably) 2 spots that will open in the bullpen for next year. All of these players are currently on the 40 man roster. Those arms would probably be replaced by the studs in Akron (Jeremy Sowers, Jake Dittler, Mariano Gomez, Bear Bay, Edward Mujica) for Buffalo to make a run at the International League title.

Looking at the pitching in this organization (and even realizing that injuries are inevitable and not everyone will pan out), the depth and quality of arms is alarming. Every minor league affiliate's pitching staff is talented, with a nice mix of arms.

The recent call-up of Franklin Gutierrez to replace the DL-bound Ryan Ludwick gives the Bisons an outfield of Gutierrez, Jason Dubois, and Jason Cooper. The only missing major prospect in that mix is Brad Snyder, who remains in Akron.
The Bisons lineup looks like a who's who of upper-tier hitting prospects, with the exception of 2B Joe Inglett (who is a nice little player) and DH Andy Abad. Every other player - 1B Garko, SS B-Phil, 3B Gatreau, and C Cardona (to a degree), and the outfielders listed above - represents a viable option for a September call-up and for a push in Spring Training in 2006.

For September call-ups, don't be surprised if Garko, Phillips, Gatreau, and Dubois are the only prospects getting called up. There remains a possibility of calling another catcher up to rest Victor, but do we really want to rest Victor for Dusty Wathan in the middle of a pennant race?
A catcher will probably get called up, if only for insurance purposes, as well as a few veterans - probably Ernie Young, Andy Abad, and Jose Morban (if only to give the Tribe 40 warm bodies). Those players, again, would probably be replaced by deserving Akron prospects (Ryan Mulhern, Eider Torres, Pat Osborn, and Brad Snyder), to keep Buffalo in the mix for another IL title.

In addition, the way that Buffalo and Akron are lining up for next year look like the Indians should be able to add impact rookies into holes for the next few years. This would avoid the mess of Free Agency as well as allowing the Tribe to lock up their own young in-house talent (Sizemore, Peralta, Lee, etc.) not already signed to long term deals, by not overspending on an aging FA who may or may not pan out. Compare today's situation to the dearth of minor league talent at the end of the 90's, and the scouting department and Front Office (as well as the Dolans for pouring money into the farm system) have to be commended.

Let's hope thatlast night's hiccup against the Rays is rectified tonight and tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I won't be watching tonight, as I'll be witnessing the (miraculous) nuptials of loyal poster Cy Slapnicka in Akron. Interestingly, Cy's namesake was mentioned in a recent Sports Illustrated article as the REAL Cy Slapnicka was the Indians scout who signed the greatest Indian of the all, Rapid Robert Feller.

Congrats Cy and good luck finding Tribe broadcasts in the Mexican Riviera (I couldn't find a Browns' game for the life of me there in 2002). Then again, if you're looking for Tribe broadcasts every night on your honeymoon, we need to have a talk.


Cy Slapnicka said...

ouch, that sweep hurt. hopefully they can do some damage while i'm in mexico.

a few side comments...

- i am beside myself as to why none of my married friends warned me about what a exhausting process getting hitched is. fellas, a little heads up woulda been nice. talk about blind sided.

- its a pretty scary thought standing on the alter and wondering to yourself, "boy, i hope she doesn't bolt" as your bride enters.

- is the baltimorian's father going to start entering random bars on the weekend and playing the pipes? talk about soaking it all in! bags, thank him again for us. we loved it.

Anonymous said...

i'm still realing from a great wedding weekend, but i'm ready to boo kenny rodgers tomorrow. congrats slapnicka, enjoy mexico