Minor League Report: Akron RubberDucks
MAY 15, 2014 2:10p ET
The hottest minor league affiliate in the Indians system is the Double-A Akron RubberDucks. Rare is it that you fill find a minor league team brimming with talent but also winning a lot at the same time because youth and talent in the minors does not always equate to wins.
Just the Facts
Akron (26-13) sits in first place with a 5.0 game lead in the Eastern Division's Western Division. They currently have a four-game winning streak and are an astounding 17-2 in their last 19 games.
After a slow start for a lot of the hitters the bats are starting to pick up. As a team Akron ranks 3rd out of 12 teams in the Eastern League in hitting (.270), 4th in runs (173), 5th in doubles (69), 3rd in triples (12), 11th in home runs (22), 4th in total bases (504), 3rd in walks (131), 5th in strikeouts (269), 4th in stolen bases (42) and 4th in OPS (.736).
Things have been stellar on the pitching front as Akron ranks 1st in the league in ERA (3.34), 7th for most hits allowed (315), 4th for most home runs allowed (30), 10th in walks (102), 8th in strikeouts (242) and 2nd in WHIP (1.24).
Joe Wendle, 2B
13 G, .346/.375/.654/1.029, 9 R, 8 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 3 BB, 8 K, 1 SB.
Wendle had a forgettable April hitting .193 with a .615 OPS in 25 games, but he has bounced back in a big way so far in May with the line noted above in 13 games. The recent hot play has brought his season totals to a .250 average and .768 OPS, which is close to what was expected of him. With 17 of his 35 hits on the season going for extra bases he is showing the pop that makes him exciting as an offensive-oriented second baseman. Now that the confidence has returned and the results are there it will be interesting to see where he takes his season from here.
Francisco Lindor, SS
13 G, .321/.373/.528/.901, 10 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 5 BB, 9 K, 4 SB.
Lindor got off to a blazing hot start at Akron and then had a 10-day or so stretch where he really scuffled, but he is once again on top of his game at the plate. He is doing it all as he is getting on-base, stealing bases, driving in runs and of course he is playing stellar defense. He is the complete package and it will be interesting to see how long the Indians keep him in Akron if he continues to dominate in every phase of the game as he has of late. It should be noted that he still won't get to Cleveland before September unless Asdrubal Cabrera is traded or has a season-ending injury.
Cody Anderson, RHP
3 GS, 1-1, 8.22 ERA, 15.1 IP, 23 H, 14 R/ER, 2 HR, 6 BB, 8 K, .359 BAA
Anderson is realizing the cold reality of the pressure that comes with being a top pitching prospect. The target is now squarely on his back, something that was not the case in previous seasons when he was more of an under-the-radar guy. So far this season he has made eight starts and is 2-3 with a 5.36 ERA and in 40.1 innings has allowed 49 hits, 4 homers, 15 walks and has 21 strikeouts. That is not the kind of performance expected at this point, though there is still a long way to go this season. Of considerable concern is the significant drop in his strikeout rate.
Duke von Schamann, RHP
3 GS, 1-0, 5.74 ERA, 15.2 IP, 24 H, 11 R (10 ER), 3 HR, 3 BB, 9 K, .369 BAA
The Duke got off to an impressive start with the Indians going 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA in his first five appearances with the Indians after being acquired the first week of the season from the Dodgers for Colt Hynes. However, things have been rough his last two times out as he has totaled 9 2/3 innings and allowed 18 hits, 10 runs (all earned), three homers, two walks and just five strikeouts. He's an interesting starting pitching prospect because of his size, frame and some decent stuff, but his numbers are probably beginning to level off to more of what a solid average pitching prospect should have.
- Catcher Tony Wolters continues to impress with his rapid growth as a backstop, and at the same time he is also performing well at the plate in his first exposure to Double-A. In 33 games, he is hitting .303 with 0 HR, 10 RBI and .706 OPS.
- Outfielder Tyler Naquin is really turning himself into a solid major league prospect and looks destined for a long big-league career as a good third outfielder. The strikeouts and a lack of pop will always be an issue, but he does everything else at least at an above average level. In 36 games he is hitting .293 with 1 HR, 10 RBI and .762 OPS.
- Right-handed starting pitcher Joseph Colon is a starting pitching prospect that many do not know about, but is one that Indians fans should keep an eye on. He's a hard throwing sinkerballer who has had health issues in the past and is coming into his own this season. In seven starts, he is 2-2 with a 2.50 ERA.
- The Indians have a bevy of legit bullpen prospects at Akron. Some relievers to keep an eye on that could help the Indians at some point in the next year are right-hander Shawn Armstrong (14 G, 0.57 ERA, 15.2 IP, 6 BB, 21 K), left-hander Kyle Crockett (15 G, 0.57 ERA, 15.2 IP, 3 BB, 17 K), right-hander Enosil Tejeda (10 G, 2.03 ERA, 13.1 IP, 1 BB, 15 K) and right-hander Tyler Sturdevant (13 G, 1.59 ERA, 17.0 IP, 5 BB, 16 K).
- Right-handed reliever Adam Miller made his inspirational return to Akron this past week. He missed almost all of three seasons from 2008-10 because of numerous middle finger surgeries, returned but was ineffective in 2011 and then left the organization after that season. After toiling in independent ball last season, he was picked up again by the Indians this year and the 29-year-old former top prospect is trying to make his way back as a bullpen option for the Indians.