Minor League Notebook: Mahoning Valley Scrappers in review

The final minor league notebook of the season just happens to coincide with the end of the Cleveland Indians season, as they lost to the Tampa Bay Rays last night 4-0. While the sudden end to the season for the Indians is disappointing, it was a fun rollercoaster ride all year – hopefully there are more thrills in 2014.
With that said, let’s dive into the final notebook of the 2013 season….
Just the Facts
Mahoning Valley finished the season 30-44, good for fifth place and 17.5 games out of first in the NY-Penn League’s Pinckney Division.
It was a struggle all year offensively as the Scrappers finished 11th out of 14 teams in hitting (.233), 14th in runs scored (219), 13th in doubles (93), 6th in home runs (32), 11th in total bases (768), 13th in walks (199), 3rd in strikeouts (321), 14th in stolen bases (33) and 10th in OPS (.626).
Things were better on the pitching side as the Scrappers ranked 5th in the league in ERA (2.96), 12th for most hits allowed (561), 9th for most home runs allowed (27), 11th for most walks allowed (209), 5th in strikeouts (576) and 4th in WHIP (1.22).
Some Hits

Nellie Rodriguez (First baseman)
73 G, .287 AVG, 32 R, 16 2B, 9 HR, 37 RBI, 29 BB, 61 K, .818 OPS
After a brutal to open the season at Low-A Lake County in April and May (.194 AVG, .561 OPS), the Indians reassigned Rodriguez to Arizona to get him back to the basics with his approach and swing. The move helped him relax and get back to the player he was in spring training and he carried that approach through a very good season at Mahoning Valley. He is still raw at the plate and in the field, but at just 19-years old and with that power and ability with the bat it makes him very intriguing as a prospect going forward.
Caleb Hamrick (Right-handed Pitcher)
15 GS, 3-6, 3.20 ERA, 76.0 IP, 73 H, 38 R (27 ER), 9 HR, 23 BB, 47 K, .247 BAA
The Indians took a few high school arms in the top ten rounds of the 2012 Draft, and of all the arms Hamrick received the least fanfare. To date, he has outperformed and out-developed all of them. He had a very strong season and most importantly showed toughness on the mound and the ability to haul innings. He is a physically strong pitcher with some good stuff in his repertoire, so the sky is the limit for him. He will probably open next season in the rotation at Low-A Lake County.
Cole Sulser (Right-handed Pitcher)
15 G, 3-2, 1.83 ERA, 54.0 IP, 37 H, 12 R (11 ER), 1 HR, 9 BB, 60 K, .191 BAA
Wow, talk about coming out of nowhere. Never mind the fact that Sulser was a fifth year college senior and a 25th round pick out of an Ivy League school; he simply went out and dominated. His stuff is only average, but he used his experience and age along with his ability to command all of his pitches to his advantage. It remains to be seen what kind of prospect he truly is as he does not have a plus pitch at the moment in his arsenal, but a showing like this is hard to ignore. He should be in consideration for a starter or swing role at High-A Carolina next season.
Luis Lugo (Left-handed Pitcher)
11 GS, 1-4, 1.97 ERA, 50.1 IP, 39 H, 15 R (11 ER), 1 HR, 11 BB, 30 K, .222 BAA
Lugo is one of the best up-and-coming pitching prospects in the Indians organization. He has the size, makeup, stuff and pitch ability that makes him very projectable as a potential major league starting pitcher someday. He showed a lot more consistency with his fastball velocity this season and much improved mechanics which helped him consistently repeat his delivery and command his pitches. He should open next season at Low-A Lake County and is in the mix to be ranked as a Top 15 prospect by many publications next season.
Some Misses

Josh McAdams (Outfielder)
71 G, .200 AVG, 13 R, 9 2B, 0 HR, 11 RBI, 15 BB, 76 K, 7 SB, .489 OPS
By far the biggest disappointment this season on the Scrappers was McAdams. In fairness, he is still only 19 years old and is still working to develop his approach, but as a top ten round draft pick in the 2012 Draft more was expected to this point. He is big and strong with lots of power potential, but to date he has yet to hit a home run as a pro and has played small with the bat and really struggled to make consistent contact. He needs a good offseason and spring training to put him in the mix for a spot at Low-A Lake County next year.
James Roberts (Shortstop)
52 G, .235 AVG, 15 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 18 RBI, 12 BB, 28 K, 2 SB, .589 OPS
It is tough to really call the showing that Roberts had as disappointing considering he was a 15th round pick, but he really wore down at the end of the season. He was hitting .314 with a .739 OPS through August 10th, but he really struggled the last three weeks of the season hitting .130 with a .390 OPS over his final 22 games. He will get a shot to be the starting shortstop or utility player next season at Low-A Lake County, and consistency from start to finish will be a big key for him.
Martin Cervenka (Catcher)
45 G, .188 AVG, 9 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 17 BB, 28 K, .506 OPS
Cervenka is not a highly touted prospect, but much more was expected from him this season after an impressive offseason and great showing in spring training. He split the season between Lake County and Mahoning Valley and hit .185 with a .492 OPS in 60 total games between the two stops. The offense is obviously still a work in progress, but there is no denying his skills behind the plate as he has the size, body, arm strength and receiving abilities to be a very good defensive backstop.
Parting Shots
– Infielder Claudio Bautista had a solid showing hitting .272 with 4 HR, 24 RBI and .742 OPS in 65 games. He is versatile and can play anywhere in the infield and though he is small sized he packs some punch at the plate. He is an interesting guy to monitor going forward and should open at Low-A Lake County next season.
– Lefty Kenny Mathews had a nice introduction to pro ball going 0-3 with a 2.52 ERA in 12 starts. In 39.1 innings he did a nice job limiting hits (.233 BAA) and home runs (0) and got some swing and miss (37 strikeouts). He is tall and lanky with upside and should continue to develop as a starter and open next season at Low-A Lake County.
– Right-hander Dace Kime was limited due to his signing a little later and the Indians monitoring his workload after moving into the rotation for really the first time in his career this season at Louisville. He responded by going 0-2 with a 2.92 ERA in nine starts and pitched just 24.2 innings allowing 19 hits, 16 walks and piling up 26 strikeouts. He is raw as a starter but the Indians believe he can start and will continue to develop him as one. He should open next season at Low-A Lake County.
– The Indians not only had some good pro debuts from starting pitchers selected out of the 2013 Draft, but they did so in the bullpen as well.  Lefties Matt Whitehouse (0.72 ERA, 37.1 IP, 4 BB, 29 K) and Kyle Crockett (0.36 ERA, 24.2 IP, 5 BB, 32 K) along with righties Ben Heller (3.13 ERA, 37.1 IP, 14 BB, 39 K) and Trevor Frank (2.83 ERA, 35.0 IP, 2 BB, 39 K) all had stellar showings particularly with their ability to limit walks and get a large amount of strikeouts.