Results tagged ‘ Lonnie Chisenhall ’
As we come to the end of the year, we also close out the preview of possible Clippers for next season. It is fitting then, that the last installment is the bullpen, the group tasked with finishing out the game on the mound.
Last season the clippers bullpen had a roller coaster season, being at times phenomenal, shaky, solid, bad and very good. Mike Sarbaugh used 12 different pitchers in save opportunities in 2011. Jensen Lewis got the 1st shot at closing and induced heart attacks, but saved the 1st two games of the year. He blew his other two chances and struggled with his velocity being down and not having the same stuff we’d grown accustomed to seeing. Lewis was released in June.
Josh Judy was on the I-71 shuttle much of the year, but still logged more saves than any Clipper. The Indians seemed to really like Judy in 2010, talking about him as a future closer in the bigs, but with Chris Perez manning that wheel and Vinnie Pestano bursting on the scene last year, Judy may have been deemed expendable. He was recently take off of the 40-man roster and may not make it through waivers. He could also be used as a trade chip.
Zach Putnam is a late-inning arm who had a great 2010 as the 7th inning guy setting up Judy and Pestano, but at times in 2011, he had issues with command. Putnam is a bulldog and has the stuff and temperament to be a closer. If Judy is not in the organization, expect Putnam to get the 1st shot at being the closer in 2012. He is on the 40-man and saw time in Cleveland in September. I would not be surprised to see him on the shuttle in 2012 or even win a job on the Indians staff outright out of Spring Training.
Another likely candidate for the back of the pen is Chen-Chang Lee. Lee has one of the nastiest fastball/slider combos you are going to see. He was as dominating as any pitcher in the IL last year, with 12.4 K/9. He had one bad outing where he allowed 1/2 of all his earned runs and 1/3 of his total walks. The issue with Lee is not his stuff, but his make-up. There is a question of his ability to handle high leverage situations and his willingness to pitch inside. With Judy and Putnam in the Majors, Lee closed out the Clippers Governor’s Cup win, and threw the final 2 innings of the Triple-A Championship game, Maybe his late season work can be a springboard to success as a stopper.
Nick Hagadone is a guy who has had big expectations attached to his big left arm since being acquired from Boston in the Victor Martinez trade. He reached the majors last season and has a real shot to win a job the start the season. Working against him are the facts that he still has 2 options left and that as of now, the Tribe has 2 established lefties in the pen already in Tony Sipp and Raffy Perez. Hagadone had a somewhat slow adjustment to the Triple-A level, but flourished as the season went along. He is very tall and possesses long arms. Like most pitchers of similar build, his mechanics can get out of whack, but when he is right, he can really do a number on hitters, particularly left-handers, who he held to a .127 BA in ’11.
It is very possible that the Clippers will once again see Paolo Espino misassigned to a bullpen roll. Espino has been the winning pitcher in the deciding game of 3 of the last 4 post season series for Columbus. Let’s look at Paolo’s Start/relief splits from 2011. As a starter for Columbus he was 2-0 with a 1.73 ERA, 10 K/9 and a 0.69 WHIP. Out of the pen: 0-1 6.75 ERA, a WHIP of 1.81 and a .345 BA. Espino doesn’t have alarming stuff, but he seems to come through in big situations. He is not going to be in the Clippers rotation to start the year barring injury, but he is probably the swing-man. playing the role Justin Germano and Joe Martinez (both gone from the organization) did last year.
Ruben Niebla, the Clippers pitching coach prefers a 7-man bullpen, and that’s what Columbus had typically had all things being equal. That being the case, if four of the above five guys are on the staff, there will be likely 3 others to fill out the bullpen. Kelvin De La Cruz seems like a good possibility. He finished the year with Columbus and it looks like the Indians have committed to converting him to a reliever. He was left on the 40-man when a move had to be made to add Aaron Cunningham, so Cleveland obviously values him. Really, what’s not to like about a 6’5 23 year-old lefty with a mid-90′s fastball?
The remaining spots are up for grabs. Tyler Sturdevant, Matt Lagwell, Eric Berger and Rob Bryson could be in contention. A wild card is Bryce Stowell. Stowell flashed a 100-MPH fastball for the Clippers in 2011 upon his promotion form Double-A, but suffered finger injuries that ended his season early. He spent the entire 2012 season in the lower levels of the minors working through control and other issues as well as a dip in velocity. I’d personally like to see Steven Wright pitch well enough to make the team because there is just something fun about a knuckle-ball pitcher (provided it’s not your job to try and catch him). One player who will not be in the mix is Cory Burns, whom the Indians traded for OF Aaron Cunningham. Burns was Akron’s closer last year, setting a single-season franchise record for saves.
As expected, since this prognostication process started, there have been signings that could have trickle-down effects on the Clippers roster. If Cunningham makes the Indians roster, Zeke Carrera is likely down to Columbus, which pushes someone to Akron. Matt LaPorta seems less and less likely to break camp with Cleveland, which would affect Beau Mills. Andy LaRoche throws another possibility out there as he’s mainly been a 3rd baseman in his career and GM Chris Antonetti says LaRoche is in camp to compete for a big league job, as is Jose Lopez. What happens to Lonnie Chisenhall if LaRoche and Jack Hannahan are both on the team? These questions and more will be answered in Goodyear, AZ come March of 2012. Until then, it’s fun to pass the winter months with this type of discussion.
Cherish the upcoming season, because if the Mayan calendar is right, it will be the last one ever. The countdown to 12/21/12 is on!
Well, management has ended speculation on the Opening Day fate of some rising stars. The Indians have decided to send their young talents to the minors. Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis have been reassigned to minor league camp. No word yet as to whether or not Bryce Harper and Mike Moustakas have considered joining forces with them to form a detestable under-performing group that 85% of America will delight in rooting against.
Also reassigned were RHP’s Zach Putnam and Alex White and C Juan Apodaca. Nick Weglarz and Zach McAllister were optioned to the Columbus roster. In case you are wondering about the difference in terminology, a player who is on the 40-man roster must be optioned, while players not on the 40-man can be assigned to any level at the club’s discretion.
With Jason Donald on the shelf for a few days with a bone bruise on his hand, Jack Hannahan and Luis Valbuena will take the bulk of the time at 3B in the big league games.
Lady Gaga did to Columbus last night… whatever a Lady Gaga does to a place, which I suppose is something to those who dig that sort of thing (which includes a large portion of the Clippers ticket department). In any case, the lone offering from the extravagant songstress that I’ve actually heard and her appearance in the Capital City last night inspired a blog title based on the quotes attributed to Manny Acta yesterday in Arizona about the future of certain prospects’ likely Opening Day uniform.
While it has been long reported that the Indians brass told Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis early on that they had no chance of opening the season with the big club, yesterday Acta seemed to hedge a bit, saying “What I’m trying to do is gauge Lonnie, Kipnis and some of those guys, where they’re actually at. So if they don’t make our ballclub when I leave in April, I can have that safety net as I had with Santana last year when we left.”
While not tipping his hand, that certainly seems to leave the door open to them being on the ballclub. Whether he plays the cards in April or not, Acta knows he has a large pair in the hole that he hopes will help the Indians rake in a big pot in the future.
Chisenhall has had a monster camp and 3rd base is not a position that is locked down in Cleveland. However, in spite of a recent hand injury, reports from Goodyear indicate that Jason Donald has played the position fairly well and his offensive numbers are encouraging.
As for Kipnis at second, by now we all know he wasn’t born this way, but they like his progress as a second baseman. Jayson Nix hasn’t been overly impressive, but Orlando Cabrera seems to have 2nd base sewn up unless he gets hurt.
If the future turns out to be now for either or both of the highly touted prospects, the effect on the Clippers would not necessarily be disastrous, as it would clarify an infield situation that has looked very crowded for a while. Cord Phelps would be the everyday second baseman and Jared Goedert, who was Jordan Brown-ed this spring with an early injury would man 3B. If they both start in Columbus, Acta will have had a good enough look at them both to be able to just pick up the telephone.
Other than that, there’s nothing else I can say.
The Indians today optioned INF Jason Donald and INF Wes Hodges to the Clippers. The club also reassigned INF Lonnie Chisenhall to minor league camp.
The Indians now have 46 players in Major League camp.
Hodges had an outstanding big league camp, going 10-for-24 (.417) four doubles, one HR, and seven RBI (eleven games). After struggling at third base for the Clippers last year, Hodges is expected to transition to playing first base in 2010.
Donald was acquired from the Phillies at last year’s July 31st deadline. He was 4-for-20 with one RBI in big league camp. Donald played in only ten games for the Clippers because of a strained back. He underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee in June, missing about a month of action prior to the trade.