IL Preview: Columbus Clippers
Columbus Clippers enters the 2014 season with high hopes after finishing the 2013 campaign with a 71-73 mark and a second place finish in the West division.
Standouts Trevor Bauer and Preston Guillmet will anchor the team’s pitching staff like in 2013. Guillmet was an IL All-Star in 2013, leading the club with 20 saves and finishing third in the IL.
Second year man Chris Tremie will look to lead another loaded roster in 2014.
Pitching: Bauer, the No.2 organizational prospect for Cleveland, will lead the staff for the second straight season. Last season he went 6-7 with a 4.15 ERA in 22 starts. Bauer is looking to find the consistency that has him as one of the top prospects in all of baseball. Bauer has a mid 90’s fastball and a plethora of off-speed pitches, but has issues around the strike zone. Last season, he walked 89 batters in 138 IP. He will need to correct his consistency around the zone if he wants to be moved to Cleveland.
While, the rotation has solid pieces, the bullpen will be the key for the Clippers as they feature many top arms. C.C. Lee is the top arm in the pen’ as he has been solid since signing in 2008. In 167 minor league relief appearances, he is 18-11 with a 2.94 ERA. He has struck out 323 batters in 263 innings, while walking 84. Lee missed parts of 2012 and 2013 recovering from Tommy John surgery, but looks to be at full strength. He throws a low-90’s fastball and a hard slider to get rid of the opposition.
Infield: Jesus Aguilar and Ronny Rodriguez will lead the infield group. Rodriguez is coming off a solid season with the Akron Aeros, hitting .265 (124-for-468) with 25 doubles, six triples, five homers and 52 RBIs. His power numbers diminished in 2013, as he slugged a career-low five homers, but shows great bat-to-ball skill at the plate. He will look to get back on track in Columbus.
Aguilar power numbers were fine in 2013, slugging 16 homers for the Aeros and driving in 105 runners. He ended the season hitting .275 (137-for-499) with 28 doubles. At 23-years old, Aguilar is progressing rapidly and could make an impact with the Indians in 2014.
Outfield: Carlos Moncrief will lead the outfield. The No. 14 prospect in the Cleveland organization according to Baseball America, is ready to continue his climb as an everyday position player. Originally signed as a pitcher out of Chipola JC (Fl.), Moncrief moved to the outfield in 2010. Last season, he hit .284 (139-for-489) with 26 doubles, seven triples, 17 homers and 75 RBIs for the Aeros. He will be joined by Matt Carson and Tim Fedroff in the other three outfield spots.
Schedule: Columbus rolls into Coolray Field from June 3-6 and the G-Braves visit Columbus from April 22-25.
Projected Depth Chart: