The Clip Show should hit plenty of long fly balls this year even without their captain Jesus Aguilar, who will now be getting Bernie the Brewer drunk in Milwaukee. The Clippers are usually a Governor’s Cup contender and this year should be no different.
Zimmer overhauled his swing once he got to AAA last season and the results did not vary, as Fred Durst would say. Rather, they were bad. His K-rate ballooned to 37.3%. It looked a little better in the Arizona Fall League at 27.4% as the changes took foot.
Then, he blew the organization away in Spring Training this year, looking like the swing changes were now natural and his good walk rate remaining intact with his power, speed and good defense as well. If Zimmer is in Columbus by August, he’s either playing horribly or Lonnie Chisenhall had a Jose Bautista like breakout.
INF/OF Richie Shaffer
Another swing overhaul guy, Shaffer is a 26 year old former first round pick who is primarily a third basemen, he also plays first base, left field and right field. He had nine strikeouts in his first 12 spring at bats and then started hitting homers and opening eyes. He might stick around in Triple-A most of the year, hopefully for the Indians success sake, to work on his new swing. Shaffer should enjoy the friendly confines of Huntington Park and you might see him at a different position every other day.
Colabello should assume Aguilar’s at bats and hit some dingers in Huntington Park. He had a nice spring and maybe would have made the team if this was 2012, but it’s not (thankfully) and the Indians are not paying Casey Kotchman. But Columbus should be a nice home for him.
Speaking of taking Aguilar’s at bats, Rodriguez is another power hitter who strikes out a lot. Despite moving up to Double-A full time last year and into a pitching oriented Eastern League as well as a pitcher friendly Canal Park, Rodriguez put out 26 dingers and kept his ISO over .220. His K-rate climbed to 31.2% as well. He’ll be 23 this year and in Triple-A for the first time. While the talent level doesn’t get much better pitching wise from Double-A to Triple-A, a lot of Triple-A pitchers have had Major League experience and even some success, so that’s something new for Triple-A hitters to learn. Rodriguez could see more strikeouts if that’s the case, but it’s a big year for him because with Carlos Santana possibly leaving for free agency at the end of 2017 and at bats at first base possibly being open. He’s hurt to start the year but should join the team at some point this year.
Clevinger had an up and down regular season in Cleveland but was phenomenal in Columbus and started the Triple-A All-Star game. The big thing to watch with Clevinger in Columbus will be his more streamlined delivery.
When the Indians got him for Vinnie Pestano, he was coming back from Tommy John surgery and was trying to find a consistent delivery. The Indians let him tinker around and he was appreciative of that and found a bit of a herky, jerky motion with a pause. Now, he’s eliminated the pause and just rocks and fires. Triple-A hitters might hate that the Indians rotation depth because Clevinger could be even better in Columbus and if they stay healthy, he might not be up in Cleveland again until late in the season.
Most of this pitching staff is going to be pretty good. Ryan Merritt, Shawn Morimando, Adam Plutko, and Clevinger all had Major League success a year ago. Kyle Crockett should have made the Indians bullpen, Nick Goody, too. Perci Garner is fun to watch and I think is going to be a good Major League reliever. Joe Colon is a solid reliever as well. More often than not, you’ll see good pitching from the Clippers.
2017 Columbus Clippers Roster
|P||Mike Clevinger||Pestano Trade|
|P||Joe Colon||2009 Draft Rd 12|
|P||Kyle Crockett||2013 Draft Rd 4|
|P||Steve Delabar||2017 MiLB FA|
|P||Carlos Frias||2017 from LAD|
|P||Louis Head||2012 Draft Rd 18|
|P||Jeff Johnson||2011 Draft Rd 10|
|P||Josh Martin||2012 Draft Rd 10|
|P||Ryan Merritt||2011 Draft Rd 16|
|P||Shawn Morimando||2011 Draft Rd 19|
|P||Chris Narverson||2017 MiLB FA|
|P||Tyler Olson||2016 Waivers KC|
|P||Adam Plutko||2013 Draft Rd 11|
|C||Erik Kratz||2017 MiLB FA|
|C||Jeremy Lucas||2012 Draft Rd 12|
|C||Adam Moore||2017 MiLB FA|
|1B||Nellie Rodriguez||2012 Draft Rd 15|
|1B||Chris Colabello||2017 MiLB FA|
|2B||Yhoxian Medina||2011 Draft Rd 38|
|2B||Ronny Rodriguez||2010 Int FA|
|SS||Erik Gonzalez||2008 Int FA|
|SS||Eric Stamets||Murphy Trade|
|3B||Giovanny Urshela||2008 Int FA|
|3B||Richie Shaffer||2017 Waivers CIN|
|OF||Jordan Smith||2011 Draft Rd 9|
|OF||Bradley Zimmer||2014 Draft Rd 1|
|OF||Daniel Robertson||2017 MiLB FA|