Yesterday, we took a look at the 2017 DSL Indians and their underwhelming season, so today it’s time for their counterpart, the DSL Indians-Brewers. Since the two teams (Milwaukee and Cleveland) shared the roster, they can take equal blame for the poor season. In this particular recap, we’ll only be looking at players controlled by the Indians and only those who were not covered in the Indians exclusive recap yesterday. At the end of the season, only 13 members of the team were controlled by Cleveland.
Many of the pitchers mentioned in the DSL Indians report spent at least some time with the Indians-Brewers, but the only pitcher worth mentioning here did not, Jahir Varela. Varela didn’t have quite the season of the top two pitchers on the other side, but he still posted a very respectable 2.05 ERA in eight starts and seven relief appearances. What keeps him back in my mind is his low K rate and 18 walks (plus three hit batters). This is the 19 year old’s second season and has been a dramatic improvement over 2016. He should be in Arizona next year and whether he’s a starter or reliever, he’ll need to work on his control to compete at the next level.
The Indians half of this combo squad begins and ends with Makesiondon Kelkboom. While many Indians players switched teams based on need, Marcos Gonzalez taking up the starting time at short stop for the DSL Indians kept Kelkboom with the Indians-Brewers for the whole season. There, he hit .207/.281/.289 with six doubles and two triples. He isn’t the defensive stalwart that Gonzalez is or as solid on the bases (two steals in ten attempts), but he’s also just 17 and won’t turn 18 until next July.
Considering the atrocious numbers put up by the three catchers with the DSL Indians, Micael Ramirez and his .304/.375/.430 must look like an All-Star. He’s an 18 year old Venezuelan player and given the problems with catching depth, could surpass all his DSL counterparts quickly.
On a roster full of disappointing hitters, Pablo Jimenez didn’t have a terrible year, knocking ten doubles with a .340 OBP though 51 games. With little information coming out of the Dominican, it’s difficult to judge a player’s defense, but he only committed one error, so he at least isn’t making big mistakes in the outfield. We’ll have to wait until he reaches the US to judge his speed, reaction time and arm strength.
Despite a poor ERA, Wilmer Mejia lead all Indians on this squad in both BB/9 and K/9 while making seven starts and three relief appearances. He gave up a ton of hits and four home runs in a league that isn’t big on long balls, but there’s still some potential there especially considering that he’s only 18 and in his first professional season.
Cause for Concern
Gaspar Palacio is listed as a short stop, but played exclusively second base this year. He managed to play more games in the field than any other Indians player and hit only .173/.275/.268 between the two squads. He’s only 17 with plenty of time to grow, but striking out 51 times in 52 games is not a great way to start a career.
The only decent pitcher besides Varela, Luis C. Garcia, was mentioned in the DSL Indians report as were the many disappointing relievers who played for both squads. In all, beyond getting playing time at short stop for Kelkboom, the simple existence of this team didn’t really make sense this year with such a lack of high potential players at this level. It could potentially make more sense next year as the 2017 international signing class is considered highly by outside sources.
Most Power: Pablo Jimenez
Best Bat: Makesiondon Kelkboom
Best Wheels: Derian Perez (there’s no good answer here)
Best Glove: Micael Ramirez
Worst Glove: Derian Perez
Best Control: Wilmer Mejia
Best Stuff: Wilmer Mejia
Most Likely to be an MLB Pitcher: Wilmer Mejia
Most Likely to be an MLB Hitter: Makesiondon Kelkboom