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The Sports Daily > Burning River Baseball
This Is Next Year: Closing Time For Some, New Beginnings for Others

AAA Columbus

by Gavin Potter

The Clippers finished their season going 4-5, which eliminated them from the International League postseason.  Columbus finished 2017 with an even 71-71 record.

The Clippers had two players make their AAA debuts last week in Eric Haase and Cameron Hill, and both players made the most of their opportunities. Hill made two appearances, pitching two shutout innings. He allowed two hits and a walk, and hasn’t yet recorded a AAA strikeout.

Meanwhile, Haase played in two games, and went 2-6 with a home run, a walk, and two strikeouts. Haase’s home run was his 27th of 2017, in what has been a breakout year for the Detroit product.

With Columbus’ season officially over, it’s like Cleveland will call up Tyler Naquin and Shawn Armstrong, who have already made trips between the two clubs this season. It remains to be seen if any others get the call to the MLB.

Advanced-A Lynchburg

by Justin Lada

Lynchburg stormed towards the playoffs with a seven game winning streak. Sean Brady has proved to be a huge boost to the rotation. He won the final game of the regular season pitching seven innings and allowing one run. He also pitched six scoreless innings in his previous start. His ERA to finish the regular season with Lynchburg in was 3.18 in four starts (22 2/3 innings). Mitch Longo was also a late add to the roster for the postseason. He collected nine hits (11 total bases) in 16 at bats. He also had four walks to two strikeouts and two steals in two chances with three RBI.

Triston McKenzie‘s final start was another standout one. He had 10 strikeouts over seven innings with no walks, allowing one run on five hits. He finished the regular season with back to back double digit strikeout performances.

Gavin Collins made it back from the DL to have a four-hit, five RBI game but has been quite since. Andrew Calica finished the year keeping his second half tear, finishing the half with an .849 OPS.

The Hillcats received some reinforcements for the playoffs, getting Adam Plutko from the Indians who spent all year Columbus and some in Cleveland. They play Fredrick in a best of five series for the Carolina League title.

Low-A Lake County

by Justin Lada

The Captains finished the second half 27-43 and an overall record and 54-85 overall, finishing in last place in the Midwest League eastern division.

Brady Aiken, who had a rough year overall, had an interesting final start of the year. He struck out six in five innings but also allowed six walks and only allowed one run. He allowed just two runs over his last two starts (11 innings). He struck out 12 and walked nine.

Emmanuel Tapia on the last game of the regular season hit his 29th homer, which is the most in Captains history. He batted .213 for the year and had a .716 OPS.

Dalbert Siri picked up his 14th save of the season despite walking three hitters and allowing a run. Alsis Herrera was the winner pitching 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

The Captains wrapped up their home portion of the season Friday with a 3-2 win over Lansing. That was Aiken’s last start, where Herrera also picked up the win and Siri notched save number 13. Li-Jen Chu hit homer number 17.

Be on the lookout for the Captains season in review later this week.

Short-Season Mahoning Valley

by Caitlin Boron

Mahoning Valley has clinched the division for the first time since 2009 during Monday’s game two of a doubleheader with Batavia. This was also made possible with the Monday loss for second place State College, inching the Scrappers closer to their season’s end goal.

It has been a collective effort since game one of the season, with this team working more as a single unit than I’ve ever seen from MV before. The pitching both from the start and through the bullpen stayed on point while getting support from the defense behind them and the bats at the plate. The Scrappers are one of two teams (Also the Lynchburg HillCats) in the Indians farm system who’s made it beyond the regular season.

In their last week of the regular season leading up to the clinch, they got very close to giving up their lead in the division, losing three straight, tow to Batavia and one to State College, bringing them down to just a two game lead. There was even a chance they could have clinched sooner, if not for the canceled game on Saturday and postponed game Sunday.

A few players who got nice and hot recently, OF Will Benson, who solidified the win yesterday with a two home run game, hitting his 10th home run of the season in the seventh, tying the league lead. Seven of his 10 homers have come over his last 14 games played. Regarding pitching, winner of Monday’s game one, Gregori Vasquez, leads the Indians farm system after a 1.50 ERA through August (with at least 30+ IP – thank you @IndiansPro). He went six innings, gave up three runs on seven hits and struck out six. Behind him, RHP Jean Carlos Mejia, came to close out the game, pitched the seventh and struck out one. Mejia has pitched 21.1 innings in 2017, and has been able to keep a 0.00 ERA/0.47 WHIP through all of them, giving up no more than five hits and five walks.

The Scrappers have three games left in their regular season, finishing up the series with Batavia, and then ending things at home at Eastwood Field with the West Virginia Black Bears for two, ending on Thursday night.

Reeves skies one during the 2017 AZL season. – Joseph Coblitz, BurningRiverBaseball

AZL Indians

by Joe Coblitz

The AZL Indians wrapped up their season on Saturday, winning three of their last six to reach a lofty 15-41 record for the year. Skylar Arias returned from suspension last in August, throwing 7.1 innings and allowing just one earned run while striking out 14. Arias also pitched well in limited action in the AZL last year and could be an interesting left handed relief option if he can stay on the active roster.

For different reasons, Dante Mendoza also began his season late after being drafted in the 12th round in 2017. He pitched three innings during the last week of the season and didn’t allow an earned run until his final appearance in the last game of the year.

One more pitcher of note this week was Luis Oviedo. He’s had periods of great success and utter disappointment this year and had both this week. On August 27th, he went three innings, allowed five runs and struck out seven. On September 1st, he went four and struck out eight, while allowing just three baserunners and now runs. Oviedo appears to be a ground ball specialist and the Indians poor defensive infield may have hurt him more than is noted in earned/unearned runs.

Finally, I haven’t given enough credit to Mitch Reeves this year, largely because he started off slowly. By the end of the year, however, he was the team leader in wRC+ and batted .291/.396/.440. He ended the season with an eight game hitting streak, going 12 for 25 with a home run, two doubles and six RBI. He also walked in each of his last five games. Over that span he raised his slash line .043/.042/.055.