Cleveland Indians: Observations From Goodyear

Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

I saw the Cleveland Indians play the Seattle Mariners today in Goodyear, as well as the workouts at the training complex this morning.  I happened to sit in the same section as a bunch of scouts, so some of what I observed was confirmed by them.  It would be silly to jump to conclusions based on one day of observations, but here are a couple of things:

  • Whatever excitement you hear about Michael Clevinger is justified. He throws an easy 94 and has a 76 mph change, and a breaking pitch that locks batters up.  He appears to be slotted for the lady in waiting role in Columbus, but since Cody Anderson and T.J. House will already be available for that, it might make sense for Clevinger to get some time in long relief in Cleveland.  He looks like he could help now.
  • There’s a look that ballplayers have that separates them from normal guys. When James Ramsey joined the Indians he had that look.  He was confident, aggressive, and a step quicker than the other outfielders on the Clippers.  Last year, then, he was sluggish and tentative, and it showed up in his stats.  Today he looked like he used to.  He made two running catches in right field and made solid contact at least three times.  Personally, I would much rather see Ramsey or Tyler Naquin make the team than any of these 30-year-old retreads, and they both probably sense that the opportunity is there.
  • Carlos Santana is definitely slimmer.
  • There were about twenty scouts in our section, and they all paid closer attention when Trevor Bauer was pitching. The difference was striking enough that my wife noticed it, and she was reading most of the time.  If one was inclined to do so, he could surmise that other teams think Bauer is available.
  • Speaking of Bauer, he seemed to be overthrowing in the first inning but was effective. His motion looked smoother in the second inning, but that’s when he walked a guy who eventually scored.   It’s always hard to tell whether Bauer is experimenting or just confused.

    More from Away Back Gone

    Speaking of scouts, the age of the average scout has dropped by about thirty years over the last decade. Now they all look like stockbrokers.

    Everyone is wearing wind suits and sweatshirts that say “TRAIN TO REIGN.” Wish I could get paid to come up with something that trite.

  • The Mariners did an infield shift on Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor, neither of whom I would have considered a pull hitter. They also did shifts with men on base, which is unusual.
  • There are 80 guys in camp, and it looked like most of them were in the dugout during the game. The Goodyear dugouts are no larger than those in Progressive Field, which may have been a mistake.

    They have run the screens around past the far end of the dugout here, which complicates the t-shirt toss.

    It is difficult to imagine Francisco Lindor not enjoying himself. He also never stops working.

    If you played little league, you remember how there were always a couple of dads around keeping track of the bats and gloves and making sure the coach always had a ball available when he needed one. That’s basically what all the guys who are listed as “special advisors” seem to do here.  There are 80 guys in the major league camp and 142 in the minor league camp, so it’s not like they don’t stay busy.

  • There’s a workout schedule that they pass out if you ask for it, and Brad Mills seems to be in charge of making sure the players are doing what they are scheduled to do. Mills has an uncanny knack for hitting ground balls and fly balls exactly where he wants to, which comes in handy for practice.
  • Several scouts commented that Joe Thatcher had reworked his motion and looked better. Thatcher and Tom Gorzelanny pitched well, but they topped out at 88.  It would be a crapshoot guessing which lefthanded reliever ends up making the roster.  It seems like there are so many guys competing for what are essentially two bullpen spots that nobody can possibly pitch enough to be judged fairly.
  • Next: Indians Top Prospects: #24 Tyler Krieger

    That’s all.  Tomorrow I’m going to Scottsdale to hopefully meet Willie Mays.  Aside from a Cleveland Indians World Series, that would be the coolest baseball thing that could happen to me.