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2003 Wrapups: Cleveland Indians

With the 2003 minor league season coming to a close, we will be providing a brief wrapup of the season for all 30 minor league teams. In each report, we will take a look at how the team's Top 10 Prospects performed, identify some emerging prospects and organizational leaders, and report on the performance of their top draft pick.
Complete index of Team Wrapups               2003 League Wrapups

By Kevin Goldstein
September 29, 2003

Season Results

Level Team League W L PCT
AAA Buffalo International 73 70 .510
AA Akron* Eastern 88 53 .624
A+ Kinston Carolina 73 66 .525
A Lake County Midwest 97 43 .693
SS Mahoning Valley New York-Penn 38 36 .514
R Burlington Appalachian 37 31 .544
TOTAL 406 299 ..576
   * won league championship


Performance of Top 10 Prospects

Here's how our top 10 prospects entering this season performed in 2003.

1. Brandon Phillips, 2b      Age: 22
Suffered through miserable season, pouted following demotion to Triple-A, and didn't show anything in a September return (.203 in 21 games).
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Indians (MLB) 112 370 36 77 18 1 6 33 14 77 4 .208 .242 .311
Buffalo (Triple-A) 43 154 14 27 7 0 3 13 12 22 7 .175 .247 .279

2. Victor Martinez, c      Age: 24
Started a little slow, but hit a whopping .435 in July to earn a promotion to the majors. Was hitting just .253 on August 8th when he suffered a sprained ankle, but hit .349 in 26 games after his return from the DL.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Buffalo (Triple-A) 73 274 42 90 19 0 7 45 26 32 3 .328 .395 .474
Cleveland (MLB) 46 159 15 46 4 0 1 16 13 21 1 .289 .333 .345
Akron (Triple-A) 3 12 1 4 2 0 0 2 0 1 0 .333 .333 .500

3. Cliff Lee, lhp      Age: 25
Missed a chance to make the Opening Day roster with a back injury in spring training, but rebounded with a fantastic year, finishing in the major league rotation. Should open 2004 as the Indians' No. 2 starter.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Kinston (High Class A) 0-0 0 0.00 1 4.1 0 1 0 3 4
Akron (Double-A) 1-0 0 1.50 2 12.0 7 2 2 4 13
Buffalo (Triple-A) 6-1 0 3.27 11 63.1 62 24 23 31 61
Indians (MLB) 3-3 0 3.61 9 52.1 41 28 21 20 44

4. Jeremy Guthrie, rhp      Age: 24
Was absolutely dominant at Akron, tossing a pair of nine-inning shutouts, but was hammered at Buffalo, as opposing batters teed off on him to a tune of a .527 slugging percentage. Has to figure out a way to miss more bats.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Akron (Double-A) 6-2 0 1.44 10 62.2 44 11 10 14 35
Buffalo (Triple-A) 4-6 0 6.52 18 96.2 129 75 70 30 62

5. Travis Hafner, 1b      Age: 26
Won the first-base job in spring training, but was demoted to Buffalo because of a brutal April (.167) and Ben Broussard's hot bat. Found his groove in Triple-A and hit .278-10-25 in 61 games following his return to re-establish his status as a potential solid run producer.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Indians (MLB) 91 291 35 74 19 3 14 40 22 81 2 .254 .327 .485
Buffalo (Triple-A) 29 100 15 27 4 0 2 10 25 26 2 .270 .421 .370

6. Ricardo Rodriguez, rhp      Age: 25
Started the season with four consecutive quality starts, but went 0-4, 11.15 in his final four outings before heading to the DL with a strained groin. Traded to Texas along with Shane Spencer for outfielder Ryan Ludwick, Rodriguez's responded to treatment, and he underwent surgery in August for a torn labrum in his hip. He is expected to be ready for spring training and should compete for a rotation spot.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Indians (MLB) 3-9 0 5.73 15 81.2 89 57 52 28 41
Buffalo (Triple-A) 0-1 0 4.32 2 8.1 6 4 4 3 7

7. Grady Sizemore, of      Age: 21
Sizemore put together a fantastic season in Akron, winning the Futures Game MVP award while scoring 46 runs in his final 50 games for the Aeros. Hits lefties and righties with equal skill and could star as either a leadoff man or middle-of-the-order run producer.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Akron (Double-A) 128 496 96 151 26 11 13 78 46 73 10 .304 .373 .480

8. Billy Traber, lhp      Age: 24
Spent the entire year with the big league squad, and moved permanently into the rotation in June. Just 2-4, 6.81 after the all-star break and righthanded hitters battered him around for a .318 average. May be better suited for the bullpen.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Indians (MLB) 6-9 0 5.24 33 111.2 132 67 65 40 88

9. Brian Tallet, lhp      Age: 26
Ineffective at both Buffalo and Cleveland in a brief callup before requiring Tommy John surgery in August. Will not be ready to pitch again until mid-2004 at the earliest.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Buffalo (Triple-A) 4-4 0 5.14 15 84.0 89 50 48 34 67
Indians (MLB) 0-2 0 4.74 5 19.0 23 14 10 8 9

10. Jason Davis, rhp      Age: 23
Earned rotation slot in spring training, and was consistently mediocre. Throws hard, but will need a deeper repertoire to remain a starter.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Indians (MLB) 8-11 0 4.68 27 165.1 172 101 86 47 85


Top Draft Pick:

Michael Aubrey, 1b    Tulane U.   Bonus: $2.01M
Originally thought to be going to the Cubs with the sixth pick, Aubrey fell into the Indians lap with the 11th pick. Undaunted by an initial assignment to a full-season league, hit .375 in his final 30 games.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Lake County (Low Class A) 38 138 22 48 13 0 5 19 14 22 0 .348 .409 .551


Emerging Prospects:

Fausto Carmona, rhp: Sally League Pitcher of the Year went 17-4, 2.06 for Lake County, but lack of punchouts is a slight red flag.
Kazuhito Tadano, rhp: While other team shied away from him, the Indians stuck gold in Tadano, who rocketed through three levels and led the organization in ERA (1.55) while striking out 112 in 99 innings.


Statistical Leaders

Batting Average Victor Martinez .329
Home Runs Alex Escobar 24
Runs Batted In Luke Scott 81
Stolen Bases Willy Taveras 57
Earned Run Average Kazuhito Tadano 1.55
Wins Fausto Carmona 17
Strikeouts Francisco Cruceta 134
Saves Lee Gronkiewicz 37

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