As the World Series was just decided without them, Cleveland Indians fans still have something to pay attention to in the form of the Arizona Fall League. The Tribe has 3 position players and 4 pitchers participating. Here are some breakdowns of each player’s 2018 performance, as well as progress reports in the AFL (stats through 10/27).
Yu Chang, SS
Chang hit for more power last year, with 24 HR for AA Akron, however it came with just a .220 average and a strikeout rate over 2%. He did steal 11 bases though, and does take a walk. Blocked at the MLB level, Chang will likely need to switch positions to get a shot in Cleveland.
Chang is hitting very well in the AFL, batting .368 with a home run and a steal to go along with a .929 OPS in 38 ABs.
Li-Jen Chu, C
2018 saw Chu work his way from Single A Lynchburg to AAA Columbus. He showed a little bit of pop and maintained an average above .240 at all 3 stops. Combined he hit .272/.340/.425 between, with 10 home runs and 22 doubles in 99 games. He threw out 25 percent of attempted base stealers.
In 13 ABs in the AFL, Chu is batting a respectable .308 while getting more reps behind the dish.
Connor Marabell, OF
An All-Star for AA Akron in 2018, Marabell hit a tasty .296 with 11 home runs and 23 doubles in the first half. Things got much tougher after he was promoted to AAA Columbus and in 31 games he hit just .214 with a .584 OPS. He clearly needs more time to develop against advanced pitching, so the AFL assignment seems to be the right move.
Unfortunately, Marabell has picked up where he left off, batting just .222 over 45 ABs with a .523 OPS with 11 Ks in 45 ABs.
Justin Garza, SP
Garza pitched through two separate injuries in 2018, but pitched well when he was on the mound. He finished with a 3.71 ERA and more than a K per inning.
The lone Indians starter in the AFL, Garza has pitched well in his 9.1 IP, registering a 2.53 ERA along with a 1.50 WHIP and again recording a K per inning.
Rob Kaminsky, LHP
Kaminsky’s season didn’t get started until June due to injury. Once he got healthy, he was in Akron the majority of the year in the back end of the bullpen, notching 4 saves over 23 games to the tune of a 2.84 ERA. A heavy ground ball pitcher, he should find his way to Columbus in 2019 if he can remain healthy.
Kaminsky has been very solid in the AFL with 9 Ks over 5 innings and a 1.80 ERA to go along with a 1.00 WHIP. He has only issued 1 walk against those nine strikeouts, a ratio that Indians fans would love to see continue into 2019.
Dalbert Siri, RHP
Siri is another arm who registered saves in the organization in 2018, with 15 in Lynchburg. With a 2.45 ERA in just over 47 innings last year, a call up to Akron is a distinct possibility in 2019. The Dominican has a powerful arsenal that helped him rack up 71 Ks in just over 47 innings.
Siri has not fared nearly as well in the AFL as Indians fans would like, with a mammoth 15.43 ERA over 4.2 innings pitched. It’s a small sample size, but 10 hits and 8 ER with a 2.57 WHIP is ugly. I think he’ll be fine, but we’ll watch him closely as he steps up levels.
Jared Robinson, RHP
Robinson had a breakout year in 2018, with a 2.65 ERA and 56 Ks over 51 innings. He spent most of the year in A ball but received a call up to AA for an appearance at the end of the year.
Another small sample, but in 5.2 IP in the AFL Robinson is boasting a 7.94 ERA and a 2.12 WHIP. Nothing to be too concerned about here, but with all breakouts, there is the chance for regression against better hitters, and that may be what we’re seeing here.
Featured image of Connor Marabell – via cleveland.com (Photo credit – Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer)