After having such a fruitful discussion with Rangers blogger Dan Edmonson a while back, I thought I would keep the ball rolling with and ask some other bloggers what they thought about the former Alaska League players employed by their professional teams of interest. Toward that end, I asked David Henderson, avid Cleveland Indians fan and proprietor of TribeCards.net how he felt about some of the prospects in the Indians system who have experience in Alaska.
Q: Hector Ambriz, who played for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots in 2006, broke into the Majors in 2010 before being shut down. He went under the knife with Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2011. Any thoughts on when he’ll return, and what to expect from him in the future?
A: He will most likely not be invited back, or he’ll be used as trade fodder to another team. I’ve read some speculation about him getting put into the Rule 5 draft. Possibly, though I don’t really know enough about that aspect of baseball to speak with any authority whatsoever. Here’s what I do know, though: Ambriz has an abysmal ERA for 2010: 5.59 as a reliever. Seriously!? Add to that his term in the minors and his surgery, and I think this guy is most likely done for good.
Q: 2006 Goldpanner Beau Mills was a first-round draft pick and highly regarded prospect, but has been stuck in sort of a holding pattern the past few years. Any thoughts on his ceiling as a prospect entering 2012?
A: Beau Mills, on the other hand, will come in to help out at the 1st base position with Matt LaPorta. Of course, with LaPorta’s penchant for making errors, Mills may find himself playing first base more often than originally planned. This is barring any other 1B player the Tribe may have waiting in the wings or through trades. I’d like to see Mills break out of the “holding pattern” and add some life to the team, though.
Q: Chen Lee, who came over from Taiwan with the Anchorage Bucs back in ’07, has been climbing the ladder in the Indians system and did very well in AA and AAA ball last year. Is he knocking on the door? Do you predict that he’ll make it to the show, and if so, when and in what capacity?
A: Chen Lee seems to have an on-again/off-again relationship with his pitching. In some games, he is flat-out phenomenal. Then, in others, he gives up as many runs and hits as he does errors. Overall, his 2.40 ERA for 2011 looks great on paper until you dig a little. Given the Indians knack for getting rid of our good players, I would say that Lee has a chance to make the bigs later in the season (since the Tribe would have given away the talent in place), if at all. I can see where his consistency issues might give pause to the folks signing paychecks for the Indians. My guess, though, is that he’s got at least one more AAA season to iron out his problems before he’ll be offered a spot in the Tribe reliever rotation.
Thanks to David for fielding my questions regarding these players in the Cleveland Indians organization. Check out his blog, TribeCards.net, for more on the Indians, and stay tuned to 49thstatehardball.com for more Q&A sessions with some more of the web’s best baseball minds.