Results tagged ‘ Edwin Rodriguez ’

Carolina Countdown – Carolina Mudcats

The Dash’s season begins in 16 days, so it’s time for our annual preview of the Carolina League. Over the next week, we will break down the Dash’s CL competition, both on and off the field.

Without further ado, here is the Countdown for the Mudcats.

The Dash lost their season series to the Mudcats last year (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

The Dash lost their season series to the Mudcats last year (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

INTRODUCTION: The Carolina Mudcats will be playing their third season in the Carolina League in 2014. Based in Zebulon, N.C., the Muddies are affiliated with the Cleveland Indians after now-defunct Kinston was the Tribe’s High-A club. The previous incarnation of the Mudcats played in the Double-A Southern League from 1991 until 2011.

LAST SEASON: The Mudcats finished in last place in the Southern Division in 2013, going 57-83 overall. They stumbled out of the gate, compiling a 22-48 record during the season’s first half. The Mudcats improved during the second half of the year, going 35-35 after the All-Star Break.

Second baseman Joey Wendle emerged as the team’s most productive position player, batting .295 with 16 home runs, 64 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 107 games. The Muddies’ offense also featured highly-regarded prospects Francisco Lindor and Tyler Naquin. Cody Anderson led the Mudcats on the mound for most of the year, posting a 9-4 record and 2.94 ERA in 23 starts en route to the Carolina League’s Pitcher of the Year honor.

MANAGER: Eddie “Scooter” Tucker will run the ship for the Mudcats in 2014 after guiding the Low-A Lake County Captains to a 51-84 record last season. During his playing career, Tucker was a catcher for three Major League seasons with the Astros and Indians, appearing in 51 games. He replaces 2013 skipper David Wallace, who moves on to manage Double-A Akron in the upcoming season. Tucker was previously the Mudcats’ hitting coach in 2012 under manager Edwin Rodriguez. Joining Tucker will be pitching coach Steve Karsay and hitting coach Tony Mansolino.

SYSTEM: At the big league level, the Indians enjoyed a return to the postseason in 2013 under American League Manager of the Year Terry Francona. However, baseball experts attributed much of the Tribe’s first playoff surge since 2007 to an influx of newcomers from outside the organization.

In recent years, the Indians have done much better via trades to stock up their minor league ranks than via the draft. However, there are a few notable homegrown prospects, led by Lindor. The 20-year-old shortstop hit .306 in 83 games with the Mudcats in 2013, and he is regarded by many as one of the top 10 prospects in the minors. Another highly-touted prospect is 19-year-old outfielder Clint Frazier, who was drafted 5th overall by the Indians last summer and clubbed five home runs in the rookie Arizona League. He should see some time in Zebulon in the not-too-distant future.

blog2BEST PROMOTION: Carolina is the only club in the CL that has yet to release its promotional schedule. However, they did decide to move their standard first pitch time up to 7 p.m. instead of 7:15 p.m. They also have the best Carolina League mascot outside of Winston-Salem in Muddy the Mudcat (see right). He has a face only a mother would love.

FUN FACT: During a game at Five County Stadium last season, Dash broadcaster Brian Boesch’s computer monitor was destroyed by an Adam Heisler foul ball that went directly into the booth. Later in the at bat, Heisler launched a 3-run homer that proved to be a key play in the 8-7 Dash victory over the Mudcats on July 21st. The photos and the audio are pretty hilarious, so check it all out here.

MUDCATS IN WINSTON-SALEM: The Mudcats pay their first visit to BB&T Ballpark June 6-8, and will return on June 28-30. The Dash will also host the Mudcats from August 22-25, which is the final home series of the 2014 season.

The Carolina Countdown will continue tomorrow with the Frederick Keys. Stay tuned!

- Dave

2013 Carolina Countdown: Carolina Mudcats

The team arrives in Winston-Salem two weeks from today. In 18 days, the Dash will square off with the Carolina Mudcats in the season opener.

In other words, the 2013 season is almost here. Like last year, we want to break down the rest of the circuit through our “Carolina Countdown” feature. Over the next few days, we will tell you about the other seven squads in the Carolina League. Today, we begin with the Dash’s Opening Night opponent.

CAROLINA COUNTDOWN: Carolina Mudcats

Introduction: The Carolina Mudcats enter their second year in the Carolina League. Located in Zebulon, N.C., the Muddies joined the league from the Double-A Southern League in 2012 to replace the Kinston Indians. Carolina is affiliated with the Cleveland Indians after the K-Tribe enjoyed that role for 24 years (1987-2011).

Current Puerto Rico skipper Edwin Rodriguez led Carolina in 2012 (South Florida Sun-Sentinel).

Current Puerto Rico skipper Edwin Rodriguez led Carolina in 2012 (South Florida Sun-Sentinel).

Last Season: The Mudcats’ first season in the Carolina League did not go so well. The Mudcats finished last in the Southern Division with a 63-77 mark. Despite the poor overall record, Carolina had a few notable prospects play well for the club in 2012. Infielder Tony Wolters recovered from an April batting average of .130 to finish the season with a .260 mark, and the 20-year-old flashed some of the best infield defense in the league throughout the campaign. First baseman Jesus Aguilar played with the Mudcats for most of last season until a promotion to Double-A Akron. While with the Mudcats, Aguilar posted a .277 average to go along with 12 homers and 58 RBI.

Manager: David Wallace (no, not that David Wallace) takes over the managerial duties for the Mudcats in 2012. Wallace was with the Indians’ organization as a player from 2002 to 2008 before becoming a coach/manager. Wallace guided Low-A Lake County to a 71-68 record and a second half division championship last season. Edwin Rodriguez, the Muddies’ 2012 skipper and the topic of our fun fact a bit later in the piece, earned a promotion and will lead Double-A Akron this year.

System: Most publications and experts have ranked the Tribe’s minor league system near the bottom over the last two seasons. However, the Indians did add scrutinized yet talented right-hander Trevor Bauer this offseason. Bauer is considered one of the top 10 pitching prospects in the minors by most experts, but he will be nowhere near Carolina. He will either be in Triple-A Columbus or The Show in 2013.

However, the Indians do feature some solid talent at the lower levels of the minors, including shortstops Francisco Lindor and Dorssys Paulino. Before the acquisition of Bauer, this infield duo was atop the Indians’ prospect rankings according to Baseball America. Cleveland does not boast many upper-level prospects, but there should be some good talent that goes through Zebulon.

It's a shame that Scooby Doo won't be back in Zebulon in 2013.

It’s a shame that Scooby Doo won’t be back in Zebulon in 2013.

Best Promotion: Last year, Scooby Doo made an appearance at Five County Stadium. This season’s best promotion takes place on May 10, when Ron, Amy, Krazy Dave and Johnny from the hit Tru TV show “Lizard Lick Towing and Recovery” will make a special appearance. Let’s hope Mudcats fans park where they are supposed to at this game!

Fun Fact: Before Edwin Rodriguez begins his first season with Double-A Akron, he will try to guide Puerto Rico to a World Baseball Classic title. So far, so good for the 2012 Carolina skipper, who led Puerto Rico to a victory over two-time defending champion Japan in the semifinals Sunday night. Rodriguez’s Puerto Rico squad will take on either The Netherlands or the Dominican Republic in the finals later this week.

Mudcats in Winston Salem: The Dash open up the 2013 home slate with a three-game set against the Muddies from April 12-14. Carolina will also invade BB&T Ballpark May 31-June 2 and July 24-27.

Tomorrow: The Frederick Keys, who have a new manager with quite a unique place in Orioles history.

- Erika

Thursday News And Notes

Bobby Thigpen spent three years in Winston-Salem before his recent promotion to the White Sox coaching staff (Brian Westerholt/Sports on Film).

December is almost here, so the Dash front office is busy spreading holiday joy, hanging out with Santa and gearing up for the holiday season. With 2013 approaching, big league organizations are making some important decisions for the upcoming season. Here are a few notes to quench your baseball thirst on a Thursday afternoon:

  • Congrats to Bobby Thigpen, who will join the White Sox staff as the bullpen coach. Thiggy was the Dash’s pitching coach from 2009-11 before spending this season with Double-A Birmingham in the same role. Thigpen was certainly a fan favorite here in Winston-Salem, and Chicago skipper Robin Ventura has known him for his entire career.
  • The Sox also announced that Daryl Boston, who spent 12 seasons as the organization’s outfield instructor, will join the big league staff in 2013 as the first base coach. Boston made a handful of stops in Winston-Salem this season, and it was good to occasionally chat with him. Congrats to him, too.
  • The only Carolina League team to announce its field staff for 2013 is the Carolina Mudcats, who will have a new look when the Dash open the campaign in Zebulon April 5. David Wallace becomes the Muddies’ manager after guiding Lake County, the Indians’ Low-A affiliate, to the playoffs this season. Hitting coach Rouglas Odor and pitching coach Jeff Harris will accompany Wallace, who replaces 2012 skipper Edwin Rodriguez. The former Marlins boss will lead Cleveland’s Double-A affiliate in Akron.
  • The White Sox have yet to announce their minor league staff assignments for 2013, but this news should be released soon. Last year, Dash fans learned that Tommy Thompson was Winston-Salem’s 2012 manager in mid-November, while the 2011 staff decisions were made public a few days before Christmas.
  • Earlier this week, the BBWAA released the 37-man ballot for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. More than 600 voters have until December 31 to submit their vote, and some notable (and controversial) names are on the list. A few players linked to performance-enhancing drugs (Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa) will prompt many debates on the standards to reach the Hall of Fame. It should be fascinating to watch.

The Dash’s season opener is only 127 days away. We can’t wait!

- Brian

Carolina Countdown: Carolina Mudcats

First off, thanks to everyone for their efforts yesterday. Unfortunately, Bolt could not slay the defending Mascot Madness champion–Webster University’s Gorlok. Still, Bolt is incredibly thankful for all of your support.

Believe it or not, the 2012 Carolina League season begins in nine days. To get you set for the action, we are debuting a new feature in advance of the season. It’s the “Carolina Countdown,” and it will preview all seven Carolina League opponents for the Dash this season.

To kick things off, we will begin with the newest entrant into the CL: the Carolina Mudcats.

CAROLINA COUNTDOWN: Carolina Mudcats

Introduction: After 21 years in the Double-A Southern League, the Mudcats are at the Advanced-A level here in the Carolina League. During the shuffle this past offseason, the Mudcats replaced the Kinston Indians as Cleveland’s Carolina League affiliate. The Mudcats had been Cincinnati’s Double-A stop, but now the Reds have the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.

Last season: The Mudcats didn’t wrap up their Southern League run in style. Carolina stumbled to a 53-86 overall mark, which was the worst in the SL’s Southern Division. However, this record is completely irrelevant because of the affiliation switch.

New Carolina skipper Edwin Rodriguez managed the Florida Marlins for almost one calendar year (AP).

Manager: Edwin Rodriguez enters his first season with the Indians’ system. His name may sound familiar to big baseball fans, because he was the manager of the Florida Marlins for 360 days. Rodriguez replaced Fredi Gonzalez June 23, 2010, and resigned June 18, 2011. Rodriguez’s resignation began the process that ultimately led to Ozzie Guillen’s job with the new-look Miami Marlins.

System: The Indians’ system took a hit last year when the organization shipped its top two pitching prospects–Drew Pomeranz and Alex White–to Colorado for Ubaldo Jimenez. That trade, plus the promotion of top hitting prospects Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall to the big leagues, has helped to water down the Tribe’s system.

However, if there is a glimmer of hope, it is in the lower level of the minor leagues. Per Tony Lastoria of Indians Prospect Insider, top prospect Francisco Lindor should join Luigi Rodriguez (fifth-best Indians prospect according to Baseball America) and Tony Wolters (seventh) in Low-A Lake County. This trio could make it up to Carolina by season’s end.

Scooby Doo will spend a weekend in Zebulon this year.

Best promotion: From June 8-10, Scooby Doo will be at Five County Stadium to hang out with Mudcats fans. Unfortunately, the Pelicans are coming to town that weekend, so I won’t be able to hang out with Scooby.

Fun fact: From short season to the big leagues, there are six teams in the Indians’ farm system, and all but Carolina are in the state of Ohio. Triple-A Columbus is a two-hour drive south of Cleveland. Double-A Akron is less than an hour away from Progressive Field. Low-A Lake County is about the same. And short-season Mahoning Valley is near the Pennsylvania border, but it is still less than a two-hour trip to C-town.

Travel to Carolina: This is a pretty easy trip for the team and for Dash fans. Head east on I-40 and you’re there in a little more than two hours. It’s a 131-mile journey to Zebulon, which is the Dash’s second-shortest trip in the Carolina League.

Mudcats in Winston-Salem: These two clubs will share Opening Day April 6 in Zebulon. One week later, the Mudcats make their first ever CL road trip April 13-15 here at BB&T Ballpark. The Mudcats also invade Winston May 25-27 and July 23-26.

Tomorrow: The Frederick Keys, who won last season’s Mills Cup.

- Brian

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