Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland Indians’

Support. It’s one word and two syllables.  It has five consonants and two vowels;  it’s a word you can easily sound out.  It has no fancy tricks, no accents and is nothing special.   Yet support is the difference between success and failure, just ask 2011 Scrapper Bryson Myles.

Myles, a Texan by birth, can’t remember a time when he and his brother Candon weren’t playing sports.  Originally favoring basketball and football, they only played baseball at their parents urging.

“Our parents didn’t want us sitting around at home, so they threw us in baseball just to keep us occupied.  It was one of those things we were pretty good at, so it became a sport we played every year”.

Myles is being modest, as for most of us “pretty good” is how we describe the kid who always get’s picked first in gym class.  It’s not the description of a future professional baseball player.

Recruited by schools such as Texas Christian University for football, Myles had a decision to make: did his future lie on the diamond or the gridiron?  He went on to play baseball at Weatherford College (Texas) and Stephen F. Austin University (Texas) before getting drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft.  After signing with the Cleveland Indians he was sent to Mahoning Valley to start his professional career.

(Jesse Piecuch)

(Jesse Piecuch)

“It was the craziest time of my life. I don’t think at the time I realize how much work goes into the day to day of playing baseball. I don’t think I really knew how to learn at that point, I was always so good.  Most of my learning about myself and baseball I did in Mahoning Valley”.

Myles went from playing three to five games a week only a few hours from home to playing everyday thousands of miles from Grand Prairie, Texas.  He had to adjust from BBCOR bats to wood while playing with and against some of the best talent in the country.

So how did the 2011 New York-Penn League All-Star get through the struggles of learning in his first year of professional baseball? With the help of “one of the best fan bases” he’s ever been around.

“I couldn’t have picked a better place to play at for my first year of professional baseball. You get to play in front of big huge crowds, which is something you really long for as an athlete and as a player.  Then, on top of that, the people there are so welcoming. They know you on a first name basis and I would get to know them on a first name basis as well.”

What Myles feels speaks volumes about Scrappers fans is that their support didn’t stop when he left the team. “In Carolina this past season there were fans from Mahoning Valley that would drive all the way just to come and watch us play”.  For a twenty-four year old top prospect navigating his way through the Indians’ Farm System, a friendly face can mean more then you will ever know.

Myles was especially touched by the warm welcome his brother Candon received here in Mahoning Valley this past year.  Candon was also drafted in 2011, six rounds after his older brother by the Pittsburgh Pirates.  When Candon arrived at Eastwood Field at the end of August Bryson described his younger brother’s experience as “really fun.  He said he had never spoken to so many fans in his life. They wanted to learn about him because they remembered me”.

It is due to his relationship with Scrappers fans that makes the trip back to Mahoning Valley for the upcoming Hot Stove Banquet so special for Bryson Myles.

“You always want to go back to where you first started, and Mahoning Valley was the start of my professional career. I think, to be honest, I may get a little emotional because I know once I get there I’m going to have little flashbacks. I’m excited and I can’t wait to see all the people and interact with all the fans”.

Support.  It’s taking the time to learn a player’s name.  It’s staying late to say “good game” after extra innings.  It’s a weekly phone call from a host family two years later just to check in.  Above all, it’s showing someone that you care.  Support is more then one word and two syllables, and it is what has helped 2011 Scrapper Bryson Myles build a foundation as a professional baseball player and become the Indians Organization All-Star that he is today.


With temperatures plummeting into the negatives, what better way to warm up then the Scrappers Hot Stove Banquet.  With less than a month to go, the Scrappers Scoop has all the details to get you ready for the event of the season.

As mentioned in the previous blog entry, the Scrappers are inviting fans to Ciminero’s Banquet Center on January 30, 2014 from 6-8 PM for a dinner and a meet and greet with some of the top prospects in the Indians’ organization.  Tickets are $35 for adults and $25 for children ages twelve and under.  Fans will enjoy dinner, remarks from a member of the Indians’ player development staff, and a silent auction benefiting the M.V.P.B.A. Scrappers Backers.  Following dinner, fans can take part in a question and answer session with the prospects as well as get autographs.

The Hot Stove Banquet is not only a way for you to support the Scrappers and the rich history of baseball talent the team has showcased in the valley, but also a way to interact with players the Indians have highlighted as their stars of tomorrow.  Sixty-four Major League players have roots in Mahoning Valley, and these seven young prospects could be the next to hit it big.  The Hot Stove Banquet is your chance to get their autographs, take a picture, learn what skills they hope to develop, and ask any question you would like before these players debut in the Major Leagues.

Still undecided on whether or to get a ticket for the Scrappers Hot Stove Banquet?  As part of the 2014 promotions schedule, one of the top prospects attending the event will have their very own Bobblehead given out at Eastwood Field this upcoming summer.  We will be announcing the bobblehead at the Hot Stove, and also giving everyone in attendance a ticket voucher to attend the bobblehead giveaway night.

Now let me introduce you to the All-Star line up of prospects we’ve got slated to attend the event! 

Giovanny Urshela

Giovanny Urshela

Giovanny Urshela

Born October 11, 1991 in Cartagena, Columbia Urshela signed with the Cleveland Indians as a Non-Drafted Free Agent on July 2, 2008.  He spent his first few season in the Dominican Summer League and the Arizona Rookie League before joining the Scrappers in 2010.  With the Scrappers, Urshela ranked third on the team for batting average ( .290), second on the team for hits (64), first on the team for RBI (35) and third on the team for total bases (81).  He played the 2011 season with Class A Lake County and the 2012 season with Class A Advanced Carolina.  After being named the Best Infield Arm in the Indians Organization by Baseball America in 2012, Urshela played the 2013 season in Class AA Akron.




Jesus Aguilar

Jesus Aguilar getting congratulated after a home run

Jesus Aguilar getting congratulated after a home run

Jesus Aguilar has been one of the hottest hitters rising up through the Indians farm system.  Born June 30, 1990 in Maracan, Venezula, Aguilar signed with the Cleveland Indians as a Non-Draft Free Agent on November 13, 2007.  After two seasons in the Dominican Summer League and Arizona Rookie League Aguilar joined the 2010 Mahoning Valley Scrappers.  Aguilar hit .244 with 30 hits, 17 RBI, 8 runs, 9 doubles, 2 homeruns and 2 stolen bases for the Scrappers.  During the 2011 season, Aguilar spent time in both Class A Lake County and Class A Advanced Carolina and lead all of the Indians’ organization in RBI (82), placed second in home runs (23) and third in hits (131).  He was named a 2011 and 2013 Indians’ Organization All-Star by  He was rated the Best Power Hitter in the Indians’ Organization by Baseball America in 2012 and was a member of the All-Star Futures team that same year.  Aguilar spent 2013 with Class AA Akron and again was an offensive leader.  He recorded the most RBI (105), had the second most homeruns (16) and had the third most hits (137) in the Indians’ Organization.  Following the 2013, season Aguilar was named a Post-Season Eastern League All-Star, was named the 17th ranked Indians’ prospect by, and is currently listed on the Indians 40 man roster.


Bryson Myles

Bryson Miles (Jesse Piecuch)

Bryson Miles (Jesse Piecuch)

One of the speediest prospects in the Indians’ system Bryson Myles was born September 18, 1989 in Grand Prairie, Texas.  Originally recruited by Texas Christian University as a linebacker Myles chose to play baseball and was signed out of Stephen F. Austin University in the 6th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball First Year Player Amateur Draft.  He began his professional baseball career as a Scrapper and saw great success in Mahoning Valley.  Myles was a 2011 New York-Penn League All-Star and had the fifth highest batting average in the league (.302) upon the conclusion of the season.  He lead the 2011 Scrappers squad in stolen bases (20), and placed third on the team for triples (3), on base percentage (.394) and slugging percentage (.401).  He played the 2012 season for Class A Lake County and most recently played for the Class A Advanced Carolina Mudcats in 2013.  As a Mudcat Myles hit .285 and ranked second on the team for slugging percentage (.427), third for stolen bases (15), third for homeruns (8) and fourth for RBI (52).  The outfielder was named a 2013 Indians Organization All-Star by


Erik Gonzalez

Erik Gonzalez (Jesse Piecuch)

Erik Gonzalez (Jesse Piecuch)

Erik Gonzalez was born on August 31, 1991 in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.  He signed as a Non-Drafted Free Agent just five days shy of his seventeenth birthday on August 26, 2008.  After spending the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons in the Dominican Summer League and the Arizona Rookie League Gonzalez joined the 2012 Scrappers team.  In Mahoning Valley, Gonzalez hit .220 with 47 hits, 30 runs, 9 doubles, 1 triple and a homerun.  In addition, Gonzalez lead the 2012 team with 9 stolen bases.  He spent the 2013 season in Class A Lake County and Class A Advanced Carolina.  Gonzalez is currently listed on the Cleveland Indians 40 man roster.




Tyler Naquin

Tyler Naquin (Jesse Piecuch)

Tyler Naquin (Jesse Piecuch)

Another member of the 2012 Scrappers team, Tyler Naquin was born April 26, 1991 in Spring, Texas.  After a standout career at Texas A&M, the centerfielder was drafted in the 1st round (15th overall) of the 2012 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft.  Naquin was ranked the third best prospect and the Best Outfield Arm by Baseball America following his 2012 season with the Scrappers.  He spent the 2013 season in Class A Advanced Carolina and Class AA Akron.  At the conclusion of the 2013 season, Naquin had the second most hits (124), third most runs (69), third most doubles (27), second most homeruns (9), third highest slugging percentage (.424) and third most total bases (190) for the Carolina Mudcats.    He was a 2013 Carolina League All-Star, 2013 Arizona Fall League All-Star, a member of the 2013 Arizona Fall League Top Prospects team and is currently ranked the 5th Top Prospect in the Indians organization by


Joey Wendle

Joey Wendle (Jesse Piecuch)

Joey Wendle (Jesse Piecuch)

The third member of the Scrappers 2012 team expected to attend the Hot Stove is infielder Joey Wendle.  Wendle was born April 26, 1990 in Lincoln University, Pennsylvania.  He was drafted in the 6th round of the 2012 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft out of West Chester University and had his professional debut here in Mahoning Valley.  Wendle had a standout year in 2012 hitting .327 and leading the Scrappers in hits (80), runs scored (32), RBI (37), doubles (15), triples (4) and total bases (115).  He was also named a 2012 New York-Penn League All-Star.  Wendle played the 2013 season for Class A Advanced Carolina and ranked second in the Carolina League for slugging percentage (.513) and extra base hits (53).  He was named a 2013 Carolina League All-Star and a Post-Season All-Star.  In addition to being named a 2013 Indians Organization All-Star by, Wendle was honored as the 2013 Lou Bourdreau Award recipient, which is given to the Indians Minor League Player of the Year.


Kyle Crockett

Kyle Cockett (Jesse Piecuch)

Kyle Cockett (Jesse Piecuch)

Rounding out the list of Top Prospects expected to attend the Hot Stove Banquet is left handed pitcher Kyle Crockett.  Crockett was born December 15, 1991 in Newport News, Virginia.  After an extremely successful collegiate career  at the University of Virginia, Crockett was selected in the 4th round of the 2013 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft.  He began his professional career as a Scrapper and also played for Class A Lake County. After finishing  the 2013 season in Class AA Akron, Crockett is now currently listed as the 15th best prospect in the Indians Organization by




For more information on the Hot Stove Banquet or to order tickets call the front office at (330) 505-0000 or go to

If you follow baseball or have turned on Sports Center during the past few months you have probably heard the phrase “Hot Stove” mentioned once or twice.  But what exactly is a Hot Stove, and how does it have anything to do with baseball?

The phrase “Hot Stove” is a term used to describe the cold winter months between the World Series and the start of Spring Training.  The term is derived from the image of fans huddled around a hot stove, talking about baseball and speculating plans their teams have cooked up for the next season.  The Hot Stove season is a time for trades, player contract extensions, new team hires, and massive re-strategizing.

The term Hot Stove has also been embraced as a way to describe events hosted by teams in the off-season. This year, the Scrappers are very excited to host their first Hot Stove Banquet on January 30, 2014.


So What Can You Expect at the Scrappers Hot Stove Banquet?

The Hot Stove Banquet will be a unique way to experience baseball in the off-season and get a look at future Cleveland Indians.

This year, ten to twelve Top Prospects from throughout the Indians organization will be making the short trip to Niles for a meet and greet, question and answer session, and autograph session with fans in attendance at the banquet.  The names of the prospects attending will be released on this blog and at in early January.  It is likely that several of these players have played in the Mahoning Valley, and the banquet is a time for fans to see them a little more polished and refined as they prepare to play for Cleveland in the near future.  It’s also a time for fans to get to know the personalities of these prospects away from the diamond and see them as people as well as players.

Emceeing the event will be former Cleveland Indian Jason Stanford.  Stanford was signed by the Cleveland Indians as a Free Agent out of University of North Carolina- Charlotte in 1999. He had his Major League debut for the Indians in 2003 against the Minnesota Twins and also played a short two game stint as a Scrapper in 2005.  He spent nine years pitching in professional baseball with the Indians, Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs.  Stanford is currently the Pitching Coach for the Youngstown State Penguins baseball team as well as the co-host of Indians On-Deck, Indians Minor League Magazine and Tribe Report on SportsTime Ohio

In addition, a member of the Cleveland Indians Player Development staff will speak briefly at the event.

The Hot Stove Banquet is presented by the M.V.P.B.A. Scrappers Backers and Sports Radio 1240 and will be from 6-8 PM on January 30, 2014 at Cimenero’s Banquet Center in Niles.  The event includes the above-mentioned activities as well as a dinner and silent auction benefiting the M.V.P.B.A. Scrappers Backers.  Tickets are $35 for adults and $25 for children (age 12 and under) and may be purchased at the Holiday Store located next to Auntie Anne’s at the Eastwood Mall, the Scrappers Box Office or by calling (330) 505-0000.

Baseball is a game, yes. It is also a business” – Willie Mays

After a full week in Florida our front office is back from Winter Meetings and adjusting to the below freezing temperatures in Ohio.  After returning on Friday, General Manager Jordan Taylor, Assistant General Manager of Sales Matt Thompson and Assistant General Manager of Stadium Operations Brad Hooser spent some time catching me up on their adventures.

Winter Meetings officially started for the trio when they arrived in Orlando and were picked up at the airport by the Brandiose party bus.  For those who are unfamiliar, Brandiose is one of the premier design firms in Minor League Baseball.  They have helped design logos for many teams including the Scrappers over the past several years.  On the bus, the staff got to loosen up and catch-up up with other winter meeting attendees on the way to the hotel.


Ready to board the Brandiose Party Bus! (Brandiose)

(Matt Thompson)

Inside the Brandiose Party Bus (Matt Thompson)

After arriving at the Swan Resort and Hotel in Walt Disney World, the group checked in and got their schedules for the week.  The Winter Meetings had over forty different seminars this year in the categories of sales, marketing, web design, operations, merchandising, media, and community relations.  Seminars are led by the industries best and are a great way for teams to share their strategies and insight.  Some of the seminars our staff attended included “Minor League, MAJOR Marketing Channel”, “Brining Technology Into Your Stadium Operations” and “Creating a Fanatical Food Experience”.

Matt Thompson walking into the Swan Hotel for a Day of Seminars (Brad Hooser)

Matt Thompson walking into the Swan Hotel for a Day of Seminars (Brad Hooser)

In addition to the seminars Jordan, Matt and Brad also attended networking events.  A favorite for many teams is the annual affiliate dinner.  The dinner is a chance for staff from Arizona, Mahoning Valley, Lake County, North Carolina, Akron, and Columbus to get together and socialize.  Of the six Indians affiliates, four are located in the state of Ohio.  This is very unusual for a farm system and for many Minor League teams the affiliate dinner is the only time of the year they get to see the other front offices in person.

Though it is not on the official Winter Meetings schedule another highly anticipated event each year is the New York Penn-League Kangaroo Court.  Kangaroo Court is a time honored baseball tradition played in almost every Minor League and Major League clubhouse across the country.  New York-Penn League execs play each year as well by airing their grievances each December.  A front office member will issue a complaint against a team and the group will decide the appropriate fee for the team to pay.  Kangaroo Court is a way for the league to poke fun at each other and raise money for the New York-Penn League foundation.  Though I am not allowed to disclose any of the charges brought in court this year I can promise it was a fun night for all teams in attendance.

In their down time, Jordan, Matt and Brad met up with old friends from different teams and enjoyed their surroundings.  I’m told one night Matt performed at a Karaoke Bar (sadly there is no video, I asked).  They explored Downtown Disney and also attended the Winter Meetings Gala.  Celebrity sightings included Kevin Millar, Chris Rose and Chris Fowler.  Jordan can also be spotted on last Thursday night’s Intentional Talk.

Winter Meetings Gala (Matt Thompson)

Winter Meetings Gala (Matt Thompson)

On their final day the front office met up with 2011 Scrappers intern and current Promotions Manager of the Lake County Captains, Drew LaFollette, and toured the set of the ESPN College Football Awards.

Now that the group is back in snowy Ohio, they are more ready then ever to bring new ideas and great fan entertainment to the Mahoning Valley in 2014.