Columbus Clippers, AAA Title Contender
After acquiring Michael Brantley to complete the CC Sabathia trade, I’ve decided to break down what I believe will be the core starting lineups for each level of the Indians’ minor league system. Being that it will be the first year the Indians will be affiliated with Columbus at the new Huntington Bank Stadium, Indians fans and the people of Columbus together have a lot to be excited about.
For the most part, the Indians Major League team is intact. They will likely look to add a solid infielder at any position and move the rest around accordingly. However, I think the key player will likely be that of a second baseman or third baseman. If the player is a second baseman, expect Asdrubal Cabrera to move to SS and Jhonny Peralta to 3B. If the player is a third baseman, Andy Marte will be on his way out, and the rest of the infield will likely stay the same. I also look for the Indians to try to add a closer in the likes of a Huston Street through a trade, potentially sending Ryan Garko or Kelly Shoppach the other way.
Here is the lineup I expect the Columbus Clippers, at this point in time, to be putting on the field on a pretty regular basis.
1) Michael Brantley – CF
2) Trevor Crowe – RF
3) Matt LaPorta – LF
4) Wes Hodges – 3B
5) Jordan Brown – DH / 1B
6) Stephen Head – 1B / DH
7) Chris Gimenez – C
8) Josh Rodriguez – SS
9) Josh Barfield – 2B
* Backup C – Wyatt Toregas
* Unless Chris Gimenez is rostered, he could be lost to the Rule 5 draft.
I believe Michael Aubrey will either be with the major league club next season, or on his way out through a trade. If he’s not, Stephen Head could find himself again in AA. With the year he had at Akron, it’d be a shame to send him back down. Head brings as much defensively as Aubrey, and his bat seems to have caught up with Aubrey’s as well. If both are healthy, they’ve become almost an identical player.
As for the rotation, there’s far too much speculation as to who will make the ML club and who will be in AAA. JD Martin will more than likely be a starter for the Clippers next season while the others are up in the air. Potentially the others are David Huff, Scott Lewis, Aaron Laffey, Jeremy Sowers, Bryan Bullington, Frank Herrmann, and with a potential big comeback, Chuck Lofgren.