Ross Atkins, the Indians director of player development, has graciously agreed via email to answer some of our burning questions about Tribe minor leaguers this season on a weekly basis.
I've supplied the first group of questions this week. As always, feel free to email me with your own. While this forum is directed toward questions for Atkins, I can also answer some separetly in my mailbag as well so that we get to everybody on a timely basis.
OK Indians fans, fire away!
Q) Ross, readers want to know: Who is Bo Greenwell and where did the Lake County left fielder come from? He leads the Midwest League with a .386 batting average and seems to get a at least one hit per night.
A) Bo was drafted in the 6th round out of Riverdale High School in Florida in 2007, where he played more football than baseball. He was fairly raw when we drafted him but has really refined his tools and overall game. He comes from great bloodlines (his father Mike Greenwell was a 2-time all star with the Red Sox). Bo has exceptional hands and very good bat to ball ability with developing power. He can play all three outfield positions and really embraces the challenge of becoming a Major League player. His determination may be his best tool.
Q) Akron Aeros 2B Cord Phelps, the Indians third pick in the 2008 draft out of Stanford, is in only beginning his second professional season. Yet he's already at Double-A and batting a team-leading .365 in 20 games. Could he be the Indians second baseman of he future or are we moving too fast too soon?
A) Cord definitely has the ability to be a consistent producer at the Major League level – with his bat, as a baserunner and with his glove. He’s an above average defender who only made four errors all of last year. At the plate, he’s a switch hitter who uses the whole field. However, like all players in the Minor Leagues, he still has subtle aspects of his game that need refining.
Q) Speaking of Akron players, 3B Lonnie Chisenhall isn't playing too shabby, either. He's now batting .311 with 6 2B, 5 RBI and 14 runs scored. Chisenhall only played with the Aeros briefly last year around the playoffs. What's the plan for him this year?
A) Lonnie has been unbelievable this year and obviously has tremendous talent. Our staff at the Major and Minor league level have been impressed with the things he has been able to do at such a young age. For now, we’ll see how Lonnie adjusts to the challenges of playing in Akron everyday and let his progress and performance dictate his timetable.
Q) What's your assessment on how well right-hander Alex White has acclimated to pro ball? The Indians No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft began his professional career at Advanced Class-A Kinston and is 1-2 with a 2.81 ERA through five starts. He's allowed 20 hits in 25 2/3 innings and has struggled with his control in issuing 12 walks.
A) The adjustment from college to professional baseball is not typically as seamless as it’s been for Alex. Alex has handled everything we have thrown at him. After signing, he spent time with the Akron club and then participated in our fall programs for about a month. In his first few starts, he has shown well above average stuff and is missing a lot of bats.