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LaPorta, Brantley get training camp invites

By jcfortun Published: January 15, 2009

Some of the Indians best prospects, including Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley, will be in Arizona with the major-league club this preseason. Here is the press release:

The Cleveland Indians today invited eight (8) players to Major League camp from their player development system, bringing the total number of non-roster spring invitees to 16 for the 2009 spring (listed at the bottom)

Was 8th round pick by the Indians in 2005 First-Year Player Draft….Spent the 2008 season at AA Akron where he made 26 starts and finished 6th in the organization with a career-high 144.1IP…Was dominant over the last 2 months of the season, going 4-3 w/a 2.28 ERA (71.0IP, 58H, 18ER, 53K, .221AVG, 9HR) over his last 12 starts.

HUFF, David, LHP
Selected by Cleveland in the “Sandwich” round (39th overall) between the 1st/2nd rounds of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of UCLA…Enjoyed a breakout year between Akron and Buffalo, putting together a combined 11-5 record with a 2.52ERA (146.1IP, 112H, 41ER, 13HR, 29BB, 143K, .210 AVG) in 27G/26GS… For the year he led all Indians minor league pitchers in ERA, was T4th in wins and was 2nd in strikeouts and innings pitched…His combined .210 average against between Akron and Buffalo was the 11th lowest mark among ALL full season minor league pitchers…Following the season he was named the 6th best prospect in the International League by Baseball America…Enters 2009 as the 9th best prospect in the Indians organization according to Baseball America.

BROWN, Jordan, INF
Selected by Cleveland in the 4th round (124th overall) of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft out of Arizona…Spent the entire season at AAA Buffalo and hit .315 (29-92) with 6 2B, 2HR & 18RBI in the final 24 games…From July 17th on in the 2nd half he hit .311 (41-132) with 10 2B, 3HR & 24 RBI (.848OPS)…

HEAD, Stephen, INF/OF
Selected by Cleveland in the 2nd round (62nd overall) in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft out of Ole Miss…Spent entire 2008 season at Akron where he hit a career-high .290 as he hit over .300 in each of the first 4 months of the season, hitting .311 in July (33-106) with 10 2B, 4HR & 14 RBI in 27 games…First big league camp.

Selected by Cleveland in the 2nd round (69th overall) of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of Georgia Tech…
Had a great year at AA Akron, earning Rookie of the Year honors in the Eastern League, hitting .290 (146-504) with 29 2B, 18HR & and 97RBI…Finished T1st in the Eastern League and led the Indians organization with 97 RBI…His 18HR were 9th in the league and 2nd among Tribe minor leaguers… Was a mid-season and post-season Eastern League all-star selection…Was ranked as the 16th best prospect in the Eastern League by Baseball America…After the season was named to the Arizona Fall League’s 2008 Top Prospects Team…Hit .349 (38-109) with the Surprise Rafters with 8 2B, 6HR & 26 RBI in 25 games (.587SLG, .956OPS)…

Ranked #5 prospect in the entire Carolina League and Indians organization for 2009 by Baseball America… Selected by Cleveland in the 1st round (13th overall) of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft…Was named Most Valuable Player of the Carolina League and a CL Post-Season and Mid-Season All-Star in his first full season of professional baseball…Mills batted .293 (141-125; 8th/Carolina League) in 125 games with the A Kinston Indians, finishing T1st in the Carolina League w/an organizational-high 21 home runs, 2nd in RBI (90) and 3rd in CL in slugging percentage (.506) and extra-base hits (58)…

Acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers after the season to complete earlier trade…Brantley spent the entire 2008 season at Class AA Huntsville of the Southern League where he posted an on-base percentage of .395 with 80 runs, 17 doubles, 2 triples, 4 home runs and 40 RBI in 106 games…He also stole 28 bases in 36 attempts and compiled a batting average of .319 (134-420)…He was tied for 6th in Southern League in runs (80) & steals (28), was 7th in batting average (.319) and 12th in on-base % (.395)…He had nearly twice as many walks (50) as strikeouts (27) and ranked second in the entire minor leagues w/a strikeout per plate appearance ratio of 17.7 (27K in 479 PA)… Enters 2009 as the 9th best prospect in the Indians organization according to Baseball America.

Named the 2nd best prospect in organization by Baseball America entering 2009 and the 14th overall prospect in baseball by…Acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers in July…Combined on the season between AA Huntsville and Akron he hit .279 (101-362) with 24 2B, 22HR & 74RBI in 101 games (.386OB/.539SLG/.924OPS) and also spent 3 ½ weeks in August in Beijing, China playing in the 2008 Olympics for Team USA…Finished 7th among all Double A hitters in slugging % and T11th in HR (22) in just 362 at bats…After the season was named to the Baseball America Minor League All-Star Team (all levels) and the Baseball America Double A All-Star Team…

36 AQUINO, Greg, RHP
64 EDELL, Ryan LHP
16 OHKA, Tomo, RHP
69 HUFF, David, LHP
65 ESPINO, Damaso, CA
23 AUBREY, Michael, INF
67 BROWN, Jordan, INF
66 HEAD, Stephen, INF/OF
73 MERCHAN, Jesus, INF
78 MILLS, Beau, INF
8 VALDEZ, Wilson, INF
61 BRANTLEY, Michael, OF
71 LaPORTA, Matt, OF/INF

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