August 1, 2015 AZL Indians

Going back in time to the 2015 Arizona Rookie League season, let’s enjoy a good old fashioned blow out. To make it even more fun, nearly all of the Indians players from this game have been released with the remaining players not being considered real prospects anymore.

While the 2015 AZL Indians weren’t all that great, this game featured fine performances by the players who were stars on the team, starting with Gabriel Mejia. Mejia bunted for a single to begin the game, went to second when Jorma Rodriguez was hit by a pitch, then scored on an Alexis Pantoja double. Simeon Lucas then brought Rodriguez home with a sac fly for a quick 2-0 lead, enough already for the Indians win.

AZL Indians 2015 ace, Micah Miniard, made the start and retired his first seven batters faced. He allowed a walk in the third, but ultimately went five shut out, hitless innings with just two walks allowed and five strike outs.

Micah Miniard2
Miniard makes a start for the 2015 AZL Indians at home in Goodyear, AZ. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

As Miniard was putting them down, the offense kept rolling. In the second with two outs, Erlin Cerda (pictured at top) singled and advanced on an error, wild pitch and balk to score. Mejia was at the plate during all that and walked himself, moving up on two wild pitches which were followed by a Rodriguez walk. Pantoja then singled to bring home both runners.

Due to his wildness in the second, the Angels took out Crusito Mieses and went with Taylor Cobb. Things didn’t go any better in the third, however, as he gave up a double to Anthony Miller, who then scored on consecutive wild pitches. As you may have predicted, Junior Soto (the batter for the wild pitches) walked, then advanced when the second baseman threw wild on a Juan Garcia ground ball. Franklin Torres blew another one a batter later, although Gian Paul Gonzalez’s ground ball was called a single. This loaded the bases and ultimately allowed one more run to score on Cerda’s GIDP a batter later.

Things calmed down for a bit at this point until the sixth, when the Indians started singling again. Cerda started the party this time with a hit up the middle, followed by a Mejia infield hit. Rodriguez then brought home Cerda with a single and Mejia followed him home thanks to two errors by right fielder Ryan Vega. In the bottom half, Ryan Colegate replaced Miniard and allowed the first Angels hit, a double by Jose A. Rodriguez, but completed the inning without score. He would pitch a perfect inning in the seventh before being replaced by Henry Martinez in the eighth.

Already up 9-0, the Indians added a bit more in the ninth when Lucas walked and scored on a Miller home run. This was an interesting occurrence as the 6’4″ 240 lb Miller looked to be a promising power hitting first baseman at draft time, but hit just two other homers in 2015 and was released following the 2018 season with 25 total homers in 285 games.

Martinez came back out for the bottom half and allowed two of the three Angels hits in the game, but didn’t allow a run to keep the shut out intact.

This game was a wild one and there were quite a few weird things. In addition to the four Angels errors, the Indians had 14 hits, but only two went for extra bases. With so many men on first, it isn’t completely surprising that they grounded into four double plays. They also walked four times with two hitters hit by pitches.

Gabriel Mejia2
Mejia warms up in centerfield during a road game with the 2015 AZL Indians. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

This was Gabriel Mejia’s first season in the US and after this game, he was nearly hitting .400. He lead the team with three runs scored (Pantoja had three hits and three RBI in this game) and ultimately hit .357/.438/.417 with 41 runs scored and 34 steals in 43 games before his promotion to Mahoning Valley. He was released during the 2019 season.

The other big standout from this game and the 2015 AZL Indians, Miniard, ended up with a 3.29 ERA across 63 innings with 46 strike outs and 16 walks prior to his end of season promotion. While he was good in 2016 as well and ended up reaching Lynchburg by 2018, he was released prior to the 2019 season.

 

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