The Arizona Complex League started up on June 28th with the ACL Indians playing their first game of the season the following night. While this league used to feature the draft picks from the current year, the restructuring of the lower minors has made it more of a mid level between the Dominican Summer League and Low A while featuring a few rehabbing players and a handful of 2020 draft picks.

After one week of play, this seems to be a fairly offense heavy team and they currently sit tied for second with eight home runs and in the middle of the pack with 14 doubles. The defense has been fine, especially for an Arizona Rookie level team, although there have certainly been mistakes that weren’t counted as errors. The biggest weakness is currently in the pitching staff where the staff as a hole has an ERA above six with seven individuals who have thrown at least two innings above five. This combination has lead to a lot of runs early in the season and a lot of back and forth affairs.

Day by Day

6/28 – Indians at Brewers Blue (Cancelled)
6/29 – W 7-6 Angels at Indians: W Rodriguez, L Tapia, S Villalobos
7/1 – W 10-4 Indians at White Sox (7 In.): W Mateo, L Gilliland
7/2 – L 4-3 Indians at Dodgers: W Santana, L Forrester
7/3 – L 12-5 Reds at Indians: W Gonzalez, L Scott
7/5 – W 10-8 White Sox at Indians: W S. Perez, L K. Perez, S Forrester
7/6 – W 8-7 Brewers Blue at Indians: W Villalobos, L Chourio
7/8 – W 8-5 Dodgers at Indians: W Forrester, L Santana

Dayan Frias and Skeiling Rodriguez warm up prior to a 2021 ACL game in Goodyear, AZ. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

Player of the Week

IF Dayan Frias: 8/17, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 5 R, 6 BB

Splitting time between second, third and short, Frias has been simply destroying it during the first week of Arizona baseball. He was always a good OBP player and he continued that trend with six walks, but never showed any power before and now leads the team in home runs (T with 2) and slugging percent (.824).

Durango rounds third after hitting a lead off home run against the ACL Dodgers. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

Who’s Hot

OF Luis Durango: 4/15, 4 R, 2 RBI, 5 SB, HR, 4 BB

One of the most highly anticipated members of the Indians 2019 international signing class, Durango skipped the DSL entirely to make his pro debut with the ACL Indians last week. He had two hits in each of his first two games including his first career home run on July 2nd against the Dodgers. This solo shot lead off the game and was legitimate in every way as the game was played at the Major League spring training stadium, Camelback Ranch, and had plenty of distance beyond the right field wall. In the final game of the week he showed a different part of his game as he walked three times and stole four bases including one of home. This particular feat came in the first inning Thursday against the Dodgers when he walked to lead off the inning, waited until two were out, then stole second and third with Micael Ramirez at bat. After Ramirez walked, Ramirez attempted to steal second and Durango took home on the delayed steal. He has also played mostly centerfield and been a fine defenseman with a strong arm.

SP Cody Morris: 4.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 12 K

Morris made just one rehab start for Arizona before heading back to Akron, but it was a very impressive one. Against the ACL White Sox on July 1, he gave up a run in the first after a single, wild pitch and error, but struck out three batters. He then struck out the next six batters in a row before allowing a ground out and a walk to start the fourth. He struck out two more that inning and one more in the fifth before reaching his pitch count. He did allow a solo home run prior to his final K in the fifth for his only earned run of the night. Morris has now been returned to Akron and made the start for the Ducks last night.

Who’s Not

RHP Samuel Vasquez: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 5 BB, 4 K

A few ACL Indians starters got off to a rough start to the season, but none more so than Sammy Vasquez. He retired just one batter in his first appearance, walking three and hitting a batter, leading to four runs on two hits. Things were significantly better his next time out, but he was still only able to make it through four innings while allowing three runs on four hits. His command issues appear to have been worked out, however.

CF Julian Escobedo: 1/15, 2 R, 4 BB, 6 K

As well as Morris pitched on his rehab assignment, Escobedo’s rehab assignment has went exactly the opposite. He has just one hit and four walks in 18 plate appearances and has made some questionable plays in center. This is very surprising given his previous success in both Arizona and earlier this year in Lynchburg and the fact that he’s already 23 years old.

Up next (all times local):

7/9 Indians @ Angels (Tempe, 6 PM)
7/10 Indians @ Reds (Goodyear, 1 PM)
7/11 Off
7/12 Indians @ Rangers (Surprise, 6 PM)
7/13 Mariners @ Indians (Goodyear, 6 PM)
7/14 Off
7/15 Indians @ Athletics (Mesa, 6 PM)

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