Despite poor record, Indians high on several Scrappers


By Steve Ruman

sports@vindy.com

NILES

Though the Mahoning Valley Scrappers continue to struggle as a team, Cleveland Indians fans shouldn’t be discouraged about the Tribe’s future based on the play of their Class A affiliate.

Such is the message of former Indians All-Star Travis Fryman, now an adviser for player development and point man for infield development for Indians organization.

Fryman, who also managed the Scrappers from 2008-2010, was at Eastwood Field on Tuesday to evaluate the Scrappers, who fell to the State College Spikes 6-2.

Despite a 30-39 record and a team batting average of .237, the Scrappers roster includes a number of players who have garnered Fryman’s attention.

“Obviously our number one pick [outfielder] Bradley Zimmer has made a real good impression with the staff, as has [outfielder] Greg Allen,” Fryman said. “I’ve also got a couple of good reports on a number of pitchers.

“Evaluating talent is such a difficult and extensive task. You can’t just look at statistics and base your reports on numbers. You have to look at the big picture. And, offense is just one part of the game.”

Fryman noted that many of the players at the Class A level are experiencing the rigors of professional baseball for the first time.

“The physicality of professional baseball is often quite a bit more than a lot of guys expect,” Fryman said. “Playing every day, the travel, the constant highs and lows. It all takes its toll on the body and the mind.

“In college, the players are used to weekend games where they ride an emotional high. Here it’s about professionalism. It’s about learning to play at a high standard every day, and dealing with the highs and lows that all players experience. The first season is a very difficult year for most players.”

Fryman spent 13 years in the big leagues, playing for Detroit and Cleveland. He owns a .274 lifetime batting average with 223 home runs and 1,022 RBI.

“This is a tough game. For a lot of these guys, the talent is there, but it just takes a bit of time for everything to develop and fall into place. It’s a process for every player at this level.”

Against the Spikes (43-27), the Scrappers knocked out nine hits but were never able to come up with the big blow with runners on base. The Scrappers also ran themselves out of several scoring opportunities.

Meanwhile, the Spikes made the most of their six hits. Nick Thompson and Danny Diekroeger each collected a pair of RBIs for the visitors.

The two teams conclude their three-game series tonight at 7:05.

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