August 24, 2017 Mahoning Valley Scrappers

On their way to a first place finish in the New York-Penn League’s Pinckney Division, a few of the Indians current top prospects got together for a solid win against the Batavia Muckdogs on this day in 2017.

Kirk McCarty made the start for the Scrappers at home and K’d two in the first with a walk between. Ernie Clement tried to start up the offense with a lead-off single and throwing error, but two Scrappers struck out as well to keep him on base. Each team added a base runner in the second as well, but didn’t score and the Muckdogs had two reach in the third, but McCarty kept living on the edge without going over.

Kirk McCarty8
McCarty makes a start for the Indians during 2019 extended spring training. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI 

Side-arming lefty Randy Valladares (pictured at top) relieved McCarty in the fourth, walked the first batter he faced, but kept up the shut out thanks to a double play. He would load the bases in the fifth thanks to a single between two walks, but a failed sac bunt, strike out and ground out kept the score at zero. Finally, someone broke through in the bottom half of the inning.

Jon Laureano singled to lead off the inning and went to third when Hosea Nelson had a single as well. The first run would then score on a Michael Rivera sacrifice fly, then Nelson stole second and went to third on a throwing error. After a pitching change, Clement brought him home with a two out single.

Former closer turned starter Jean Carlos Mejia then came in for relief and pitched the final four shut out innings. Prior to 2018, Mejia was used almost exclusively in relief, but the Indians started converting him to the rotation by extending his outings in 2017. This was just his second appearance of four innings in the 2017, but he would go four more shut out innings against the Muckdogs in his next appearance as well. Incredibly, over his final 14 games, he struck out 33 with four walks across 26 scoreless innings.

Jean Carlos Mejia
Mejia warms up in the outfield prior to 2020 Indians MLB spring training practice in Goodyear, AZ. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

In this game, McCarty, Valladares and Mejia combined for 11 K’s and just four hits allowed in the shut out. All three pitchers remain with the Indians and both McCarty and Mejia are options for 2020 or 2021 while Valladares is still a few years away.

The only hitter to hit safely twice in this game for Mahoning Valley was rookie short stop Clement, who was a spring training invitee in 2020 and is currently working out at the alternate site. While they weren’t quite as successful in this particular game, Nolan Jones and Oscar Gonzalez have also moved quickly through the system and could join the Indians in the big league in the coming seasons.

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