Akron RubberDucks notebook: Cleveland Indians’ affiliate’s bats are struggling

Apr 11, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; A general view of a basket of baseballs sit on the warning track before the game between the Miami Marlins and the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 11, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; A general view of a basket of baseballs sit on the warning track before the game between the Miami Marlins and the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The Akron RubberDucks currently are 17-21 and are 4th in the Eastern League Western Division because of some lousy hitting.

Offense has been something the Akron RubberDucks have struggled to come by in 2017. In the Eastern League the RubberDucks rank 10th in RBI, 11th in average, and 11th in runs. The bright spot for the RubberDucks is they are second in home runs hit.

One of the top hitters the Akron RubberDucks have so far this is season is none other than catcher Francisco Mejia. Mejia has an average of .302 but only has an OBP (On base percentage) of .340. Along with that, Mejia only has 10 runs batted in and has only hit 2 home runs.

Mejia has never been a guy that has been known for his power, but he is a player who can hit the ball. In 2016 fans may remember that Mejia had the 50 game hit streak.

More from Factory of Sadness

That 50 game hitting streak helped Mejia produce a .342 average with 11 home runs and 80 RBI between the Lake County Captains and the Lynchburg Hillcats.

A couple of the guys who are struggling thus far for the Rubber Ducks are first baseman Bobby Bradley, shortstop Yu-Cheng Chang, and utilityman Todd Hankins.

Bradley is the Indians’ fourth ranked prospect and deserving so. Bradley has never been a batter who has maintained a very high average, but he does have a lot of power. In 2015 and 2016 Bradley hit over 25 home runs and drove in over 90 RBI.

For Chang, 2017 has been rough so far as he’s hitting only .190 with an OBP of .275. Chang has added power to his bat. In 2016, 51 of his 108 hits were extra bases including 13 of them going for home runs. So far in 2017, Chang has already hit 9 home runs. The Indians signed Chang out of Asia in 2013.

Hankins was drafted in the 2011 draft, 15th overall by the Cleveland Indians and has spent most of his time in the minors. A career .239 hitter, Hankins has seen his average drop below the .200 line in 2017. The second base position is a rotating door for the RubberDucks. Hankins has played the second most games for Akron, but has not been able to produce much offense.

More from Cleveland Guardians

The offense hasn’t been all bad for the RubberDucks though. One player who has been hitting the ball well is outfielder Mike Papi.

Cleveland selected Papi with the 38th overall selection in the 2014 MLB Draft. His career, up until this point, has been rather unspectacular.  In his first stint with the RubberDucks in 2016, Papi hit .228 and struck out 72 times in 302 plate appearances (spanning 72 games).

His 2017 campaign has been different, though.

Papi’s batting well over his career average of .233 this year, hitting .297 average with 5 home runs and 17 RBI. Unlike a lot of hitters, Papi makes his money against left-handed pitchers. Papi hits an outstanding .342 against southpaws in 2017.

Pitching has also been something that Akron wants to improve on.

As a team the RubberDucks have an ERA of 3.81 which is middle of the pack in the EL.

Julian Merryweather, Luis Logo, and Nick Pasquale have been very consistent for the RubberDucks.

Merryweather is the Indians 25th ranked prospect after being drafted in the fifth round in 2014 by the Indians. After just a mediocre start to his career, 2016 was when Merryweather really broke out. As a result, he was selected to the Carolina League All-Star game and earned a promotion to the RubberDucks in the second half of the season.

2017 for Merryweather has been good too. Thus far, he has posted a 3-2 record, and teams are only hitting .215 against him despite his 3.59 ERA. Merryweather also has posted a career low WHIP (1.01) in 2017, and leads the team in strikeouts with 48.

Logo has really been the back bone of the starting rotation for the RubberDucks so far. It also has been a career year for Logo as he accumulated a 3-1 record, an ERA under 3, and a WHIP 1.20. Logo hasn’t had the same success striking out batters as he has had in the past, but he is still pitching at a very effective rate.

Next: Clevinger is ready for FT role

Pasquale was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 2012 and so far has the lowest ERA out of all the starters in 2017. Pasquale is 3-2 with a 2.95 ERA in 39.2 IP. Despite having two losses, opposing teams are only hitting .196 against Pasquale.