“Tim Bogar isn’t worried. Heading into his second season as the Akron Aeros manager - which begins today against the Binghamton Mets – Bogar isn’t worried that the last time the Aeros won back-to-back regular season championships (2002-04) they followed up the next season by finishing in 11th place.””
Tim Bogar isn’t worried.
Heading into his second season as the Akron Aeros manager - which begins today against the Binghamton Mets – Bogar isn’t worried that the last time the Aeros won back-to-back regular season championships (2002-04) they followed up the next season by finishing in 11th place.
Akron is facing that situation this year, which is compounded by the fact that the three most productive players on last year’s team have moved up or moved on. But Bogar isn’t bothered.
Kevin Kouzmanoff was traded to the San Diego Padres and is their starting third baseman this year. Joe Inglett and Adam Miller have moved up within the organization, with Inglett starting the season with the Cleveland Indians and Miller in Triple-A Buffalo.
Bogar – who was named the Eastern League’s manager of the year in 2006 – isn’t worried because of the talented, albeit inexperienced, players on his team.
I don’t think we’ve lost any talent, Bogar said Wednesday. I think we’ve actually improved. I think we’re more consistent throughout the lineup. We have just as much team speed and a lot of young arms.
One reason for optimism on Bogar’s part is 26-year-old centerfielder Trevor Crowe. The Indians chose Crowe in the first round of the 2005 draft (14th overall) and he has risen quickly through the Tribe’s farm system. He played in three games with Aeros in 2005, his first pro season.
Last season, Crowe was promoted to Akron after leading the Carolina League in runs, hits and on-base percentage for Class A Kinston. He finished the season hitting .349 in last year’s playoffs against Altoona and Portland, who defeated the Aeros in seven games in the championship series.
Crowe hit .259 in spring training with the Indians this year. He stole two bases and played in more games than any of his Akron teammates.
My whole spring training was not based upon performance but to get ready to perform when the season started, Crowe said. I think I’ve done that for the most part. I feel like I’m ready to perform at a very high level.
Bogar feels like Crowe could be ready to play for the Tribe as soon as this season.
He is going to learn how to play left and right field because of Grady Sizemore, Bogar said. If something happens at the big league level, I would assume that he would get the opportunity to go from here to the big leagues. He’s got that type of talent.
Bogar also pointed to catcher Wyatt Toregas and defensive specialist Asdrubal Cabrera as players who could possibly make the jump straight to the major league level.
We have good position players, Bogar said. Pitching wise, I think we’re a little young to help the big league club. Last year, we had a lot guys who had some experience in this league and did make the jump. We had four or five relievers make the jump.
Leading the young, talented and inexperienced group of pitchers is opening day starter Chuck Lofgren. As a 6-foot-4 lefty, Lofgren already has the physical attributes that big league teams salivate over. Last year, his third pro season, he improved his stock.
Lofgren went 17-5, the most wins in all of minor league baseball, with a 2.32 ERA at Kinston last year. He was named the Carolina League pitcher of the year and was a Class A all-star. After last season’s performance, he was upgraded from the 11th best prospect in the Indians minor league system to the second, according to Baseball America. The 21-year-old will make his first appearance in Double A today.
Chuck has some life to his fastball, Bogar said. He throws pretty hard for a left-handed guy. He’ll come right at you. He’s got a pretty good changeup as well. He’s an exciting guy, he gets out there and battles every night.
“” #1.1362155:1282456074.jpg:stadium BW.jpg:The Akron Aeros begin the 2007 season tomorrow night against the Binghamton Mets at 7:05. Last season, the Aeros lost in the championship series 4-3 against the Portland Sea Dogs.:Mike Cardew”