The Indians released 11 minor-leaguers this morning. Only two of them, pitchers Omar Aguilar and Vidal Nuno, were on the preseason Top 100 Prospects list by Indians Ink. Aguilar, a right-hander acquired in a trade for Chuck Lofgren from Milwaukee last spring, was No. 50. Nuno, a left-hander drafted in the 48th round in 2009, was ranked at No. 79. Not surprisingly, pitchers dominated the cut list.
Also released were right-handers Jeremy Johnson, David Roberts, Julio Ramirez, Takafumi Nakamura and Casey Gaynor, outfielders Trent Baker, Kevin Rucker and Joel Torres and catcher Juan Aponte.
In some instances, particularly with the pitchers, the cuts were the result of an influx of additional talent throughout the organization. There just are not enough roster spots available.
Aguilar, who turns 26 on March 31, went 2-7 with a 3.77 ERA in 47 relief outings at Double-A Akron in 2010. In 248 minor-league innings, he does have 287 strikeouts, but has walked 134 with a 3.84 ERA, 15-16 record and 47 saves.
Nuno went 11-9 with a 3.92 ERA in 38 games including 24 starts over two years in the organization. He was 5-0 with a 2.05 ERA at Mahoning Valley in 2009, but only 6-8 with a 4.96 ERA at Lake County last season. He has displayed excellent control, walking only 29 in 158 1-3 innings with 153 strikeouts.
Johnson, a 13th-round pick in 2009, had a 5-4 record and 3.62 ERA in 44 games, all in relief, over two seasons. He was 2-2 with a 1.95 ERA at Mahoning Valley to start his pro career, but only 3-2 with a 5.00 ERA at Lake County in 2010.
Nakaumura spent one year in the organization after being signed as a non-drafted free agent. The native of Tokyo went 4-3 with a 4.10 ERA in 21 relief outings between Mahoning Valley and Lake County last season. He walked eight and fanned 32.
Ramirez, obtained as a minor-league free agent out of the Chicago White Sox system, struggled at Mahoning Valley in 2010. The 26-year-old went 1-2 with a 6.55 ERA for the Scrappers.
Roberts was highly regarded at one time by the organization, but never lived up to being a fourth-round pick in 2008. The former Long Beach State pitcher had only a 6-10 record, 4.83 ERA and four saves in 104 games, 102 of them in relief.
Gaynor was signed as a non-drafted free agent last June and went 4-4 with a 2.81 ERA in 24 relief outings, mostly for the Arizona League Indians, where he was 4-3 with a 2.17 ERA and five saves
Aponte hit well in a backup role over four years in the Tribe system, compiling a .276 average with nine homers and 77 RBI in 151 games. He also played some first base, but rarely put together a full season.
Rucker hardly played over four years in the system after being a 47th-round pick in 2007. He had raw athletic ability, but struck out too much. In 141 career games, he hit .251 with five homers, 49 RBI and 144 strikeouts, mostly in rookie-league ball. He showed promise in his third year, batting .293 with 21 RBI and nine steals in 44 games for the Arizona Indians, but slipped to .230 with 11 RBI and one steal in 47 games at Mahoning Valley in 2010.
Torres, signed as a non-drafted free agent in August 2008, hit only .205 in limited playing time with the Arizona Indians. He had 24 walks and a whopping 106 strikeouts in 234 career at-bats.
Baker hit only .200 in 111 games over two years after being signed out of Australia. He had 19 stolen bases, but never hit a home run.