Jordan Brown ... drafted out of Arizona.
Jordan Brown and Chuck Lofgren are being recognized for their good work this season with the Kinston Indians. Brown has been named Most Valuable Player and Lofgren the Pitcher of the Year in the Class A Carolina League. Both are key reasons why Kinston won a first-half championship, played well throughout the second half, and will be favored in the upcoming playoffs, too.
Both players were named to the league's end-of-season all-star team, as was outfielder Brian Barton -- who was promoted to Class AA Akron in mid-July.
Brown was drafted by the Indians in the fourth round in 2005 as a first baseman out of the University of Arizona.
Through 121 games, he is hitting .293 with 15 homers and a league-leading 87 RBI. He also leads the league in triples (7) and slugging percentage (.478), is third in total hits (135) and has 26 doubles, 71 runs and a .366 on-base percentage.
The left-hander has shown good plate discipline, drawing 50 walks and striking out 56 times. He's also 4-for-4 in steal attempts.
Lofgren, a fourth-round pick in 2004 out of high school in California, established a team record for wins. He's 16-5 with a 2.42 ERA. In 134 innings, he's allowed 103 hits and 53 walks while striking out 122.
Lofgren, 20, is in his third year in the organization, but only his second full season on the mound. He was drafted as an outfielder-pitcher.
"Chuck is a good hitter," said John Farrell, the Indians' director of player development. "But our decision was a no-brainer. When you are left-handed and throw in the mid-90s, you're a pitcher. And Chuck is a heck of a pitcher."
Brown, 22, the “other” player from Arizona taken early in the 2005 draft by Cleveland (following Wildcats teammate Trevor Crowe at No. 1), was off to a solid start with short-season Mahoning Valley a year ago until a hand injury ended his season after just 19 games.
The left-hander, whose game has been compared by some scouts to former AL All-Star Wally Joyner, hit .253 with three homers and seven RBI for the Scrappers and was on an eight-game hitting streak at the time of his injury.
He had arrived at Arizona as an outfielder, but switched to first base. The Indians quickly put him back at his original position at Mahoning Valley.
Lofgren, 20, spent the first month and a half of the 2005 season in the Indians' extended spring training program in Florida. In 30 innings, he struck out 65 and walked only three while compiling a 1.00 ERA.
In his first game at Class A Lake County a year ago, he gave up just one hit and one walk over six innings, leaving because he was on an 85-pitch limit. He went 5-5 with a 2.81 ERA, striking out 89 in 93 innings overall for the Captains.
He also walked 43, however, often times when he went from a smooth delivery to a herky-jerky motion in an effort to get a little extra on his pitches.
Sarbaugh said Lofgren has worked hard this year to repeat his delivery. "It used to be he would be locked in, then lose it, then regain it," Sarbaugh said. "But he is very coachable and has made a lot of improvement this year."
Lofgren has put away his bat, even though as a member of the 2003 U.S. Junior Pan American Team, he hit .375 with four homers and 15 RBI to help the Americans win a silver medal.
Lofgren had 71 RBI in his first 213 at-bats in high school in San Diego -- with 38 of his 92 hits in that span (.437) going for extra bases, including 15 home runs. The Indians let him hit during his first year of pro ball at Class A Burlington in 2004, but convinced him to become a full-time pitcher.
"That's where they see my future, but it was kind of hard to break away from hitting," Lofgren told Indians Ink late last season. "You come to realize that left-hand pitching is rare. This will work to my benefit."
Barton, 24, hit .308 with 13 homers and 57 RBI in 82 games at Kinston and was leading the league in all three categories at the time of his promotion to Akron -- where he has kept right on hitting.