March Madness is over, the Cavaliers year has come to an end, and Browns fans don’t have to obsess over the draft for the first time in 20 years. This means that baseball season in northeast Ohio is in full swing (pun intended).
I’m sure everyone has watched enough Indians games to know a majority of the guys on their roster. And you probably know most of the Columbus Clippers players because the Indians have been trotting them out with the major league club the last few weeks. (Sorry, Max Moroff and Eric Stamets.) But do you know enough about my personal favorite minor league baseball team, the Akron RubberDucks? If not, I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a list of prospects to watch for at the double-A level.
Mitch Longo, OF
Mitch is a local kid who grew up in Mayfield, Ohio. Anything having to do with Mayfield and sports in northeast Ohio has been pretty good this past year so I’m making the assumption that he is awesome without checking his stats. Perhaps most important is the fact that his name is so fun to yell anytime he homers. Imagine Tom Hamilton getting to belt out a “Longoooooo!” over the airwaves on 1100AM. Chills.
James Karinchak, P
James has faced 17 batters so far this season. Only one player has put the ball in play against him, which resulted in a groundout. He has issued one walk, forced that aforementioned groundout, allowed one batter to reach base on a catcher’s interference, and struck out the other 14 guys. Pretty much the only thing an opposing player has hit off the 23 year old relief pitcher was his catcher’s glove. 14 K’s in 5 innings. Those are numbers that would make 2016 Andrew Miller blush…and make Josh Tomlin keel over.
Ernie Clement, SS
I watched a lot of Sesame Street as a young kid, and my favorite character was always Ernie. On that television show, Ernie was well known for his affinity for his rubber duck, Rubberducky. With that being said, it seems like destiny that this real life Ernie would end up playing for the Akron RubberDucks. Either that, or he would start bunking with a cranky roommate with a glaring unibrow and undiagnosed case of jaundice.
Logan Ice, C
There are so many directions you could go with on this guys name. He is an announcer’s dream come true. You can make a pun no matter what outcome he has as a hitter. If Logan gets a hit in a clutch situation, “He has Ice water in his veins”. If Logan goes 0-for-5 one game, “Not a good day for the RubberDucks’ catcher, he has gone Ice cold today”. Then there are the variations of calling him the Ice Man or yelling Ice, Ice, baby anytime he does something positive.
So there you have it. Four RubberDucks players who I will enjoy watching this season. Admittedly, my headline is a little misleading as these are not necessarily the top four players in Akron, but you’ve already clicked on the story and can’t take it back now.