Three Spinners named to 8th Annual NYPL All-Star Game, Two will participate
LOWELL—A year removed from hosting the All-Star game themselves, the Lowell Spinners send two (kind of three) of their own to this years installment of the New York-Penn League All-Star Game. This year’s All-Star game will be hosted by the Mahoning Valley
Scrappers in Niles, Ohio. The Scrappers are geographically the farthest opponent from LeLacheur Park.
Although only two Spinners are on the American League Affiliate roster, they had three players selected in the game. Arguably the Spinners best pitcher, William Cuevas will not participate in the game because he is unable to play in it. The other two players with the same honor as Cuevas are utility player Dreily Guerrero and pitcher Francisco Taveras. “All three have been very integral in our development and our success that we’ve had,” said Spinners’ manager Bruce Crabbe.
All three players were signed as international free agents by the Red Sox: Guerrero and Taveras were signed in 2009 while Cuevas put the pen to the paper in 2008.
Cuevas has had an incredible season for the baby Sox. In 11 appearances (including 4 starts) the 6’0” righty leads the team and is tied for fourth in the NYPL with a 1.61 ERA. What’s more impressive about his ERA number is that he also leads the team in innings with 56. In addition to preventing runners from scoring, runners have hard time even reaching base as his 46 strikeouts and 1.00 WHIP are both Top 8 in the league. Manager Crabbe simply stated, “Cuevas, I think his numbers speak for themselves.”
Cuevas made his professional debut in 2009 in the Dominican Summer League and put up great numbers there too. In three consecutive seasons in the DSL, Cuevas never had an ERA greater than 3.17. After appearing in 3 games in his third season in the DSL in 2011, Cuevas was moved to the Gulf Coast League Red Sox where he had a 2.79 ERA and 25 K’s.
The reason for Cuevas not pitching in the All-Star game is that he is scheduled to pitch for the Spinners on Sunday; the last game before the All-Star Game on Tuesday. Per league rules if you can’t play in the game, you’re not on the roster. “We’re keeping him on his schedule and we’re gonna go from there,” said Crabbe, “Development in their career is much more important than pitching one inning in an All-Star Game. I know it’s a great honor to go but his development’s much more important and we’re looking at that.”
This didn’t upset Cuevas the least bit because he knows his job is to play for the Lowell Spinners in the Red Sox system, “No [I’m not disappointed I cant play in the game]. It’s my work.”
In the end he was still a selection which is an honor in itself and Cuevas definitely agreed with that, “It feels so good. It’s an honor to me to represent the team. I want to be there but things happen like that,” said Cuevas.
As for his great season to date, Cuevas couldn’t be any more happier, “It feels so good. Amazing. I’m doing the right things the right way. I’m a little lucky.”
The one Spinners’ pitcher actually on the roster, Francisco Taveras, also ventured through the DSL and GCL. He spent 2009 in the DSL and 2010 and 2011 with the Sox in Fort Myers, FL. One of his most impressive statistics is that through his 47 professional appearances he has struck out at least one batter in every single one of those outings. As for this season, the south paw has found himself a nice groove. He was Lowell’s opening day starter and did an excellent job in that game allowing no runs over five innings and has since continued to own the mound. His 2.06 ERA and 41 K’s also rank with the leagues best at 7th and 8th, respectively.
Wednesday, the day Taveras was announced an All-Star, he proved exactly why he was chosen. Coming in to “piggy-back” recently drafted Mike Augliera, Taveras went 5.2 strong innings picking up the win in relief. He struck out three and walked two while allowing just one run which proved to be unearned.
Taveras will be joined in Ohio by one of his Dominican counterparts Dreily Guerrero. Guerrero has just about done it all for the Spinners living up to the term utility. “He’s played 5 positions I think, been very consistent with the bat, he’s been up and down from Greenville a couple of times, and he’s just been a catalyst for our team for sure,” said Crabbe.
He has played at least one game at all three outfield positions as well as third base and second base. He is hitting .286 on the season, good enough for second on the team. What sets him apart is his running ability and ability to get on base. He has 10 steals on the year and a .348 OBP which is also second on the team. He too has split time in the DSL and GCL before arriving in Lowell this season for his fourth summer of professional baseball.
Crabbe has been very happy with all his all-stars this season and thinks there is one common thread that has made them so successful, “As far how they’ve developed period, they’re all three very young players and getting their feet underneath them early, possibly being comfortable in their environment, it’s been a big play in, I think, them having success and getting themselves comfortable.”
The 8th annual NYPL All-Star Game takes place on Tuesday, August 14th and still remains as the only Class-A Short Season All-Star Game (Northwest League is other A-SS League). After the game, the two participating Spinners’ All-Stars will quickly hop on a plane back to Lowell as they are hosting the Aberdeen IronBirds at beautiful LeLacheur Park the very next day.
Kuykendall can be followed on Twitter @JoeKBSU18 and contacted at JKuykendall@BostonSportsU18.com