Transactions: Neal, Barnes, Canzler Called Up

ST PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: Russ Canzler #45 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates the Rays victory over the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field on September 28, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Purchased the Contract of OF Thomas Neal and Recalled him from Akron (AA)

Recalled LHP Scott Barnes and 1B/OF Russ Canzler from Columbus (AAA)

Columbus has been eliminated from playoff contention, it's not surprising to see Barnes and Canzler on the first day the rosters expand, but Neal is a bit of surprise. Akron is going to the playoffs, and the Indians tend not to raid a minor-league roster if the team is still in the playoffs. So that the Indians recalled Neal on the first day of September shows (1) what they think of Neal as a prospect and (2) what they think of the current players on the roster.

(Because the Indians designated Shelley Duncan for assignment, they won't have to make a roster move to get Neal on the 40-man roster, though if they needed to, they could have just moved Josh Tomlin to the 60-day Disabled List.)

Neal was acquired last July from the Giants organization in the Orlando Cabrera deal. At the time he was acquired, Neal was playing in the PCL with Fresno, and doing a decent job as a 23-year-old outfielder. But his stock had dropped considerably from 2010, when he was considered a marginal top-100 prospect after hitting .337/.431/.579 in the California League as a 21-year-old. Neal finished the 2011 with Columbus, but suffered a wrist injury which curtailed his effectiveness.

He was on the 40-man roster last winter, but the Indians outrighted him at the end of the spring when they added Jose Lopez and Dan Wheeler to the roster. He thankfully cleared waivers, and the Indians sent him to Akron, down a level from where he played the season before. And though he's stayed there the entire season, it hasn't because he's struggled; Neal has the 9th-highest OPS in the Eastern League (min 200 PA), hitting .314/.400/.467 in a pitcher's league. He's played all three outfield positions this season, so it looks like the Indians are prepping him for a role as a reserve outfielder. He doesn't have an extreme platoon split, actually hitting better against right-handers than left-handers, so I don't think he should be type-cast as a platoon partner, but more as a pure 4th outfielder.

With Shelley Duncan now out of the picture and the DH spot open, Neal should get plenty of at-bats this month even with Tim Fedroff likely to be called up as well. Neither Neal nor Fedroff are premier prospects, but one or both could have a decent major-league career, and with the Indians very thin in the outfield, both players should have a very good opportunity between now and the end of March to make the 2013 roster.

When Barnes was last sent to the minors, I wondered whether the Indians would put him back into the rotation. The Indians elected to keep him in the bullpen, so it looks like that's where he'll stay. His recent appearances have been either really good or bad - he allowed 5 runs to Durham in 1.1 innings, then pitched 3 scoreless innings over two appearances, then allowed 3 runs to Toledo. The Indians have been looking all season for a good left-handed reliever, and I don't think Barnes is going him what they're looking for.

Canzler will be making his Cleveland debut after spending the entire season with Columbus. He hit .265/.328/.487 with the Clippers. He has a huge home/road split in batting average and OBP, but not slugging, which is kind of odd. Canzler can play both infield and outfield corners, but he's probably more suited to first base or DH. He's right-handed, but like Neal, doesn't hit any better versus left-handers than right-handers. But he should be getting most of his starts against southpaws with the Tribe's left-handed heavy lineup.

Thomas Neal Career Minor-League Stats

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP
2006 18 Salem-Keizer NORW A- SFG 50 187 176 26 44 6 2 4 20 1 3 7 44 .250 .289 .375 .664 66 3
2007 19 Giants ARIZ Rk SFG 10 46 39 7 12 3 0 1 4 0 0 5 7 .308 .413 .462 .875 18 0
2008 20 Augusta SALL A SFG 117 497 428 69 118 25 1 15 81 3 4 48 103 .276 .359 .444 .803 190 8
2009 21 San Jose CALL A+ SFG 129 559 475 102 160 41 4 22 90 3 0 65 98 .337 .431 .579 1.010 275 12
2010 22 Richmond EL AA SFG 136 585 525 69 153 40 1 12 69 11 5 46 94 .291 .359 .440 .799 231 19
2011 23 2 Teams 2 Lgs AAA SFG,CLE 70 277 256 40 74 14 3 2 26 8 6 14 57 .289 .343 .391 .734 100 6
2011 23 Fresno PCL AAA SFG 60 239 220 35 65 13 3 2 25 7 6 13 50 .295 .351 .409 .761 90 6
2011 23 Columbus IL AAA CLE 10 38 36 5 9 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 7 .250 .289 .278 .567 10 0
2012 24 Akron EL AA CLE 117 470 405 77 127 24 1 12 51 11 8 46 71 .314 .400 .467 .867 189 16
7 Seasons 629 2621 2304 390 688 153 12 68 341 37 26 231 474 .299 .376 .464 .840 1069 64
AA (2 seasons) AA 253 1055 930 146 280 64 2 24 120 22 13 92 165 .301 .377 .452 .829 420 35
AAA (1 season) AAA 70 277 256 40 74 14 3 2 26 8 6 14 57 .289 .343 .391 .734 100 6
A (1 season) A 117 497 428 69 118 25 1 15 81 3 4 48 103 .276 .359 .444 .803 190 8
Rk (1 season) Rk 10 46 39 7 12 3 0 1 4 0 0 5 7 .308 .413 .462 .875 18 0
A- (1 season) A- 50 187 176 26 44 6 2 4 20 1 3 7 44 .250 .289 .375 .664 66 3
A+ (1 season) A+ 129 559 475 102 160 41 4 22 90 3 0 65 98 .337 .431 .579 1.010 275 12
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/1/2012.

Scott Barnes Career Stats

Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2008 20 SFG-min A,A-,Rk 3 3 .500 2.06 11 7 43.2 24 11 10 0 12 0 63 0.824 4.9 0.0 2.5 13.0 5.25
2009 21 SFG-CLE-min A+,AA 14 5 .737 3.41 27 27 142.1 131 61 54 15 49 0 138 1.265 8.3 0.9 3.1 8.7 2.82
2010 22 CLE-min AA 6 11 .353 5.22 26 26 138.0 126 90 80 15 58 0 127 1.333 8.2 1.0 3.8 8.3 2.19
2011 23 CLE-min AAA,AA 8 4 .667 3.45 18 17 99.0 85 43 38 12 36 0 107 1.222 7.7 1.1 3.3 9.7 2.97
2012 24 CLE-min AAA 2 3 .400 3.98 31 3 52.0 37 26 23 1 23 0 67 1.154 6.4 0.2 4.0 11.6 2.91
2012 24 CLE AL 0 0 8.10 7 0 10.0 12 9 9 1 7 0 10 49 1.900 10.8 0.9 6.3 9.0 1.43
1 Yr 0 0 8.10 7 0 10.0 12 9 9 1 7 0 10 49 1.900 10.8 0.9 6.3 9.0 1.43
162 Game Avg. 0 0 8.10 68 0 97 117 87 87 10 68 0 97 49 1.900 10.8 0.9 6.3 9.0 1.43
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/1/2012.

Russ Canzler Career Stats

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
2004 18 CHC-min Rk 32 119 105 12 26 2 3 1 13 0 1 9 35 .248 .310 .352 .663 37
2005 19 CHC-min Rk 49 188 157 22 47 11 3 1 20 1 5 24 41 .299 .387 .427 .814 67
2006 20 CHC-min A- 73 311 280 49 74 22 4 16 61 7 4 22 70 .264 .319 .543 .862 152
2007 21 CHC-min A 125 503 460 60 124 24 2 7 54 12 8 35 88 .270 .321 .376 .697 173
2008 22 CHC-min A+ 98 361 326 47 89 22 2 12 59 7 4 27 70 .273 .327 .463 .790 151
2009 23 CHC-min AA,A+ 118 375 333 41 87 23 1 8 49 4 5 38 65 .261 .337 .408 .745 136
2010 24 CHC-min AA 112 411 355 68 102 28 4 21 66 5 4 46 95 .287 .372 .566 .938 201
2011 25 TBD-min AAA 131 549 474 78 149 40 4 18 83 5 2 67 129 .314 .401 .530 .930 251
2011 25 TBR AL 3 5 3 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 .333 .400 .333 .733 113 1
2012 26 CLE-min AAA 130 539 487 68 129 36 3 22 79 2 4 46 128 .265 .328 .487 .815 237
1 Yr 3 5 3 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 .333 .400 .333 .733 113 1
162 Game Avg. 162 270 162 0 54 0 0 0 54 0 0 54 54 .333 .400 .333 .733 113 54
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/1/2012.
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