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boss and duke

Minor Moves: Indians Add a Duke and a Boss

Indians Acquire Duke von Schamann and Torsten Boss in Minor Moves

I’ve always loved small transactions — sometimes even as much as big transactions.

Teams love the chance to find a potential diamond in the rough (I’m trying really hard not to make a reference to Trevor Bauer‘s rap career here). As a result of that, teams are more active on the waiver wire than ever.

Recently, the Indians have joined the minor move party. At the end of Spring Training, the Indians designated three relief pitchers – Colt Hynes, Frank Herrmann, and Preston Guilmet — for assignment to clear spots on the 40-man roster. As of this writing, Herrmann has yet to learn his fate (for those of you who don’t know, he can either be traded, released, or placed on waivers). However, Hynes and Guilmet have each been traded.

Minor Moves

Guilmet, pictured here, was traded on Monday from the Indians to the Orioles, the second of a series of minor moves completed by the Indians. (Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)

On Sunday, the Indians saddled up and dealt Colt Hynes (get it? Colt? Saddle?), who was acquired from the Padres at the beginning of the offseason, to the Dodgers in exchange for minor league pitcher Duke von Schamann, who will report to AA Akron.

(I actually wrote about the Hynes acquisition at the time the Indians dealt for him, if you want to see why I’ll never be a psychic.)

In addition to his cool name, von Schamann isn’t a terrible pitcher either. Drafted by the Dodgers in the 15th round of the 2012 draft, the 22-year old pitched last season between the Dodgers’ A-advanced affiliate in Rancho Cucamonga and their AA affiliate in Chattanooga. Between the two levels, he posted a respectable 4.67 ERA in 27 games (23 starts) across 131 innings. He also added exactly 100 strikeouts, and he only walked 38 batters.

DVS (we’re not friends yet, but I’d like to think of “DVS” as a term of endearment) has pitched once for Chattanooga in 2014, a start in which he went 7 scoreless innings and only allowed 2 hits, with 2 strikeouts and no walks.

As you can tell, the Duke (again, it’s currently just a term of endearment) isn’t exactly a strikeout pitcher. He’s only averaged 6.2 K/9 over his minor league career (totaling 213 innings), though he has excellent control (career 2.2 BB/9) and isn’t too bad at limiting hits (8.9 H/9).

I don’t imagine the Duke suddenly emerging to become a regular member of the Indians’ rotation, but that’s what people said about Corey Kluber and Zach McAllister, who were both acquired in similar deals and are now regulars in the Tribe’s starting five. Somehow, the Indians have had reasonable success with moves like this in the past (knock on wood), so it’s anyone’s guess as to what could happen.

After the Indians acquired him, I watched a little bit of film on the Duke, and if all goes right, I see slight comparisons to another pitcher in the Indians’ organization, pitcher Josh Tomlin. In addition to the fact that both went to Texas Tech, I see slight similarities in their deliveries. Neither were high draft choices, and their overall minor league numbers resemble each other as well.

And if you’re craving entertainment, this video has an interesting introduction of the Duke as well.

After the Indians acquired a Duke, they followed that deal by flipping Guilmet to the Orioles in a Boss trade. In exchange, the Tribe received minor league infielder Torsten Boss.

Boss, a 23-year old who was drafted by the Orioles in the 8th round in 2012, has extensive minor league experience at both second base and third base, though he’s appeared in 1 game this season for the Orioles’ A-advanced affiliate in Frederick in the outfield. Last season, Boss spent the entire year with Delmarva, Baltimore’s single-A affiliate, hitting .238/.333/.358 with 7 home runs and 45 RBI in 447 plate appearances. Although his average seems low, his on-base percentage still looks impressive thanks to a terrific 11.9% walk rate.

In his minor league career, Boss has hit .245/.343/.378 in 734 plate appearances.

Again, Boss doesn’t really appear to be much more than minor league depth, but an ability to draw walks and get on base proficiently is valuable (and a better indicator of success than just batting average), so the optimist in me can see potential in Boss. Defensive versatility is also terrific as well, so there’s certainly a chance that Boss could end up being a utility man down the road.

As far as I’m concerned, minor moves like this don’t seem to carry a lot of risk for the Indians. It’s clear that Hynes and Guilmet no longer had a future in the Tribe’s organization, so the Indians trading them in order to acquire players who potentially could find a place on the depth chart doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

You won’t find me complaining about that.

Tags: Cleveland Indians Colt Hynes Duke Von Schamann Frank Herrmann Preston Guilmet Torsten Boss

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