Like every other team in Major League Baseball, the Cleveland Indians employ numerous players throughout their organization, from the big-league club in Cleveland to their rookie league team in Arizona and beyond. And like every other Major League franchise, the Indians add and subtract from this player pool on a regular basis. This irregular series will serve to post notice when a former Indians player has done something noteworthy with a quick look back at the player’s time in Cleveland.
Player: LHP Scott Maine
Current Team: Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds)
Year(s) in Indians Organization: Claimed via waivers by the Indians from the Cubs on August 29, 2012; claimed via waivers by the Blue Jays from the Indians on October 31, 2012
Why He Still Isn’t in Cleveland: Decent relief pitchers practically grow on trees, and Maine wasn’t really able to separate himself from the Indians’ other options. He has a terrific ability to miss bats (9.3 K/9 in his major league career), but with that comes inconsistent control (4.8 BB/9) and an inability to keep the ball in the ballpark (1.5 HR/9). Everyone loves a reliever who can strike out batters, but a high number of walks and long balls is worrisome.
After being claimed by the Indians (the Indians designated Shelley Duncan for assignment in a corresponding move), Maine was optioned to Columbus. Interestingly, the Indians mentioned when they claimed him that he was a teammate at the University of Miami with then-closer Chris Perez, which just seems weird to hear. Anyway, Maine didn’t pitch well in his time with the Tribe, going 1-2 with a 10.50 ERA (5.26 FIP), 3 walks and 6 strikeouts in just 6.0 innings pitched for the Indians in 2012. He allowed 13 hits and 7 runs (all of them earned) over that time, and the Indians quickly cut him loose before the Blue Jays claimed him after the season before losing him to the Marlins.
What He Did: Maine was lucky to even see his 21st birthday. He was part of a horrible car accident in 2005, in which his truck hit another vehicle, went down a hill, and smashed into a group of trees. His head hit against the windshield, and his truck was soon nothing more than a pile of scrap metal. He was in the hospital for three weeks (you can read the whole story here). But he’s learned a lot from the experience:
It goes along with the saying, ‘Throw every pitch like it’s your last.’ That made it more of a reality. It’s not just a saying; it actually occurred in my life. It helped me in that aspect to where, when I go on the field, I don’t do anything half. I go 100 percent. You never know when you’ll not be able to play the game of baseball.
Maine hasn’t pitched in the majors since he appeared with the Indians, and he spent all of 2013 in the Marlins’ minor-league system. This season, he pitched 20.0 innings for the independent Bridgeport Bluefish, showing drastically improved peripheral stats en route to a staggering 5.75 K/BB ratio. The Reds gave him a chance, and signed him to a minor league deal. He’ll report to the team’s Double-A affiliate in Pensacola, Florida.
What Does the Future Hold: The Reds’ signing of Maine doesn’t seem to be much more than organizational depth, though Cincinnati’s bullpen has struggled at times this season and ranks in the bottom third of baseball in ERA. So, if Maine pitches well enough at Pensacola, he’ll certainly reappear on the radar — either for the Reds or for another team. Relief pitchers are always in demand, and teams are always willing to take a chance on a pitcher who can pile up strikeouts. With the improved command he’s shown this season with Bridgeport, Maine has earned this opportunity. It’s far from certain that he’ll make an appearance in the majors this season, but we haven’t heard the last of Scott Maine.
Notice a player you remember being in the Indians organization? We’re ever-vigilant, but sometimes we miss guys, too! Send us an email at [email protected] and let us know which former Indians farmhand or player is making noise elsewhere.