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: RHP Steven Wright
Current Team: Pawtucket PawSox (AAA affilate of the Boston Red Sox)
Year(s) in Indians Organization: 2006 – 2012. Drafted in the second round by the Indians in 2006, traded to Boston on July 31, 2012 for 1B Lars Anderson.
Why Isn’t He Still in Cleveland: A former second-team college All-American with Hawaii, Wright turned to the knuckleball as his primary pitch in 2011 after bouncing between AA Akron and AAA Columbus with mixed results in 2009 and 2010. The knuckleball is an oddity in itself, but Wright was excellent in 2012 for Akron, posting a 2.49 ERA in 20 starts, while Eastern League hitters managed to hit just .207 off him. However, Wright was pitching as a 27-year old in AA, and with the unpredictability of the knuckleball, the Indians never really seemed to consider him as a potential option. The Tribe was floundering on offense and on the fringes of contending at the deadline in 2012, and Cleveland GM Chris Antonetti made a half-measure to address some organizational weak spots, and traded Wright to Boston for Anderson. Anderson never played in Cleveland, and was traded the following offseason in the three-team trade that netted the Indians RHP Trevor Bauer. Now with the Chicago Cubs’s AAA club in Iowa, Anderson has also been dabbling in some writing recently, but isn’t setting the league on fire with his hitting.
What He Did: Wright pitched for Boston in the majors in 2013, but missed the start of 2014 after having surgery for a sports hernia in February. He returned to the mound in late May, and has made eight AAA starts (and one AA start), with his latest being against his former team, the Columbus Clippers. Wright didn’t allow a run, gave up only two hits, two walks and struck out eight in eight innings.
Steven Wright with 8 shutout innings allowing just TWO hits while striking out 8. He walked 3 and only one Clipper reached 2nd base.
— PawSox (@PawSox) July 10, 2014
What Does the Future Hold: Without trying to discredit Wright’s accomplishments, it’s really hard to predict what happens next for him. Boston has a few pitchers on the depth charts ahead of him, he’s going to be 30 in August, and well, nobody really has a good grasp on predicting knuckleballers. Still, knuckleball throwers tend to pitch until they’re old enough to apply for AARP, so as long as Wright wants to keep pitching, he can probably find an organization willing to stash him in its system.
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.