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Before they were postseason bound: Indians

September 23, 2017

The defending American League champions are back in the postseason with much of the same team that brought them within a run of their first World Series title in over a half century last season. Here's the skinny on each of the players the Indians send back to the postseason.Cody

The defending American League champions are back in the postseason with much of the same team that brought them within a run of their first World Series title in over a half century last season. Here's the skinny on each of the players the Indians send back to the postseason.
Cody Allen, RHP
Born: Orlando, Fla.
DOB: 11/20/1988
HS: William R. Boone (Fla.) High School
College: High Point University, St. Petersburg College
Minors: Mahoning Valley (A-), Lake County (A), Kinston (A+), Carolina (A+), Akron (AA), Columbus (AAA)
• Allen was an All-Conference selection all four years at Boone High School and was the starting pitcher as a sophomore in the state championship title game. He was listed as the top underclassman in the 2005 Academic Showcase by Perfect Game USA, both as a third baseman and a pitcher. Allen also played four years at quarterback and led his team to the Class 6A state semifinals in 2006. He became only the second player from High Point to ever reach the Majors, following in the footsteps of Dick Culler, who played shortstop with the Athletics, White Sox, Braves, Cubs, and Giants from 1936 to 1949.
Trevor Bauer, RHP
Born: North Hollywood, Calif.
DOB: 1/17/1991
HS: William S. Hart (Calif.) High School
College: University of California, Los Angeles
Minors: Visalia (A+), Mobile (AA), Reno (AAA), Columbus (AAA)
• Bauer became UCLA's first and only Golden Spikes Award winner in 2011 after setting a Pac-10 single-season record with 203 strikeouts. He owns the UCLA career records for wins (34), strikeouts (460) and innings (373 1/3). After leading the Bruins to a school-record 51 wins and their first College World Series appearance since 1997, Bauer was selected third overall in the 2011 Draft by Arizona, two spots after his teammate Gerrit Cole was selected by Pittsburgh. They were the first duo to be selected in the top three picks since Arizona State's Bob Horner and Hubie Brooks were taken first and third in 1978.
Michael Brantley, OF
Born: Bellevue, Wash.
DOB: 5/15/1987
HS: Fort Pierce Central (Fla.) High School
Minors: AZL Brewers (R), Helena (R), West Virginia (A), Huntsville (AA), Columbus (AAA)
• Brantley's father, Mickey, who was a childhood friend of boxer Mike Tyson, played with the Mariners from 1986 to 1989 and went on to be a Major League coach with the Blue Jays. Brantley was drafted out of high school by the Brewers but traded to Cleveland as a player to be named later in the Carsten Sabathia trade. He later became the 18th Indian in franchise history to pick up 200 hits in a season in 2014 and was the first to do so since Kenny Lofton in 1996.
Jay Bruce, OF
Born: Beaumont, Texas
DOB: 4/3/1987
HS: West Brook (Texas) High School
Minors: GCL Reds (R), Billings (R), Dayton (A), Sarasota (A+), Chattanooga (AA), Louisville (AAA)
• Bruce was the top prospect in baseball in 2008, according to, Baseball America, and Baseball Prospectus. He was drafted 12th overall by the Reds in 2005 and slashed .319/.375/.587 across three levels in 2007. Since his debut in 2008, Bruce is the only Major Leaguer with at least 18 home runs in every season. Bruce joined the Indians in August and ingratiated himself quickly with his new team, as he hit a walk-off double on Sept. 14 in the final game of the Indians' AL-record 22-game winning streak.
Carlos Carrasco, RHP
Born: Barquisimeto, Venezuela
DOB: 3/21/1987
HS: Liceo Federico Carmona (Venezuela)
Minors: GCL Phillies (R), Batavia (A-), Lakewood (A), Clearwater (A+), Reading (AA), Lehigh Valley (AAA), Columbus (AAA)
• Carrasco was one of the prospects headlining the Phillies' trade for Cliff Lee in 2009. Although none of the other prospects -- Lou Marson, Jason Knapp, and Jason Donald -- panned out, Carrasco has become a staple of the Indians rotation since coming back from Tommy John surgery in 2013. He became the 84th Major Leaguer to have thrown an immaculate inning on July 7. He is the second Indian to do so after Justin Masterson in 2014.
Lonnie Chisenhall, OF
Born: Morehead City, N.C.
DOB: 10/4/1988
HS: West Carteret (N.C.) High School
College: Pitt Community College, University of South Carolina
Minors: Mahoning Valley (A-), Kinston (A+), Akron (AA), Columbus (AAA)
• Baseball America ranked Chisenhall as the top freshman in the nation before the 2007 season, when he played alongside Blue Jays All-Star Justin Smoak at South Carolina as an outfielder. The Indians eventually drafted Chisenhall 29th overall in 2008 as a third baseman, but after 4 1/2 up-and-down seasons in the Majors, Cleveland transitioned him back to the outfield, where he has taken off. After batting .242 as a third baseman, Chisenhall is batting over .290 in his two plus seasons in the outfield.
Mike Clevinger, RHP
Born: Jacksonville, Fla.
DOB: 12/21/1990
HS: Wolfson (Fla.) High School
College: Seminole Community College, The Citadel
Minors: AZL Angels (R), Orem (R), Cedar Rapids (A), Burlington (A), Inland Empire (A+), Carolina (A+), Akron (AA), Columbus (AAA)
• Before the Indians acquired Clevinger as a prospect for reliever Vinnie Pestano in 2014, Clevinger starred at Seminole Community College. Although the college is not well known, it has plenty of Major League alumni including Dee Gordon, Chris Heston (who threw a no-hitter in 2015), executive Jon Hart and umpire Ed Hickox.
Yandy Diaz, 3B/2B
Born: Sagua la Grande, Cuba
DOB: 8/8/1991
Minors: Carolina (A+), Akron (AA), Columbus (AAA)
• Diaz played for Naranjas de Villa Clara in the Cuban National Series and eventually defected from Cuba before signing with the Indians for $300,000 in 2013. His father, Jorge, also defected from Cuba when Yandy was 6 and briefly played in the Minor Leagues in the Rangers organization. Diaz earned a spot in the Indians' Major League Spring Training camp for the first time this year as a non-roster invitee and became their Opening Day third baseman.
Edwin Encarnacion, DH/1B
Born: La Romana, Dominican Republic
DOB: 1/7/1983
HS: Manuela Toro (P.R.) High School
Minors: GCL Rangers (R), Billings (R), Savannah (A), Dayton (A), Potomac (A+), Chattanooga (AA), Louisville (AAA)
• Encarnacion was born in the Dominican Republic, but his father took a job to coach track and field at a Puerto Rican college, which made him eligible for the MLB Draft. Despite being designated for assignment by the Blue Jays in 2010, Encarnacion eventually became one of three Blue Jays to have multiple 40-home run seasons, along with Carlos Delgado and Jose Bautista. He is also the only Major League hitter with at least 30 home runs in each of the past six seasons.
Yan Gomes, C
Born: Sao Paulo, Brazil
DOB: 7/19/1987
HS: Miami Southridge Senior (Fla.) High School
College: Barry University, University of Tennessee
Minors: GCL Blue Jays (R), Auburn (A-), Lansing (A), Dunedin (A+), New Hampshire (AA), Las Vegas (AAA)
• Gomes is the first Brazillian-born player in Major League history. His family moved to the United States when he was 12, and he eventually enrolled at Tennessee. As a Volunteer, he played every infield position except shortstop and was briefly a backup catcher to former Major Leaguer J.P. Arencibia, who was also spent time in the Blue Jays organization with Gomes. Gomes is married to Jenna Hammaker, who is the daughter of former All-Star pitcher Atlee Hammaker.
Nicholas Goody, RHP
Born: Orlando, Fla.
DOB: 7/6/1991
HS: University (Fla.) High School
College: Louisiana State University; State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota
Minors: Staten Island (A-), Charleston (A), Tampa (A+), Trenton (AA), Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AAA)
• Before transferring to LSU, Goody was named the 2011 Suncoast Conference Pitcher of the Year at State College of Florida and earned JUCO All-America recognition. Goody played collegiate summer ball in 2011 for the Mankato Moondogs in the Northwoods League. He's the most recent Moondog to make the Majors with other notable alumni including Curtis Granderson (2001), Brandon Crawford (2005), and Jake Petricka (2009).
Brandon Guyer, OF
Born: West Chester, Pa.
DOB: 1/28/1986
HS: Herndon (Va.) High School
College: University of Virginia
Minors: AZL Cubs (R), Boise (A-), Peoria (A), Daytona (A+), Tennessee (AA), Durham (AAA)
• Guyer is perhaps best known for leading baseball in hit by pitches in 2015 and 2016 with 24 and 31, respectively. He did this despite only getting 730 plate appearances combined in the two seasons, while second-place Anthony Rizzo needed 1,377 plate appearances to pick up 46 HBPs. Guyer is used to hard contact, though, as he was a running back in high school and rushed for over 1,000 yards as a junior and senior for the Hornets.
Austin Jackson, OF
Born: Denton, Texas
DOB: 2/1/1987
HS: Billy Ryan (Texas) High School
Minors: GCL Yankees (R), Charleston (A), Tampa (A+), Trenton (AA), Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AAA)
• In 1999, Baseball America named Jackson the best 12-year-old baseball player in the nation, and the publication named him the best 15-year-old three years later. Jackson was drafted by the Yankees in 2005 but was dealt to the Tigers in a 2009 three-team trade that sent Curtis Granderson to New York, Max Scherzer to Detroit, and Edwin Jackson to Arizona. Jackson debuted in 2010 and led the Majors with 36 hits in April, earning him AL Rookie of the Month honors, although he ended up leading all hitters that season with 170 strikeouts.
Jason Kipnis, OF/2B
Born: Northbrook, Ill.
DOB: 4/3/1987
HS: Glenbrook North (Ill.) High School
College: Arizona State University, University of Kentucky
Minors: Mahoning Valley (A-), Kinston (A+), Akron (AA), Columbus (AAA)
• Kipnis comes from an athletic family, as his sister, Amanda, played softball at the University of Maryland. In addition to baseball, Kipnis was an All-Conference wide receiver at Glenbrook North High School and set school records for catches, receiving yards, and touchdowns. He also scored 40 goals as a freshman soccer player. Kipnis is using that athleticism as he transitions back to center field -- a position he last played at Class A Short Season Mahoning Valley and in college.
Corey Kluber, RHP
Born: Birmingham, Ala.
DOB: 4/10/1986
HS: Coppell (Texas) High School
College: Stetson University
Minors: Eugene (A-), Fort Wayne (A), Lake Elsinore (A+), San Antonio (AA), Akron (AA), Columbus (AAA)
• Kluber is one of the greatest stories of going from unknown to renowned. A fourth-round pick out of Stetson (also where Jacob deGrom went to school), Kluber was largely unheralded when Cleveland traded two months of Jake Westrbook for the right-hander in 2010. Eventually, Kluber became the Cy Young Award winner we all knew, but at the 134th overall selection, he was the lowest-drafted pitcher to win the AL Cy Young award since Bret Saberhagen (480th overall) in 1989.
Francisco Lindor, SS
Born: Caguas, Puerto Rico
DOB: 11/14/1993
HS: Montverde Academy (Fla.)
Minors: Mahoning Valley (A-), Lake County (A), Carolina (A+), Akron (AA), Columbus (AAA)
• If Montverde Academy sounds familiar, it's because it has become a hotbed for NBA Draft talent. The Eagles have had three recent top-three selections with Joel Embiid going third overall to the 76ers in 2014, DeAngelo Russell going second overall to the Lakers in 2015 and Ben Simmons going first in 2016 to the 76ers. After moving from Puerto Rico to Florida at 12, Lindor opted to attend the prep school, and in 2013, the school named its baseball facility after him. Lindor was drafted eighth overall out of high school and was named to the USA Today All-USA high school baseball team.
Andrew Miller, LHP
Born: Gainesville, Fla.
DOB: 5/21/1985
HS: F. W. Buchholz (Fla.) High School
College: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Minors: GCL Marlins (R), Lakeland (A+), Jupiter (A+) Erie (AA), Carolina (AA), Jacksonville (AA), Toledo (AAA), New Orleans (AAA), Pawtucket (AAA)
• Miller was drafted sixth overall by the Tigers in the 2006 MLB Draft -- one spot ahead of Clayton Kershaw and five spots ahead of Max Scherzer -- and made his Major League debut less than four weeks after signing. Since then, Miller has been traded four times in his career in all types of different deals: from Detroit to Florida in the Miguel Cabrera-Dontrelle Willis mega-deal, from Florida to Boston for prospect Dustin Richardson, from Boston to Baltimore for Eduardo Rodriguez, and from the Yankees to the Indians for a package headlined by prospects Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield.
Tyler Olson, LHP
Born: Spokane, Wash.
DOB: 10/2/1989
HS: University (Wash.) High School
College: Gonzaga University
Minors: Everett (A-), High Desert (A+), Jackson (AA), Tacoma (AAA), Omaha (AAA), Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AAA), Columbus (AAA)
• Olson stayed local when he attended Gonzaga, and he was initially drafted in the 17th round by the A's in 2012. However, he opted to return to school for a fifth season, a decision that paid off when the Mariners drafted him in the seventh round. Olson held a 2.48 ERA over 101 2/3 innings and was named West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year. He formed an excellent 1-2 punch with Marco Gonzales, whom the Cardinals drafted in the first round in the same draft. Gonzales is also in his rookie season in the Majors, coincidentally now with Seattle.
Dan Otero, RHP
Born: Miami, Fla.
DOB: 2/19/1985
HS: Ransom Everglades (Fla.) High School
College: Duke University, University of South Florida
Minors: AZL Giants (R), Salem-Keizer (A-), Augusta (A), San Jose (A+), Connecticut (AA), Richmond (AA), Fresno (AAA), Sacramento (AAA)
• The Indians don't have many players with championship credentials, but Otero has it at multiple levels. Otero helped the Newport Gulls to their third New England Collegiate Baseball League championship in 2005 and is now one of 18 players inducted into their Hall of Fame along with Major Leaguers Chris Iannetta and Mitchell Boggs. Otero was also a part of the Giants' 2012 World Series championship run as a rookie, although he didn't make an appearance in the postseason.
Roberto Perez, C
Born: Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
DOB: 12/23/1988
HS: Eugenio Maria De Hostos (P.R.) High School
College: Florida Gateway College
Minors: AZL Indians (R), Mahoning Valley (A-), Lake County (A), Kinston (A+), Akron (AA), Columbus (AAA)
• Perez is a story of overcoming adversity, as he played much of his 2013 Minor League season with Bell's palsy. The condition afflicted him with partial paralysis of the left side of his face and kept him from closing his left eye, but Perez was able to play through it at Columbus. Perez became a key component of the Indians' 2016 postseason run, as he homered in his first at-bat of the ALDS and launched two more homers in Game 1 of the World Series. That was all the more impressive considering he hit three total home runs during the regular season in 2016.
Jose Ramirez, 2B/3B
Born: Bani, Dominican Republic
DOB: 9/17/1992
Minors: AZL Indians (R), Mahoning Valley (A-), Lake County (A), Akron (AA), Columbus (AAA)
• Ramirez isn't the only star to come out of Bani, as Jose Bautista, Miguel Tejada, Juan Uribe and Erick Aybar also hail from the capital town of Peravia Province. However, Ramirez has become a trailblazer of sorts as he played in the Dominican Prospect League and became the first alumni of the league to sign a professional contract in 2009. He signed a five-year extension before the season and was voted as the AL's starting third baseman at the 2017 All-Star Game by fans.
Danny Salazar, RHP
Born: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
DOB: 1/11/1990
Minors: DSL Indians (R), GCL Indians (R), Lake County (A), Carolina (A+), Akron (AA), Columbus (AAA)
• Corey Kluber has been named AL Pitcher of the Month three times in the past two seasons, but Salazar is the other Indians pitcher to earn that award. In June 2016, Salazar went 5-0 with a 1.91 ERA and struck out 35 batters in 33 innings. That helped him towards his first All-Star appearance, although he didn't get to appear in the game because of mild right elbow discomfort.
Carlos Santana, 1B
Born: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
DOB: 4/8/1986
Minors: GCL Dodgers (R), Ogden (R), Great Lakes (A), Vero Beach (A+), Inland Empire (A+), Kinston (A+), Akron (AA), Columbus (AAA)
• Santana was the prized prospect acquired from the Dodgers for Casey Blake in 2008, and in 2009 he received the Lou Boudreau Award for the Indians' Minor League Player of the Year. Santana debuted in 2010 hitting third, which made him the first Cleveland player to do so since Jim Norris in 1977. Santana has been remarkably consistent with at least 75 RBIs and 85 walks in each of his six full seasons -- a mark that second-place Joey Votto and Paul Goldschmidt have only done four times during that span.
Bryan Shaw, RHP
Born: Livermore, Calif.
DOB: 11/8/1987
HS: Livermore (Calif.) High School
College: California State University Long Beach
Minors: Missoula (R), South Bend (A), Visalia (A+), Mobile (AA), Reno (AAA)
• Shaw came over to Cleveland with Trevor Bauer from Arizona in a three-team deal that also sent Shin-Soo Choo to Cincinnati for Robert Stubbs. Since the trade in 2013, he's become the most-used reliever in baseball -- with closer Cody Allen not far behind at third -- and led the Majors with 80 appearances in 2014 and 75 appearances in 2016.
Joe Smith, RHP
Born: Cincinnati, Ohio
DOB: 3/22/1984
HS: Amelia (Ohio) High School
College: Wright State University
Minors: Brooklyn (A-), Binghamton (AA), New Orleans (AAA)
• Smith played plenty of summer ball while at Wright State, but the most significant time was spent with the Edenton Steamers in the Coastal Plain League. Smith helped the Steamers win their second consecutive league championship, recording the final out of the 2005 Petitt Cup. Less than two years later, he became the first Steamers alumnus to reach the Majors. Smith is now on his second stint with the Indians; Cleveland acquired him in a 2008 three-team trade from the Mets, and Smith eventually departed as a free agent in 2013.
Josh Tomlin, RHP
Born: Tyler, Texas
DOB: 10/19/1984
HS: Whitehouse (Texas) High School
College: Angelina College, Texas Tech University
Minors: Mahoning Valley (A-), Lake County (A), Kinston (A+), Akron (AA), Buffalo (AAA), Columbus (AAA)
• Tomlin hasn't qualified for the pitching title in each of the past two seasons, but he had the lowest walk rate among any pitcher with at least as many innings as him in both years. Since 2013, he has the lowest walk rate among all pitchers by more than 0.20 walks per nine innings. Tomlin is also one of five Red Raider pitchers to appear in the Majors this season, along with Chad Bettis, Daniel Coulombe, Nate Karns and AJ Ramos.
Giovanny Urshela, 3B/2B/SS
Born: Cartagena, Colombia
DOB: 10/11/1991
Minors: DSL Indians (R), AZL Indians (R), Mahoning Valley (A-), Lake County (A), Carolina (A+), Akron (AA), Columbus (AAA)
• There are several great Colombia infielders, such as Edgar Renteria and Orlando Cabrera, but Urshela became the first Colombian-born third baseman in baseball history in 2015. Urshela represented Colombia in the qualifiers for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, and he represented his home country again in 2017 when the country qualified for the tournament.

Ben Weinrib is a reporter for based in Cleveland. Follow him on Twitter at @benweinrib.