Meet the Akron RubberDucks, MiLB’s best team

Akron RubberDucks Clint Frazier
Tim Phillis - TCP Photography Clint Frazier

As the Major League Baseball season rolls along with competition in nearly every division, the same goes for minor league baseball as well. Players from all types of backgrounds embrace the grind in the minor leagues from different ethnicities to different sizes of their signing bonuses. It’s easy to take the minors for granted as a fan, but they are the foundation for every organization’s success.

The Akron RubberDucks in Akron, Ohio, a city of just about 200,000 known for being the birthplace of Lebron James, have the best minor league team so far this young season. The RubberDucks are the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians and can beat teams in a variety of ways thanks to a versatile and talented lineup. Clint Frazier and Bradley Zimmer are the two top tier prospects in the Indians minor league according to many baseball scribes as they rank number one and two respectively on many lists. It isn’t hard to see this as both look the part and are having great seasons as they look to push their way forward into the big leagues.

Zimmer, a 6-4 lanky figure can do a little bit of everything and looks the part of a 20 homer 30 stolen base guy when healthy. Zimmer has a .902 OPS with 9 homers and 18 stolen bases in just 45 games this season. Frazier has lightning quick hands with tremendous power along with some speed of his own. While he is a bit of a free swinger and needs to shorten his swing sometimes, there is no denying the raw power he possess. A massive .932 OPS along with a league leading 17 doubles can represent his middle of the order potential. On top of these two are some other prospects worth noting in Yandy Diaz and Nellie Rodriguez.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect has been the Akron RubberDucks pitching which has seen a three headed monster form the starters. Shawn Morimando, Michael Peoples and Adam Plutko have collectively been impressive despite not being hard throwers or having “big league” stuff. Morimando is 9-0 with a 1.64 ERA while Peoples nearly threw a no hitter his last start. The bullpen has equally been as impressive as any aspect of the team. Not one reliever from the club who has made at least 15 appearances has an ERA above 3 which is just as equally impressive. As of June 1st the club has a record of 36-15 which makes them the best team in all of minor league baseball from a wins perspective.

While the RubberDucks aren’t crawling with enormous big league talent, the club has a mix of elite and middle tier prospects that have made their start to the minor league season as impressive as anyone among any league so far this year.