- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 180 lb.
- School University of Iowa
Justin Toole is a player in the Cleveland Indians minor league system best known for his ability to play multiple positions.
Justin was a pitcher in high school, but did not throw hard enough to be recruited at the position, and had to learn to adjust when he was at the University of Iowa, becomingt a utility player. He was undrafted out of college and signed with the Sioux City Explorers of the independent American Association, where he hit .346 in 8 games in 2009. He signed with the Cleveland Indians later that year, and played briefly with the AZL Indians and with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, hitting .340 in 14 games in Arizona, but only .156 in the New York-Penn League.
In 2010, played for four different teams, all the way from Mahoning Valley in short-season class A to the AAA Columbus Clippers, for whom he had one at-bat. Altogether, he only played 37 games, hitting .186. He pitched one scoreless inning for the Kinston Indians, and played 1B, 2B, 3B and LF the rest of the time, being strictly used as a bench player wherever the organization needed someone to fill out a roster. In 2011, though, he got to play almost regularly, getting into 99 games for Kinston in the Carolina League and hitting .258 in 329 at-bats, with 20 doubles and 17 stolen bases in 20 attempts. He may have been in the starting line-up most days, but his playing time was split among five different positions where he played 13 or more times, with the most common being 2B with 38 games.
At the start of the 2012 season, Edwin Rodriguez, his manager with the Carolina Mudcats (where Kinston had moved) asked him where he played. "Everywhere", he jokingly replied, and it would become true words. He spent most of the year in the Carolina League, but was also promoted to the AA Akron Aeros and AAA Columbus for short stints when those two clubs were short a bench player. He continued to play somewhat regularly in Class A, though, even if still of no fixed address. On August 25th, the Mudcats ran a special "Tool Time" promotion in which he played a different position for each of the 9 innings of a game against the Salem Red Sox, starting in right field, moving his way through the outfield and infield, and ending up with an inning as the catcher, and the 9th inning on the mound. He had never played catcher before, but handled it well, and then was handed a 4-0 lead in the 9th. He gave up a pair of solo homers, but also struck out the last two batters he faced to complete a 4-2 win. He also went 1 for 4 at the plate. He hit .233/.272/.284 in 97 games between the three teams. 2013 was more of the same, with 43 games at Carolina, 34 at AA Akron and 20 for AAA Columbus. He hit slightly better than the previous year, improving to .253/.296/.287. Once again, he logged playing time at all four infield positions and in the outfield.