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Around The Farm, April 17, 2013

Holt, Urshela, Aguilar impress on offense

Around The Farm, April 17, 2013
Tyler Holt (Photo: Lianna Holub)
April 18, 2013
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Around the Farm takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Indians prospects throughout the system. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game. 

Tyler Holt (CF, Akron): 4-for-4, 3 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SAC

Nothing like a 4-for-4 day to break you out of a slump. Holt was only 7-for-45 before Wednesday, struggling mightily at the top of the Aeros' lineup. The center fielder broke out in a big way, helping to lead Akron in their 10-6 win. The home run was Holt's first in 67 games at the Double-A level and an encouraging sign for the outfielder. Power will never be a big part of Holt's game, but as long as he hits the ball like he did Wednesday and maintains the threat of some power, he will find a way to stick around in the game.

Giovanny Urshela (3B, Akron): 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SO

Urshela went through a month-long adjustment period while in the Carolina League for the first time last year, something he seems to be avoiding to an extent this season. Out of Urshela's first 11 games, he reached base in 10 of them, something nice to see despite his weak overall line (.256/.304/.349). Plus, Urshela is doing a decent job of limiting strikeouts and drawing walks (6:3 SO:BB). With the defense already in tow, the challenge is for Urshela's offense to make the leap from level to level. The numbers are not very pretty right now, but in the big picture, it certainly looks like Urshela is in a good place a few weeks into the season.

Jesus Aguilar (1B, Akron): 2-for-5, 4 RBI, 2 E

Aguilar is best known for his power, but days like today are actually more encouraging for his future. Making some assumptions (since I obviously was not at the game), the fact that Aguilar hit two line drives back up the middle with runners in scoring position to get the runs in is great to see. The power is not in question; what is in question is whether the hit tool will be enough to allow Aguilar's power to play in the major leagues. He is still striking out, but the walks are there too and it looks like he is learning how to just poke the ball into the gaps when necessary. The two errors (giving him five on the year) are concerning, but his defense should improve with more work.

  • Roberto Perez (C, Columbus): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI. Columbus hitters struck out 11 times Wednesday, with only Perez and left fielder Tim Fedroff avoiding being punched out. Perez has not done particularly well since being called up to Columbus (4-for-22, 6:1 SO:BB), but hopefully this is a sign he is getting comfortable.
  • Matt Carson (RF, Columbus): 2-for-4, 1 SO. After turning some heads in Spring Training, Carson has struggled in Columbus. The two hits Wednesday are nice, but 18 strikeouts in 13 games are certainly going to hold him back.
  • Joe Martinez (SP, Columbus): L (0-2), 3.1 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR. Martinez started the year with two effective outings, allowing three runs in 11.2 innings. Obviously, he ran into a buzz saw Wednesday. Things happen.
  • David Huff (RP, Columbus): 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO. Things have not been pretty for Huff this year, but maybe the move to the bullpen will help. Wednesday was Huff's first day in the 'pen, and viola!
  • Matt Capps (RP, Columbus): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO. Capps made one mistake so far, allowing a home run on April 13. Outside of that, he has gotten results for the Clippers and likely put himself in line for a relief spot in Cleveland before too long.
  • Jose Ramirez (2B, Akron): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 SO, 1 SAC. Two more hits for Ramirez, who is getting back on the ball after not doing too well last week. He still has some work to do to improve his overall line (.280/.333/.300), but he will probably find a way to make the adjustments; it's what he does.
  • Matt Packer (SP, Akron): ND, 6.0 IP, 9 H, 2 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 3 SO. Packer found a way to keep the Thunder off the scoreboard, but he was hit around once again by an opposing lineup. I am not convinced he is right and 23 hits in 16.1 innings just might back me up.
  • Robert Whitenack (RP, Akron): 0.0 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO. Welcome to Akron. At least Whitenack's second outing for the Aeros is almost guaranteed to be better than this, right?
  • Bryce Stowell (RP, Akron): W (1-0), 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO. Eight outs, seven strikeouts, two walks, one hit, no runs. I really hope Stowell finds a way to stay healthy and keep this up.
  • Joey Wendle (2B, Carolina): 1-for-2, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB. Most of the Carolina offense stumbled Wednesday, but not Wendle. The second baseman hit his fourth double of the year and added two walks to his season total, raising his OBP to .491.
  • Tony Wolters (DH, Carolina): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB. Wolters remains stuck in this weird limbo, waiting to head back to Arizona to focus on converting to catching. I would also venture a guess that the switch is weighing on his mind, and his offense, so today is nice to see.
  • Jacob Lee (SP, Carolina): L (0-1), 5.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 2 SO. Not an awful start, but not a good one either. Lee struck out seven batters in each of his first two starts, so I guess a little backslide was in order.
  • Grant Sides (RP, Carolina): 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO. I love Sides' upside, but he has not looked good in 2013. In three out of four outings Sides allowed two or more runs, not exactly what you are looking for in a top-end reliever.
  • Luigi Rodriguez (CF, Lake County): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 SB. Lake County only managed five hits Wednesday, but they drew 12 walks as a team. Rodriguez had the only extra base hit of the day and also flashed some speed with his second steal of the year.
  • Eric Haase (DH, Lake County): 2-for-4, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 SB. Haase also showed off his speed Wednesday, stealing a base. Granted, Haase took it on the tail end of a double steal with Rodriguez, but details don't matter. Haase is off to a decent start, though he could use a little help on the plate discipline front (10:2 SO:BB through 10 games).
  • Ryan Merritt (SP, Lake County): W (1-2), 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO. Merritt's first three starts could not have gone much better, with the left-hander only allowing six runs (three earned) in 15.0 innings. Add in a 12:2 SO:BB and you have the makings of someone trying to change some minds and move up the prospect ladder.
  • Nellie Rodriguez (1B, Lake County): 0-for-3, 2 BB, 2 SO. The hits continue to elude Rodriguez, who has only managed to go 6-for-33 in his first 11 games. The good news is that Rodriguez has 13 walks, which is great to see (even paired with 13 strikeouts).
  • Leonardo Castillo (3B, Lake County): 0-for-1, 1 R, 3 BB. This is not a pretty line on the surface, but I love lines like this. Castillo got on base and helped his team; what more could you want?

If you want to follow Jim on Twitter, he’s @JimPiascik. If you want to e-mail him, you can do so at jpiasci1@gmail.com. If you want to read his Master's thesis on college athletes and Twitter, you can do so here.

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