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Around the Farm - April 15, 2012

Around the Farm - April 15, 2012
April 16, 2012
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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.

Jordan Smith: RF, Lake County Captains: 3-for-5, 3 R, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB:

Jordan Smith was selected in the ninth round of the 2011 draft by the Indians, and made quite the first year splash at Mahoning Valley. He hit .300, driving in 47 runs (2nd in the league), with 20 doubles (5th in the League). He had a .403 OBP (third in the league). His .300 average is deceiving, as he hit over .350 for much of the season, before a late season slump dropped his average over 50 points by the end of the season. Smith was predominantly a third baseman last season, but did play a third of his games in the outfield. This season, Smith finds himself playing predominantly in right field thus far. He’s continued his offensive onslaught into the Midwest League at Low-A Lake County. He has hits in all six games to start the season off, going 9-for-27, with three runs, a homer and six RBI. The left-handed batter is hitting .300 against lefties and .353 against righties. Smith isn’t a high prospect in the organization, but he can change all that if he can continue to hit the baseball as he moves through the system. He has good size (6’4”, 200 pounds), and a solid, professional approach at the plate that could translate as he progresses. He also has some value as a corner infielder or outfielder, especially if his power continues to develop.

Luigi Rodriguez: CF, Lake County Captains: 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2BB, 3 SB (4):

These are the kinds of games that can really stand out for a top prospect, even though the game itself was an amalgam because of the high score (22-12). Rodriguez showcased his five-tool arsenal today, wrapping out three hits, stealing three bases, drawing two walks and driving in two runs. Rodriguez really has a special set of tools as both an offensive and defensive ballplayer. On the defensive side, Rodriguez has spent time at both center and right field without committing an error. He has also spent time in left over the past two seasons, so he truly can project to each outfield slot. He likely would be best suited to centerfield because of the lack of power and plus/plus speed. Offensively, he’s the type of player that can absolutely wreak havoc in a ballgame. He still strikes out too much, but he can work a count, and makes a ton of contact. He’s riding a seven-game hit streak, and has back-to-back, multi-hit games in which he’s gone 5-for-9, with three runs, two doubles, a triple, three RBI, two walks, two strikeouts and three stolen bases. He’s hitting .368 on the season, with a .419 OBP and a .971 OPS. Rodriguez could be amping up to something big in his first full season as a professional baseball player.

Alex Lavisky: C, Lake County: 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI:

It was really easy to get down on Alex Lavisky over the past two seasons after getting drafted in the eighth round in 2010. I’m not sure if the standards were based on the 8th round pick, his youth (19 years old) or the fact that he was a home town boy, but a there was a lot of discussion that Lavisky was a bust. Lavisky hit .200 in 2010 in the rookie league, and followed that up with a .203 average in stints at both Mahoning Valley and Lake County. He was striking out at an alarming rate, and all numbers pointed downwards for everyone except Lavisky. He returned to Lake County in 2012, and in the first seven games of his season, Lavisky is having an early season revitalization. He’s hit in six of his first seven games, and has three runs, five doubles, a homer, 10 RBI and 9 K’s. It’s still a concern that he doesn’t have an walks, but with his level of offense, if he adds a bit of patience, he could really develop into the type of offensive catcher that could make things interesting in about three years. This season, the right-handed hitter is killing lefties to the tune of .333, but is also hitting .294 against righties. Imagine that, a right-handed power hitter.

  • Lonnie Chisenhall: 3B, Columbus: 2-for-4, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 BB: Chisenhall continues to hit the ball well with his fifth multi-hit game of the season, in only 11 games overall. He’s currently on a modest three-game hit streak, and continues to pound the ball for extra base hits. He now has three doubles and three homers on the season.
  • Beau Mills: DH, Columbus: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB: Mills is the forgotten man at Columbus with Russ Canzler and Matt LaPorta getting most of the at-bats for the Clippers in the early part of the season. With that said, Mills has a four-game hit streak, but with only solo hits in each game. Today was his first home run of the year, and he’s still hitting .278 overall.
  • Trevor Crowe: RF, Columbus: 3-for-4, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 K: Crowe rolled out his second multi-hit game in as many nights, and has now gone 5-for-7 in the last two, with two runs, two doubles, two walks and a strikeout. Overall, Crowe is hitting .429 on the season, and has the Tribe faithful caw-ing for the Crowe to making an appearance, as opposed to the signing of a 38-year old DH.
  • Justin Toole: SS, Columbus: 2-for-3, 1 RBI: Toole made his first start at Triple A Columbus after getting the call-up from Carolina earlier in the week.
  • Zach McAllister: SP, Columbus: 6 IP, 9 H, 5 R/ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR: McAllister started the game strong, but got lit up for three doubles, a single and a walk in the sixth inning, which lost the game for the Clippers.
  • Jared Goedert: LF, Akron: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B: Goedert followed his game-breaking home-run with another solid game at the plate. Goedert has quietly put together a nice season, and currently has a six-game hit streak, which includes three multi-hit games in which he’s gone 9-for-20, with two runs, three doubles, a homer and three RBI.
  • Ryan Rohlinger: 3B, Akron: 2-for-4, 1 RBI: Rohlinger now has back-to-back two-hit ballgames. He’s a non prospect, but adds depth to the system.
  • Nick Weglarz: DH, Akron: 0-for-4, 1 K: In 2010, Weglarz hit .285 with 13 homers and 47 RBI in time with Akron and Columbus. He struck out 69 times, but managed to walk 50 times, showing a Thome-like eye at the plate. The big, power-hitting lefty was set to take an outfield spot, first base or DH, or a combination of all three. Then the injury bug attacked, and Weglarz has disappeared. He’s currently batting .133 back in Akron, and has struck out 13 times, while walking only twice. Weglarz will be lucky not to get released in the near future. He’s just disappeared.
  • Eric Berger: SP, Akron: L (0-2), 5 IP, 2 R/ER, 4 K, 1 HR: Berger was the hard-luck loser in a 2-1 game today, which is much better than his four-inning, six-run mess of a start against Altoona last week.
  • Rob Bryson: RP, Akron: 2 IP, 2 BB, 2 K: Bryson uncharacteristically struggled with control a bit last night, walking two batters, while striking out two. What’s not abnormal is that the power-armed righty didn’t give up a run, and has the ERA down to 1.69. In 5 1/3, Bryson has struck out 10 batters, against three hits, and three walks. He’s downright nasty.
  • Matt Langwell: RP, Akron: 2 IP, 2 H: Langwell isn’t the known commodity in the Tribe bullpen, and his arm isn’t the biggest or the best, but when he’s on, he’s as good as it gets. His career ERA in his fifth year in the minors is 3.02, and he’s rarely too far above that. This year, Langwell has yet to give up a run in his three appearances, totally five innings. He’s given up four hits without a walk, while striking out four batters. He won’t overpower you, but he will pepper the strike zone.
  • Tony Wolters: 2B, Carolina: 0-for-4, 2 K: Wolters continues to struggle at the plate. He’s 4-for-37 since his promotion to the Carolina League, without a hit against lefties, with 13 K’s and three walks. Wolters has the makeup to turn it around, I’m just not sure they’ll wait it out if he continues to struggle this much. He may need a Lavisky-like demotion to turn things around.
  • Jake Lowery: DH, Carolina: 2-for-4, 1 R, 2 K: Lowery continues to rake with his second straight two-hit game, and a current seven-game hit streak to his credit. Lowery has his average up to .382.
  • Anthony Gallas: LF, Carolina: 2-for-4, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K: Gallas is a guy we haven’t talked about a lot in ATF much this year after the local Cleveland kid started of killing the ball in Lake County last season. This is Gallas’ first two-hit game of the season, and don’t be surprised to see the outfielder taking a regular spot in the outfield soon, with Holt a likely call-up within the next month.
  • Ronny Rodriguez: SS, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI: Rodriguez followed his multi-hit game with a three-run bomb yesterday. This showcases his tantalizing talent. If he can put it all together, he’s going to be special, and he doesn’t turn 20 until Tuesday.
  • T.J. House: SP, Carolina: 6 IP, 4 H, 4 R/0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K: While House didn’t help himself in the first inning, giving up some walks and untimely hits, errors absolutely killed him. He didn’t give up an earned run today, and was nearly as good as he was in his dominant win. House is clearly a different pitcher this season, as his K’s are way up, and his walks are way down. In 13 innings, House has given up only six hits and two walks, while striking out an overtly impressive 17 K’s. This is the kid the Indians were expecting. He could be a quick mover.
  • J.D. Reichenbach: RP, Carolina: 1 1/3 IP, 1 K: Reichenbach is an under the radar guy, but continues to get the job done for the Indians. In four innings, he has given up three hits, while striking out one batter.
  • Alex Monsalve: DH, Lake County: 2-for-5, 2 R: Monsalve is another interesting young catcher in the system who doesn’t turn 20 until later this week. He has back-to-back two-hit games, showcasing his raw talent.
  • Bryson Myles: LF, Lake County: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, SB 2 (3): Myles now has back-to-back multi-hit games, showcasing his ability from last season to bunch together good games when he starts catching fire. His average is only .222, but it will end up much higher by the end of the month.
  • Jerrud Sabourin: 1B, Lake County: 3-for-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K: Sabourin has been under the radar this year, and really is a non-prospect, but has hits in eight of his past nine games.
  • Kyle Blair: RP/SP, Lake County: BS (1)/L (0-2): 3 1/3 IP, 10 H, 13 R/ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 3 HR: Blair is off the radar after this blow-up. Blair got lit up like a Christmas tree, which is more the norm than not. His ERA stands at 20.86. Ouch.

Jim is currently the senior editor and Columnist, as well as  the host of IBI's weekly online radio shows, Smoke Signals and Cleveland Sports Insiders. You can follow Jim on Twitter @Jim_IBI, or contact him via e-mail at

User Comments

April 16, 2012 - 5:49 PM EDT
If the Indians oust Cunningham from the roster in favor of Damon, then adding Crowe is a moot point. But if Cunningham stays on even after Damon is added, then I think at some point if Cunningham continues to struggle that the Indians turn to another 4th outfield option.....which could be someone like Crowe. He is finally healthy and most importantly the confidence is back. Now, I am not saying he lives up to anything remotely close to what he was projected to be when he came out of the draft, but I think he could be an option to try using to fill the 4th outfield role. If the opportunity is there, I'd definitely consider him for the role. I am not expecting anything impactful, but he could be a decent role guy off the bench.
April 16, 2012 - 1:46 PM EDT
Crowe isn't anything more than a fourth outfielder, IMO. Damon isn't a fourth outfielder. Hell, he's not even an be honest. Crowe is depth, and nothing more, but you can make an argument that the Tribe outfield with Duncan already has a platoon player...which immediately puts the Indians behind the 8-ball in many ways. Having to call up Crowe means that management failed in setting the starting lineup in the spring...IMO...

THERE'S really not a starting option in the Tribe's offense that's ready to go in the upper levels, and you could really make a case that their best outfield options are clear down in Lake County, years away from being ready (and I'm talking about legitimate, day-to-day starters). One could make a case that Holt may turn into that type of player, but I'm still not 100% sold. He's showed an improved bat and approach, so he could be a factor in center, but there really aren't any power-hitting corner outfielders anywhere close.

It's absolutely the problems created during the draft process prior to 2010
April 16, 2012 - 1:33 PM EDT
Crowe is no worse then Cunningham, Neal, Canzler, and can play all three OF psns, and is still a productive base runner. Damon can't play the outfield anymore, despite the optimism, the result is two players that can't play any psns, plus he bats LH
April 16, 2012 - 10:36 AM EDT
Loved your bit on Jordan Smith. Keep an eye on him
April 16, 2012 - 8:43 AM EDT
I'm sorry but Trevor Crowe has been around long enough that his only redemptive value is as a cautionary tale of the Mirabelli's drafting. When he was drafted, he had speed, a batting eye and hit for average. The only thing left is the speed which is mostly mitigated by his absurd route-running.
April 16, 2012 - 7:50 AM EDT
An organization that would willfully hope on an outburst by Trevor Crowe as a limiting factor from signing a productive hitter (let's not continue to confuse age (38) with productivity) from 2011 is an organization that will muddle in mediocrity.

Trevor Crowe may come up and help the Indians this year. He may have that "finally healthy" turn around. It's a long year in AAA & MLB.

The Indians as an organization need to collect and stockpile talent at all levels in the event that it's needed.

It was just last week that we saw Shin-Soo Choo wreathing in pain as he got hit in the thumb and we thought the worst.

Collecting talent = winning.
I will be pulling for Trevor Crowe to continue to mash in AAA and find his way to Cleveland at some point based on his merit and not an injury.
PDX tribe
April 16, 2012 - 7:25 AM EDT
It's too early to starting calling for Crowe, but not to late to eat it. If he is still blasting away in a month, who knows. All I know is we signed Damon - to play LF. Duncan has been solid at the plate so far. Brantley is coming around. What the over/under on Hafners return to the DL - cause I dont see Damon as an answer - maybe a trade is brewing, who knows.
April 16, 2012 - 6:49 AM EDT
Enough with the calls for Trevor Crowe please...

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