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Around the Farm: April 23, 2014

Ramirez's power and speed highlight the night on the farm

Around the Farm: April 23, 2014
Jose Ramirez (Photo: Toledo Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth)
April 24, 2014
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Around the Farm takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Cleveland prospects throughout the system. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game. 

Jose Ramirez (2B, Columbus): 3-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 SB

Jose Ramirez (Photo: MiLB)With an on-base streak up to 18 games -- all 18 games Columbus has played -- and some emerging power, Ramirez continues to turn heads at a very young age. Only 21 years old and already playing at Triple-A, Ramirez is definitely a fun player to get behind. Who knows  how much stock to put into the power -- especially considering Huntington Park's heavy offensive tendencies and Ramirez's slight stature -- but the three home runs and .169 ISO on the young season are something worth watching. Ramirez also showed his speed, swiping three bases Wednesday and raising his season total to eight. The defensive profile may not fit as a starting shortstop, but provided Ramirez continues to hit, he will play somewhere at the major league level, possibly sooner rather than later.

Dorssys Paulino (SS, Columbus Lake County): 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 SO

Dorssys Paulino (Photo: MiLB)It is easy to get discouraged with prospects, but it is important to keep in mind that players as young as Paulino are years and years away from becoming a finished product. Is it hard to watch Paulino come out of the gate cold again, struggling to a .567 OPS through 17 games? Of course. Are the 16 strikeouts a problem? Definitely. Could those strikeouts point toward a player making bad decisions at the plate, something that could be harming his quality of contact and keeping his .278 BABIP from heading a little more toward league-average? Absolutely. But in the end, Paulino is still just 19 years old and very inexperienced as a prospect. The pieces do not always come together as quickly as we would like; Paulino still has plenty of talent, and though it is not consistent yet, nights like Wednesday show us it is still in there, waiting to shine through.

  • T.J. House (SP, Columbus): ND, 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO. With another strong start, House now owns a 2.08 ERA and 2.62 FIP on the season. The left-hander has looked good at Columbus and could be an option later this season in Cleveland.
  • Vinnie Pestano (RP, Columbus): H (1), 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO. Three-up, three-down for Pestano as the right-hander continues to mow down International League hitters (nine strikeouts in five innings).
  • Scott Barnes (RP, Columbus): BS (2), L (1-1), 0.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB. Barnes followed Pestano's good appearance with his second-straight poor outing. The left-hander started the year well, but now has four runs allowed in his last two appearances (0.1 innings pitched).
  • Blake Wood (RP, Columbus): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 SO. Wood did not make it pretty, but the right-hander got out of the inning clean in his first Triple-A appearance.
  • Jesus Aguilar (1B, Columbus): 0-for-4, 1 SO. Like Ramirez, Aguilar had reached base in each of Columbus' first 17 games. Unlike Ramirez, the first baseman saw his streak end Wednesday. Even after the down night, Aguilar still owns a 1.115 OPS.
  • Will Roberts (SP, Akron): L (2-2), 5.0 IP, 6 H, 8 R (6 ER), 4 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR. Opponents seem to be squaring up Roberts so far in 2014 as the right-hander has allowed 30 hits in 23.0 innings. Compounding the problem, Roberts only owns a 11:7 SO:BB in his first four starts.
  • Enosil Tejeda (RP, Akron): 1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO. 1 HR. That home run is the first Tejeda has allowed since pitching in the Dominican Summer League in 2010. What a streak. I'm sad to see it come to an end for the right-hander.
  • Kyle Crockett (RP, Akron): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO. Another scoreless inning for Crockett, who is yet to give up a run in 17.2 Double-A innings. Still a bit of a small sample size to declare things like "ready for the majors," but it is clearly enough to highlight how advanced the left-hander is.
  • Joe Wendle (2B, Akron): 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SO. Even with a big game, Wendle's season line remains pretty low (.203/.304/.333). However, a pretty good chunk of that will get better once the second baseman's .235 BABIP regresses toward the mean.
  • Tyler Naquin (CF, Akron): 3-for-4, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 CS. Back-to-back big nights have raised Naquin's OPS 150 points, but that OPS is still just .673 and the outfielder struck out for the 25th time in 18 games.
  • Tyler Holt (LF, Akron): 3-for-4, 1 R. With one extra base hit on the year, power just is not part of Holt's game. But a .429 on-base percentage and more experience in the corner outfield spots are setting Holt up to help around the outfield in Columbus (and possibly Cleveland) soon.
  • Cole Sulser (SP, Carolina): L (0-2), 5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO, 1 HR. Now 22.1 innings into the season, Sulser has 20 strikeouts and only two walks. A little old for the Carolina League at 24 years old, Sulser is simply doing his job and dominating opposing hitters; you cannot ask for any more.
  • Louis Head (RP, Carolina): 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO. With two more strikeouts, Head is now up to 15 in 7.2 innings. After celebrating his birthday Wednesday night with another 1.1 scoreless innings, Head and his 1.17 ERA look primed to head up to Akron.
  • Logan Vick (CF, Carolina): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SB, 1 CS. The BABIP gods are slowly bringing Vick's batting average up as the outfielder has gained 85 points since April 13. Vick is yet to hit for extra bases in 2014, however.
  • Erik Gonzalez (SS, Carolina): 2-for-5, 1 2B, 1 SO. Gonzalez continues to strikeout more than you would like to see (17 in 19 games), but the shortstop also continues to hit (.346/.378/.526 line) as he extended his hitting streak to 15 games. As long as he keeps hitting like this, you can live with the strikeouts.
  • Jeremy Lucas (C, Carolina): 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SO. Despite another night bouncing around the catcher/first base/designated hitter carousel, Lucas flashed his power and pushed his OPS on the season to .882.
  • James Roberts (3B, Carolina): 2-for-3, 1 HBP. The hitting is nice to see from Roberts, as is the on-base ability. Like Vick, though, Roberts has suffered a power outage in 2014, with a double back on April 6 as his only extra base hit on the season.
  • Adam Plutko (SP, Lake County): ND, 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 10 SO. Plutko followed up his eight-strikeout start last week with 10 Wednesday, though the right-hander was touched up for four runs and saw his ERA rise to 4.15. Those strikeouts helped lower Plutko's FIP to 1.47, though.
  • Trevor Frank (RP, Lake County): L (0-1), 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO. Unfortunately for Frank, his first walk of the season came around to score the game-winning, walk off run in Lake County's loss. The right-hander owns a 3.52 ERA and 9:1 SO:BB in 7.2 innings in 2014.
  • Clint Frazier (CF, Lake County): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 BB. The power is not there for Frazier yet (.043 ISO), but the center fielder has found his way on base with a .357 on-base percentage and done a solid job with his plate discipline (4:4 SO:BB through six games).
  • Claudio Bautista (2B, Lake County): 2-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SAC. Following a rough 16-game audition at Lake County in 2013 (.157/.204/.255), Bautista has looked much better through 17 games in 2014, posting a .258/.333/.419 line.
  • Paul Hendrix (3B, Lake County): 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 RBI. Cleveland's 18th round selection in last year's draft, Hendrix continued making the case that he should get a shot in Carolina at some point in 2014. The 22-year-old owns a .841 OPS through his first 10 games.

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

User Comments

April 24, 2014 - 9:34 PM EDT
So was the gamble to reach for Naquin in '12 and draft Lovegrove,McClure, and Brown looking like it's panning out?
April 24, 2014 - 1:22 PM EDT
Dammit Jim. Get it right!:)
Jim Piascik
April 24, 2014 - 12:58 PM EDT
Lake County, not Columbus on Paulino. Correcting that now. Stupid late night writing. Lol
April 24, 2014 - 12:33 PM EDT
Don't trade 19 year old guys playing at AAA. He could be a good player
April 24, 2014 - 12:17 PM EDT
Enosil Tejeda hadn't given up a home run since 2010??? That is simply amazing, hopefully he's able to recapture last year's form. Hard to keep a guy in AA if his ERA is under 1.
April 24, 2014 - 11:26 AM EDT
I'd consider Paulino sunk cost now. I get the whole age/level thing, but I don't know many other "top prospects" that struggled repeating the lowest Minors level and turned out to be good in the Majors. The problem is that he's simply not even improving. He doesn't need to be an AllStar in his league, but he was a well below league average hitter last season and same now with the same inconsistencies and problems. Even lower ranked and same aged guys like NRod and Bautista are showing improvement, same with EGonzalez. I'm starting to wonder: considering the MIF depth in the org, what he might still fetch in a trade? Is there value left?
April 24, 2014 - 11:21 AM EDT
I'm encouraged by some of these prospects. Want to hold on to Ramirez and Crockett for sure. Maybe Holt could help Cleveland this season as a reserve OF.
April 24, 2014 - 9:56 AM EDT
Really liking what House has done so far this year. Definitely looking like a guy that could help out in a pinch in the rotation. Could use a lefty in there for a couple starts...
Jim Piascik
April 24, 2014 - 9:54 AM EDT
Just missed my cut. It is good to see him seizing his opportunity, especially after poor fortune (see, a broken toe) set him back last year.
April 24, 2014 - 9:54 AM EDT
I still wouldn't mind seeing Ramirez get some looks in CF. Obviously Bourn is there but if you could find a way to move him by opening day 2015 (would be tough but IMO not impossible) then could potentially replace him with Ramirez. Bat would play well there and has the speed to cover ground (though that doesn't always mean he'd be good there).

April 24, 2014 - 9:39 AM EDT
Another good night for Lavisky.
April 24, 2014 - 8:57 AM EDT
If Ramirez learns to play the outfield, he would be next Mike Aviles on the the team. Aviles will be in option year in 15 in which the Indians can decline that option. Or he might be part of a trade later in the year to get pitching for the stretch drive.

If Sulser is dominating Carolina, Akron could be promotion in near future, A lot of pitching candidates in Carolina that can be considered for Akron in near future. Sulser, Head, Merritt and Morimando all are of to strong starts for the Mudcats.

Maybe this is the beginning in which both Naquin and Wendle are going to start to heat up. They have been mirroring the Indians top of the lineup with slow starts.

April 24, 2014 - 8:45 AM EDT
Interesting how the Indians are really managing Plutko's innings in the early going. Also, while he is getting a lot of strikeouts how he has had a little trouble keeping some runs off the board. Some of that may be a product of a poor defense behind him as his FIP is amazing in the early going, so it will be interesting to see just how long Plutko remains in Lake County.

As for Jose Ramirez, he profiles best as a second baseman in the Major League's and is the one position he projects as a championship caliber starter at the position. He can certainly play shortstop or third base, but he's a "second level" guy there where he can start for a non-contender and fill-in, and should only play there on an occasional basis for a championship level team. In other words, since he is obviously not playing second base in Cleveland anytime soon with Kipnis around, he profiles best as a utility guy. I see him as the eventual replacement to Mike Aviles and the role he has with the team. And I wonder if he wouldn't be as good or better than Aviles right now. If Ramirez and Lindor stay healthy, that's going to be a nice combo to have in Cleveland for a long time.....Lindor starting and Ramirez the super sub at 2B, 3B, SS and maybe even some OF.
April 24, 2014 - 8:32 AM EDT
Plutko's pitching line looks like a typical Danny Salazar start.

Where are they going to play Jose Ramirez when he's ready for the bigs? Lindor and Kipnis are the middle infield of the future, right? And it's not like they're going to move Kipnis back to left field with Brantley there.

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