Around the Farm: April 25, 2012
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.
Jeremie Tice: 1B, Carolina Mudcats: 3-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI:
When you think of top prospects in the Indians’ organization, I’m guess that Tice’s name isn’t the first, or second, or tenth, or 50th guy on your mind. Perhaps he should be. Tice has always had a good bat, but injuries slowed him down last season, stopping his progress through the system. This season, he was blocked at first base by Jesus Aguilar (and still is), but found himself at first tonight. Perhaps he was celebrating, perhaps he was just taking advantage of an extremely hot bat, but either way, he blasted two homers out of Five County Stadium today, capping off a two-day stretch in which he’s gone 6-for-8, with four runs, a double, two homers, and four RBI. He’s hitting .324 over his last ten games, and is now hitting .310 on the season. It’s time to take notice of Tice.
Chun-Hsiu Chen, DH, Akron Aeros: 3-for-6, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 3 K, SB (1):
I would say this wasn’t a bad game for Chen. He rolls out three hits, a double, a stolen base, and hits the game-winner in the 11th inning of an extra-inning game. Chen has been struggling to reclaim the offensive onslaught he delivered in 2010, and has finally found his swing. He’s been torching Eastern League pitching, and is currently on a four-game hit streak. Over his last ten games, he has six multi-hit games, and has a monster line of .405/.444/.524, with seven runs, five doubles and three RBI. I’m not sure what role he will play in the organization going forward. He is a right-handed bat, and he does officially play first base right now, so he could answer an important call if his bat continues to progress. He is slaughtering left-handed pitching to the tune of .444. Now, if he can just keep it going.
Giovanny Urshela: 3B, Carolina Mudcats: 4-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B:
Urshela always puts together games like this, but for some reason, can never do it consistently. He went 3-for-4 on April 20th, then followed that up with a 1-for-10 run over the next three games. Prior to the three-hit game, he went 3-for-22. The kid has a fantastic glove, but has never really been able to put anything together offensively since he left Mahoning Valley after the 2010 season. Urshela is only 20, and games like this showcase what type of player he could become down the road if he were to ever figure things out. This kid really is a sleeper in the system, but the bat has to develop.
- Lonnie Chisenhall: 3B, Columbus: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B: Chiz just won’t put the offense away with his fourth multi-hit game in his last ten. His offense has been tapering off over the past week (2-for-14 in the four games heading into last night’s game), but a nice rebound with this two-hit performance. He’s still throwing up a nice .317/.337/.561 line so far this season.
- Matt LaPorta: 1B, Columbus: 2-for-2, 2 RBI, 2 BB: LaPorta nearly found his way back into the top of ATF tonight with a performance that may even be better than last night’s three extra-base hit extravaganza. Why? The kid rolled out a couple of RBI and a couple of walks as well. Top that off, he’s got a nine-game hit streak and is 6-of-7 in his last two games. Maybe he is making strides after all.
- Ryan Spilbourghs: DH, Columbus: 1-for-2, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K: Hey, remember this guy? He was picked up to grab hold of left-field in Cleveland. Chripes, he can’t even grab hold of left-field in Columbus. He’s actually hitting the ball decently over the last ten, batting .286 over the past ten. It’ll take something on the injury front for him to ever find the bigs in Cleveland.
- David Huff: SP, Columbus: L (0-1), 4 IP, 7 H, 5 R/4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR: David Huff made his first start at Triple-A since coming off the DL, and it was one that he’ll likely want to forget. Patience is a virtue though, and I’m sure Huff will figure out this level soon enough.
- Nick Hagadone: RP, Cleveland…oh yeah…Columbus: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 K: Hagadone makes his return to Columbus after getting sent down from the mothership. Of course, he was dominant, which is hard to take with guys like Asencio pitching (in my best sarcastic voice) so well for the Tribe.
- Adam Abraham: 1B, Akron: 2-for-2, 1 R, 4 BB: I’m a huge fan of Adam Abraham, and it’s good to see him really starting to find his way at Double-A. He’s got a modest four-game hitting streak, and is hitting .290 over his last ten games. Love seeing this guy’s professional bat, with four walks in his six at bats.
- Thomas Neal: RF, Akron: 2-for-5, 1 RBI, 2 K: Neal is clearly out of his slump, and now has back-to-back multi-hit games in a row, in which he’s gone 5-for-9. He’s hitting .324 over his last ten games. Now, if he can just show some power. For the season, he hasn’t hit a home run, and has only one RBI.
- Steven Wright: SP, Akron: 7 1/3 IP, 8 H, 2 R/1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR: Wright continues to dominate the Eastern League, and certainly deserved better than what he got in this outing. Preston Guilmet and Rob Bryson both blew save opps later in the game in one that Wright deserved a win for. He’s clearly figured out this great knuckleball experiment, and may just find himself as a legitimate option down the line.
- Cody Allen: RP, Akron: H (2), 2/3 IP, 2 K: Ho-hum, Cody Allen pitches to two guys, and strikes them both out. You could make a case that he’s a top two or three reliever in the system at this point, and nobody would question you.
- Tyler Holt: CF, Carolina: 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K: Holt is just lacing the ball right now. He has four two-hit games in his last five, and has a six-game hit streak in which he’s gone 10-for-25, with seven runs, a double and a triple.
- Jesus Aguilar: DH, Carolina: 0-for-4, 3 K: Here’s a reminder of why Aguilar needs some work. He hasn’t had a game like this yet this season, but it’s clear there’s work to be done.
- Jake Lowery: C, Carolina: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B: I can’t say enough about how good Lowery is with the bat. He’s now one a four-game hit streak in which he has two hits in each game, and has gone 8-for-15. He has seven two hit games in his last ten, but has struggled with strikeouts. The good news is he hasn’t had a K in three games. Lowery continues to send notice to Akron that there’s likely a new catcher coming to town soon.
- T.J. House: SP, Carolina: W (2-0), 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R/ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HR: House has another nice little start tonight, getting the win, and pitching fairly well. Starts like this used to be the best you could expect. Now, they are more likely the worst he could do. It should be an interesting month or so for House, who’s long overdue for a promotion.
- Shawn Armstrong: RP Carolina: H (2), 2 IP, 1 H, 4 K: Armstrong has been electric for Carolina since getting the call-up, and has now gone 8 2/3 IP overall, with four hits, six walks and 12 K’s. He was an 18th rounder last year out of ECU, and could be making a name for himself as another big arm in the back-end of the bullpen.
- Jose Flores: RP, Carolina: S (4): 1 IP 1 BB, 2 K: Flores continues to dominate as the closer for Carolina, and I can’t even begin to tell you how out of left field this is.
- Luigi Rodriguez: CF, Lake County: 3-for-4, 2 R, SB (7): I actually got a couple of e-mails today asking about Luigi’s health, and my quick answer to that is, “He’s fine.” Rodriguez has gone 6-for-9 in his last two games, and continues to showcase some special skills.
- Francisco Lindor: SS, Lake County: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, CS (3): Lindor has been struggling with the bat of late, but picked it back up tonight. He’s only hitting .195 in his last ten games, but you’d expect this from an 18-year old.
- Robel Garcia: 3B, Lake County: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 2K: Garcia blasted a three-run bomb in the first inning. He’s starting to pick things up a bit. While he’s only hitting .217 this season, he’s hitting .263 over his last ten games.
- Cody Anderson: SP, Lake County: W (2-0): 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R/1 ER, 6 K: All indications are that Anderson was really popping the glove tonight, in a really good start. The 21-year-old was a 14th round pick by the Tribe in 2011, and made his debut last year in Mahoning Valley. He only made three appearances, but looked good. This year, in four games and three starts, he’s 2-0 with a 2.7 ERA. He’s struck out 20, but only walked 4. Hmmmmm….
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 email@example.com.