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Around the Farm: April 25, 2014

Around the Farm: April 25, 2014
Jose Ramirez dives back into first base. (Photo: Columbus Dispatch)
April 26, 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.

Jesus Aguilar (Columbus, 1B) - 3-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K - The RBI Machine just keeps posting insane numbers in his Triple-A debut season.  Not only did he get his sixth homer and fourteenth and fifeenth RBIs (in 20 games) in the first inning, but he also increased his slash line to a gaudy ..373/.434/.680.  While the Clippers play on many nights this season hasn't been worth the price of admission (although that seems to be changing as of late), getting to see Aguilar certainly is.

Josh Tomlin (Columbus, SP) - W (1-1), 8 IP, 6 H, 6 K - Tomlin flat out dominated the Gwinnett Braves in the best of his four outings this season to pick up his first win of 2014.  If this is a sign of anything close to what we can expect of him on a regular basis, he may be riding shotgun in the Savantmobile with Trevor Bauer up I-71 to replace Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar in the staring pitching rotaion at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.

  • Jose Ramirez (Columbus, SS) - 2-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 E - J-Ram's three-RBI night puts him on par with Jesus "The RBI Machine" Aguilar in that category.  That alone makes this effort, and his hitting performance all season, incredible. He now has four (!!) homers.
  • Roberto Perez (Columbus, C) - 2-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB - Perez is now batting .421 through 13 games.  While he obviously won't keep this pace up all season, it is certainly a positive sign of what he is capable of.
  • Carlos Moncrief (Columbus, RF) - 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 SB - A good night at the plate for Moncrief, whose last 10 games (.294/.333/.382) have been a significant improvement over his season as a whole (.234/.290/.297 in 19 games).  That said, his K/BB ratio is bad in both time frames (13:2 in his last 10 and 18:5 on the season).
  • Audy Ciriaco (Columbus, 3B) - 3-4, 1 R, 1 2B - Criraco has his first multi hit game of the season and his second extra base hit (one night after getting his first).  Hopefully, this is the point where he gets acclimated to his new team and organization and starts performing.
  • Scott Barnes (Columbus, RP) - 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R (earned), 1 K, 1 HR - Barnes made one mistake in the inning and it cost him.
  • Justin Toole (Akron, 2B) - 2-2, 2 R, 1 BB - Toole continues to perform well in his second game at Double-A Akron.  Maybe he'll get another chance at Triple-A Columbus if he keeps playing like this.
  • Tyler Naquin (Akron, CF) - 2-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI - Naquin has a solid evening at the plate, continuing his form from his last 10 games in which he has put up a .324/.390/.486 slash line.
  • Francisco Lindor (Akron, SS) - 2-4, 1 CS - Lindor puts up his second multi-hit effort in as many days.
  • Tony Wolters (Akron, C) - 2-4, 2 K - Tony's first multi-hit game in almost two weeks is a much needed positive for a guy hitting .167 with 1 extra base hit and 2 RBI in his last eight games.
  • Tyler Holt (Akron, starting RF) - 0-1 - This line is worrisome due to it's brevity.  Holt only made one plate appearance after being pulled from the game due to a potential injury sustained during a collision with the right field wall at Canal Park in the process of catching a fly ball that represented the first out of the top of the fouth inning.
  • Jordan Smith (Akron, backup RF) - 0-3, 2 K - Smith drops below the Mendoza Line with this emergency fill-in effort.  As bad as his overall numbers have been, his recent form is even worse.  He entered this game with a .147/.171/.176 slash line in his last 10 games.
  • Ronny Rodriguez (Akron, 1B) - 0-3 - Ronny-Rod's batting numbers remain in the tank with his slash line now at .125/.189/.146.  There are RubberDucks with batting averages approaching his OPS.  If this kind of performance keeps up, don't be surprised if he suffers another double-digit drop in the Prospect rankings next year.
  • Gabriel Arias (Akron, RP) - L (2-2), 4 IP, 2 H, 4 R (all earned), 3 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 1 HBP - Arias continues to alternate good and bad outings, with tonight's being the worst of the four.
  • Duke von Schamman (Akron, RP) - 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R (earned), 4 K - The Duke of Canal Park continues his solid form with a relief outing that would qualify as a solid start if it happened at the front end of the game.
  • Anthony Santander (Lake County, DH) - 1-3, 1 BB, 2 K - His line drive single to right field in the top of the seventh inning was all that stood between three South Bend Silver Hawks pitchers (SP Blake Perry, RPSilvino Bracho, and CP J.R. Bradley - all righties) and a combined no-hitter.
  • Grant Fink (Lake County, 3B) - 0-4, 4 K - the Captains' offensive woes on the night are best exemplified by Fink's golden sombrero.
  • Luis Lugo (Lake County, SP) - ND, 6 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 6 K - A solid outing that went to waste because the offense was completely shut down.
  • Robbie Aviles (Lake County, RP) - L (0-1), 2 IP,  1 R (unearned), 1 K, 1 HBP - How does a guy take a loss pitching this good and not even giving up an earned run?  The lineup getting one-hit, that's how.

User Comments

April 28, 2014 - 2:02 PM EDT

I can maybe see that too with Roberto Perez. Not sure the Tribe promotes him just yet though as he struggled last year (though we now know for good reason) and probably want to see just how much of this early season hot streak is for real. Would be nice to have a real backup option in Cleveland though behind Gomes.
April 28, 2014 - 1:59 PM EDT

Disagree a bit on Naquin. Obviously a 31% strikeout rate is way too high but considering where it was he is improving there. Plus his walk rate is now up to 9% on the year. That's better than it was last year down at Carolina. OBP up over .340 is great to see. Again, strikeouts have to come down (not gonna keep a BABIP over .400), but some very positive signs from him here lately. Splits are a bit concerning too though guys like Brantley and Choo have survived as everyday players with some big platoon splits.

Don't see Naquin being a star but think it's way too soon to be writing him off as a 4th outfielder/platoon guy, especially with how he's played of late.
Joe Chengery
April 27, 2014 - 2:21 AM EDT
Thanks, GSon!

Something to keep in mind about Perez: Despite the fact he seems to have been around forever to those who follow the Minors regularly, Perez is still only 25. While I'm not expecting Perez to be an elite hitter in the bigs, if he can be decent or even solid in the Majors, combined with what most consider plus to elite defense, he would definitely be a strong backup catcher at least.

At the very least, I think he could serve a similar role that Eddie Perez (no relation) did for the 90s Braves- elite defense with an occasional show of power. R. Perez might be a little more selective and willing to take a walk than Eddie was, but similar in that he could be a very strong backup with a good throwing arm, able to call a good game, and able to surprise every now and then with the bat.
Nick S
April 26, 2014 - 11:47 PM EDT
Homer, Wacha was considered a two pitch guy. A set up guy at best by scouts around the league. Keith Law of Espn said set up guy in the bigs. Law said the same thing about sonny Gray. Law had Wacha taken by the Indians in first round in2012, and Gray in first round in 2013.
April 26, 2014 - 4:46 PM EDT
God I love seeing how dumb Hiram is on a daily basis. Carrasco looks like massive garbage enough in every start to suck, and we get to hear how he's improving slowly but surely. Well, he dropped his ERA from 7.31, to 6.95, so the good news is he's so shitty, that when he gives up four runs he can "improve." Keep being a moron Hiram, Cleveland laughs at you daily. You're like a clown.
April 26, 2014 - 4:32 PM EDT

I totally agree with you on Carrasco. He's getting there slowly but surely
April 26, 2014 - 1:15 PM EDT
and Tony says Marson was a better hitter. Please, I looked at Marson's minor league numbers and he wasn't much of a hitter to say the least. Perez would be a nice backup to Gomes.
April 26, 2014 - 12:06 PM EDT
The Carlos Carrasco that gave up two runs in the first inning then pitched through the sixth inning was not the same out of whack mechanical run from the bullpen to the mound mental midget from his first few starts of the season.. He's getting it.. '

Next outing. or the one after that, amazing is going to happen. CC-Lite just needs to keep that explosive FB down.... we shall see..

Joe Chengery.. good posting..
April 26, 2014 - 11:33 AM EDT
Since the trade Hynes to the Dodgers, Duke Van Schamann has done nothing but be impressive. He just throws strikes and does not wast his pitches. Needs to be put in the starting rotation to replace Arias. I think if he continues to develop he becomes a pitching depth option for the Indians. Currently he is out performing Cody Anderson. I know I might be pushing this a little hard , but the guy is getting results.

Great to see Lugo have good pitching performance. This what he did last year with the Scrappers.
Joe Chengery
April 26, 2014 - 11:14 AM EDT
On last post, that should be "relax a little more and perform better."
Joe Chengery
April 26, 2014 - 11:13 AM EDT

I do agree with you though in regards to Aguilar and JRam, especially if the bench continues underperforming. I do wonder how effective and useful Giambi will be because, I can't see where his at-bats will be that great if he's only playing once a week, and you're not going to sit one of your hottest hitters in Chisenhall for him to get more at-bats. As for Johnson, he hasn't played much, and he doesn't hit much. Aguilar could replace Giambi's power in time, plus provide a real platoon to Chisenhall at DH, while JRam's versatility on the INF could help to overcome Johnson's versatility, especially since Aviles would be freed up to play a little more OF because you have JRam.

If Aguilar and JRam (and R. Perez too) keep hitting into May, I think you will see some roster changes if this offense and this bench don't start picking it up; the pitchers can't be expecting to give up 0-2 runs every game; the offense should be able to put 4-6 runs most nights, but that's been very sporadic this first month. More offense night help guys like Carrasco and Salazar a little more and perform better, as they wouldn't feel like they have to be perfect with every pitch.
Joe Chengery
April 26, 2014 - 11:06 AM EDT

Personally, I think Carrasco will get more time than Salazar for several reasons:

1. His underlying peripherals hint at better performances in the future (I.e. he's been a bit unlucky).

2. Once Carrasco is removed from the rotation, that's likely it as a starter; while Carrasco could be useful in the pen, he'd be more valuable as a starter.

3. He actually hasn't been that bad as a five starter. Certainly, we'd like him to be better, and I think with more time, he could be- that's why I think he could get until the end of May to show improving consistency. Note that he out pitched Homer Bailey last night, so Carrasco wasn't that bad- he nearly threw a quality start.

4. The Indians don't have the option to send him to Columbus to work out the inconsistency issues, and I think the bullpen option is a last resort that would essentially finish him as a starter.

The bigger issue, as has been the case for most of the first month, has been the inconsistent offense. Carrasco could have given up half of the runs he did, and still would have lost, as the Indians couldn't hit Hudson, a guy who is no longer in his prime, and who the Indians should have some familiarity with. You're not going to win many games when only three guys get hits; addd in the fact that we can barely get three guys going at a time offensively, and any pitching issues will be magnified as a result. Your five starter giving up four or five runs wouldn't be as much of an issue if the offense was showing the capability that they should be showing with one month under their belts. As I said, Carrasco could have given up two runs for a quality start and still lost because the offense couldn't handle Hudson, a guy who is no longer in his prime.

Salazar, on the other hand, does not have the good underlying peripherals, and really has pitched worse than Carrasco has. Add in the fact that he will remain a starter for the foreseeable future, he can be sent down to Columbus, he is aligned with Bauer (Bauer is pitching on the same days he is), and Bauer's early performance likely makes him the first pitcher to be called up, and I think Salazar may be sent down after one or two more bad starts unless he can really turn it around.

And, as for Lake County's record:

1. The record is not a big issue. Carolina has had poor records the last few years, yet they had Aguilar, Naquin, Lindor, Moncrief, House, Anderson, Lee, etc. on those rosters. Therefore, the poor record is certainly not the end of the world, and being that many of them on that roster are young for the league, and several getting their first taste of full season ball, the poor record is not that surprising.

Never mind the fact they've only played about three weeks, plus they've had a few rainouts as well. The record is not that important; it's a bonus. The real concern is seeing development, and that can't really be determined with such a small sample size.
Willie Homer?
April 26, 2014 - 9:34 AM EDT
Btw, great to see JRam and Aguilar raking. The Tribe has to work these guys into the lineup somehow.

How do they make room? Johnson seems like an easy target, I think they respect Giambi too much to cut him, so there's that.
April 26, 2014 - 9:30 AM EDT

are not a real surprise. He needs more than his straight hard FB, but with his talent and stuff he should come around. Not unusual to see young players have to work through some difficult stretches. He might eventually get sent down in favor of Tomlin or Bauer IF they both continue to dominate. It's nice to know the Tribe has House and even Marcum sitting around too. Can never have too much pitching.
April 26, 2014 - 9:26 AM EDT
I'm not a Tyler Naquin fan, but it's good to see him coming around. Man!...I wanted Wacha that draft...but I'll defer. Can't help but think of that every time I see him. Who knows, maybe Wacha will burn out while Naquin goes on to a long big league career.

As for Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar...Carlos needs a few more starts (at least 8-10 total) unless he just falls of the map. Salazar's struggles are
April 26, 2014 - 9:00 AM EDT
Oh, and considering the high end prospects at LC the 5-16 record is inexcusable. I know it's not about the record in the Minors, but when the bottom line is that bad, you have to wonder about the coaching staff, who are responsible for their development. Not exactly a winning culture there right now.
April 26, 2014 - 8:55 AM EDT
If the Indians are serious about contending, then they can't afford to wait for Giambi, Raburn, Aviles, ACab etc to return to form much longer while they have two red hot bats in Columbus.

Same with SP. As unspectacular as he is, Tomlin is the most consistent arm among Bauer, Danny and Carrasco. I'd give Salazar more time than Carrasco, simply because he has a positive MLB track record. Either hide Carrasco in the bullpen or give up on him and try to trade for as much as possible. I'd take another controllable von Schamann for him at this point. He is close to figure it out, but the Indians do not have the luxury to wait for him much longer. Time is ticking.

Good to see Luis Lugo getting better. He now has a 12:2 K:BB in his last 2 starts, that's more of what I expected from him.

Naquin, while improving his overall stats, still doesn't show progress in his plate discipline and contact. He also has alarming L/R splits and best case looks like a OF-platoon version of Chisenhall minus the power.

R.Perez might force the Indians to add him this season when they need a backup C to improve their D behind the plate. Would be a great story.
April 26, 2014 - 8:47 AM EDT
I think Lugo should have gotten equal billing as Tomlin base on his performance being the best so far this season. Other than Milbrath and Plutko, finally to someone else have good pitching performance from a struggling LC SP staff.

Carlos Moncrief starting to he up with his bat, hopefully it means he is adjusting to AAA pitching. I think he will be a factor for the Indians.

Also good to see our #1 picks in Lindor and Naquin heating with there bats.

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