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Around the Farm: April 28, 2013

Around the Farm: April 28, 2013
April 29, 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.

Jordan Smith: RF, 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI:

It’s no secret that Smith is one of my favorite players in the organization. I know that there are some that say he won’t ever develop the power that a corner outfielder should have, but I still think the potential is there. He showcased some of that power on Sunday when he hit his first homer of the season. He also racked up two hits on the day, and the once-struggling hitter has two hits in each of his last four games. He’s only hitting .235 on the year, but don’t be surprised if he’s hitting .300 by  years end. Be surprised if he isn’t.

  • Daisuke Matsuzaka: SP, Columbus: 3 IP, 2 K: Matsuzaka was perfect through three innings. Matsuzaka then hunched over in pain after delivering the first pitch of the fourth inning. Matsuzaka was led into the dugout by the training and didn’t return. There’s still no information on what the injury is, but it’s unfortunate that it happened while he was pitching so well. The Indians certainly could have used it.
  • David Huff: RP, Columbus: W (2-1), 3 IP, 2 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR: Huff relieved Matsuzaka, and really wasn’t all that special. He gave up a two-run blast, and got the win, and I suppose stays relevant in the organization, but only because there just isn’t any starting pitching to speak of. Of course, he’s a reliever now, so nevermind.
  • Preston Guilmet: Closer, Columbus: S (8): 1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 1 K: Guilmet occasionally makes appearances that are longer than an inning, and Sunday night was no exception. He gave up a lead-off single that cost Rob Bryson a run, then retired the next five to record his league leading eighth save. Guilmet will eventually be a very good major league reliever. I could even see him closing, if not for the Indians, than someone else.
  • Matt Lawson: 2B, Columbus: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 2 K:  Lawson hit his first double of the year, and knocked in 75% of his total RBI, so I’d say it was a successful game. I can’t imagine that anything would save his job though in the coming months, should Akron spew up any of their middle infielders.
  • Cedric Hunter/Juan Diaz/Omir Santos: L/SS/C, Columbus: 6-for-14, 3 R, 1 RBI, 3 K: The 7, 8 and 9 hitters for the Clippers did some damage, which turned out to be key in a one run game. Of course, when Matt Lawson and Matt Carson take up two of your top four slots in your lineup, they’ll have to.
  • Jose Ramirez: 2B, Akron Aeros: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 SB (11): When do you start wondering if Ramirez is the best Indians’ prospect? His home run gave the Aeros the lead for good, and he stole his tenth and eleventh bases on Sunday, and he’s not leading the Eastern League in that category. What can’t he do?
  • Chun Chen: DH, Akron: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB: Chen hit his fifth double, and now has four two-hit ball games in his last five, and six in his last ten. His slash is a crazy .348/.477/.580 on the year, and you may see this kid blossoming into relevancy again. There could be a DH/1B position open in 2014 in Cleveland, and if he continues to hit for power, he could be fighting for it in spring training.
  • Jesus Aguilar: 1B, Akron: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K: Aguilar hit a two run blast, his first in two weeks. He does have six two-hit games in his last nine, and is one of his offensive tears. He still ebbs and flows a bit too much for my liking, but he really isn’t far from putting it altogether. Chen is a more advanced bat for sure, but Aguilar has more upside, and way more power. I give him the advantage over the long haul.
  • Carlos Moncrief: RF, Akron: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI: So, Moncrief strikes out a ton. He struck out 158 times in 2011, and 126 times in 2012. This year, he’s struck out 11 times in the month of April, and he’s also walked 11 times. That’s crazy good for the five-tool outfielder. His power has suffered a bit early on, but he generally warms up as the summer warms up, so it will be interesting to see if the K’s stay down.
  • Quincy Latimore: LF, Akron: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB: Latimore is what he is, but there’s always a guy in the system that I just take to. Last year it was Thomas Neal, and this year, it’s Quincy Latimore. He’s got a nice skill set, that borderlines on the five-tool variety. While it’s likely that will only be a minor league skill-set, it’s there. He’ll probably never be an MLB player with the outfield set in Cleveland, but he could be a fun minor league player for the foreseeable future.
  • Tyler Holt: CF, Akron: 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 K: Holt’s been hot of late, hitting .282 over his past ten baseball games. He’s a streaky sort, that still wears his emotions on his sleeve, but when he’s playing well, he is fun to watch.
  • Bryan Price: RP, Akron: H (1), 2 IP, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K: There was a time when Bryan Price had potential to be a top bullpen arm in the system. The 26-year old has had decent numbers over the years, but has yet to stand out. In three appearances this year, he’s yet to give up a run. Perhaps this is his last chance to make a push.
  • Bryce Stowell: Closer?, Akron: 1 IP, 2 K:  Like Price, like Stowell, except Stowell was once considered the top relief arm in the system. Arm issues and inconsistencies have derailed the 26-year old. This year, Stowell has regained some of the magic. I’m not sure what his velocity is sitting at right now (JP2?), but his numbers are spectacular. He’s pitched in eight innings over a seven game stretch, giving up only four hits and four walks, while striking out 15. He’s yet to give up an earned run.
  • Tyler Naquin: CF, Carolina: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B:  Naquin’s been hitting the ball well. He’s on a four game hit streak now, and has hit in eight of nine ballgames, going 12-for-36 during that stretch, with eight runs, five doubles, a homer and five RBI.
  • Francisco Lindor: SS, Carolina: 2-for-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K: Lindor’s 5-for-9 over his last two games, and 7-for-18 ver his last four. Lindor has been raking offensively since joining Carolina, and is fifth in the league with a .326 average.
  • Jacob Lee: SP, Carolina: L (0-2), 1 2/3 IP, 5 H, 6 R/ER, 3 BB, 2K, 2 HR: Lee got torched in his worst start of the season. He’d been solid to start the year off, but he definitely has bullpen written all over him.

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 jpete@indiansprospectinsider.com.

User Comments

Shadow
April 29, 2013 - 2:29 PM EDT
I was referring to the comment about him under the Hunter/Diaz/Santos section. I agree with your "low profile" comment.
Tony
April 29, 2013 - 2:24 PM EDT
Shadow, who is ripping on Lawson? I see none of that whatsoever. If being honest and mentioning his low profile status and that when another priority need presents itself replacing him constitutes as "ripping" a guy, I dunno what to say. It's great to see Lawson play well over the years. I'm a huge fan of guys like him who battle the odds year and and year out. But there has to be some honesty.
Shadow
April 29, 2013 - 2:19 PM EDT
Why do you guys keep rippin on Lawson?? The guy has paid his dues in the minor leagues and has been successful at every level. He may not be "prospect" material but he doesn't deserve what you guys give him. Here are some quick facts: Every team he has played on has made the post-season playoffs and the Clippers are 4-0 when he has started!!!
Rich
April 29, 2013 - 1:28 PM EDT
Dice was pitching in the Japanese major leagues at age 18. At age 20 he threw 240 innings. This is his 15th year as a professional pitcher.

The last two seasons he's thown a total of 73 innings. In spring training this year he couldn't break an egg with his fastball. Now he's hurt, just like the last two seasons.

I really think there's been too much wear and tear on the arm.
Rich
April 29, 2013 - 1:15 PM EDT
I think Dice is finished. The future belongs to Masterson, McAlister, Carrasco, Bauer, Kluber (maybe), House, and hopefully Salazar. Kazmir may make a spot for himself for the next year or two.

I don't think Dice's problem is a weak arm. I think his arm is dead from throwing so many innings over the years.
Seth
April 29, 2013 - 1:15 PM EDT
Ross Atkins was quoted as saying Carrasco would miss one start, but they thought he could probably make the start after that. If they're thinking that, then I would imagine it's not that bad of an injury.

I'm curious what the Indians plans are for Wednesday. If they call up Bauer, who do they option out? I wonder if someone is DL-bound. Kipnis, or Ubaldo.
Steve Kinsella
April 29, 2013 - 1:02 PM EDT
@tony let's hope that he Dice-K can resume throwing in a few weeks (3-4 at most). There are two sides to throwing more...1) you can gain arm strength 2) you could be trying to get back to the bigs and throw too much when not ready.

Where is Dice-K on those two paths? From what I have see he is closer to needing a break then ramping it up.

We both agree that hopefully he's not out too long. I've got the video at home and went to make the GIF but couldn't quite get it done.

I'll see if I can't tweet out the GIF of the injury and behind the mound exam later.
art
April 29, 2013 - 11:12 AM EDT
My bad on Espino.

By the way, the link to Ramirez takes you to the wrong player. Current link is:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=ramire011jos

Should be:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=ramire014jos
Tony
April 29, 2013 - 9:55 AM EDT
Note that I am saying Espino would go to AAA to start.....not ML. I don't think Espino is a ML option except for extreme desperation. He is upper level pitching depth and will not be resigned after the season.
anonymous
April 29, 2013 - 9:53 AM EDT
Hope you're right Tony, I'd love to see Espino get a major league start, actually I'd like to see him get a few starts (but you knew that already).
Tony
April 29, 2013 - 9:40 AM EDT
No immediate need to DL Carrasco yet. The Indians will do that once the need for a starter comes up, which will be in next few days. Might see them callup Espino to fill starting need. I don't see Salazar getting bumped up....he needs more time in AA.

As for Matsuzaka, to get stronger, he needs to throw more. Any layoff like this is going to hurt him. Only way a pitcher can get better after a serious injury is with continued throwing to build up that arm strength. If you are not throwing, you aren't rebuilding that arm strength. I do agree that Matsuzaka probably could use a breather as his stuff is still iffy, but if he is out for at least 3-4 weeks with an oblique injury, this is a serious setback for him. Let's hope it is something else or that it is very minor.
Roger
April 29, 2013 - 9:16 AM EDT
why isnt carlos carrasco on the 7 day DL we have an extra slot at AAA and if so why? i am certain the contusion isnt going to heal within a week. Maybe time to see if Salazar is ready for AAA no sense in keeping CC on the active C-bus roster while his bone bruise heals. i am sure it will take time to heal.
also DL dice K so two openings exist.
Steve Kinsella
April 29, 2013 - 9:15 AM EDT
@rich - it's not a blessing in his hopes to make it back to MLB but I am not convinced that his arm is as strong as it should be.

Ideally, he'd continue to throw and hope that through repeated work (George Bamberger theory) that the arm grows stronger.

100% see where you are coming from. We just have a different view of where Dice-K is in his process. I do not believe that he is ready to go and question the strength of his arm.

If he was 100% and ready to go, as you may believe, then the injury is a major setback in his quest to return.

Thanks
Rich
April 29, 2013 - 8:32 AM EDT
I don't see how going down with an oblique injury, which usually puts a pitcher down for several weeks, can be termed a "blessing". Especially when it looked like he was just starting to put things together.

I also don't see how not throwing for an extended period of time makes a pitcher's arm stronger. Maybe Brett Myers will be throwing 94 mph when he comes back.

With Myers' injury the Tribe could have used Dice, but that option is out the window. Fortunately Kluber pitched well yesterday so he may be able to step into that spot.

Bauer and Carrasco are both pitching very effectively at Columbus so the injury to Dice is no big deal. I think his ship has sailed even without the injury.
Steve Kinsella
April 29, 2013 - 8:04 AM EDT
The injury to Dice-K is an oblique. He threw one pitch grabbed his side and trainers came out. They thought maybe it could be a cramp and had him do some light stretching behind the mound but he reacted pretty violently as he reached back to the area of his side.

He looked good too in the 3 innings. He had a filthy breaking ball and placed his fastball on the periphery of the strike zone. For Dice-K the road back will include some more time off but it could be a blessing as it will give him more time to rest that arm and build up the strength in it.

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