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Around the Farm: April 7, 2012

Around the Farm: April 7, 2012
April 8, 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.

Francisco Lindor: SS, Lake County Captains: 3-for-4, 2R, 1 BB, 1 SB (3), 1 CS (2):

Welcome to the top of ATF Mr. Lindor. Lindor racked up his first multi-hit game of the season with this three-hit masterpiece, upping his average to .308 on the season. He also added his third stolen base in as many nights, and is showcasing speed that Tony Lastoria believes will get him “at least 40 stolen bases.” Lindor is clearly the top prospect in the system, and the fact that he’s figuring things out so easily to start his career off at Lake County is a good indicator that his “learning curve” isn’t going to be a long one. There are rough spots though. He’s already been caught stealing twice, and he also had his second error of the season tonight, but it will all come together soon enough. I’m sure this is the first of many starring cycles here at Around the Farm.

Matt LaPorta: 1B, Columbus Clippers: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K:

I guess you could say that Mr. LaPorta is showing a bit of fire in his first three games in Columbus, and it’s about time. He’s hit in all three games, had back-to-back multi-hit games, and now had back-to-back games with a home run. For those counting at home, LaPorta is now batting .417 overall, with five hits, three extra-base hits, two homers, four RBI, and an insane OPS of 1.462. The irony with the LaPorta remains though, as the right-handed hitter is just jackhammering right-handed pitching to the tune of a .500 average (4-for-8, and all his extra base hits). This is exactly what he has to do to get a return engagement at the major league level. If he falters at all in the minors, or again regresses when/if he returns to the majors, his time as any sort of prospect ends.

Corey Kluber: SP, Columbus Clippers: W (1-0), 5 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 10 K:

Corey Kluber is a forgotten soul in the Columbus Clippers’ rotation. Sure, he made a couple of appearances with the Indians last season, but he’s never been in the discussion as a legitimate candidate to pitch in the Indians’ rotation full time. Kluber was initially obtained by the Indians in the trade that sent Jake Westbrook to the Cardinals, and has been riding a roller coaster ever since. Last season, he went 7-11 in Columbus, with a 5.56 ERA. He never could sustain anything positive, and was left in the dust by David Huff, Jeanmar Gomez and Zach McCallister. Perhaps he’s righted the ship a bit, with an absolute dominating performance tonight.

  • Cord Phelps: 2B, Columbus: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI: Phelps will do everything he can to remain relevant in the system as either a back-up middle infielder candidate should someone go down, or even as an outfielder. He’s too good to waste in Triple A, so performances like this will help.
  • Trevor Crowe: DH, Columbus: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 SB: Crowe is back and healthy on the offensive side of the ball. Nobody has ever questioned his ability to be disruptive on the base paths, but you do have to wonder if that surgically repaired shoulder will ever let him be relevant in the outfield again.
  • Luke Carlin: C, Columbus: 1-for-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB: Carlin is a steady influence as the catcher in Columbus. While he’s never counted on for offense, it’s always good to see him with big games like this.
  • Chun-Hsiu Chen: DH, Akron: 0-for-1, 3 BB, 1 K: I love stat lines that generally get overlooked. The bottom line for any major leaguer is getting on base, and then to score runs. Unfortunately, nobody took advantage of Chen’s walks, but it’s a good indicator of a guy’s advanced approach at the plate when he throws up three in one game.
  • Akron Offense: 3-for-27, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 11 K: Boy, Akron’s offense did not look good tonight. Darin Gorski is a top ten prospect for the Mets, but still, I don’t see him as this dominant at all. There might be tough times ahead for Akron in 2012.
  • Steven Wright: SP, Akron: 5 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 K: Here comes Mr. Wright and the knuckleball experience. He deserved better tonight, but didn’t get it. I still think Wright is relevant as a prospect because of the knuckler, in particular, if he continues to have outings like this one.
  • Rob Bryson: RP, Akron: 1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 R/ER, 3 K: The final piece to the CC Sabathia puzzle continues to look like an explosive arm. Yeah, he gave up a run, but you have to love a guy that blows it by three hitters in 1 1/3 innings of work. If he remains healthy, I believe he’ll be an Indian by the end of the year.
  • Toru Murata: RP, Akron: 1 IP, 2 BB: Murata is an enigma. Last season, he had moments of brilliance as both a starter and reliever for Kinston, but injuries and inconsistency derailed him time and time again. Not a bad start, but the walks are a concern.
  • Tyler Holt: CF, Carolina: 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 K: Holt is a gamebreaker, and should be in Akron. In the opener, he was thrown out twice trying to steal, but had slid under the tags of both, and appeared safe. This is a fantastic start for the former tenth rounder, and with Akron’s hitting problems, it may not be very long until he’s back in Ohio.
  • Giovanny Urshela: 3B, Carolina: 1-for-2, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, E: While Urshela made an error tonight, his glove is a plus attribute. He made a spectacular play on a ball hit to his left, making the throw from his knees. With more discipline at the plate, Urshela could really be a factor should Chisenhall never reach his potential.
  • Mike Rayl: SP, Carolina: L (0-1), 4 IP, 7 H, 6 R/5ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR: This wasn’t the start that Rayl wanted for 2012. Many question his ability to get the better of more advanced bats, but it’s far too early in the season to worry.
  • LeVon Washington: CF, Lake County: 1-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K: These are the types of games you want to see from Washington, even when he’s not hitting the ball well. He has the game that can score runs when he can scrap his way on-base. Washington now has three runs in his first three games, a good sign from the top five prospect.
  • Luigi Rodriguez: RF, Lake County: 1-for-4, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 OF Assist: Rodriguez is one of the little known top-ten prospects, but he’ll likely get a lot of notice in this lineup. He also showcased his arm tonight, throwing out Kyle Gaedele at third.
  • Bryson Myles: LF, Lake County: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB: You have to love a line-up that has Myles batting sixth. These are his first two hits of the season, but he specializes in multi-hit games. This kid may not be long for Lake County, and I could see a scenario in which he moves up during the first round of Carolina call-ups, should Holt make a move.
  • Robel Garcia: 2B, Lake County: 0-for-4, 1 K: Robel gets the donut award for being the only Captain not to get a hit tonight.
  • Will Roberts: SP, Lake County, 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R/ER, 3 BB, 2 K: Roberts had a solid 2011 at Mahoning Valley. While it wasn’t anything spectacular, he certainly got his 2012 off to a nice start tonight. The former fifth round pick and IPI #48 prospect could sneak up the rankings with a big 2012.
  • Kyle Petter: RP, Lake County, 2 IP, 1 H, 4 K: Petter has quietly pitched extremely well in the organization since being drafted in 2010 in the 34th round. He spent time in Mahoning Valley, Lake County and Akron last year, and should get a taste of Carolina before it’s all said and done.

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

Dennis
April 9, 2012 - 11:38 AM EDT
Matt LaPorta's value to the Indians, like many power hitters, is still in front of him. His job, right now, is to put the work in, become a more mature hitter, & have superior pitch recognition thereby making the decision easy for the F.O. to return him to the ML's. While this may not occur for some time, LaPorta is one injury and one day/week/month away from FORCING his way back onto the ML roster. As of now (in the very early going):

-Casey Kotchman has a .063 average. His glove won't save him from that kind of poor offensive performance..

Shelly Duncan is hitting .111.. and is being regularly replaced in the outfield by Aaron Cunningham (O-fer the season)...for defensive purposes.

These guys need to start hitting or Crowe & LaPorta will take away their jobs... Getting to the ML's is hard.. staying in the ML's is harder still...
Roger
April 8, 2012 - 9:49 AM EDT
i have said many times to fellow tribe fans even though not a strength and conditioning professional i have believed that La Porta needs to use heavy dumbells to strenthen forearms as he always seemed that he couldnt stop his mistakes swings and got himself out way too often. the power is there but pitch count is agaisnt you when you cant stop from giving in tothe pitchers pitch
Tony
April 8, 2012 - 9:42 AM EDT
Yeah, LaPorta has shown he is too good for AAA. I have not given up hope on him, but he is showing he may be a 4A hitter. Hopefully he can make the adjustments in Columbus and finally get it to translate in Cleveland when he gets another shot. The good news is both home runs he has hit have both gone opposite way to right field.
Richard
April 8, 2012 - 7:42 AM EDT
Hard to get excited about LaPorta no matter what he does because he's already proven he can destroy AAA pitching and then do nothing at the big league level.

The only thing I'm looking for is whether he's using the whole field and taking outside pitches to right field or up the middle rather than striking out trying to pull them. If he starts using the whole field he has a chance.

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