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Around the Farm: August 11, 2012

Around the Farm: August 11, 2012
August 12, 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.

Thomas Neal: LF, Akron Aeros: 2-for-3, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 BB:

I suppose I’m kicking a dead horse here, but why exactly isn’t Thomas Neal at least in Columbus? Oh, sure, the status quo answer is that Columbus is full of players who can fill in the big league roster should injuries take place. But I pose this question to the IPI fandom…isn’t there a player or two in Columbus that Neal couldn’t replace at this point? There’s Vinny Rottino, but he’s just a rehashed Matt LaPorta, Russ Canzler or Lars Anderson (who are all listed as infielders, by the way). Do you really need four of those guys? Fedroff and Goedert are untouchable as far as movement at this point, and are where they need to be, but what about Chad Huffman and Aaron Cunningham? Huffman is on the DL, and he IS a part-time guy, so you could make a case that he’s not a viable dump to bring up Neal because theoretically, he wouldn’t be getting the at-bats. I don’t necessarily buy that, because the loss of at-bats would come from CanzLaPorttino, but that’s just me. Then there’s Aaron Cunningham, and there isn’t a soul on the planet that can explain why this guy is on any roster in this organization…especially ahead of Neal. Such is life. Call Neal whatever you want with regards to prospects in this system, but he’s EARNED a promotion to Columbus, now get him there.

Jose Ramirez: 2B, Lake County Captains: 4-for-5, 1 RBI, 1 SB:

In case you are counting at home, Ramirez has two four-hit games, one five-hit game, five three-hit games and 12 two-hit games. That’s almost half of his 45 games in Lake County this season, and represents a player that certainly will be in the running for the organizations top offensive player. Like Neal, the experts pooh-pooh this kid as not having any tool in particular that will particularly stand out going forward. Sure, he’s raking in High A, but boy is he raking. His .352 average is fourth in all of the minors right now, and clearly the best in the Tribe system. While numbers aren’t everything, sometimes they mean something…especially when they are this good. Ramirez is also showing a bit of base-stealing ability as well, as his stolen base was his 11th of the season. Now, will his game translate going forward? Who knows, but this year, is some kind of year. Oh, and by the way, he hit .325 last season in Arizona…so it’s not like this is a one and done sorta thing.

Logan Vick: LF, Mahoning Valley: 2-for-4, 3 R, 2 2B, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB:

What I love the most about following the minors is how different players react to different things. Sometimes it’s about make-up, or sometimes it’s about talent or tenacity. Whatever the reason, when a kid starts to find his swing, or groove his delivery, there’s just nothing like it. Logan Vick is in that category right now. Vick started off scuffling after signing late, and starting with the Scrappers late. He went 1-for-11 in his first four games, and just didn’t have a clue. In early August, he had his first two-hit game, then went 0-for-7 in his next two, but his swings were getting better. Since then, Vick is hitting .368, and is showing off both the tenacity that he’s known for, as well as the ability to hit the baseball. His two doubles were his first two extra base hits in his career that appears to be heading in the right direction. He also walked, stole second and scored in the first inning, to get the ballgame rolling. It’s early, but the returns are getting better and better for this late sign.

  • Cord Phelps: 2B, Columbus: 2-for-4, 1 K: Phelps was the lone Clippers’ player with multiple hits, breaking out of a two-game, 0-for-8 mini-slump.
  • Columbus Offense: 4-for-30, 1 BB: What you see is what you get with the Clippers in this game. The only player to reach second was Gregorio Petit in the bottom of the eighth, thanks to an error that got him onto first in the first place. Not a good night for a team that’s been hitting the ball well.
  • T.J. McFarland: SP, Columbus: 7 IP, 6 H, 4 R/ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 3 HR: McFarland pitched well, but clearly had the ball up in the strike zone, giving up three jacks in the game. In Akron, McFarland gave up one homer in 60 1/3 innings. In Columbus, he’s given up eight in 78 1/3.
  • Rafael Perez: RP, Columbus: 1 IP, 1 BB: Perez returned after the Indians had to shut him down on July 27th after shoulder fatigue. He’s back, but you have to wonder if the Indians shouldn’t just shut him down for the year.
  • J.C. Romero: RP, Columbus: 1 IP, 1 BB: Romero is closing in on his “leave date.” I’m sure his bags are already packed and at the door. I just don’t see why the Indians would even consider bringing up this guy at this point.
  • Lars Anderson:  1B, Columbus: 1-fo-3: Anderson got his third hit with the Clippers in his eighth game, and is hitting a lofty .160. He’s really finding his groove now that he’s out of the Red Sox organization.
  • Tyler Holt: CF, Akron: 2-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB: Holt is finding his groove for the first time in the Eastern League since getting called up in early July. Since July 27th, Holt is hitting .373 with a .448 OBP in his 15 games, while scoring eight runs. Holt can strike out in bunches, but has really stepped up his selectivity, walking seven times, while striking out ten times during the stretch.
  • Nick Weglarz: DH, Akron: 1-for-4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB: Weglarz is officially playing his ass off right now. He’s hitting .429 over his past ten games, with six doubles and nine RBI. It goes beyond that though, as the big lefty is leading the Aeros in hitting since July 25th with a .354 average. His stat line since then is .354/.456/.542/.998 over that 16 game stretch, with eight runs, six doubles, a homer and 12 RBI. While he’s walked nine times against 17 K’s in the last 16, he’s walked six times against only five K’s in his last ten. He’s clearly seeing the ball well, and perhaps regaining some stature. Is it enough to get him back on the 40-man roster? I doubt it, but he’s making it interesting for sure.
  • Roberto Perez: C, Akron: 1-for-2, 1 R, 2 RBI: Perez has made ATF twice in one week! He is only hitting .179 over his last ten games, but he’s driven in eight runs over that stretch, so his few hits are counting at least.
  • Danny Salazar: SP, Akron: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R/0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K: Salazar is an intriguing story right now, and may be one of the top two starters in the upper levels of the system right now. If you’ve followed ATF, you know he’s been on a strict pitch count all season. Well, he threw 84 pitches on Saturday night in his second start with the Aeros, and perhaps is ready to really make a move. I don’t think he’ll be a quick mover because of his injury history, but I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that Columbus next year, and Cleveland the year after.
  • Bryce Stowell: RP, Akron: 1 IP, 1 K: Stowell returned to Akron after over a month of recovery time for a left oblique strain. There’s no doubt this kid has a cannon for an arm, but as he closes in on his 26th birthday in September, his “prospect” days are closing in. Stowell needs to finish this season strong, and start next season the same way in Columbus. If he gets to June healthy and dominating….the way he can, perhaps he gets his shot. Another injury though, and his story goes from the hopeful, to lost cause.
  • Loek Van Mil: RP, Akron: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R/0 R, 1 K: Van Mil is an interesting player, who’s having a great season in the Indians organization. Here’s the reality though…the Indians likely don’t intend to do anything with this “kid” at any point in the future with regards to the major leagues. The only scenario that could benefit him going forward are injuries above him. Still, he’s been borderline dominant at times in Akron, and while the 7’1” giant doesn’t possess a blazing arm, he can still bring it, and offer good innings. We’ll see what happens in the coming seasons, but remember, he’s about to turn 28, so like Stowell, the term “prospect” seems silly.
  • Tony Wolters: SS, Carolina: 1-for-4: Wolters lead-off single upped his hit streak to eight ballgames. He’s hitting .353 over those eight ballgames, and has a .353/.405/.676 stat line.
  • Giovanny Urshela: 3B, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B: Urshela hit a ninth inning double to extend his hit streak to seven games. Urshela is hitting .433 during that seven game stretch, and is third in the league in average, and has a league leading 1.233 OPS.
  • Jerrud Sabourin: 1B, Lake County: 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI: Sabourin moved his average up to .304 on the season, and like Jose Ramirez, is an under the radar guy that’s been leading this team in many ways offensively. While it’s possible that the stars on this team are “protecting” players like Sabourin and Ramirez (who has been hitting in front of Lindor since his promotion), it’s just as possible that they are just good hitters.
  • Jake Lowery: DH, Lake County: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K: The extra-base-hit barrage continues from a surging Lowery, who has seven extra-base knocks in his last nine games (three doubles/nine K’s).
  • Mason Radeke: SP, Lake County: L (5-6), 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R/ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HR: Radeke pitched well, but just didn’t get the support that he needed to win the ballgame. The kid is just mowing people down right now. Since July 13th, over the span of six starts and 30 1/3 innings, Radeke is leading the Midwest in K’s with 40, while walking only ten. He gave up seven runs on July 19th, but other than that, he’s been sparkling as a starter, and could now be on the radar as a potential sleeper prospect.
  • Cody Penny: RP, Lake County: 1 IP, 2 K: There’s some buzz about this kid’s arm, and he’s showcasing some of that in his first two games with the Captains, striking out four in his first two appearances.
  • Charlie Valerio: C, Mahoning Valley: 3-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 4 RBI: Valerio singled home Vick in the first inning, drove in two more with a single in the third. Valerio is bursting on the scene this season, and while there’s a long road to the bigs, he might be another offensive catcher in the system that the Indians can keep an eye on going forward…especially taking into account depth.
  • Juan Romero: RF, Mahoning Valley: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB: It seems like a decade ago when Romero started off the season hitting moon-shot after moon shot during the first couple of days of the season. He hit three in the first two games of the season, but things certainly tapered off, as the right-handed hitter saw his average drop to a low of .167 on August 7th. Over his past two games, however, Romero is 4-for-8, with two runs, a double, a homer and three RBI. His downfall? He has 51 K’s in 32 games…and only six walks, two of which came on Saturday. They were his first since July 22nd.
  • Jacob Lee: SP, Mahoning Valley: 3 IP, 5 H, 2 K: Lee gave up a few hits in this one, but didn’t give up anything big, and continued to dominate short-season hitting. He’s an older guy in this league, so it will be curious to see if he can carry this type of pitching into the full season leagues.
  • Tyler Booth: CF, AZL Indians: 3-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K: Booth is really finding his bat, and has two three-hit/two-double performances in his last three games.
  • Jorge Martinez: 3B, AZL Indians: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI: Martinez continues a monster season in which an 0-for-8, two game stretch seems like a major slump for this kid. He’s already got career highs in every major offensive category except for stolen bases. His stat-line is .353/.387/.567, and it appears as though he may be a factor going forward…if he can find a position to play that he doesn’t butcher.
  • Anthony Santander: DH, AZL Indians:  The kid continues to showcase his offensive prowess as another free agent signing with offensive potential. He’s another kid, though, that seems to strike out in bunches, with 31 in 32 games, vs. seven walks.
  • Dillon Howard: SP, AZL Indians: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R/1 ER, 4 BB, 2 K: There’s some not to like here, but I’d be nitpicking. The kid went six innings, and force 13 ground ball outs, without one single fly ball out. Sure, he walked four batters, but he also induced three double plays. If he came in soft, perhaps he’s finally getting into some shape.

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

User Comments

August 13, 2012 - 9:51 AM EDT
Van Mil likely will be lost as a free agent, yes, but I am unsure what the alternative is....roster him? No thanks. He's minor league depth with a very small ML future. Maybe the Indians do roster him, who knows, but their actions sticking him in Double-A all year without a push to Triple-A speak loud to me.
August 13, 2012 - 1:18 AM EDT
Loek Van Mil will be a free agent after this season. Do you really think he will resign with the Indians, after they kept him in AA all year? I don't think so.
August 12, 2012 - 2:25 PM EDT
Age means nothing if you can throw a knuckleball, in fact it may be an advantage. Look at Dickey, Wilhelm, Hough, Niekro. Wright has a good one, I predict he will be on the Red Sox some time next year and we'll probably see him at the Jake, just not pitching for the Indians. Anderson, I don't hate him, he has a shot to develop still, I just think it was Antonutty dumb to trade Wright for him, when the Indians are 27th out of 28(Thanks Tony) in the MLB in starting pitching! The Indians are also how close to last in attendance? People love to come out a see a knuckleballer...esp if he can throw it like Wright.
August 12, 2012 - 2:17 PM EDT
I don't "hate" Anderson...I just "hate" trading for a guy that look EXACTLY like another guy in the Both top prospects...both not considered top prospects any more.

The difference between Anderson and guys like Canzler and Rottino are that Canzler and Rottino...while older...actually hit...

Canzler's only 26...LaPorta

he COULD be 2.0...or 3.0...or 4.0...couldn't he.

Do I want him to figure things out? You bet your ass I do. Will he? We'll see...

but "hating" on him...because dare-say I critique a trade for another left-handed bat that has the look and make-up of four other guys already on the team?


and I concur with Neal. That won't happen (I don't think), but would love it to...
August 12, 2012 - 12:45 PM EDT
IPI hates pretty hard on Lars Anderson, but we should give the guy needs a chance. Does he K a lot? Yes, but he also walks a lot too. The only thing he is missing from his top prospect days is his power stroke. He's only 24 so has a couple years to figure things out in Columbus and still be a good player. This isn't Rottino or Canzler 2.0 and he's not exactly blocking anyone beneath him. Have the Indians done great on major trades? No. But they have killed it with these little podunk one-off trades time and time again. Steven Wright is a favorite here but he's 3 years older with a notoriously difficult pitch to have success with. Lastly, it's not his fault the front office didn't do anything except trade for him. I think we should tone down the hate and root for the guy.

On a separate note, I am hoping Neal gets a September call-up straight to the Tribe. That's what I would do.
August 12, 2012 - 11:32 AM EDT
It seems every year a big arm prospect w injury issues finally bites the career dust. Last year Adam Miller, this year Jason Knapp, next year will it be Bryce Stowell. I've never seen the kid pitch or spoken w him, I just know he's spent more time on the DL than active last 3 years. Makes me wonder about the efficacy of the Indians strength and conditioning program. Speaking of which, I love Lonnie Soloff, but he needs some help. I don't have the stats to back this up, it just seems like the Indians have more guys getting hurt and going on the DL then there ought to be. Either the players aren't getting the proper S&C program or they are and they are not following it. You can't make excuses like for Travis Hafner- ( he's a big guy, he generates tremendous torque on his discs). You don't see other big guys like Konerko and Pierzcynski gettin' on and off the DL like it was a streetcar. Rafael Perez, shut him down, trade him, He and Sipp could be called the Gap Brothers or the Over the Fence Gang. Go Perez and Perez twofer to the Giants for Tommy Joseph and Heath Hembree. And send Tony to work w Dusty Baker for a good prospect, of which Cinci has many. Maybe Dusty can rescue his career and make a Darren Oliver out of him. Now again, I don't think Chris Antonetti should have sole trade authorization- if Dolan wants to keep Antonetti, then he should hire a trade/talent evaluation specialist to sign off first and stop Mr. Clueless from ruining next year.

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