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Around the Farm: August 12, 2012

Around the Farm: August 12, 2012
August 13, 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 during yesterday’s ballgame.

Giovanny Urshela: 3B, Carolina Mudcats: 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K:

Urshela upped his hit streak to eight ballgames, and is just hitting the ball a ton. He’s 16-for-34 during that streak, with six runs, five doubles, three homers and six RBI.  The home run he hit was his tenth, and you really get the impression that this could be Urshela’s coming out tour. Now, he’s got some definite parts to his offensive game that he has to work on, but we’re mainly talking about consistency at this point. What you are seeing now is what the finished product of Urshela COULD be if he can continue to replicate what he’s learned over the past two seasons. He’s now set his career high in homers with ten, and will likely shatter every other career high as well. What he needs to improve on now is taking pitches. If he can manage to get that OBP up, he becomes a complete player, and a force to be reckoned with. In a perfect world, Urshela moves Chisenhall to first base in 2014 or so. That’s a perfect world…but he’s going to start making people believe if he continues to hit the ball the way he is hitting it now.

Jake Lowery: C, Lake County Captains: 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K:

There isn’t a more likable player in the system than this kid. He has his head on straight, and you can see the make-up as Lowery continues to turn his season around. Over his past ten games, he’s launched five home runs and three doubles, is hitting .306 with a .306/.342/.806/1.148 stat line. Lowery’s calling card is his bat, and while I personally don’t think he’ll be a .300 hitter, I do see this kid as a 30-40 homer machine going forward. Yeah, I’m an optimist, but I just love his bat. But, you have to love his make-up. How many players have you seen struggle like this and disappear. Not Lowery. This kid stays positive, and it’s paying off.

  • Russ Canzler: 3B, Columbus: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 K: Canzler has struggled a bit offensively since June, and is only hitting .150ish in August. Things are picking up over the past four games though, in which he’s gone 5-for-16.
  • Luke Carlin: C, Columbus: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB: Carlin plugs away and bides his time, as he’d be the first call-up should Marson or Santana struggle. Over the past two, he’s 3-for-5, but over his past eight games prior to that, he’s 2-for-26.
  • Lars Anderson: DH, Columbus: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K: Anderson hit his third double in his ninth game with the Clippers.
  • Matt Packer: SP, Columbus: L (0-2), 6 1/3 IP, 10 H, 5 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR: Packer wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t all that good either. He’s getting beat up pretty good in Triple A so far, to the tune of an 0-1 record and a 6.75 ERA.
  • Scott Barnes: RP, Columbus: 1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 K: Barnes gave up a hit in his 1/3 of an inning, but he only threw nine pitches and had five strikes. He’s been pitching well.
  • Matt Lawson: 2B, Akron: 2-for-4: Lawson got his first two hits since missing time, and was the only player with two hits for the Aeros. Lawson is shredding the baseball overall this season to the tune of .326.
  • Akron Offense: 5-for-32, 1 2B, 4 BB, 6 K: Akron managed five whole hits in this one…not a good game for a team with some solid 2012 numbers.
  • Brett Brach: SP, Akron: L (3-5),  5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R/ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR: Brach pitched well, but the offense just didn’t give him any support. Brach has seemingly pitched at every level, in every role, every other week or so.
  • Shawn Armstrong: RP, Akron: 2/3 IP, 2 BB, 2 K: Armstrong put two on, but got out of it. He made far too many pitches, and continually walks to many, but if he ever figures out the control issue, he could be something special.
  • Trey Haley: RP, Akron: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R/ER, 1 K: Haley made his third appearance, and gave up his first run of his Double A career. He’s got a plus arm, but is walking the fine line between prospect and injury-prone.
  • Jose Flores: RP, Akron: 1 IP, 1 H: Flores is playing back-and-forth in Double A right now, with good games bookending bad games. His ERA is a decent 3.18, but he has to stop giving up a run every other outing.
  • Preston Guilmet: Closer, Akron: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K: Guilmet got touched up a couple of times in the past month, but has evened out over his last three games, going three innings, giving up two hits and a walk, while striking out three.
  • Tony Wolters: 2B, Carolina: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 RBI: If it wasn’t for Giovanny Urshela, Wolters would be the hottest player on the team. His two hits has upped his hit streak to nine games, and upped his average to .270.
  • Alex Monsalve: DH, Carolina: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K: I’m a big Monsalve fan, and I have to admit, I’ve been caught sleeping a bit. After Sunday night’s ballgame, Monsalve is hitting .279, and is on a six-game hit streak in which he’s gone 8-for-21, with two runs, a double, two RBI, a walk, and two strikeouts. The power will come, and remember, he turned 20 in April.
  • Mike Rayl: SP, Carolina: W (9-8), 5 IP, 2 H, 4 BB, 4 K: Rayl really has had a tremendous season in many aspects. No, he hasn’t emerged as a potential ace, but he does seem to be the epitome of a pitcher who can swallow innings, and win with support. He’s been stellar in August, going 3-0 with a 0.50 ERA over 18 innings. He’s given up 13 hits and an earned run, while striking out ten. Of course, he’s walked seven over that stretch…so he needs to improve that K/BB ratio, but other than that…not much to complain about.
  • Rob Nixon: RP, Carolina: 3 IP, 3 H, 3 K: I’d like to jump up and down about this outing, but Nixon has games in which he doesn’t look like a professional pitcher. Over his last two outings, however, he’s gone six total, giving up six hits and a walk, while striking out six. Perhaps he’s finally warming up to Carolina.
  • Grant Sides: Closer, Carolina: 1 IP, 1 BB, 2 K: Sides had given up eight runs in his previous four games, so it was good to see the big righty have a solid outing.
  • Jordan Smith: RF, Lake County: 3-for-5, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI: There is nothing about this kid’s bat that I don’t like. Sure, you’d like to see more power, as he only has six homers this season, but at 6’4” and 205 pounds, you have to believe that this kid’s gap power is just going to create some homers. He hit his seventh triple of the season in Sunday’s game, which is fourth in the Midwest League. Talk about a sleeper in the system.
  • Jerrud Sabourin: 1B, Lake County: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB: Sabourin has 37 multi-hit games this season. Do I really need to say anything more? This kid is just breaking out all over the place. I could get hung up on the three homers, but why. Can’t wait to see what he can do in Carolina.
  • Bryson Myles: LF, Lake County: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 RBI: Myles is up to .277, but still can’t seem to find the extra base hits. Still, he’s making great contact right now, and just trying to right the injury ship.
  • Leonardo Castillo: 3B, Lake County: 3-for-5, 1 R, 1 K: Castillo has four multi-hit games over his last seven games. He’s only 19-years old, and while he’s struggled mightily with the bat this year, you can see he’s trying to regain that .300 bat he showcased in Arizona last year.
  • Alex Lavisky: DH, Lake County: 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 BB: Lavisky is hitting .242 for the season, and I have to admit that when I saw that average next to Lavisky I thought, “Not bad.” That says it all about Lavisky’s career up to this point, but he IS improving. How much will he continue to improve will dictate whether or not he’s a prospect, or just a local kid to follow.
  • Aaron Siliga: CF, Mahoning Valley: 2-for-5, 1 K: Siliga has had his moments this season, but there has been no middle ground. He’s been bad for the most part.
  • Mitch Nilsson: 1B, Mahoning Valley: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K: Nilsson was one of only two players with multiple hits, and they both have near-identical averages. Nilsson is at .226, while Siliga is at .225.
  • Jake Sisco: SP, Mahoning Valley: L (1-4), 3 IP, 5 H, 6 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR: Sisco has been getting torched over his last five starts. He has the highest ERA in the New York/Penn league during that stretch at 8.03 over 24 2/3 innings. He’s given up 30 hits and 22 earned runs during that stretch.
  • Scott Peoples: RP, Mahoning Valley: 2 IP, 3 K: Peoples was shut down for a month, but has been very good over his past eight appearances, giving up only one earned run over 14 1/3 innings.

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 15, 2012 - 7:47 PM EDT
Ok...I guess the GM and the scout and others are the ones that need to explain their system and their reasoning behind the advancement of certain player and not others. I guess they are also the ones that need to explain to top management the teams (Bigs and minor) records and performance for the year. It's not ours, we all just have opinions. It's all just nice to see guy's like Lawson get a break, exspecially when you feel they could make a difference. But today is today and tomorrow is tomorrow.
August 14, 2012 - 9:43 PM EDT
The problem is in the minors, stats are not the be-all-end-all when it comes to evaluating players. In the big leagues, yep, they are. In the minors, it is all about tools and ability.....stats can be affected based on age and other factors. For example, Luis DeJesus is an Indians pitcher at Mahoning Valley. He's top's in the league in ERA and many other stats, but he is not even close to being one of the Indians top prospects. Same thing goes for guys like Lawson, Neal, Seddon, and others at AA or higher having good years. It's great to see them doing well, but at this point the industry has already placed a value on these players and their future is limited. But that's fine. This is why the system is in place to let these guys become free agents after six full minor league seasons. So these guys will get an opportunity to sign elsewhere as a minor league free agent in the offseason. But I will say that they will find it harder than they think to not only sign a deal with a new team, but to also be nothing more than fill in types while those teams focus more on their higher priority players. It sucks, I know, and I wish all of these guys could get a chance. They deserve it. Just the unfortunate reality of the game that a great many just don't get a shot, and sometimes the reasons they dont get a shot are unexplained.
August 14, 2012 - 7:47 PM EDT
I guess that type of thinking and being bound by such restraints equates to the record Cleveland is producing now days. It's a shame if you see talent somewhere and say there are no openings, if someone is not producing in the upper ranks you bring the talent up. These guy's are hungry, I think some of the prospects getting the opportunity are standing at the buffett and waiting to be seated. I looked at Phelps and the other bench players stats, I really don't see how that transfers to better prospect. I thought stats were evaluations of a players performances. Must be like golf, the lower the totals the better???
August 14, 2012 - 4:31 PM EDT
Lots of Matt Lawson fans around these parts. He's unfortunately dealing with the reality that a great many players like him go through at the AA/AAA/MLB. It bottlenecks big time, and unless you standout as a prospect or are an elite offensive performer, you generally don't move very much further. I don't think a lot of people understand how hard it truly is to get to the major leagues much less Triple-A. It's not always about talent, it is about there being a spot to give a guy an opportunity. Sure, Lawson may deserve a shot in Triple-A.,....but there are already guys there in Cord Phelps and others that are better prospects and are getting the opportunity. Sometimes it is more about what is going on above a player that prevents a call up.
August 13, 2012 - 7:50 PM EDT
I don't understand why the Cleveland mangement group can't see the the value of Matt Lawson, I looked up his backgound and previous seasons on different teams, He is a hard nose player. Not flashy, but excells everywhere he goes. I always thought you won games by scoring more runs than the other team, So it makes sense to reward the players that thru their stats. Does make much sense to have a system that says their has to be a certain model they look for, stop looking for a model and look for a player that is a natural winner, being continually "on base" and has good to better defensive skills means wins.

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