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Around the Farm: August 13, 2014

Around the Farm: August 13, 2014
Ryan Merritt (Photo: Nikolaus)
August 14, 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.

Note, Double-A Akron was postponed because of rain.

Ryan Merritt (SP, Carolina, second game): W (12-3), 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HR. Merritt continues todominate Carolina League hitters and won his league leading 12th game on Wednesday night. He is also 3rd in the league in ERA (2.55), 1st in innings pitched (141.1), 3rd in strikeouts (113) and 2nd in WHIP (0.93). He’s had an MVP-type of season for Carolina and should still be in line for league Pitcher of the Year honors even though he had a slight hiccup with his performance in mid-July. There was thought that he would eventually finish at Double-A Akron, but with Carolina in the playoff mix I think there is a good shot he finishes the year in Zebulon.

  • Jesus Aguilar (1B, Columbus): 3-for-3, RBI. Aguilar’s big three-hit night extends his modest hitting streak to eight games. He is now up to .291 with the average and is finishing strong in what has been a very good showing in Triple-A this season. Which begs the questions: With the Indians struggling to score runs, especially against left-handed pitching, why is he not in Cleveland?
  • Matt Carson (LF, Columbus): 3-for-5, 2 R, 2 K, SB. Carson likely won’t have a chance to be a folk hero this September like he was last year with the Indians. Even so, he’s finishing off another solid season in the minors and has played well in spite of some injury issues this season.
  • James Ramsey (CF, Columbus): 2-for-4, 2 R, 2B, 3B, RBI, BB, K. Ramsey really filled out the stat sheet in this one and impacted the game in many ways. His biggest impact was a two-out double to left in the bottom of the 10th inning that brought home the tying run and then he scored the winning run on an error off the bat of Chris Wallace.
  • Gabriel Arias (SP, Columbus): 2.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR. Arias had been cruising of late as a Clipper going 6.2 or more innings in his last seven outings, but he only lasted 50 pitches (25 strikes) and two innings in this one. With the quick departure and lack of control it seems like he was removed because of a possible injury.
  • Shaun Marcum (RP, Columbus): 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K. This was a solid outing from Marcum, his fourth overall this season. I still think his chances of pitching in Cleveland this season are very remote and that right now he is pitching for a minor league contract with someone next season.
  • Austin Adams (RP, Columbus): 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K. Adams continues to have a banner year in the bullpen at Columbus. In 36 appearances he is now 2-2 with a 2.09 ERA (47.1 IP, 35 H, 12 BB, 44 K). Once Columbus’ season ends, he should be a September callup to Cleveland – if not sooner.
  • Yhoxian Medina (SS, Carolina): 5-for-7, 3 R, 2B, BB, K, SB, E. This was a two game total for Medina. He now has three straight multi-hit games. Since Erik Gonzalez moved up to Double-A, Medina has filled in well at or near the top of the lineup for Carolina.
  • Jerrud Sabourin (RF, Carolina): 4-for-5, R, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 2 BB, K. This is another two-game total. There just was not much offense for Carolina on this night in either game, and the trio of batters listed here in ATF represent just about all of the offense the Mudcats could muster in their two games. Sabourin continues to hit well at Carolina as he is up to .303 with a .789 OPS in 80 games.
  • Joe Sever (DH, Carolina): 3-for-6, 2B, 2 RBI, BB. This is yet another two-game on the day for the Mudcats. Sever missed the first two months of the season and has spent the past month and a half trying to make up for lost time. He looked solid in the early going, but has hit a wall of late and is hitting .179 in nine August games and 28 at bats.
  • Dylan Baker (SP, Carolina, first game): W (3-2), 5.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R/ER, 3 BB, 5 K. Another example of how wins and losses for a pitcher can be deceiving. Even though he got the win, it was not a very good outing for Baker and he was fortunate to get just enough run support.
  • Grant Sides (RP, Carolina, first game): S (5), 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 3 K. Sides has been rock solid in the pen all season for the Mudcats. In 38 appearances he is now 3-1 with 5 saves and a .249 ERA, and in 47.0 innings has allowed 36 hits, 1 homer, 22 walks and has 40 strikeouts.
  • Ivan Castillo (SS, Lake County, suspended game): 2-for-4, R, HR, 4 RBI, SB. I don’t know what has happened to Castillo, but it is like a light switch was flipped on. Over his last six games he is a blistering 15-for-29 at the plate and has three homers in his last two games!
  • Eric Haase (C, Lake County, suspended game): 1-for-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, PB. His second half power numbers may be down a little, but Haase continues to swing a hot bat and is hitting .302 with an .816 OPS in 33 second half games.
  • Nellie Rodriguez (1B, Lake County, suspended game): 1-for-3, R, 2B, RBI, 2 BB. N-Rod is another player who continues to put up good at bats, particularly in the second half. In 47 second half games he is hitting .309 with 11 HR, 43 RBI and .952 OPS. That’s outstanding.
  • Mike Papi (RF, Lake County, suspended game): 3-for-4, R, RBI, BB. Papi looks to finally be getting comfortable at the plate (and finding some good fortune as well). He has multi-hit games in each of his last three games and is 8-for-13 in those contests with 2 walks.
  • Mitch Brown (SP, Lake County, suspended game): 4.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R/ER, 0 BB, 5 K. This was yet another good outing for Brown who has really turned it on of late and looks like a more confident pitcher than the one who started the season. He is 5-2 with a 2.75 in his last 10 starts and has a 16-56 walk to strikeout ratio in 55.2 innings.
  • Robbie Aviles (RP, Lake County, suspended game): 1.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R (4 ER), 0 BB, 1 K. Aviles’ once promising season has unfortunately taken a turn for the worse. It all started with an arm injury which cropped up in early June and he has just not been the same since.
  • Jordan Milbrath (SP, Lake County, scheduled game): 3.0 IP, 6 H, 6 R (5 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR. Some may wonder, “Hey, where are the stats for the hitters in this game?” Well, considering the Captains were shutout, had three hits and stuckout 12 times – there is your answer. As for Milbrath, his up and down season continued in this one.
  • Alexis Paredes (RP, Lake County, scheduled game): 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K. Paredes was the only bright spot for the Captains in this 7-inning shortened game. He has struggled with consistency this season, but was zoned in on Wednesday night.
  • Bradley Zimmer (CF, Mahoning Valley): 2-for-3, R, HBP, 2 CS, PO. Zimmer returned for the second straight game after missing about two weeks after slamming face first into an outfield wall. He now has three straight multi-hit games and four of them in his five games pushing his season average up to .306.
  • Martin Cervenka (C, Mahoning Valley): 2-for-3, 2 R, RBI. Cervenka was inserted into the game in the bottom of the second after starting catcher Francisco Mejia was removed from the game. Mejia grounded out to the pitcher, so it is unknown at this time if he tweaked something running down to first or if he did not run hard and was removed from the game. If it is the latter, manager Ted Kubiak is old school and won’t put up with that stuff.
  • Shane Rowland (1B, Mahoning Valley): 2-for-3, 2 2B, RBI. Rowland is a catcher by trade by can fill in and play a little first base. His opportunities to play have been few and far in between as this was just his ninth game played at Mahoning Valley all year and he has been there since they started the season the second week of June.
  • Sean Brady (SP, Mahoning Valley): L (2-4), 5.0 IP, 10 H, 5 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR. Not one of Brady’s better efforts, but to his credit he bobbed and weaved his way through five complete innings. This was his worst outing since his season opener on June 13th (4.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R/ER).
  • Jose Zapata (RP, Mahoning Valley): 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K. Zapata may not yet know where it is going, but he is effectively wild and has been able to work around his propensity to allow walks and had a solid season to date with a 2.73 ERA.
  • Bobby Bradley (1B, AZL Indians, game one): 2-for-4, R, 2B, RBI. Ho hum. Another multi-hit game and extra base hit for Bradley.  This guy just continues to hit as he now has a 16-game hitting streak going and has recorded a hit in 27 of his 30 games this season.
  • Joe Wendle (2B, AZL Indians): 2-for-3, 3 R, 3B, RBI, BB, K. Another rehab outing for Wendle. With players returning from injury it can often lead to inconsistent results, but Wendle has been strong in his four rehab games going 5-for-14 at the plate.
  • Simeon Lucas (C, AZL Indians, game one): 2-for-3, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB, PB. While Lucas hasn’t exactly dazzled in his pro debut, he has now racked up 37 at bats (.216 AVG) and has a nice approach with a .356 on-base percentage.
  • Mike Rayl (SP, AZL Indians, game one): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K. This was Rayl’s first outing of the season as he makes his return from an arm injury which has held him out all season up to this point. At this point the results are of little importance – the Indians just want to see health and how he looks on the mound.
  • Thomas Pannone (RP, AZL Indians, game one): W (5-0), 4.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R (0 ER), 3 BB, 6 K. I did a feature piece on Pannone on Tuesday in Minor Happenings which included lots of insight into his stuff, pitch ability and upside. This was yet another impressive outing for him and he has really made some big strides this season.
  • Jodd Carter (LF, AZL Indians, game two): 2-for-3, 2 RBI, BB. The great thing about the rookie level Arizona roster is that there are so many players on it that very few players have to play both games of a doubleheader. Carter sat the first game but came in the second one and continued his hot hitting with his third straight multi-hit game and seventh multi-hit game in his last nine games.
  • Alexis Pantoja (2B, AZL Indians, game two): 2-for-3. Pantoja came in as a guy with some slick fielding skills but lots of questions about the bat. So far at least, he has held his own hitting .273 with a .651 OPS and a good 12-14 walk to strikeout ratio.
  • Shao-Ching Chiang (SP, AZL Indians, game two): 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R/ER, 0 BB, 5 K. The results have been inconsistent for Chiang this season, though he is still trying to find some rhythm on the mound after so many injury setbacks the past few seasons. He’s done a great job with the 2-27 BB/K ratio, but is giving up too many hits and has had his problems pitching out of the stretch.
  • Sam Hentges (RP, AZL Indians, game two): W (1-0), 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K. Hentges picked up his first win as a pro in this one with yet another good outing. In six appearances he has now logged 10.0 innings and allowed 4 hits, 3 runs (1 earned), 5 walks and has 8 strikeouts.

Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.

User Comments

August 14, 2014 - 3:55 PM EDT
On a busy night like last night, no way you can list every performance. Miniard was paid a lot and is a project....but there is lots to like for sure.
August 14, 2014 - 3:43 PM EDT
No mention of Chang's 1-2. 2B, 1R, 2 BB Game 1? He did go 0-3 in Game 2, but it looks like he was the only one that played both games, does that sound right?
The AZL pitchers are intriguing, Miniard has struggled, I heard we had to pay a lot to keep him from college?
August 14, 2014 - 3:32 PM EDT
Answer you your question re: Aguilar, because the FO can't bring themselves to eat Raburn's contract. Simple as that. Along with Francona's inability to give youngsters a chance when they struggle in spite of all the chances in the world given to vets providing no offense. It is funny how in the second game yesterday, against a LHP, Francona's automatic reaction was to give the switch-hitting superior defensive 22-year old the second game off, instead of the 27 year old defensively challenged LHH who has oblique issues. Have to love that logic, as well as consistently batting sub-.300 OBP hitters versus LHP in the #1 spot in the order.
August 14, 2014 - 2:19 PM EDT
Move up Zimmer!!!!!!
August 14, 2014 - 2:06 PM EDT
Mejia was benched for not running out a groundball.

And contrary to some reports flying around in social media, Mejia has not been promoted to Lake County. He is with the team and actually boarded the team bus to the stadium at State College.
August 14, 2014 - 2:02 PM EDT
Is Mejia hurt? He left last night's game after one AB...
August 14, 2014 - 1:47 PM EDT
Has Hamrick moved to the bull pen?
August 14, 2014 - 12:16 PM EDT
Castillo is actually being featured in Minor Happenings today, so will explain in detail then. One thing to remember when looking at prospects, particularly the lower levels is not to fixate on the "now" stuff. A guy who hits 20 homers in Low-A may not project well for many reasons, so he is lower priority than say a struggling defensive shortstop or catcher with a limited bat at the moment because of tons of upside and potential that player may have.
August 14, 2014 - 12:08 PM EDT

I hear that Ivan Castillo has a really nice glove and is hitting. I also heard you call him a low level prospect in terms of Priority. Why is this the case considering all the things I outlined?
August 14, 2014 - 11:49 AM EDT
L-Wash came in as a pinch runner for Diaz after Diaz stole 2B. Hopefully he doesn't miss much more time.

Brown with 7-0 GO-AO to go with the 5 K's. He's been really strong over his last 5 outings after a couple blowups in mid-July. Any chance he gets bumped to Carolina to help with their playoff push?
August 14, 2014 - 11:48 AM EDT
Not saying Wolters is still higher than Rodriguez, but positional value carries a lot of weight. A power hitting first basement that maybe does not project well is tough to put above a very athletic, good defensive catcher with versatility, at DOuble-A and a solid bat.
August 14, 2014 - 11:47 AM EDT

Thank you

I just find it hard to imagine that Tony Wolters is ahead of a power guy like Rodriguez. Do you think Urshela can start a 3B for the Indians next year?
August 14, 2014 - 11:39 AM EDT
Hiram, I would anticipate both Brown and Haase to go to Carolina next year. Should be a good next step and really start to prove their prospect mettle.

Nellie Rodriguez was in my preseason Top 30 and will probably stay in there somewhere. Not sure yet if he is a Top 20 guy....depends on who is in front of him of course, but he should at least move up a little bit. He has some nice raw power, but there are some concerns with his swing which could be a problem against more advanced pitching at the higher levels and the defense is suspect. Plus first basemen typically don't rank well in prospect lists unless they are bonafide studs at the position.

Naquin should open in Columbus next year.....Wendle will probably open in Akron though that could change.

Cody Penny was released and Lovegrove is coming along well. Been a very slow development process with him due to command issues and some mental roadblocks he has been trying to overcome.
August 14, 2014 - 11:34 AM EDT
Hamrick went last night in the completion of the suspended game.
August 14, 2014 - 11:11 AM EDT
When was the last time Hamrick pitched?
August 14, 2014 - 10:35 AM EDT
Good question about Aguilar. Hate to see Kipnis and Santana come up with runners in scoring position as both were whiffed. Santana especially, because he needed to get Brantley to third. Another wasted at bat for that guy.
August 14, 2014 - 10:30 AM EDT

I have a ton of questions.

Where do you anticipate Mitch Brown and Erick Hasse starting next year?? Why isn't Nellie Rodriguez in the top 20 with his raw power? Where do you anticipate Naquin and Wendle starting next year?? What's the status of Keirnan Lovegrove and do you think he can make a similar jump that Mitch Brown made this year?? What's the status of Cody Penny??

Going to find the article on Pannone, btw
August 14, 2014 - 9:59 AM EDT
Gomez was a guy who was in for Instructs last year. A little surprised he is in the DSL this year at his age and having come stateside last fall. It may be a visa issue thing who know - though I am speculating there as I have not asked. When I saw him he was 89-91 consistently with the fastball and up to 92 MPH, and showed a 76-78 MPH changeup and 84-85 MPH slider.
August 14, 2014 - 9:39 AM EDT
Though I know you don't specifically cover the DSL, do you have any insights about pitcher Daniel Gomez. Last night he pitched 6 hitless innings with no walks, and in his last two starts he has pitched 12 innings and given up only 1 hit and 1 walk with 17 strikeouts. In fact, his last ten outings shows he has pitched 49 innings and given up only 3 runs.

Maybe you have some insights from the front office about him?

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