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Around the Farm: August 16, 2012

Around the Farm: August 16, 2012
August 17, 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.

Cord Phelps: 2B, Columbus Clippers: 4-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI:

Phelps launched his second homer in as many nights, and has had a big a two-day run as you could possibly have in baseball. He’s gone 8-for-9, with four runs, three doubles, two homers and nine RBI, and has completely turned around a month that was just sorta following the same ole’ .270 routine he’d been showcasing all month. He’s raised his overall average 13 points over the last two games, which is unheard of in August. Phelps would be an interesting call-up over the next few weeks, but with Lillibridge and Donald up already, may not have a slot available unless Hannahan is moved. Don’t that happening any time soon.

T.J. McFarland: SP, Columbus Clippers: W (6-6), 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R/ER, 1 B, 6 K:

McFarland dominated Double A this year with these types of starts, but hasn’t really been able to replicate it over a two-game stretch since the beginning of July. He has had his sporadic impressive starts here and there, but hasn’t been able to sustain those upper-level results that could propel him that next level. While a couple of years ago, his numbers tapered off because of stamina issues, it’s now likely a case of just getting matched up against better competition. McFarland doesn’t have that dominating out pitch, and can become hittable if he isn’t locating with precision. On Thursday, he clearly was doing just that.

Tyler Holt: CF, Akron Aeros: 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI:

Holt has struggled a bit this year after a hot start in Carolina. He finally got his call-up in July, but continued his offensive woes throughout the month of July. Over the past three weeks though, Holt has really started to find his way in Double A baseball. He’s had four multi-hit ballgames in his past nine, has four stolen bases in his last ten, and is hitting over .300 in August. Holt possesses intriguing lead-off capabilities, but he has to be that .400 OBP guy to ever be a factor over a bunch of players at the Double and Triple A levels right now that have equal or greater ability. He was the offense for Akron on Thursday night, with three of their six hits in a 4-1 victory.

Ronnie Rodriguez: SS, Carolina Mudcats: 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K:

Since August 7th, Rodriguez is only hitting .229, with a .250 OBP. That said, he’s also blasted four homers, scored eight runs, and driven in eight over a nine game stretch. By all indications, last night’s blast was another massive one for the diminutive Rodriguez, as he continues to develop a tool that could make him a special infielder should he continue to develop in all other areas as well. His homer last night was his 16th, a career high, and the top total for the Mudcats so far this season.

  • Tim Fedroff: CF, Columbus: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 BB: After a scorching July, Fedroff has really tapered off in August, hitting barely over the Mendoza line at .204. Still, he’s hitting .327 on the season for Columbus, and .316 overall.
  • Vinny Rottino: RF, Columbus: 3-for-5, 1 R: Rottino is plugging right along with the Clippers, looking for a shot at a September call-up. Like Fedroff, August hasn’t been a great month for the multi-dimensional Triple A player, as he’s hit only .244.
  • Russ Canzler: LF, Columbus: 2-for-5, 1 R, 12B, 1 HR, 1 RBI: Canzler rolled out his 30th double and his 18th homer, making sure the Indians keep him in mind for a look-see over the next month-in-a-half. While I’m sure Canzler is nothing more than a Triple A player, it wouldn’t hurt to just double check and see what he has against big league pitching.
  • Juan Diaz: SS, Columbus: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 K: Diaz made his third start for the Clippers on Thursday night, and got both his first hits at the level, as well as his first multi-hit game. He’s not a top prospect, and with a slew of shortstops coming up behind him, isn’t a long-term buy, but he’s an interesting player, with plenty of potential.
  • Loek Van Mil: RP, Columbus: 2 IP, 1 BB, 1 K: Van Mil made his first appearance at the Triple A level for the Indians, sending a bit of a message to the big righty that he may just be on their radar going forward. He certainly earned the promotion after rolling out a 1.94 ERA in Akron in 27 appearances.
  • Toru Murata: SP/RP, Akron: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 K: Murata has been used as both a starter and a reliever with the Aeros this season, but has made his last three appearances as a starter, and has been tremendous, going 13 2/3 innings, giving up only 10 hits, two earned runs and a walk, while striking out 10.
  • Trey Haley: RP, Akron: W (2-0), 3 IP, 1 H, 4 K: This may be Haley’s most impressive appearance of the year, and of recent memory. The former starter was moved to the pen a year-and-a-half ago to help protect an arm that had shown a propensity to get injured. He’s done well in the role up to now, but still struggled to stay healthy. With that said, this was utter domination. He threw only 33 pitches in his three innings, with 23 strikes, really showing that plus arm. If he stays healthy and continues to grow with regards to location, there’s no reason to think he won’t be a back-of-the-bullpen sort in the coming years.
  • Bryce Stowell: RP, Akron: H (5), 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR: Stowell gave up a solo shot in his 2/3 innings, and continues to struggle with consistency and health.
  • Shawn Armstrong: RP, Akron: S (1), 1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB: It’s interesting that Stowell was bookended in his appearance by Haley and Armstrong, both showing this team’s depth and talent at the position. With that said, it’s likely that Armstrong and Haley have passed Stowell, as both possess big arms, but are four years younger than Stowell. Still, the depth is impressive.
  • Giovanny Urshela: 3B, Carolina: 2-for-5, 1 2B: Urshela continued a hot stretch of baseball with his fifth multi-hit ballgame over his last ten games. The 20-year-old is hitting .368 in August, and .405 over his last ten ballgames.
  • Delvi Cid: CF, Carolina: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K: Cid continues to have a nice little season for the Mudcats, getting his first regular time in nearly two seasons. He leads the team in stolen bases this year, and has a respectable .286 average. I always like watching these speed guys, because you never know when they might develop another tool to make them viable at the upper levels.
  • Rob Nixon: RP, Carolina: 3 2/3 IP, 2 H, 5 K: Nixon’s overall ERA is 7.71. His ERA over his last three games covering 9 2/3 innings is 0.00. That goes to show you just how bad Nixon was after his initial promotion, and just how good he’s going right now. During that stretch, he’s only given up eight hits and a walk, while striking out 11. Has he figured things out? Seems like it, and the Indians are high on him. Is he another elite guy? Well, let’s see how long he replicates this type of pitching before we go that far.
  • Francisco Lindor: SS, Lake County: 2-for-3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 BB: Lindor continues to have an impressive season, and while the .261 average doesn’t leap off the page, he’s still maintaining a solid .357 OBP, and no doubt is working through the stamina issues that likely come with being 18 in your first 100+ game schedule against professional ballplayers.
  • Jake Lowery: DH, Lake County: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K: Lowery now has a five-game hit streak, with four runs, three doubles, a triple, a homer and nine RBI. He’s also struck out six times against only one walk, which is the area that really needs corrected a bit before he moves back up.
  • Bryson Myles: LF, Lake County: 2-for-4, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI: Myles racked up two more doubles on the season, as he continues to rebound from an earlier injury that cost him a month. His power is slowly but surely starting to return.
  • Alex Lavisky: C, Lake County: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K: All was not lost on Lavisky this season, as he is hitting .243, and did blast his tenth homer on the season, giving him back-to-back 10+ homer seasons in the system.
  • Hunter Jones: LF, Mahoning Valley: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 BB, 1 K: Jones is only hitting .221 with Mahoning, but has seen an uptick in August, hitting .268 for the month.
  • Joe Wendle: 3B, Mahoning Valley: 2-for-5, 2 RBI: Wendle continues to own the New York/Penn League, hitting s silky .324. He has hit in nine of his last ten, and in five straight, and has five multi-hit games over that stretch.
  • Robel Garcia: 2B, Mahoning Valley: 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI: Garcia was a prospect to watch coming into this season before really struggling in Lake County, was demoted, then struggled to start off with the Scrappers. That’s all changed with a hot August that has seen the young middle infielder hit over .300 on the month.
  • Dorssys Paulino: DH, AZL Indians: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K: We all know you need a glove to play baseball, but boy does Paulino make it easy to overlook. The Indians have DH-ed Paulino over the past couple of days, perhaps to try and figure out what to do with him defensively moving forward. He’s really scuffled in the field this season, but he’s only 17, and has a long way to go. Besides, when you’re hitting .358, there are things you can deal with at this level.
  • Kieran Lovegrove: SP, AZL Indians: 4 IP, 6 H, 2 R/1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K: Lovegrove went four innings for the first time as a professional, and has put together two really nice starts in a row. He’s gone seven innings, giving up six hits, two runs (1 earned) and three walks, while striking out six.

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 17, 2012 - 11:59 AM EDT
Interesting Cord Phelps has gotten XX hot. I remember 2 yrs ago when Columbus made their IL Championship run everybody got XX hot. Kipnis, Phelps, Josh Rodriguez. Makes me wonder if the juice is on the loose. When you see sudden dramatic changes like Phelps has past couple of weeks, you have to wonder...I heard an interview yesterday w Victor Conte (Tower of Power) and now head of Balco Labs. He say's 50% of pro players are using performance enhancing supplements of one kind or another, and the line is blurry between the legal and the illegal.

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