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Around the Farm: August 17, 2012

Around the Farm: August 17, 2012
August 18, 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.

Danny Salazar: SP, Akron Aeros: (W, 2-0), 7 IP, 1 R/ER, 0 BB, 8 K:

Admit it. You were skeptical when the Indians rostered Salazar during the offseason. The skepticism was probably warranted too. Coming off of Tommy John Surgery, there were a number of question marks that surrounded Salazar. That's not to say that there are still not questions in regard to the right-hander, but it's hard to not be encouraged by his progress this season. Salazar has been on a strict pitch count throughout the season and pitched mostly in a piggyback role, but on Friday, he recorded his longest (and arguably best) outing. The 22-year-old has one of the best power arms in the Indians system, and he seems to be fully recovered from his surgery. As long as he continues to succeed at Akron, perhaps Salazar could make it to Columbus next year and then hopefully come onto the Tribe's Major League radar. Lord knows the team needs pitching, and while it's still early, Salazar looks like he could be a special one.

Thomas Neal: DH, Akron: 3-for-4, 3 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB:

With Thomas Neal, we're essentially beating a dead horse. For months now, everyone has been clamoring for Neal to get promoted to Columbus. Yet, the fact that he has not been promoted goes to show how much, or more accurately, how little the Indians' front office thinks of him. Still, the Tribe's fan base seems to have a very different opinion of Neal. The right-handed hitter launched his 11th home run Friday. The offensive outburst was much needed too as Neal had really been struggling at the plate as of late. It's hard to determine what his future is in this organization or if he even has one, but out of all the outfielders that have been producing in the upper levels of the Indians system as of late (Neal, Jared Goedert, Tim Fedroff, Chad Huffman, Matt LaPorta and Russ Canzler), I would like to see Neal get a promotion to the Major Leagues the most. His previous status as a top prospect with the Giants combined with his various tools still make him an intriguing prospect.

  • Tim Fedroff: CF, Columbus Clippers: 1-for-3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K: Fedroff has really scuffled at the plate as of late, hitting just .175 in his last 10 games. Though perhaps, the recent struggles come from frustration as Fedroff has played out of his mind this year and should have earned a promotion to Cleveland weeks ago.
  • Cord Phelps: 2B, Columbus: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI: Phelps hit his 16th home run Friday and his average now sits at .282. Much like Jared Goedert, Phelps may be a Major League utility player at best. However, unlike Goedert, who has seen his numbers decline as the season has gone on, Phelps' numbers have increased as of late. Personally, I'd rather have a player produce down the stretch than in the early going.
  • Juan Diaz: SS, Columbus: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI: Diaz hit his first career home run at the Triple-A level Friday. Diaz has now hit 12 home runs over the course of the season, which is a marked improvement from his previous career high (9).
  • Russ Canzler: DH, Columbus: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K: Many have been clamoring for a Canzler promotion to Cleveland, but I do not believe it's warranted. Yes, he did hit his 19th home run Friday, but he also struck out for the 114th time this season. Considering he has only walked 42 times, Canzler is one Clipper I don't want to see anywhere near Cleveland.
  • Matt Packer: SP, Columbus: 5 1/3 IP, 8 H, 2 R/ER, 3 K, 1 HR: There are things to like and dislike about Packer's start. He did put together five scoreless frames before allowing a leadoff home in the sixth, but he also seemed to struggle to make it that deep into the game. It took Packer 93 pitches to make it through 5 1/3 innings, and his performance seemed to change each inning. There were times where he would have a perfect inning, but there were also times where he seemed to be one base knock away from disaster.
  • Matt Lawson: 2B, Akron: 3-for-4, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB: Lawson has been outstanding this season, especially in his last 10 games where the right-handed hitter has hit .455 with 15 hits and six RBI.
  • Davis Stoneburner: SS, Akron: 3-for-5, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 2 K: Stoneburner has essentially struggled all season for the Aeros, hitting just .192, but he might have had his best game of the season Friday.
  • Tyler Cannon: C, Carolina Mudcats: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K: Cannon continues to perform well as of late. The right-handed hitter has now hit .294 in his last 10 games.
  • Justin Toole: 1B, Carolina: 2-for-5, 1 K: Toole has spent time all over the Tribe’s minor league system this year, and his versatility does pay dividends. On Friday, Toole was one of just two Mudcats to record two hits.
  • Mike Rayl: SP, Carolina: (W, 10-8), 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R/ER, 2 BB, 6 K: Rayl has really had a solid, if unspectacular, 2012 campaign. On Friday, he put together a quality start and reached double-digits for wins. The left-hander has been especially strong as of late as he has posted a 3.05 ERA in his last 10 starts while going 6-1.
  • Jeff Johnson: RP, Carolina: (S, 1): 2 IP, 3 K: The right-handed Johnson likely had his best performance since being promoted from Lake County. Not only did he pitch two perfect innings, but he struck out three in the process and notched his first save with the Mudcats.
  • Bryson Myles: LF, Lake County Captains: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI: Myles has become a popular player among Indians fans as the season has progressed. IPI's 2012 No. 15 prospect, there are plenty of things to like about Myles, and he also seems to possess some legitimate Major League tools. On Friday, Myles hit his third home run of the season, and his average now sits at .281.
  • Mason Radeke: SP, Lake County: (W, 6-6), 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K: Radeke has been incredibly consistent for the Captains this season. He rarely dominates, but he also rarely gets dominated either. Whenever he takes the mound, there's a pretty good chance that the Captains will have a chance to win. Radeke was at his best Friday as he dazzled in throwing six scoreless innings to lower his season ERA to 3.52.
  • Enosil Tejada: Closer, Lake County: (S, 4), 1 IP, 2 K: Tejada has been outstanding since moving from Mahoning Valley. How great has he been exactly? Well since allowing three earned runs in his first appearance with the Captains, Tejada has now posted a 0.00 ERA over his last 10 appearances in 13 2/3 innings of work.
  • Jerrud Sabourin: 1B, Lake County: 0-for-2, 1 R, 2 BB: As an undrafted player, we all know that Sabourin will have a very long and difficult road to the Majors. Nonetheless, his discipline this season has been very encouraging. On Friday, Sabourin walked twice to bring his season total to 46 against just 65 strikeouts.
  • Jose Ramirez: 2B, Lake County: 1-for-4, 1 BB, 1 K: Ramirez is not regarded highly as a prospect, but you have to love what he's done this year. 19 years young, Ramirez has posted a .345/.399/.431 line. For his age, such numbers in the Midwest League are phenomenal. One has to think that if his bat continues to develop, his prospect shine will become that much brighter.
  • Aaron Siliga: CF, Mahoning Valley Scrappers: 2-for-4, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 K: The Scrappers had very little offense Friday as the entire team recorded just five hits, though two of the hits belonged to Siliga.
  • Juan Romero: RF, Mahoning Valley: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 K: Romero has been intriguing for the Scrappers, especially considering the early power that he displayed. Still, he has shown a tendency to strikeout at startling levels and on Friday, the young right-handed hitter recorded his 54th strikeout. He has still only walked just six times.
  • Jake Sisco: SP, Mahoning Valley: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R/ER, 2 K, 1 HR: Sisco was outstanding on Friday as the young right-hander dazzled for seven innings. He left with game tied, and certainly did all that was needed to win, but unfortunately he took home the no-decision in this one.
  • Scott Peoples: RP, Mahoning Valley: (L, 1-1), 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 3 K, 1 HR: It’s easy to pinpoint Peoples as the scapegoat for the Scrappers’ loss, but all in all, he pitched quite well. Yes, he did allow the go-ahead run on a solo shot, but he also struck out three batters over that two-inning span.

Steve can be reached via email at

User Comments

August 19, 2012 - 4:02 PM EDT
Neal is having a very good season in Akron. But, and this applies to a guy like Lawson, he is an older player that has limited ML upside having success in Double-A. He ideally should be in Columbus, but the Indians have higher priority guys like Fedroff, Goedert, LaPorta, Canzler, etc in the outfield there, so there is no room for Neal. The same applies for a guy like Lawson who is having a nice year but is a lower priority player at 2B than Phelps, so he is still in Akron.
August 18, 2012 - 7:08 PM EDT
Lawson is crushing he ball at the tune of .352, someone upstair needs to get a clue, he's a player. Has been at every level, what is the cost associated with giving him a shot (nothing).
August 18, 2012 - 5:17 PM EDT
He's Ben Francisco--the sequel. A nice bench ML bat I believe. He'll make the bigs in September 2013 and become BennyFran and float around the bigs with a little career under his belt. Nothing wrong with that.
August 18, 2012 - 1:29 PM EDT
I'll take a shot at it (from my eyes seeing all three this year).
Neal over Federoff due to righty need. Tim hitting left handed is a problem with the setup around the rest of the team. If other changes happened (say a middle of order bat hitting right handed at either 1b/ 3b/ of) then the issue needs a deeper look.
I've liked Goedert over the years and appreciate his position flexibility now (a la Casey Blake) but if we learned anything this season, outfield defense is important including throwing arm. Also Neal is over 2 years younger than Goedert (and 6 months younger than Fedroff). Seeing the numbers this year, I'm willing to say 2011 was an injury filled waste for Neal. Based on all of that, I'd give Neal a look before Goedert and by extension
before Fedroff.
August 18, 2012 - 1:00 PM EDT
Steve please explain how Neal is a better option over Fedroff or Goedert?
August 18, 2012 - 9:46 AM EDT
Norm, of course Tony is better at analyzing players. I dunno when anyone tried to argue that. Obviously there's a reason that Tony made this site and has watched it flourish and that's because of how good he is.

Essentially Rich said it all in regard to Neal. I'm not saying he's an everyday player or a star. What I am saying is that I prefer him to the options at Columbus (Goedert, Canzler, LaPorta, Fedroff). Also, he's a far more toolsy player than a Duncan and certainly provides more pop than Carrera. He likely is a fourth outfielder at best, but why is he so much or a worse option than Duncan or Carrera? I fail to see what outlandish claim I was guilty of making.
August 18, 2012 - 9:29 AM EDT
Would someone please tell me what the downside is on Matt Lawson at Akron? His career numbers are good and his numbers over the last 6 weeks at Akron are phenomenal. I know he is an 'organizational player', but who is making these judgements and based on what??? He is never going to hit a bunch of home runs; but the guy seems to get the job done wherever he has been playing.
August 18, 2012 - 9:07 AM EDT
And all three are better at analyzing players than you will ever be Norm.

No need to be a douchebag.

I can find several instances in which you've knocked Tony, or quite frankly, whomever doesn't agree with your daily take on whoever floats your boat. I believe Steve noted that Neal should be in Columbus, not Cleveland, and couldn't agree more. I suppose your belief is that all the players in the minors that aren't major league scratch should get cut, which would leave the Indians with a grand total of about six prospects.

I'll be looking for you at the Indians' gate when they return for the left coast, polling fans on their take of Neal, since you have such a massive gauge on the pulse of Cleveland.

Bottom line is that there's no harm in bringing up Neal at this stage of the season to see if your grade A prognostications are correct.

His ONLY season at Triple A was an injury plagued mess, and from what I've seen at many of the Akron games I've seen this season, his bat speed is fine, and while I don't think anyone would confuse him as Willy Mays in the outfield, he's far from "worthless." Is he a major league talent? That's certainly up for debate, but should he get up to Columbus, as has been stressed on this site for a few months now?

Yeah. At worst, he's as good as the bumbling fools they have there. At best, he's got more tools than all of them.

Thanks Steve, nice write up. Perhaps Norm should get a job here, so we can all take pot shots at him on a daily basis, but only when we don't agree with him.
August 18, 2012 - 7:33 AM EDT
Where do you guys get this crap about everyone wanting Neal? As far as I know, it is basically you and Jim beating a dead horse in a claiming race. Tony, who is far better at analyzing player abilities than either you or Jim, sure doesn't think he belongs in Cleveland or even Columbus which is meaningless. It only counts if they are above average ML talent and Neal isn't even close.

Offensively, he has little bat speed and modest pitch identification. He does not run well and can only defend LF marginally. He is absolutely worthless in CF and close to worthless in RF with a weak arm. In the show, he will hit 230 with 5 HRs if he plays a full season in Cleveland LF.

Neal is 25 and has a lousy BABIP and ISO whenever he gets above his AA ceiling. Every other team had a shot when he was left off the 40. That should tell you guys something. IF he makes the 40 this year, that will be the upset of the year IMO.

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