Around the Farm: August 25, 2012
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.
Justin Toole: RF/CF/LF/1B/2B/SS/3B/C/P, Carolina Mudcats: 1-for-4/1 IP, 2 H, 2 R/ER, 2 K, 2 HR:
Well, if you want to see something wooly, you have to click on the box score to the Muddies game last night. For those that have followed Toole, he’s a system utility guy, and has bounced around the organization over the past two seasons playing at every level, and nearly at every position. Heading into last night’s ballgame, Toole had played first, second, third, short and left throughout the year, but Muddies manager Edwin Rodriguez had a different thought in mind for Toole on Saturday. Rodriguez had told Toole that he would get a chance to play all nine positions in a game earlier in the season, and he stuck to his guns. If you follow his positions up top, that’s the order of his inning-by-inning movement. While he gave up two homers, he didn’t have an error all night. Congrats to “Toole-Time” for his nine-inning, nine position perfecto.
Giovanny Urshela: DH, 1B, Carolina Mudcats: 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI:
Urshela’s going off again, upping his hit streak to six games, going 8-for-23 over that stretch with a .348/.360/.739 slash line. He has a double, triple and two homers over that stretch, with only three strikeouts. Urshela’s one of those kids that I’ve been rooting for this season, as he really seems to be on the verge of breaking out as a player. The organization has really been working with his swing, and it’s clear that it’s getting more compact. He still needs to show a bit more selectivity at the plate, a he only has 16 walks this year, but he’s never been a high K guy. He has only 56 this season, and his career high strikeouts in a season is 69. There is potential there, both as a defensive third baseman, and one with pop. If he puts it all together, the 20-year-old could make waves in the upper levels of the organization, but he must continue to progress.
Jordan Cooper: SP, Carolina Mudcats: W (8-7), 7 IP, 6 H, 6 K’s:
Lost in the shuffle of Toole-Time was Jordan Cooper’s finest appearance of the season, in only his sixth start. Cooper has spent time both as a starter, a piggy-back guy and as a straight up reliever this year, but has been settling into a starter role over the past month, making five of his six appearances in that role. You could say he’s been settling in just fine so far. He hasn’t allowed a run over his last three games (one as a reliever), going 2-0 over 13 innings pitched, and giving up 12 hits and a walk, while striking out nine. The ninth round selection in 2010 has had a fairly non-descript stint in the system so far. In 2010 and 2011, he hovered in the high 4.00’s with regards to ERA, making 28 out of 29 appearances out of the bullpen. This year has been different, however, as he’s lowered his ERA to 3.73, and now is being used as a starter. Perhaps the Indians have found themselves a sleeper.
Dorssys Paulino: SS, Mahoning Valley Scrappers: 3-for-6, 2 2B, 3 RBI:
Mahoning Valley fans better enjoy their look at Paulino now, because he has NO CHANCE of ever playing there again on anything but a rehab assignment. Paulino now has hits in four of his five short season A games, and he really opened up his whipping stick for the first time last night. Paulino roped an eleventh inning double, scoring Aaron Siliga and Joe Wendle to break open the extra-inning contest. It’s going to be fun watching this kid progress through the system, because you get the distinct impression that his bat is always going to be advanced. What will be really interesting is to see how the Indians handle that, since it’s clear that his defense needs “refined.” I’m sure they’ll take their time with the 17-year old, but he may have the best bat in the system…and that’s sometimes hard to hold back.
- Tim Fedroff: LF, Columbus: 2-for-5, 1 RBI, 1 K: Fedroff is streaking again, with a three-game hit streak, back-to-back two-hit games, and three two-hit games out of his last five. I have to imagine that he’ll get a look in Cleveland come September. He’s played too good this season not to.
- Vinny Rottino: DH, Columbus: 2-for-4, 1 R: Rottino was 0-for-8 over his last two games heading into this one, but it was his fourth multi-hit game out of his past seven, and fifth out of his past ten. His stats are tempered by the fact that he only has two extra base hits in those last ten games.
- Gregorio Petit: 3B, Columbus: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB: Petit hit his tenth homer of the season, a three-run job, in the ninth inning with the Clippers down 6-1. It’s the first time in Petit’s career that he hit double-digit homers. The closest he’d gotten before was seven, which he did twice.
- Matt Pagnozzi: C, Columbus: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI: Pagnozzi’s ninth inning homer tied the game at 6, after the Clippers had been trailing 6-0 heading into the eighth inning.
- Aaron Cunningham: CF, Columbus: 0-for-4: He’s 0-for-9 over his last three, and 1-for-18 over his last five ballgames. Seriously, he’s not even good enough for Triple A, and he played more than half of the season in Cleveland.
- David Huff: SP, Columbus: 6 IP, 10 H, 6 R/ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 3 HR: Huff had arguably his best start of the season in his last appearance, giving a bit of hope that he could regain a bit of that major league mojo down the stretch. Then he gave up three more home runs. How bad has it been? Huff has given up 26 homers in Columbus, which leads the International League. He didn’t make his first start until the end of April, and heading into a June 26th start, had only given up five dingers. He’s given up 21 homers since then, including 20 over his last ten starts covering 59 2/3 innngs, compared to 20 walks and 31 K’s. That’s not a good ratio at all.
- Cole Cook: RP, Columbus: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 2 K: The only other player in the system that’s made a rise like Cook’s is Cody Allen. Now, Cook isn’t Allen, so don’t go there, but he has had a really good season so far, and it’s been incredibly under the radar. His overall stat line in four levels of baseball is 2-4, with a 2.99 ERA over 69 1/3 innings. He’s given up 65 hits, 35 runs (23 earned) and 24 walks, while saving five games and striking out 56. Again, not Allen-like numbers, but solid stuff. He’s got a nice make-up, which has allowed the Indians to move him around the system this year. Don’t be surprised if he sees Cleveland in 2013. I can’t imagine he’s going to get a September call-up, but perhaps there’s some reward to his multi-faceted role this season in the organization.
- Tyler Sturdevant: RP, Columbus: L (0-3), 1/3 IP, 2 H, 2 R/ER, 1 HR: Sturdevant’s gotten torched in his last two appearances, giving up six runs in an inning and two-thirds. Saturday Night’s debacle cost the Clippers the game after they roared back from a six-run deficit over the last two innings.
- Thomas Neal: LF, Akron: 2-for-4, 1 R: Neal’s catching fire again, and has upped his hit streak to four games, going 7-for-16 during that stretch, with two runs, a double, a homer and an RBI. I would have to imagine that the Indians are planning on moving Neal up to Columbus next season after they clear up some clutter. He’ll get some playoff experience this season in Akron first.
- Chun Chen: 1B, Akron: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI: The power-less Chen hit only his fifth homer of the season, and continued a fantastic offensive year in which he’s hit .321 in his move to first and DH. He’s hitting over .300 against both lefties (.302) and righties (.328), and while I doubt the Indians will ever look at him as a long-term candidate at first, he at least will give the team and system depth until someone else shows up (Aguilar perhaps) that can be a more prototypical corner threat.
- T.J. House: SP, Akron: W (8-4), 6 2/3 IP, 6 H, 3 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR: This wasn’t House’s best start, but it certainly was a promising rebound to his last start that was cut short after he went over the Tribe’s single inning, 35-pitch threshold during the first inning of his last start. His previous self wouldn’t have recovered from that kind of barrage. This year’s version, as he’s done all year, did. He’ll be a factor in 2013 with Columbus, and is one of a couple of intriguing Akron starters.
- Shawn Armstrong: RP, Akron: 1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 K: So, the ERA gets back down below 1.00 in Akron, but even more promising is that Armstrong went an inning plus without giving up a walk. He’d given up 10 in his previous nine games heading into last night’s game, against only seven K’s. He’s getting guys out, but walking that many won’t get you that final step. He’s clearly a guy that you can see teetering towards elite, but has that one step to go during his play over the fall and winter.
- Preston Guilmet: Closer, Akron: S (22), 1 IP, 1 K: Guilmet made 11 pitches, eight of them strikes. It’s his eighth straight appearance without giving up a run, and you have to be impressed with his incredible efficiency. He’s not even close to an elite arm, but I’d be shocked if he didn’t eventually pitch for the Indians. Very similar to Cody Burns, and while they essentially threw Burns away for freakin’ Aaron Cunningham, I can’t see them making the same mistake twice. Burns is currently pitching for the Padres…in case you were curious, and while he gave up three runs in one appearance, it was the only game out of his six that he gave up a run.
- Rob Nixon: RP, Carolina: 1 IP, 2 K: Nixon is becoming one of my favorite players on the team. After giving up 18 earned runs in his first 11 1/3 innings in Carolina, he hasn’t given up any over his last 14 innings. During that five-game stretch, he’s given up 10 hits and a walk, while striking out an impressive 15. That’s definitely a turn worth noticing.
- Luigi Rodriguez: CF, Lake County: 3-for-5, 2 K, 1 SB: Rodriguez is starting to warm up his bat one more time as the season heads down the back stretch, as he had three of the Captains’ six total hits on the night.
- Bryson Myles: DH, Lake County: 1-for-2, 2 BB, 1 SB: It’s clear that Myles legs aren’t 100%, as he stole his first base since August 9th. He’s got plus speed, but he really has to get those legs right going forward, because he’s got the potential to be a top-15 sort of prospect, if he can stay healthy. The Indians will likely keep the bubble wrap on until they get his stretching and workouts down.
- Joshua Nervis: RP, Lake County: 3 IP, 1 H, 3 BB: Nervis gave up three walks, but did follow up a four-inning, shutout stint only three nights prior with another shutout performance. Interesting that they threw him out there for three innings on shortish rest after he went four.
- Aaron Siliga: CF, Mahoning Valley: 2-for-6, 1 R, 1 RBI: Siliga is only hitting .215 on the season, but it seems like every night I check out the Scrappers box score for ATF, he’s rolling out a two-hit game. It’s his third in the past eight games, with only one other hit over that stretch.
- Joe Wendle: DH, Mahoning Valley: 2-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 K: The 22-year old will need to prove his wares in a full season league next year, and will have to overcome being “oldish” for his level, but if this season is any indication, Wendle doesn’t have a thing to worry about. He has five two-hit games over his last ten.
- Jack Wagoner: RP, Mahoning Valley: W (3-5), 2 1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 K: Wagoner rebounded after blowing his last appearance by dominating in this one. He’s had an up and down August, being either really good (five appearances without giving up a run) or really bad (three appearances giving up a total of five runs).
- Jorge Martinez: 3B, AZL Indians: 3-for-5, 1 R, 1 K: Martinez plugs away at rookie ball, with a four-game hit streak, going 7-for-14, with two runs, a double, a triple and five RBI. His bat’s not anywhere close to being refined, but it’s been fun to watch in the rookie league.
- Hector Rondon: SP, AZL Indians: 2 IP, 5 K: Well, it doesn’t get any more dominating than that for Rondon, making another rehab start. The 24-year old will likely be working a full gambit during winter ball to try and rebuild his arm strength and stamina, and it’ll be interesting to see how he’s handled in 2013, as he’s an interesting sleeper looking forward. Of course, dominating in the Arizona Rookie League is a long ways away from Columbus.
- Luis Lugo: RP/SP, AZL Indians: 5 1/3 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 7 K: This was really a start for Lugo, as he piggy-backed with Rondon. He’s becoming a strikeout machine, and now has 29 K’s over his last five starts, in 21 2/3 innings pitched.
- Thomas White: RP, AZL Indians: W (2-0), 1 2/3 IP, 1 BB, 4 K: White concluded a night in which Indians’ pitching struck out 16 Reds’ batters, while walking only one. That’s pretty freakin’ impressive in the AZL League.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We all have our opinions on guys, and Jim does a great job with ATF and is the IPI's second in command. But he's off on his viewpoint on Cook as he's a guy that is going to have to really have a great offseason and spring as he is on the roster bubble next year.
I suppose he's close to being refined for a below-A-Ball hitter who strikes out at least once a game, and never walks...
As to Cook, I'm moderately surprised that's the guy that folks are focusing on here. If he makes it to the Tribe in 2012, they are throwing him a bone. I re-read what I wrote, and I don't think it reads any different that what I meant. He had a great season, and played well at all levels. Like I said, he's not moving up like Allen. I wouldn't have him top five...maybe not even top 10 in a top Tribe reliever rating, but it's not unfeasible to say that he will start the year in Columbus next year, and get a look in Cleveland. I also don't think it's too far fetched to see him get an appearance in Cleveland in September in 2012 if he's in Columbus, and if the Indians need an arm...for a doubleheader, or if they just don't want certain guys to go...we shall see.
I do not believe Cook is really that close to being ready.
Additionally there is already Lindor and others that can handle the SS job in glove and likely bat (although the bat will not be as loaded as Paulino's).
Given the state of the system & the major league club I am stunned the Indians do not use this offseason to select another position for Paulino where he could be fast tracked to the majors and arrive in about 2 years.