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Around the Farm: August 29, 2012

Around the Farm: August 29, 2012
August 30, 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.

Paulo Espino: SP, Akron Aeros: 7 1/3, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 6 K:

Espino was the epitome of efficiency last night, throwing only 76 pitches as he made it into the eighth inning, 52 of those pitches were strikes. While he took the no decision in the 2-1 loss, he pitched another outstanding game, breaking up a two game streak in which he had given up seven runs. Still, Espino has been one of the organizations most consistent pitchers this season after starting off the year injured. Over his last ten ballgames, he’s 4-1, with a 2.82 ERA, and overall, he’s 7-3, with a 3.09 ERA. The Aeros staff is one of the best in the system right now, which is no doubt why they are headed to the playoffs.

Will Roberts: SP, Carolina Mudcats: 7 1/3 IP, 8 H, 2 R/ER, 4 K:

Roberts rebounded from one of his worst starts of the season on August 24th, with one of his best. He’s now gone at least seven innings in three of his last five ballgames, and gone at least six in five of his last six. Roberts, a fifth rounder from 2011, has promise, but he’s certainly struggled with showcasing it in 2012, rolling out a 5.69 ERA in High A. While that’s certainly not something to brag about, he has come through of late, perhaps providing the 22-year-old with a springboard into 2013. He likely will start the year off back in Carolina.

  • Tim Fedroff: LF, Columbus: 2-for-5, 1 3B, 1 RBI: Fedroff upped his hit streak to seven ballgames, as the outfielder continues his fantastic season. You never know what the Indians are planning going forward, but the move with Duncan could be an indicator that Fedroff will be called up in September. It’s well-deserved.
  • Matt Pagnozzi: C, Columbus: 3-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B: The 29-year-old now has a six-game hit streak, and has two multi-hit games in his last three.
  • Aaron Cunningham: CF, Columbus: 3-for-3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI: I just don’t have much to say about Cunningham at this point. He hit a bit two-run blast…his first in Columbus, and let’s just leave it at that.
  • Cole Cook: SP, Columbus: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 3 K: Cook got the rare start in his third game in Columbus, and his second appearance in the past week. He was outstanding, and has just dominated Triple-A hitting in his seven innings, giving up six hits and three walks, while striking out five. It’s a temp move, but you have to like the job he’s doing.
  • Scott Barnes: RP, Columbus: 1 IP: Barnes is concluding his first season in the bullpen with mixed results. I’m not sure where he ends up next season, but not sure the bullpen is the best bet. I’m wondering what this season will do to his future long-term.
  • Dan Wheeler: Closer, Columbus: S (4), 1 IP, 1 K: Well, Wheeler has had a really good season at Columbus, but like Cunningham, I don’t have much to say about Wheeler in what is likely his last week or so in the organization.
  • Jordan Henry: RF, Akron: 3-for-4: Henry is absolutely on fire. He currently has a five-game hit streak in which three of the five games are multiple hit games. He has six multi-hit games in his last ten. He’s 9-for-18 in his last five ballgames.
  • Jesus Aguilar: DH, Akron: 2-for-4, 1 K: Aguilar has back-to-back two-hit ballgames, and is finally starting to warm up to the Eastern League. There’s still not a prodigious amount of power as he settles in, but there will be plenty of time in 2013 to showcase the long ball.
  • Matt Lawson: 2B, Akron: 3-for-4, 1 3B: The Aeros second sacker had been in a slump heading into last night’s ballgame. He was 5-for 28 in his previous nine ballgames, so last night’s outing will make our Lawson fanatics happy.
  • Michel Hernandez: C, Akron: 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B: Hernandez hasn’t had a whole lot of playing time this year for a variety of reasons, but the 34-year-old Cuban can hit the ball when gets his swings in. He’s hitting only .199 on the year in Akron though.
  • Giovanny Urshela: 3B, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K: Urshela blasted his 13th homer last night, and his .281 average actually leads the team this season, for those that qualify. While I wouldn’t exactly call this a break-out year for the third baseman, it certainly put him on the map as a guy with an upward trajectory.
  • Tony Wolters: SS, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI: Wolters hit his seventh home run, and while I don’t think anyone’s going to confuse the diminutive second baseman as a power hitter, there’s certainly been a massive amount of improvement in the power department. He has 29 doubles on the year as well.
  • Tyler Cannon: 1B, Carolina: 3-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 K: Cannon hasn’t exploded this season, as he did last year in Lake County, but he has become a valuable system player, as he seemingly can play everywhere. He still rolls out games like this one, where he showcases why he hit .366 for the Captains in 2011.
  • Todd Hankins: RF, Carolina: 2-for-4, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB: Hankins hit a single in the seventh, with the score tied 2-2, to score Tyler Cannon to give the Muddies a 3-2 lead. Hankins has struggled in Carolina, but has ability and the non-teachable speed.
  • Alex Monsalve: DH, Carolina: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI: Monsalve is still learning the Carolina League ropes right now, but has hits in four of his last five ballgames, and has gone 6-for-20 during that stretch.
  • Rob Nixon: RP, Carolina: S (1), 1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 1 K: While Nixon sports a 5.79 ERA with the Mudcats, it doesn’t nearly represent how well he’s pitched of late. This was his seventh straight shutout performance, as he’s given up only 12 hits and two walks, while striking out 16 over 16 2/3 innings.
  • Jose Ramirez: 2B, Lake County: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 BB: Ramirez has the average up to .349, and is on another prodigious tear, going 10-for-18 over his last four games, all multi-hit affairs. He’s a tiny kid, at 5’9” and 165 pounds, but how do you hold down someone that’s hit over .325 in both his professional seasons.
  • Jordan Smith: RF, Lake County:  2-for-4, 2 R, 1 K, 1 SB: Smith has his third straight multi-hit ballgame, now going 7-for-13 during the stretch, and bumping the average up to .318. This kid has to be flying up the prospect charts heading towards 2013, and is one of my favorite players to cover on a night-in, night-out basis.
  • Alex Lavisky: C, Lake County: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI: Lavisky has gotten lost in the shuffle a bit over the last year, but has had his best season to date. His home run was his 12th of the year, one behind his 2011 season, but is hitting .242, which is 39 points higher than his previous best.
  • Cody Anderson: SP, Lake County: 3 IP, 2 K: Anderson pitched his normal three innings, and bounced back from a rough stint a week ago for this shutout performance. He’s had a solid season overall, sporting a 3.20 ERA.
  • Nicholas Pasquale: RP, Lake County: W (3-0), 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 4 K: Pasquale has been solid to spectacular in his nine game with the Captains. He’s had one bad outing out of nine overall, but his ERA is 2.17 at Low-A.
  • Joe Wendle: 2B, Mahoning Valley: 2-for-4, 1 R: Mr. Wendle is hitting .323 on the season, and he had two of the light-hitting Scrappers four total hits. This team has been a let-down offensively this year, and the injury to Tyler Naquin certainly didn’t help matters out.
  • Geoffrey Davenport: RP, Mahoning Valley: 3 2/3 IP, 1 H, 7K: Davenport was absolutely outstanding, and has put together three straight solid outings on the season. Over that stretch, he’s gone 11 total innings, giving up only 11 hits and five walks, while striking out 10. He’s building up some nice momentum heading into 2013.
  • Scott Peoples: RP, Mahoning Valley: 1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 K: Peoples isn’t a name folks have been talking about this year, but he’s had a big-time season. His overall ERA is 1.90, and he’s thrown three straight shutout appearances, going five innings, giving up two hits and two walks, with four strikeouts.
  • AZL Indians offense: 6-for-28, 1 R, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 11 K’s: Well, this is what happens when the bulk of your offense headed to Mahoning Valley for the end of the season. Brian Ruiz was the only player with multiple hits, as the baby Tribe got shellacked, 8-1.
  • Kieren Lovegrove: SP, AZL Indians: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 R/2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K: A who’s who of Tribe youngsters got a shot to pitch in the last game of the season. Lovegrove got pelted for two runs, getting the loss.
  • Thomas White: RP, AZL Indians: 4 IP, 2 H, 4 K: White was the star of the day on the staff, and has looked good in his last three outings, after getting pounded on August 14th.
  • Dillon Howard: RP, AZL Indians: 2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 4 K: Well, I’m sure this isn’t the way Howard wanted to go out. His first foray into pro ball was dubious: 1-7, with a 7.90 ERA. After two solid performances, he’s gotten crushed in his last two, giving up 15 runs (13 ER) over 4 1/3 innings pitched.

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

September 2, 2012 - 6:12 PM EDT
Just to be clear, I in no way am hating on Lawson. I'm rather intrigued by his season and numbers; however, I also have a good understanding of the value and priority he has as a prospect so just being realistic and honest. It is a frustrating process when it comes to advancing through the ranks in the minors and getting a big league opportunity - barring of course the hot shot prospects which always get the chances and numerous ones at that.
August 30, 2012 - 4:43 PM EDT
Nathan, I do agree with your assessment about Lawson and a trade; but I don't agree with you when you say this is his best season 'by far'. He is a career .290 hitter in the minor leagues with an OBP of .370. Not a lot of power; but does get on base and set the table for the big boppers. Would just be interesting to see what he could do at the AAA level; but I also understand there has to be room for him there.
August 30, 2012 - 4:03 PM EDT
To those that think Lawson would draw anything in a trade:

He's 26. This is his best minor league season, by far. It's safe to say that he's playing extremely well at a lower level and that he would suffer a large drop off in AAA. Even if he didn't, he'll be labeled minor league depth, fair or not.

Teams don't trade for 26-year-old minor leaguers. Even if they do, what can a team expect in return?
August 30, 2012 - 12:32 PM EDT
Tony, I do agree with your assessment about the situation. Phelps is doing a good job. When Lawson was with the Texas organization he did play some 3b and OF with them. I would think he would more likely be a trade situation; but at 26 maybe other teams aren't interested in taking him on unless they have a real need in their minor league organizations.
August 30, 2012 - 11:38 AM EDT
Why isn't Phelps and/or Goedert playing 3B and 1B in CLE? HammerlessHan & Kotch may save a run every other game with their gloves but they cost 2-runs a game with their bats. .222 avg 4hr 22rbi from your 3B is pathetic. .235 11hr 45rbi by 1B is terrible.

I am confused by the Front Office. Why haven't they dropped the trash and brought up the pyrite to test if its real or fake.
August 30, 2012 - 9:41 AM EDT
Again, hard to move a guy up when a guy in front of him is a better prospect and performing better. It is great to see Lawson playing well, but there is no opportunity for him to move up with Cord Phelps occupying 2B in Columbus. The unfortunate reality is that barring offseason trades, there is a good chance Phelps is in Columbus again next year, and with guys like Ronny Rodriguez and Tony Wolters likely moving up, I am not sure where Lawson fits into things next season since he lacks much versatility. Maybe they try him out in the outfield to get him some at bats in Columbus...or maybe he is just a reserve at Columbus/Akron. Always interesting to see how these things shake out when there is such a crowded roster situation. He's a lower level prospect so the others like Phelps, Rodriguez, Wolters, etc will get more priority, but will still be interesting to see what happens to him (reserve role, position experiment, traded, released, etc).
August 30, 2012 - 9:32 AM EDT
Take 10 starting pitchers in a row to start the 2013 draft. Take Appel at 5. The lack of starting pitching in the system is a real bummer. How many other orgs have more legit SS prospects than SPs????
August 30, 2012 - 9:32 AM EDT
Hey Jim, I don't think we are Lawson 'fanatics'. I think we just get excited about a 26 year old that is hitting between .330-.340 with OBP of over .400 for over half a sesaon. And by the way, I want to remind everyone again, that he has been successful every step of the way for the last 5-6 seasons. Whatever happened to the idea of moving a guy up til he reaches a level that he doesn't produce anymore????? Note to Jim Piascik...I think you wrote him off a little too early in your "Launching Off With the Aeros" the other day!!!!

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