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Around the Farm: August 30, 2013

Around the Farm: August 30, 2013
August 31, 2013
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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.

Jose Ramirez (SS, Akron): 0-for-3, PO.
It is not very often that you will see a player with an 0-fer get the headline in Around the Farm, but the news outside of the game for Ramirez makes it very deserving. After the game he learned that he was called up to Cleveland and will be added to the 40-man roster and activated on Sunday when rosters expand. It has been an amazing rapid ascent for him this season as he completely skipped High-A Carolina and started the season at Akron and now is completely skipping Triple-A Columbus to go to Cleveland. He might very well end up at Columbus at some point next year, but right now the Indians think he can help them with the way he impacts a game defensively and with his speed, and not to mention he is a pretty good hitter who is a tough out. He could be their utility infielder next season if Asdrubal Cabrera is traded, and possibly could be more. Congrats to Jose!

Juan Diaz (SS, Columbus): 1-for-4, 2B, BB.
This was quite possibly Diaz’s last game in the Indians organization. With shortstop Yhoxian Medina being promoted from Low-A Lake County to Columbus late Friday night and infielder Jose Ramirez earning a callup to Cleveland on Sunday, the math seems to add up that Diaz will be the one designated for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster for Ramirez. With Diaz potentially in roster limbo, Medina could fill in as a backup or even starting shortstop option for Columbus for the final two days of the season.

  • Tim Fedroff (CF, Columbus): 0-for-4, RBI, SF. Fedroff has had a disappointing season offensively (.244/.336/.308), which does not bode well for his roster status in the offseason.
  • Matt LaPorta (DH, Columbus): 0-for-5. LaPorta has just three days left in his career as an Indian. Once Columbus’ season ends on Monday, he will pack his bags, go home, and probably sign with another team in the offseason as a minor league free agent.
  • David Cooper (1B, Columbus): 1-for-5. Cooper is hitting just .192 (5-for-26) with no extra base hits in 7 games with Columbus. The lack of power and hard hit balls makes you wonder about the health of his back. It does not look like he will be added to the big league roster by September 1st.
  • Ryan Rohlinger (3B, Columbus): 1-for-3, 2 R, HR, RBI, 2 BB, K. A solid season from Rohlinger as he did it at the plate (.269 AVG, .728 OPS) and in the field playing multiple positions and filling any role the Indians threw at him.
  • Justin Toole (2B, Columbus): 3-for-5. Toole is an organizational favorite and has mad respect of a lot of people in the org, locker room, and countless media. One of the game’s good guys and someone I could see ending up as a coach someday.
  • Joe Martinez (SP, Columbus): 7.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R/ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. The results were not always there, but Martinez did exactly what he was signed to do this year which was provide innings at Triple-A and be a veteran arm that could fill a starting or long man role as needed.
  • Jesus Aguilar (1B, Akron): 1-for-4, 2 RBI. The RBI machine continues to rack them up as he is now up to 105 on the season. Whether you think RBIs are important or not, it is important to note that pitchers typically bear down with men in scoring position, so he is getting their best stuff and having success.
  • Carlos Moncrief (RF, Akron): 2-for-3, BB, K. Just an outstanding season for Moncrief. The power and on-base numbers have not changed much, but the drop in strikeouts is stunning as he went from 28.6% in 2011 and 31.0% last year to just 18% this year.
  • Francisco Jimenez (SP, Akron); 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 2 K. A Yeoman’s effort from Jimenez who stepped in and put up a spot start for Cody Anderson who was shut down before the game (innings).
  • Shawn Armstrong (RP, Akron): 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. Armstrong learned a tough lesson this year with the self-inflicted hand injury which cost him almost three months of the season. That said, he is finishing strong and though the velocity has not been there like last year the results surely are.
  • Tony Wolters (C, Carolina): 1-for-4, R, 3 RBI. Even though he repeated at High-A, you have to love the year Wolters had with the bat hitting .285/.380/.365 all while making one of the toughest transitions defensively you can make.
  • Joey Wendle (2B, Carolina): 2-for-4. Wendle is one of the more polarizing prospects in the scouting community. Some think he has good potential as an offensive second baseman in the big leagues, while others think he is simply a 23-year who was too old for High-A. Time will tell.
  • Alex Lavisky (DH, Carolina): 2-for-4, R. It was a tough year for Lavisky, although injuries had a lot to do with it. He’s still a big favorite among Indians staffers because of his work ethic, leadership qualities, and how coachable he is….but he needs to start hitting.
  • Robert Whitenack (SP, Carolina): 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K. The final start in what was a strange year for Whitenack. Picked up initially as a waiver claim, then DFAed, then bounced around between several affiliates….he finished at Carolina and arguably had his best start of the season on Friday night.
  • Josh Martin (RP, Carolina): 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. Martin picked up the three inning save in this one and he is really finishing strong racking up a 3.27 ERA and .241 BAA in his last 10 appearances.
  • LeVon Washington (CF, Lake County): 1-for-5, 2B, 3 RBI, 3 K. There is surely some disappointment that he ended the season in Lake County (which is not a good sign from a prospect perspective), but most importantly he finished healthy and stayed in games.
  • Jorge Martinez (RF, Lake County): 0-for-3, R, 2 K. Martinez got himself pulled from the game and benched after he made a display and threw his bat after he struck out.
  • Leo Castillo (3B, Lake County): 3-for-3, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI, BB. One of the best games of the season for Castillo, although he is putting the finishing touches on another disappointing season (.207/.266/.333).
  • Luis Morel (SP, Lake County): 4.2 IP, 12 H, 7 R/ER, 3 BB, 2 K. Morel had a rough outing and Lansing squared him up well all night. He really threw a high amount of fastballs, and whether by design or not, that’s not going to fool many teams.
  • Luis DeJesus (RP, Lake County): 4.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 4 BB, 1 BB. He bobbed and weaved all night allowing 9 baserunners in 4.1 innings, but he got outs when he had to and limited the opposition to one run. Bearing down and pitching better in tight spots is something he needs work on, and this game is a positive step in the right direction.
  • Claudio Bautista (2B, Mahoning Valley): 2-for-4, R, 2B, 2 K. Bautista is an interesting guy and someone who it will be interesting to watch progress next season, likely at Lake County. He has the versatility, an interesting bat, and some athleticism that makes him an intriguing infield prospect.
  • Manuel Boscan (DH, Mahoning Valley): 2-for-4, RBI. Boscan has had limited opportunities this year and considering his subpar performance (.203 AVG, .427 OPS), his chances of sticking in the organization past spring training next season appear very slim.
  • Juan Romero (RF, Mahoning Valley): 2-for-4, R, 2B, K. The Indians sent Romero to Mahoning Valley for a second consecutive season, but the bat has just not developed. Big power bat and arm or not, the lack of much of an approach and any bat-to-ball makes it tough to keep him around next year.
  • Caleb Hamrick (SP, Mahoning Valley): 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR. A solid finish to a successful season at Mahoning Valley for Hamrick. He wraps up the season going 2-6 with a 3.42 ERA in 14 starts and really made some strides this season.
  • Clint Frazier (CF, AZL Indians): 1-for-4, K. Frazier’s pro debut appears to be officially over as the AZL Indians lost this playoff game and it does not appear he will be pushed to Lake County or Mahoning Valley this weekend.
  • Grant Fink (1B, AZL Indians): 0-for-4, K. He took the collar in the game, but learned after the game he would be joining Mahoning Valley for the final few games this season.
  • Shane Rowland (C, AZL Indians): 2-for-4, RBI. Rowland put up the only multi-hit performance on the day. He actually impressed this summer with his advanced approach and defensive skills.
  • Sean Brady (SP, AZL Indians): 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K. The stats don’t get added to his season totals, but it was just another stellar performance by Brady. He went 0-1 with a 1.97 ERA in 10 starts this year not including this game and just shows very good pitch ability at his age. Keep those fingers crossed on this guy.

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

September 1, 2013 - 9:04 AM EDT
Thanks, Tony! Good to hear. Exactly how far has Armstrong's velocity fallen?

Looking forward to the radar report!
September 1, 2013 - 12:04 AM EDT
Armstrong has seen a drop in velocity, but I think some of that is due to the hand injury and recovering from it. Haley has been back up to sitting 94-96 and touching 98 I believe in his last outing. Lots of guys throwing hard down the stretch. Dylan Baker was up to 97 the other night and I believe sitting 93-95. Will Roberts has been up to 95 MPH. And more. I will have a detailed radar report soon.

As for the question about the spike simply is another name for a knuckle curve. It gets its name from the index finger being tucked in on the seam.
August 31, 2013 - 10:18 PM EDT
tony in th it was mentioned that cody allen has so many wild pitches because of a spike curve. What is a spike curve?
August 31, 2013 - 5:44 PM EDT
Tony, are you concerned at all about the drop in velocity with Armstrong, or for that matter a few other arms in the Aeroes bullpen? I know that Haley is also struggling to hit his normal velocity. Admit it concerns me a bit....
August 31, 2013 - 4:52 PM EDT
Hi Ben (or James, or Washtime's Band Wagon since you've changed your name a few times already in your replies).....

I most definitely stand by what I write. Which is why I am replying to the comments today. Trying to offer some substance and understanding behind it all. Although I still have yet to have anyone provide an example of a "negative" comment on Washington which I have been accused of saying many times. Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!
August 31, 2013 - 4:46 PM EDT
I come to this site for the objective analysis and information that Tony and all the rest provide. I may not always agree with it, but I trust that the info he provides is accurate and coming from true insight. Not just some fanboy fawning over a player and telling him what he wants to hear so he retweets his articles or talks to him. The Washington camp needs to quit whining.
August 31, 2013 - 4:42 PM EDT
Phil, your right only one side can have an opinion and those that are not in agreement with that one side should just go away! I bet Tony likes the readers, subscribers, buyers of his books, followers, and Etc. That is not the correct option. If you write.... Stand up for it. If it's not true or not a fact then let the reader community know it is just an opinion.
August 31, 2013 - 4:40 PM EDT
Ben, one quick note on Cooper, is he was pretty certain to be called up.....provided he checked out health-wise (which I noted in the article you mentioned). That was the big question mark, and he did not prove it, so the Indians did not call him up. Had he shown any semblance of health and the ability to drive the ball.....he would have been called up.

Also, it is important to note that what is said/written is never the be all end all. Cripes, this is sports. Things can change quickly. I would never say I am always right. Especially when dealing with ranking prospects, etc. I do have a pretty good pulse though on who is valued and who is not though. I talk to enough people inside and outside the organization to balance the information that I get to get a good representation of what the true industry perception of the player or players really is.
August 31, 2013 - 4:39 PM EDT

If you don't like what Tony writes, don't read. The Indians had every intention of bringing Cooper up to Cleveland. Instead, he struggled in Columbus and Jason Kubel came available and the Indians acquired him instead.

So unless Tony had a time machine or can predict the future, well, then he should probably buy a lottery ticket instead. Jumping on him over an unforeseen situation is a joke, just like these WashTime people who don't realize WashTime is one more injury away from becoming an org. filler.
August 31, 2013 - 4:34 PM EDT
WashTime's Band Wagon:

WashTime played in 49 games in a full season league this year. Please remind me how many games there are in a season? Fact is, his 2013 season, wasn't much of a season at all: he was hurt AGAIN for a MAJORITY of it! Can't say he made a comeback when he was sidelined for a majority of the season again; three years in a row!

If you don't like what Tony writes, stop reading. A majority of those around here, especially myself, really appreciate the job he does, especially since nobody else does it.
August 31, 2013 - 4:34 PM EDT
Tony, I know you guys get defensive on your articles. And I understand you talk to lots of folks in the Indians org for your info. But you writevyour articles as if it was a matter of fact and so sure of your info. For example, you wrote just a few days ago that Cooper would be in Cleveland by weeks end if I remember correctly and yet he isn't and won't be in Cleveland by weeks end. I just wonder if sometimes folks give you info for their purpose and benefit and may not necessarily be the fact. As in Levon is a potential rule but we want the baseball community to think he has no value to our org. Just asking? Just making a point. Sometimes it might just be your or your teams opinion based on what you have witnessed and not neccesarily a fact. Possibly? If that makes sense!
August 31, 2013 - 4:30 PM EDT
Yep, I'm a WashTime hater....yet had him my #2 prospect in the system going into last year. Even had him at #35 this year even after missing all of last season with an injury. Go find another place that was THAT positive in both seasons in ranking him as a prospect. Baseball America, BPro, anywhere.

And again, if someone shows me a comment that is truly negative, I'll be glad to explain in further detail. Also, no one ever said he was not a prospect. He most certainly is. Saying he has lost priority as a prospect is not's just the reality. If he can come back next season, play a full season, and keep performing as great as he did this season at the High-A level, then he will have regained a lot of that lost value/status. And you can bet if he does I will be one of those to point out such magnificent success. But it is important to note while injuries are not his fault, they are also what dooms a great many minor league careers. I have seen it year after year after year. Injuries mean lost development time and also means new players come in and take the mantle as the next big thing. The focus shifts.
WashTime's Band Wagon
August 31, 2013 - 3:39 PM EDT
hello tony why dont u talk more about how #WashTime missed a full season last year and came back and destroyed the baseball all of 2013??. I really think that you are just trying to defend yourself about him not being a prospect. The truth is he out HIT all of your top prospects in 2013. So if you look at his numbers you just make yourself sound ridiculous. Stop using LeVon for your articles and let him play he cant help that he was hurt. im done
August 31, 2013 - 3:27 PM EDT
Tony ibi = #WASHTIME HATER no mater what he does u got negative things to say.
August 31, 2013 - 2:54 PM EDT
What the hell is everybody complaining about??

"LeVon Washington (CF, Lake County): 1-for-5, 2B, 3 RBI, 3 K. There is surely some disappointment that he ended the season in Lake County (which is not a good sign from a prospect perspective), but most importantly he finished healthy and stayed in games."

I'm sorry...but I see that comment as more positive than negative. If you have read this site with any regularity over the last 2-3 years, you know that just about every writer on this site recognizes Washington's talent level, and that the key for him is staying on the field. Talk about over-reacting to a quasi-negative comment meant to give an objective analysis....
August 31, 2013 - 2:01 PM EDT
Jean, I appreciate the comment. Here's the thing though, I fail to see where any of what is written is negative. I understand as family or friends, people can be hypersensitive to how things are written about about such and such player. But is saying what was written really negative? Would you like me to say he is a priority prospect when it would be a lie? Again, just being objective and providing the information.

Look, I spent close to three hours the past two days interviewing people with the Indians both on and off the record. I talked to Edwin Rodriguez, Jim Rickon, and Gregg Hibbard for a half hour each on Thursday. Talked to Brad Grant for 10 minutes on Thursday. I talked to Scooter Tucker, Steve Karsay, and Tony Mansolino for several minutes on Friday. I talked to Ruben Niebla for 45 minutes on Friday! I have talked to John Mirabelli this week. I have talked to Carter Hawkins, Ross Atkins, and many others numerous times throughout the season for 25-30 minutes a pop each time. You learn things in those talks, whether blatantly said or said between the lines. I know I learned a ton from Niebla on some pitchers that I thought might have been valued more and some I thought were not valued as much. When I provide these comments, a lot of times it is not just my comes from what is learned in discussions with numerous Indians personnel and also people outside the organization as well. I'm not here to be a cheerleader.....I'm trying to provide honest and unbiased insightful commentary on players throughout the organization. I understand that sometimes it can be hard to hear a player is not valued as much as others, but again, that is the reality as there are only so many spots they can prioritize, especially as they move up the minor league ladder where it becomes harder and harder to find a spot for a player.

If you feel I have been unfair about Washington, or any player for that matter, please let me know what comment is unfair and I would love to explain further (or apologize if it was indeed incorrect/wrong). But saying a guy like Jordan Smith or Chun Chen are not valued as much because they lack power at a corner position.....or Jake Lowery is not valued as much as the other catcher because of concerns with his defense.....or that Washington's injury concerns are a big issue (they really are) because he has to prove he can stay on the field....or Trey Haley won't be a legit ML option until he can more consistently get the ball in the zone....and so on.....none of that is negative. It is pointing out their limitations and ultimately what they need to improve to get to the big leagues - which is the ultimate goal. Honking and hollering that Haley throws 100 MPH or Washington has impressive tools or that Jordan Smith is a hell of a hitter and so on only go so have to explain what ultimately what may be (or is) holding them back as a prospect and what potential roadblocks lie ahead. Which is why you have to be objective when writing about these guys and not just say everything the player, their families, and even the organization wants to hear. The fans deserve a fair, unbaised, and truthful representation of the information, while at the same time constructively criticizing players when appropriate. I'll never rip a prospect....I have too much respect for them to ever do that. And while I am sure a few don't like it when I am honest about things, I know a great many respect that I am honest about it. Been told by players several times that very thing, and many family members over the years.

Sorry for the longwinded reply!
Common Cents
August 31, 2013 - 12:30 PM EDT
Yes, talking negative about WASHTIME will just bring in the folks to read. Just to get this out there...talking about Washtime does nothing, positive or negative for any site. He's just another guy, who has to earn his way back to prospect status. To Jean and anonymous, which was likely Jean...he's playing in lake county...again. He didnt get moved up. Is he talented? Yes. Is he done? No. Does he have a long way to go? Yes...

So get over it.

He's not even newsworthy.
August 31, 2013 - 12:06 PM EDT
I think you use WashTime always in a negative way to draw attention to your articles and Guess what it works! Have something positive to say about a kid who is working hard and has continued to have consistent hits.
August 31, 2013 - 10:56 AM EDT
I wouldn't pay that comment any attention Tony. Given Levon's prospect status and overall ability, it was definitely another discouraging year. 4 years of pro ball and only 4 games above low-a is not a good indication for the club's long-term plans.

With that being said, I believe the club is looking for a strong and injury free showing in instructs to give him a chance to compete at a more advanced level next year.
August 31, 2013 - 9:58 AM EDT
How was what was written negative? Being objective is not being negative. He had a great season which I am glad he did because I like him a lot. But by the same token, the reality is he has not been pushed to Carolina this year, even with the good performance and coming back healthy. That's a clear sign of lower prospect priority in the organization.

Look, the commentary on players is to be objective and "real". I could go on and on about how so and so had a great year because of the stats and this and that, but that would just be to tell the player what they want to hear. But having done this for a long time and also talking to so many people this year, there are things you pick up within the game and you try to relay that so readers get a better understanding why so and so is not called up, why they are undervalued/overvalued, etc. Sometimes that may come across as being a homer or overly critical, but that is not the intent at all.
August 31, 2013 - 9:51 AM EDT
Tony- you are always so NEGATIVE about Washtime. Let him be.
August 31, 2013 - 8:23 AM EDT
Anyone that thinks RBI's are not an important stat hasn't been watching the Tribe lately

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