Around the Farm: August 31, 2013
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.
Matt Packer: SP, Akron Aeros: W (12-9), 6 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 3 K:
This wasn’t Packer’s best outing of the season, but it really does sum up how far he’s come since his struggles began after his breakout year in 2010. Packer has been healthy this year, and while he’s struggled to a 6.18 ERA in August after a dominant showing in May, June and July, the numbers have been a bit misleading of late. Over his past three starts, Packer has two games in which he’s gone 13 total innings, giving up only nine hits and an unearned run over that stretch. Now he has walked six during that stretch, against eight K’s, but walks truly haven’t been an issue for the lefty. Packer has really played himself back into the mix for the Aeros and the Indians, and I can really see him as an asset as a potential fifth starter or left-handed reliever in the future if he can stay healthy and build off of this season.
Jordan Smith: RF, Carolina Mudcats: 3-for-4, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K:
Smith had hit .300 or better in his first two seasons as a big league player, in both Mahoning Valley (.300), and in Lake County (.316). His year in Carolina has been an interesting one. He struggled in April to a .233 average, but had seen an uptick every month since, until hitting .267 in July (.280 in May, and .297 in June). Well, he’s found his stroke in August, hitting .369 for the month. Now, the knock on Smith is his power. With his 6’4” frame, you’d hope he’d develop a bit more power than the five homers he’s hit this season, but he does possess some decent speed, and if he can ever showcase 20 homer power, he could be an interesting follow. Will he hit .300 this season? He’s sitting at .292 right now, and time has run out. But his bat is a good one, and it will be interesting to see how it continues to develop in another pitcher’s league with Akron next year.
- Matt LaPorta: 1B, Columbus: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K: LaPorta has never panned out as the power hitting prospect the Indians have so desperately needed. He hit his ninth home run of the season with Columbus, in what could be his last in the organization.
- Jeremy Hermida: DH, Columbus: 2-for-4, 1 2B: Hermida has had a solid season as Triple A fill, coming in with 17 homers and a .788 OPS. He also has four two-hit ballgames in the past eight.
- Kelly Shoppach: C, Columbus: 1-for-3, 1 K: The former Indians catcher played in his first game with the organization since 2009. It will be a short visit to Columbus though, as he’s already been called up to the big league club, or at least will be on Sunday.
- Paolo Espino: SP, Columbus: L (4-6), 6 IP, 4 R/ER, 9 K, 1 HR: Espino has been outstanding since his return to Columbus on August 9th. He’s gone 3-2 in five starts, with a 2.79 ERA in 29 innings, with 38 K’s and only three walks. This was his worst start of the bunch.
- Preston Guilmet: RP, Columbus: 1 IP: Guilmet hasn’t given up a run since July 28th, and hadn’t given up another before that since June 25th. Now, there were some call-ups in the midst of that, but you are seeing the type of pitcher he is. Like Shoppach, Guilmet will be showing up in Cleveland on Sunday. His days in Triple A are numbered.
- Tyler Naquin: CF, Akron: 1-for-5, 2 K: Naquin has flat-out struggled in Akron, and is hitting only .217. It’s not exactly what you want to see from a former #1 pick. He does have a three-game hit streak, so there’s that.
- Tyler Holt: LF, Akron: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 BB: Holt has had his best season in the organization, and while he doesn’t seem to be the type of prospect that is a guaranteed a spot in the big leagues, you can’t out a guy that’s as scrappy as he is. He keeps getting better, so it will be interesting to see if his upside is Triple A, a fourth outfielder spot, or more…
- Carlos Moncrief: RF, Akron: 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI: Moncrief blasted his 17th homer of the season. He had a stretch of games in which he went 0-for-9 this week, but has rebounded by going 3-for-8. Prior to this season, Moncrief had never hit more than .249, so it was quite the breakout year for the multi-skilled outfielder. If he continues to progress, 2014 should be a big year.
- Adam Abraham: DH, Akron: 1-for-2, 3 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB: I understand Abraham’s limitations. He hit his first Double A homer this year, and really isn’t much more than a .250 hitter. But, he understands the game, and has a high baseball IQ. When it’s going good, he can drive in some runs, can score, and is an asset to a minor league system. He is one of the hardest workers the Indians have.
- Ronnie Rodriguez: SS, Akron: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI: Rodriguez has seen a monumental drop-off in his power numbers this season. Since July 1st, RRod has only hit .217, and hasn’t homered since May 31, a stretch of 63 ballgames. He has five on the year, after hitting 19 last season.
- Kyle Crockett: 1 IP, 1 BB, 2 K: The year of Crockett continues. Crockett pitched in his ninth game with the Aeros, and still hasn’t given up a run in 10 1/3 innings. He’s given up seven hits and two walks, while striking out nine. His ERA in 21 games this season is 0.36, and no, that’s not a typo. Do you think the Indians have a need on the left-hand side of the hill.
- Austin Adams: RP, Akron: 1 IP, 2 K: Adams ERA since June 1st is 2.02, and he’s struck out 46 in 35 2/3 innings. He’s not as valuable to the Indians with regards to prospect rankings as a reliever as opposed to a starter, but he certainly has found a niche in the system as a power armed potential back-end reliever. Nice comeback in 2013 for Adams.
- Joe Wendle: 2B, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K: Wendle blasted his 16th homer on the season for the Mudcats, and while he’s seen a bit of dropoff with regard to his average in August, he’s still hit 4 homers. Now, if he could just hit lefties.
- Cole Cook: SP, Carolina: 7 IP, 5 H, 3 R/ER, 4 K: Cook deserved more than a no decision. The rubber-armed reliever/starter pitched in his longest outing of the season since becoming a regular starter for the Mudcats, but didn’t get a win, as the Mudcats blew another game late.
- Eric Haase: C, Lake County: 3-for-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI: Haase roped his 22nd double of the season, and now has a four-game hitting streak, and back-to-back three-hit ballgames. Over his past eight games, he’s had a four-hit game as well. Remember, this kid is 20-years old, and while he’ll have months like July, in which he hit only .185, he’ll also have months like August, in which he’ll hit .318. If he can hit righties better, and become more consistent, he could break out.
- Nick Hamilton: LF, Lake County: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI: Hamilton hit his first home run of the season, and the first of his entire professional career. Props to my fellow Avon Lake native.
- Luis Lugo: SP, Lake County: L (0-1), 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R/3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR: Lugo is an interesting lefty arm in the system, but the 19-year old has struggled in his last two Low A starts after getting called up on August 20th. It’s nothing to be too alarmed about though, as there is still a long time for this kid to develop.
- Mahoning Valley Offense: 4-for-30, 2 2B, 4 BB, 11 K: The numbers say it all. They DID hit two doubles, and one of those doubles was by the rebounding Nellie Rodriguez. The other was from Grant Fink, who had two of the Scrappers four total hits. Just not good.
- Matt Whitehouse: SP, Mahoning Valley: L (4-2), 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 2 K: Whithouse has been really good as a reliever for the Indians, and while he’s starting now, he’s only making three and four-innings appearances. His ERA during his 14-game stint in only 0.72, so there’s another lefty of interest for the Indians going forward.
- Michael Goodnight: RP, Mahoning Valley: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 3 K: This certainly isn’t how Goodnight wanted his season to end. He started the year off looking to make a spot for himself in the Mudcats bullpen. That didn’t pan out. Now he finds himself in Mahoning Valley, trying to find his way. That’s not where you want to find yourself as a 24-year old.
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 email@example.com.
Matt, I agree, that Akron pen was impressive. Johnson, Tejeda and Crockett have jumped onto the ML pen radar. Flores is interesting but he is a free agent to be, and Stowell is a guy that has had a lot of success at the Double-A level. It will be interesting to see how Stowell is handled next year since there are so many pen options at Columbus/Akron.....a chance he could repeat at Akron yet again.
The Aeros are fortunate to have five bullpen guys with FIP's below 3.00. That is outstanding
Jeff Johnson WHIP-0.78 FIP-2.42
Enosil Tejada WHIP-0.86 FIP-2.80
Kyle Crockett WHIP-0.87 FIP-2.04
Bryce Stowel WHIP-1.22 FIP-2.64
Jose Flores WHIP-1.24 FIP-2.13
These numbers can only come from strike-throwers--that don't give up many walks. That is what you need from a reliever
Keep up the great work.
There are many players I'd like to see succeed and max out their potential in our system, but knowing that Moncrief's potential is that of a five tool player is too exciting to ignore. Would love to see him continue his progression next year at Columbus and hopefully fill that void in right field for years to come.
People have recently been complaining about Tony's and some of the other writers take on our players, but the IBI has been praising Moncrief's skill set the previous two seasons even when he was struggling. If you have been reading this site for the last couple years, this breakout season for Moncrief should of came as no surprise. The IBI hit a home run on this one and hopeful it comes to full fruition within the next few years.