Around the Farm: August 20
(photo: Lake County
Ronny Rodriguez: SS, Lake County: 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 K:
What more does Ronny Rodriguez have to do to get on everyone's radar? Last night, the 19-year-old shortstop belted his ninth and tenth homers, and drove in four runs, and clearly is having his breakout season in the organization. He was a free-agent signee in 2010, and while he's only hitting .254 overall, with a .282 OBP, he's simply raking over his past ten games, with a .351/.429/.703 line. His fielding leaves something to be desired, but like Jason Kipnis before him, he has a solid work ethic, and the Indians' front office believe that he has the raw skills to be an above average defender. Rodriquez will likely start the year off with the High A Carolina Mudcats next season, and may be about to launch his way into the top prospect ratings going forward. With Luigi Rodriguez, the Tribe scouts are clearly doing their job in the Caribbean.
Karexon Sanchez: 2B, Akron: 3-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K:
Sanchez really is a curious player. He's never hit better than .282, and this year, is only hitting .215 on the season. Still, there's a lot to like about this kid, not the least of which is the fact that he can literally play every position on the diamond, and can do it all fairly well. He also can steal a base for you, and until this season, had an OBP over .360. Akron has really bitten him, but he still is throwing up these big games every week or so to remind the Indians of why he's a likely uber-utility guy in the majors at some point in his career. He'll never be a major cog to any offense, but if he regains any of his footing in the next year, you could see him in a bit role on a club fighting for the playoffs.
- Chad Huffman: RF, Columbus: 2-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K: Huffman continues to be the old wily vet on this Triple A team that now finds itself depleted of its best ballplayers. Last night, he broke out of an 1-18 slump with a solid two hit effort. Even with the slump, he's hitting .324 over his last ten.
- Jerad Head: LF, Columbus: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 K: You have to wonder if Jerad Head is thinking about calling it a career. With the Indians needing offensive, right-handed, outfield help all year, Head never received a call-up. No, he's likely not a long-term solution, but here's a guy who's hitting .284, with 23 homers and 69 RBI. On many, many other teams, he'd have had his cup of coffee by now. Apparently the Indians are to loaded with better, power-hitting, right-handed options (yeah...sarcasm).
- Argenis Reyes: SS, Columbus: 2-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI: Reyes has played a solid second base since being called up at the beginning of August. He's not a major player in the middle infield race, but a good filler for the Triple A club. He made his fourth error in ten games of Triple A play, so I doubt he'll be defensive glue any time soon.
- Joe Martinez: SP, Columbus: L (8-7), 5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 4 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR: Martinez continued his off-balance season with another middling outing. He can't seem to put two good games together, as he was coming off a six-inning, shutout performance on August 15th.
- Chen Lee: RP, Columbus: 2/3 IP, 3 H, 4 R/ER, 1 HR, 3 BB: Lee has shown off some chinks in his armor over since the end of July, with three horrible performance over his last seven appearances. He's one of the top four bullpen arms in the system, so it will just be a matter of watching how he rebounds heading into the Triple A playoffs, winter ball, and next season.
- Eric Berger: RP, Columbus: 2 1/3 IP, 4 H, 7 R/0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K: Well, the mustache may need a shave after his last five outings, including last night. After getting out of a Chen Lee-built bout of trouble in the sixth inning, and striking out two-of-three in the seventh for a 1-2-3 innings, he gave up seven unearned runs in the eighth. A lead-off single, followed by a fielder's choice and an error, followed by another single (loading the bases), followed by an infield fly, followed by a hit batter, followed by a strikeout, followed by a walk, followed by another single, followed by a double, followed by being replaced by Matt Langwell replacing him, and another double by Langwell, and you have seven unearned runs. Throw in the fact that he'd given up ten earned runs in his previous four appearances over 3 2/3 innings, and you have a pitcher under a bit of trouble.
- Jordan Henry: CF, Akron: 3-4, 1 BB, 1 K: Henry usually puts a few more of these on the board in a more consistent manner, but this just hasn't been the year for the fleet-footed outfielder. He still walks as much as he strikes out (66 BB/70 K), but hasn't been the essential cog of the offensive as he has been at the lower levels of the system.
- Juan Diaz: SS, Akron: 2-4, 1 BB, 1 K: Diaz has been on the verge of a break-out offensive year all season, but like Henry, just hasn't found any sort of consistency. He is currently on a five-game hit streak (7-20), but has only scored once, and driven in one during the streak.
- Chun Chen: C, Akron: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: Chen belted his career-high 14th homer, a sixth inning, three-run blast that gave the Aeros a temporary 6-5 lead.
- Kyle Bellows: 3B, Akron: 2-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 K, SB (6): Bellows has middled along at Akron all season long. Certainly the Indians were hoping for a bit more games like last night from their 2009 fourth-rounder.
- Chuck Lofgren: SP, Richmond: 4 IP, 7 H, 2 R/ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HR: The Indians faced off against their old farmhand and top prospect, Chuck Lofgren last night. He has had a solid, if not spectacular season, going 4-2 with a 4.14 in three minor league stops. It's hard to believe he's only 25-years-old.
- Adam Miller: RP, Akron: L (1-4): 2/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R/2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K: Miller's season has continued to go downhill, but you have to think that stamina is an issue, as well as his struggle to find a common release point. He was coming off of three straight solid appearances, but this one raised his Akron ERA to 6.27.
- Bryan Price: RP, Akron: 2 1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 K: And out of the ashes, comes one Bryan Price. If you remember, Price was a highly thought-of reliever that came over in the VMart deal, but hasn't really lived up to any expectations. He's quietly putting together a solid season. Starting in August, the big righty has yet to give up a run in five appearances totaling 7 2/3 innings. During that stretch, he's given up only three hits and a walk, while striking out three batters. He's dropped his ERA to 3.07.
- Adam Abraham: 3B, Kinston: 2 2B, 1 K: So, Abraham has his second straight two-hit performance, and his second straight two-double performance. This is exactly what I'm talking about with this kid. He puts together stretches where he looks like a sure-fire major-leaguer. Unfortunately, he goes through these fugues in which he can't hit a lick. I still think he can break-out, but he better do it quickly with a crop of big-time prospects sitting in Mahoning Valley.
- Mike Rayl: SP, Kinston: L (1-2), 5 IP, 8 H, 6 R/ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2 HR: Rayl blew out of the gates at Lake County like he was going to shred the system, but he just hasn't been able to maintain it since. He was coming off his best K-Tribe performance, with five innings of four-hit, 11 K, shut-out ball, but follows up with another lackluster start. There's a lot of promise though, for the big, 6'5" lefty.
- Preston Guilmet: Closer, Kinston: 1 IP: Guilmet was just getting some work in last night, but did what he always does...shut the door. In my humble opinion, Guilmet is the Indians organizational pitcher of the year. Talk about a lock-down reliever.
- Luigi Rodriguez: CF, Lake County: 3-5, 1 R, 1 K: Rodriguez is clearly a top-ten prospect in the organization, and is easily going to pass LeVon Washington in the ratings. They aren't even in the same league, even though they are on the same team. Of course, both will improve in the coming years. It should be an interesting race to watch.
- Felix Sterling: SP, Lake County: 5 IP, 3 H, 3 R/ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HR: Sterling has had a couple of rough outings in a row, but still has had a solid Low A debut, going 28 1/3 innings, giving up 15 earned runs, 24 hits and 20 walks, while striking out 23. He needs to regain the control he showed in Arizona (8 BB against 31 K's), to really start moving through the organization. Of course, the kid is all of 18-years old.
- Bryson Myles: RF, Mahoning Valley: 2-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K: Myles got his average over .300 with another two-hit performance last night. He is 6-for-14 on his current four-game hit streak, and is slowly making a case for that top prospect slot, especially with Kipnis, Chisenhall, White and Pomeranz off the list. I really think this kid could be a quick-mover, even with raw ability.
- Jake Lowery: DH, Mahoning Valley: 2-5, 1 R, 2 RBI: Next year will be an interesting one for Lowery. Will he make a big move, or plateau? He's got a big league bat, so I believe he'll make a big move next season.
- Jordan Smith: 3B, Mahoning Valley: 0-3, 1 RBI: It's not time to call the hit doctors or anything like that, because Smith is still hitting an insane .332 on the season. Still, he's gone back-to-back games without a hit, which isn't something that's happened often this year.
- Will Roberts: SP, Mahoning Valley: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R/2 ER, 2 K: The Indians fifth-rounder is really showing off some stuff. While last night wasn't perfect, he continues to be effective in his first season of professional baseball.
- Drew Pomeranz: SP, Tulsa: Pomeranz didn't pitch last night for Colorado's Double A affiliate, but he did head to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy which will end his season prematurely. He'll certainly be back and better than ever for the Rockies, but it just goes to show you that you just never know what's going to happen with those minor league starters. Remember, Pomeranz retired his first 19 batters for Tulsa last week. Now, time to regroup for next season.
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.