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Around the Farm: August 7, 2012

Around the Farm: August 7, 2012
August 8, 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.

Juan Diaz: SS, Akron Aeros: 2-for-4, 1 R, 2 2B, 2 K:

Diaz joined Tyler Holt as the only Aeros’ player with multiple hits, but one-upped his teammate with two doubles. Since June 18th, Diaz has been on a resurgence, and may actually have played himself into contention for a serious major league look in the future. Since June 18th, Diaz has raised his average from .225 to its current state of .264. He’s done it with a .300/.346/.518 line during that 45 game stretch, with 30 runs, 15 doubles, two triples, six homers and 31 RBI. I daresay that he’s developing a bit of a power bat at a position in which it’s a commodity. If he can continue his play over the next year, he could provide the Indians with a bridge from Cabrera to his ultimate successor, Francisco Lindor.

Giovanny Urshela: 3B, Carolina Mudcats: 3-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K:

Urshela is a guy that has some of the scouts attending games taking notice. Since July 9th, Urshela is hitting .400, or even knocking the ball out of the park with consistency, and while he still strikes out too much, without walking enough, his swing continues to get shorter. This is still a process for the young third baseman, but when he’s on with the swing, he tears the cover off the ball. He’s 5-for-9 in his last two games, and has three three-hit games, and a two hit game in his last eight. He’s hitting .364 during that stretch, with two doubles, a homer and four RBI.

Leonardo Castillo: 1B, Lake County Captains: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI:

So, let’s get this out of the way. Castillo is only hitting .207 on the year, and there really hasn’t been a stretch of baseball in which Castillo has ripped the baseball with consistency. With that said, he has thrown in games like this, and enough of them to make me think that there could be something to this kid in the form of a power-hitting, right-handed, corner infielder. He’s only 19-years old, and barely so, as he just turned 19 in early July. He’s got a nice frame, and is showing enough development with his offense (.186 pre break/.244 post break) that while he isn’t a premiere prospect, he could be someone that turns into something more as he progresses through the system.

  • Jason Donald: SS, Columbus: 3-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K: Donald is hitting .341 over his past 21 games as part of a hot contingent of Clippers’ hitters. He has 19 runs, 10 doubles and four homers over that stretch, and seems to be a likely call-up in the weeks to come.
  • Vinny Rottino: LF, Columbus: 2-for-5, 2 2B: Rottino’s struggled over the past couple of weeks, going 3-for-26 since July 28th, dating back to the week prior to his brief stint with the Indians.
  • Eric Berger: SP, Columbus: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 2 K: Does this guy remember anything? He got blown up to the tune of seven runs on August 2nd, then bounced back with this start. He’s never going to be a long-term, major league product, but here’s hoping he gets a shot, perhaps in a September call-up.
  • Scott Barnes: SP, Columbus: W (1-3), 1 2/3 IP, 1 K: I’m curious to see if the Indians really put him back in the rotation next season, or if they plan on having the lefty take over a bullpen role going forward. He’s pitching his best baseball of the year right now. Since July 24th, he’s made six appearances, going 8 1/3 innings and walking four, while striking out 13. He may be ready to take over a lefty bullpen role full time next season, should they choose to go a cheaper route than Tony Sipp or Rafael Perez.
  • J.C. Romero: Closer, Columbus: S (3), 1 IP, 1 K: It’s funny that they brought up Herrmann with Romero sitting in Columbus counting down his days until August 15th. I wonder if the Indians won’t be calling him up at some point.
  • Akron Aeros offense: 4-for-30, 1 R, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 7 K’s: The offense was stagnant last night, not helping out Giovanni Soto and a stout bullpen at all. As a matter of fact, only two players had hits on Tuesday night.
  • Tyler Holt: CF, Akron: 2-for-3, 1 BB, 1 K: For Holt, you have to wonder if he’s thinking, “Be careful what you wish for.” Holt finally got called up in July, and just hasn’t been able to find his bat…until recently. Since July 27th, Holt is hitting .353 in 10 games, Holt has a nice line of .353/.410/.353. It’s good to see him playing well, but he’s going to need to start getting around the bases more, or he’ll get lost in the shuffle.
  • Giovanni Soto: SP, Akron: L (6-9), 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R/ER, 5 BB, 3 K, 1 HR: Soto didn’t have his A-Game on Tuesday night, continuing to frustrate the Indians with a host of back-and-forth starts. On July 6th, he gave up four earned in 6 1/3. On July 15th, he threw a no-hitter. On July 20th, he followed that up with two earned in five innings for two solid outings in a row. On July 25th, he gave up six runs in four innings. On July 31st, he didn’t give up an earned run in seven innings. Then followed that up with last night’s start. If he had a bit more velocity, we’d be talking about a top ten guy in the system.
  • Trey Haley: RP, Akron: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 K: Haley’s made his Eastern League debut a success, with two fairly dominant innings. Haley would be a major factor right now in Columbus if injury wouldn’t have curtailed his development. Like Bryce Stowell, he has a dominant arm, but needs to showcase consistency and health from here on out over the next season to make that final push.
  • Kyle Landis: RP, Akron: 2 IP, 1 H, 3 K: Over his last three games, Landis has gone 4 1/3 innings, with two hits and 5 K’s.
  • Preston Guilmet: Closer, Akron: 1 IP, 1 K: Guilmet has gotten rocked since July 22nt, giving up five runs in 4 1/3 innings. Even with that, he’s got a solid 2.61 ERA. Still, for Guilmet to make the final push next season while in Columbus, he’ll have to be near perfect.
  • Tony Wolters: 2B, Carolina: 2-for-5, 1 R, 2 K, 1 E: Wolters is really starting to shred at the plate, and has a current three-game multi-hit streak, and a five game streak overall. It goes much deeper than that though. Since June 23rd, Wolters has led the Mudcats in hitting, with a .327 average that has the middle-infielder batting .270 on the season for the first time all year. In those past 39 games, Wolters has nine doubles, three triples, three homers and 20 RBI. He has an .855 OPS, and nearly all of it coming out of the lead-off spot. Wolters has phenomenal ability, and he could be a late call-up to Akron, should the Aeros make a push through the playoffs.
  • Ronny Rodriguez: SS, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI:  Rodriguez launched his 13th homer on the season, and drove in his 53rd, 54th and 55th runs on the year. He also scored his 55th run, and all represent career highs for the middle infielder. His slugging is actually DOWN from last season, going from .449 to .439 so far, so there’s room for his power numbers to get even better.
  • Mike Rayl: SP, Carolina: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R/1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR: Rayl’s had a topsy-turvy season, but since June 28th, is 4-1 with a 3.19 ERA in eight starts. He’s a crafty pitcher, who only has 24 K’s in that 48 innings stretch, with 17 walks. It will be interesting to see if he can translate his stuff into the upper levels, because he really has the ability to be an innings eater if he can continue to get outs, and stay consistent.
  • Jeff Johnson: RP, Carolina: 2 IP, 1 BB, 2 K: Johnson had his first relatively dominant outing for the Muddies, but has looked solid in his two appearances, going four innings, and giving up three hits, an earned run and a walk.
  • Jake Lowery: C, Lake County: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K:  This is going to be Lowery’s bread-and-butter going forward. He’s a power hitter, and he needs to own that. The Indians didn’t draft him to hit .400, they drafted him to put the ball into the cheap seats. Well, he’s put five of them in the cheap seats in his past nine ballgames. While he’s only hitting .217 in Lake County, he’s definitively reacquired his power stroke.
  • Luigi Rodriguez: CF, Lake County: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 SB: The 19-year-old is on an uptick right now, going 5-for-14 over his last three games, with a run, two doubles, an RBI, a walk, five K’s and a stolen base. He has to gain control of those K’s though as he develops, but has a long way to go to figure it all out.
  • Elvis Araujo: SP, Lake County: 6 IP, 7 H, 5 R/ER, 3 BB, 6K: Araujo has really struggled since June, and while I wouldn’t say his stock is crashing, you do have to wonder if this kid is a legit prospect going forward. How bad has it been? Since June 3rd, Araujo has the worst ERA in the Midwest League, and is 3-5 during that stretch, with a 7.21 ERA. He’s almost a run worst than the next closest guy in the league since then. Not good at all.
  • Joseph Wendle: 2B, Mahoning Valley: 3-for-4, 1 3B, 2 RBI: Alright, I’m rooting for this kid at this point. He’s a college senior, so he’s at an advanced age sitting here in Mahoning, but boy, you have to like the numbers so far. He’s hitting .336, which is good for second in the New York/Penn League right now. He’s not a guy that the Indians expect will continue to hit the ball like this going forward, but he’s firmly on the ATF radar as a guy that could become valuable in a system deep with middle infielders.
  • Mahoning Valley Offense (not named Wendle): 3-for-26, 2 R, 11 K’s, 1 BB: Robel Garcia did get a hit, which is noteworthy only because he’s really starting to show off the form that had folks talking about him being a moderate prospect last season. He’s only hitting .246 in Mahoning, but is hitting .321 in his last ten, and with some impactful at bats.
  • Jake Sisco: SP, Mahoning Valley: L (1-3), 6 IP, 4 H, 5 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 K: Sisco has scuffled since July 21st, and after two rock-solid starts. He’s made four starts since then, going 1-2 with a 6.65 ERA. In 21 2/3 innings pitched, he’s given up 16 ER and 25 hits during that stretch, and his ERA is the third worst in the league during that stretch.

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

August 8, 2012 - 1:54 PM EDT
Lovin the Urshela comments.

Not so excited about the Soto comments. We have a handful of guys who have talent, but none of them have been able to put together quality performances on a consistent basis. Id love to see any of Soto, McFarland, House, and Packer be able to put a string of 10 starts together without giving up more than 4 runs. I just want a picture who can give his team a chance to win every single time out. That is what a good BOR pitcher in the Majors does, but Im afraid to label any of these guys potential rotation guys until they can get consistent. Im really hoping Packer settles in and gives himself a chance of cracking next years rotation.
August 8, 2012 - 9:44 AM EDT
Naquin has a lower back strain. Don't know the severity of it, but not expected to be bad. This is per my Mahoning Valley beat guy Matt Miller.
August 8, 2012 - 9:36 AM EDT
He is attending Trevor Crowe's hitting seminar. I think its called Scrappy White Overdrafts. They'll discuss how to hit .270 with absolutely no power.
August 8, 2012 - 7:40 AM EDT
No Naquin for awhile now. Do we know why?

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