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Around The Farm: August 8, 2013

Matsuzaka's rebound, Myles' hit streak highlight night on the farm

Around The Farm: August 8, 2013
August 9, 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.

Note that Mahoning Valley was rained out.

Daisuke Matsuzaka (SP, Columbus): W (5-6), 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1 WP

It would appear that while we all moved past Matsuzaka after his early season troubles the right-hander  has truly started to put things back together. Since missing around six weeks and returning on June 11, Matsuzaka owns a 62:17 SO:BB, 3.51 ERA, and 3.90 FIP in 71.2 innings. The nine home runs allowed in that time are holding Matsuzaka back -- and could indicate the right-hander's stuff taking a step back -- but Columbus does play in a hitter-friendly park. It is possible that some of his home run trouble will regress, leaving Matsuzaka with some pretty strong peripherals. He is not someone who I want to see in Cleveland over the final two months of the season, though a callup now would not necessarily spell doom and gloom like it would have back in April.

Bryson Myles (LF, Carolina): 3-for-5, 1 R, 1 SO, 1 SB

Myles' hit streak has now reached 20 games -- tied for the longest in Mudcats' history -- and the outfielder has improved his season line to .295/.354/.461 with 15 doubles, two triples, seven home runs, and 11 steals. If it were not for the fact that Myles turns 24 years old in September, all of this would be the signs of a player turning into a Top 10 prospect, but that age factor does matter. Injuries have slowed Myles' development over the past three years and continue to cloud his future. Myles has only played in 66 games after missing six weeks earlier in the season and it is hard to justify a promotion to Double-A with that few games at the High-A level. While I love Myles' power-speed combination and what he is doing in 2013, he really needs to stay healthy, make up for lost time in the offseason, and hit the ground running (possibly in Akron) in 2014.

  • Vinnie Pestano (RP, Columbus): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO. Four appearances, four clean outings for Pestano. The right-hander seems to be figuring some things out in Triple-A.
  • Chun-Hsiu Chen (1B, Columbus): 1-for-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO. With home runs on back-to-back nights, Chen appears to be putting his earlier struggles behind him as he tries to finish strong.
  • Jeremy Hermida (DH, Columbus): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 SO. Now with 16 home runs, 75 walks, and 129 strikeouts on the year after Thursday's performance, Hermida seems to just love the three true outcomes.
  • Juan Diaz (SS, Columbus): 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 SO. This is what happens when Diaz is on, but as evidenced by his .671 OPS, the shortstop just cannot reach this level consistently.
  • Will Roberts (SP, Akron): L (7-9), 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO. Roberts rebounded extremely well from a rough first inning by only allowing two baserunners over his final six innings. The right-hander now has a 4.06 ERA and 4.03 FIP in 113.0 Double-A innings.
  • Austin Adams (RP, Akron): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO. With a 61:22 SO:BB in 43.1 innings, Adams is undoubtedly ready for the challenge of Triple-A whenever the logjam of right-handed relievers ahead of him starts to clear out.
  • Trey Haley (RP, Akron): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO. In Haley's last 16.1 innings, the right-hander owns a 13:8 SO:BB and 3.45 FIP. It is not enough to erase his awful 30:29 SO:BB in 33.1 innings on the season, but at least Haley is moving in the right direction.
  • Ronny Rodriguez (2B, Akron): 2-for-4, 1 2B. The two hits are nice as Rodriguez tries to get back to where he was prior to his hamstring issues, but he ran himself into an out trying to stretch his single into a double. Those things come back to bite you in a 1-0 loss.
  • Jesus Aguilar (1B, Akron): 0-for-3, 1 SO. From a statistical standpoint I believe that Aguilar is ready for a callup to Columbus. Following another ejection for arguing balls and strikes, I am not convinced that Aguilar is mentally ready for such a callup just yet.
  • Tyler Naquin (CF, Carolina): 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 SO. Naquin has fallen back toward Earth of late as he is down to a .279/.347/.423 line on the season, though it is possible that the outfielder is wearing down under the grind of his first full professional season.
  • Jordan Smith (RF, Carolina): 3-for-5, 2 R, 1 RBI. Smith continues to swing the bat well (.350 OBP), though his .087 ISO keeps us wondering if the power will ever develop.
  • Robert Whitenack (SP, Carolina): ND, 5.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 HBP. Considering how wild Whitenack has been in 2013 (31 walks, 17 wild pitches in 65.0 innings between Akron, Carolina, and Mahoning Valley), Thursday night actually went pretty well for the right-hander.
  • Louis Head (RP, Carolina): W (2-1), 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO. This was a nice little five-up, five-down outing for Head as the right-hander pushed his SO:BB to 25:3 in 24.1 Carolina innings.
  • Felix Sterling (SP, Lake County): ND, 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR. This was only Sterling's second start of the season and his first outing of more than three innings. So far, so good on the Sterling to the rotation experiment.
  • Luis DeJesus (RP, Lake County): W (5-11), 2.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO. Conversely, this is DeJesus' second time piggybacking off of Sterling since DeJesus moved to the bullpen. The results for DeJesus have been mixed, as the right-hander has a 1.43 ERA but a 4:3 SO:BB in 6.1 innings.
  • Grant Sides (RP, Lake County): S (5), 1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO. Now with 21 strikeouts and eight walks in 15.2 Lake County innings, it is probably about time to see if Sides can erase his issues at Carolina from earlier in the year (6.92 ERA, 31 walks in 37.2 innings).
  • Eric Haase (DH, Lake County): 0-for-2, 1 R, 3 BB. The Lake County offense only managed three singles Thursday night (though it was enough for three runs and the win), but the Captains had 10 walks, led by Haase's three. More nights like this will pump Haase's .306 on-base percentage toward a more respectable rate.
  • Zack MacPhee (2B-SS, Lake County): 0-for-2, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SO. MacPhee continued the walking theme with two of his own. The switch-hitter has nine in his first 16 games with Lake County.
  • Juan Santana (SP, AZL Indians): W (3-2), 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 4 SO, 1 HBP, 2 E. Santana has either been really good or really bad this year and Thursday was a good day. The right-hander lowered his ERA to 5.45 with the strong showing.
  • Casey Shane (RP, AZL Indians): H (1), 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO. This was not a flawless outing, but it is good to see this year's sixth round pick get some strikeouts, as the right-hander had struggled with that coming into the night (eight in his first 14.0 innings).
  • Yonathan Mendoza (2B, AZL Indians): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 SAC. In 30 games this season, Mendoza has only managed three extra-base hits. Mendoza's bat is considered well behind his defense, so hopefully the infielder has more nights like Thursday going forward.
  • Clint Frazier (CF, AZL Indians): 1-for-5, 2 SO. Not all that exciting of an outing, but this does mark Frazier's first time hitting in the cleanup spot. Does that mean much? No, not really. Is it still interesting? Sure, if you're into that sort of thing.

If you want to follow Jim on Twitter, he’s @JimPiascik. If you want to e-mail him, you can do so at If you want to read his Master's thesis on college athletes and Twitter, you can do so here.

User Comments

August 10, 2013 - 10:10 AM EDT
I assume what Steve was talking about was the idea that it makes no sense to rush a player who isn't ready to the bigs and then "force feed" him. One, he'll flounder and have to be sent back down (Carrasco, Chisenhall, LaPorta, etc, etc) and two, now you've started the clock so you'll have fewer years of control once he IS ready. That makes no sense.

Might as well wait until you're sure he's fully prepared to be successful in the bigs before promoting him the first time.

This has nothing to do with Myles since he's still several levels below the majors. If he gets healthy and starts dominating, he'll be moved up as fast as he shows he can handle it.
August 10, 2013 - 8:28 AM EDT
You are dead on Rich, and that truly is the thinking of the Indians front office. They are FAR more conservative than many organizations, but when they see a guy that has the complete make-up to make those jumps, they move them along.

If there's a slow build for a guy to get to the bigs, that truly means there are many questions.

Look at Kipnis. Heading into his year at Kinston, the big question was his defense in his transition to second. He played great here...moved up in May or June...played phenomenally in Akron...moved up to Columbus for the playoffs that same year...dominated then...started in Columbus the next year, and was in Cleveland by July.

He started the year 2010 year in Kinston, and by mid-2011, he was with the Indians, and he hasn't been back since.

Point being...he was ready...

Now look at Chisenhall...enough said really.

Myles was hurt, plain and simple. I think he would have answered MANY of the questions he had (including selectivity at the plate) had he stayed healthy, but he didn't. Now, he's raking now. If he stays healthy, and the Indians have him in the instructs, the fall leagues or the winter leagues, I think you could see a healthy big jump next year, based on age and ability.

If a team is holding back a player that is major league ready to control them for an extra year, then the front office should be canned...period.

Can you honestly think of a guy in the Indians organization that was truly good enough to make it to the bigs...and was held back for control...and by held back...I'm talking YEARS, not a couple months.

That's just flawed thinking...IMO.
August 10, 2013 - 7:47 AM EDT
I'm still not getting the "slow and deliberate" thing. If you have a Cody Allen or Mike Trout or Bryce Harper that show they're ready to play in the bigs at age 22 or whatever, you don't keep them in the minors just so you'll have control over them through age 28 instead of age 25. You bring them up when they've proven they're ready.

Allen was advanced three or four times in one season because he kept dominating every new level they promoted him to. Nobody said, "Hey, let's keep him in the minors a couple more years so we'll have him when he's at his peak at age 28."

OTOH, if you move a player up too fast, like Nellie Rodriguez this year, he fails and they send him back down for more time at the lower level.

Every prospect progresses through the system at his own rate, and the faster the better. Are we really hoping Lindor is not ready for the bigs for another 3-4 years so we can control him through age 28? As opposed to being ready to start in 2014, thereby allowing us to use the money Cabrera would have commanded to upgrade an area of weakness?

August 9, 2013 - 10:39 PM EDT
Nice thoughtful article Jim. I think you have hit the nail squarely regarding Bryson and Moncrief. It is really difficult to fasttrack these players when they are not exceptional. I saw Moncrief in High School and he was a "project" which is why they took a chance on him as a pitcher. Never saw Bryson before the draft but he looks similar in his potential. He is also a "project". Neither of these guys is blocked at all but if you rush them, you risk them becoming even "fringe" ML players. I don't know what the AZL rules are any more but I would not be shocked if that is not Bryson's next stop.
Jim Piascik
August 9, 2013 - 12:51 PM EDT
But then even the power/speed peaks early, plate discipline peaks later have error bars. Ultimately every prospect is different.

But the general rule works fairly often as it also ties into competition. Myles is old for the Carolina League. This means that his body is more physically mature than most of his opponents, giving him a leg up.

Ultimately, we should be aware of circumstances surrounding the age of a prospect and account for it. Personally, I do not consider Carlos Moncrief -- who is at Double-A as a 24-year-old -- behind on the development curve because he started his career as a pitcher. Moncrief is showing a ton of talent and is a real prospect to me because of how strong his tools look.

Moncrief does need to continue developing quickly due to being older, but he has extenuating circumstances. Myles' injuries also are extenuating circumstances, and it is great to see him producing now. That said, Moncrief and Myles both need to keep this up because that age is working against them.
August 9, 2013 - 12:28 PM EDT
I think it is a mistake to put out a blanket statement in this regard. Peak years of a player are heavily dependent on their skill set. Power peaks between the ages of 23 and 25 in most players. So if the player's best tool is power, you want him in the majors as soon as possible, as to take as much advantage of his skill set as possible.

Players who rely on plate discipline and patience tend to peak between 26 and 29, so you don't have to rush those guys to the bigs in order to get the most out of them that you can.
August 9, 2013 - 10:13 AM EDT
I think it kind of goes both ways.

1. Teams want players fully developed - it takes time - for various reasons (injury / depth / development).
2. Teams push players up with talent, polish and according to need (ie: Kyle Crockett).
Jim Piascik
August 9, 2013 - 9:52 AM EDT
It's not necessarily a bad plan -- make sure that the peak years for a player fall under the team's six seasons of major league control -- but for the most part, I think teams would rather get players to the majors as quick as possible. That way they are spending their time helping the big league club as opposed to wasting their time in the minors. If a player can help in the bigs and isn't blocked, I think they'll be there.

With Myles in particular, the amount of development time lost due to the injuries is problematic. He just has not gotten to play and probably isn't really close to ready for Akron. Let alone planing ahead to Columbus or Cleveland.
August 9, 2013 - 9:43 AM EDT
@Jim - it's a good point if you believe in the peak age theory which is beginning to get a lot of examination.

Bringing a player up at age 25 or 26 isn't frowned upon as much as it used to be.

Some believe that it is ideal for an organization as they will have control of a player through the majority of the players "peak years" which is from an organization point of view as important as capturing that 1 year that may be part of the peak years.

This is a theory that I have personally discussed with several scouts - including one from the Indians - just something to chew on.
Jim Piascik
August 9, 2013 - 9:33 AM EDT
Even if college players are being delayed a bit, assuming Myles spends 2014 in Akron, 2015 in Columbus, and sees the majors at 2016, he will be 26 when he is making his debut. That puts most of Myles' physical peak in the minors.

That's the big problem to me. It is hard to get enough major league experience to fully realize your talents at that level when debuting that late age-wise.
August 9, 2013 - 9:28 AM EDT
@Andy - great to see Sterling having some success. Both he and Araujo seemed to really have taken a step back.

Maybe it was part of a re-tooling process and now at least Sterling can move forward.
August 9, 2013 - 9:26 AM EDT
@Rich yes, Myles has been injured...please look deeper into the minor league development and not the outliers like Cody Allen.

You will see more and more teams adopting the slow and slower approach to development.

Lack of injuries for Myles would not (in my opinion) accelerated his time through the system. There will always be special cases of speeding through a system but the Indians have been adopting the newer model.

They are not alone in this and if you (or Tony) have a a chance to sit down with the scouts and discuss this (like I have) you will find a "philosophy" change has been occurring.

August 9, 2013 - 8:40 AM EDT
What? I thought Myles' "slow process of getting through the minor leagues" was due to a constant stream of injuries retarding his progress, not some plan that the Indians deliberately put in place.

Maybe they forgot to include Cody Allen in that plan to slowly "guide" their prospects through the minors.
August 9, 2013 - 8:35 AM EDT
It's good to see Sterling back in the rotation with a couple decent performances. Both he and Araujo seemed to have so much potential a couple years ago but have stalled. Still hoping for good things from both of them.
August 9, 2013 - 8:17 AM EDT
Caution on the age thing regarding Myles.

Many teams are now starting their college kids down in lower rungs of minor league baseball. It's not the players fault that he isn't being rushed.

If you are a player who is old and repeats a level and is now having success I'd be much more willing to focus on age.

For now, Myles - through no fault of his own - is being guided through the slow process of getting through the minor leagues.

Will make for an interesting study in a few years as to how development has changed and the aging curve in minors has shifted.
August 9, 2013 - 8:12 AM EDT
"Since missing around six weeks and returning on June 11, Matsuzaka owns a 62:17 SO:BB, 3.51 ERA, and 3.90 FIP in 71.2 innings"

Best thing that could have happened for Dice-K was shutting it down for awhile. In spring training and early in the year he was pushing the ball, no fluidity whatsoever.

I believed then that he was trying to rush his delivery to compensate for lack of strength in the arm. The injury forced him to shut things down, work in weight room on conditioning the arms as well as the legs, and the results have been positive.

Truly a blessing in disguise.

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