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Around the Farm: August 8, 2014

Anderson's perfection, Urshela's power highlight the night on the farm

Around the Farm: August 8, 2014
Cody Anderson (Photo: Jim Piascik)
August 9, 2014
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Around the Farm takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Cleveland prospects throughout the system. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game. 

Cody Anderson (SP, Akron): 4.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 SO

Cody Anderson (Photo: MiLB)Maybe in the end all Anderson needed was a few weeks to get truly healthy. After missing roughly three weeks with elbow soreness, the right-hander returned to the mound in a big way, tossing four perfect innings. Anderson was not dominant from a strikeout perspective -- still a big picture concern for the right-hander going forward -- but this is still a huge step forward for the 23-year-old. Assuming he is healthy and back in a good place, we should see the Anderson that became one of the top pitching prospects in the system down the stretch.

Giovanny Urshela (3B, Columbus): 3-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI

Giovanny Urshela (Photo: MiLB)It took Urshela a little bit to combine on-base ability with his power in Columbus, but now the third baseman seems to have the whole package working. With a .283/.340/.500 line and 43:24 SO:BB in 83 Triple-A games, Urshela is showing the kind of well-rounded game that could make him a mainstay in Cleveland for years to come. Time will tell if Urshela gets a shot this season, but there are few (if any) players in the organization who have raised their stock as much as the 22-year-old has in 2014.

  • Kyle Davies (SP, Columbus): W (7-7), 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO. Davies is still more of a depth option for the major league club, but with back-to-back dominant outings, he is making his case for a shot.
  • Zach Walters (LF, Columbus): 2-for-5, 2 2B, 1 SO. Walters' hit streak may have been snapped Thursday, but the 24-year-old responded in a big way Friday night.
  • James Ramsey (CF, Columbus): 2-for-4. Cleveland's other trade deadline acquisition did not hit on out of the park like he did Thursday, but he did turn in another solid performance here.
  • Adam Miller (RP, Akron): H (3), 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO. Miller seems to have put something together recently, with a 3.44 ERA and 19:2 SO:BB in his last 15.2 innings (spanning July and August).
  • Michael Bourn (CF, Akron): 0-for-4, 2 SO. Bourn is yet to get a hit in his 10 rehab plate appearances, though the goal for the center fielder remains testing his hamstring and making sure it is entirely healthy.
  • Anthony Gallas (DH, Akron): 0-for-4, 1 SO. Gallas saw his hitting streak snapped at seven games, though the outfielder still owns an impressive .909 OPS in his 53 Double-A games.
  • Adam Plutko (SP, Carolina): L (3-7), 4.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 5 SO. Plutko is still searching for some consistency this season, but the right-hander has still made some good strides in his first full professional season.
  • Clayton Cook (RP, Carolina): 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 SO. The pitch to contact approach was working for Cook Friday as the right-hander continues to show some positive signs in his return from shoulder problems.
  • Logan Vick (RF, Carolina): 2-for-4, 2 SO, 1 SB. Don't look now, but after starting the season with a rock bottom (and unsustainable) BABIP, Vick is starting to see the hits fall in.
  • Anderson Polanco (SP, Lake County): ND, 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR. Making his second start of the season (the first was a spot start during a doubleheader), Polanco turned in a solid effort, just like he has all season (2.40 ERA, 35:12 SO:BB in 30.0 innings).
  • Justin Brantley (RP, Lake County): W (4-0), 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO. Brantley may have been undrafted, but you certainly could not tell by the way he has pitched this season (0.89 ERA, 32:10 SO:BB in 30.1 innings).
  • Grant Fink (3B, Lake County): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI. Fink's third (third!) grand slam of the season was the critical hit that led the Captains to victory Friday night. The 23-year-old has some well-documented issues with strikeouts, but he still has some intriguing talent despite his flaws.
  • Clint Frazier (CF, Lake County): 2-for-5, 1 R, 2 2B. Frazier showed off some of the power that makes him special here, with his 29th and 30th extra base hits on the season improving his isolated power to .148 in 98 games.
  • Sean Brady (SP, Mahoning Valley): L (2-3), 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO. This outing marked Brady's third-straight with five strikeouts, though the left-hander could use some more overall going forward (37:21 SO:BB in 55.0 innings).
  • Jose Zapata (RP, Mahoning Valley): 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 0 SO. The same goes for Zapata, though the right-hander's needs to work on limiting his walks first (3.04 ERA, 20:15 SO:BB in 26.2 innings).
  • D'vone McClure (RF, Mahoning Valley): 2-for-3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 CS, 1 PO. McClure is slowly starting to put the pieces together, as the outfielder owns a .246/.331/.325 line in 34 games.
  • Steven Patterson (2B, Mahoning Valley): 1-for-4, 1 2B, 2 SO. Patterson continued his solid debut with this performance, increasing his line to .255/.350/.404 with 18 extra base hits in 36 games.
  • Grant Hockin (SP, AZL Indians): ND, 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO. This year's second round pick is only pitching about once a week, though Hockin has looked pretty good when on the mound overall, with a 12:3 SO:BB despite a 5.14 ERA in 14.0 innings.
  • Jared Robinson (RP, AZL Indians): 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO. Robinson has been on the same once-a-week schedule as Hockin, with the 2014 11th round pick putting up a 1.80 ERA and 13:6 SO:BB in 15.0 innings.
  • Bobby Bradley (1B, AZL Indians): 1-for-4, 2 R, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 HBP, 1 E. The sun rises, the sun sets, and Bradley hits for power. With 18 extra base hits in 29 games, such a phrase is not totally outrageous.
  • Alexis Pantoja (SS, AZL Indians): 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 SO. Pantoja is still working on showing a little more pop with the bat (.041 isolated power in 32 games), though he is pairing a .331 on-base percentage with his strong defense in the early going.

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User Comments

August 12, 2014 - 7:39 AM EDT
Well put Joe. We don't know yet exactly what player Kipnis will be over the long-term. My best guess would be something between the Kipnis of 2013 and the Kipnis of 2014, which would be acceptable in LF (if Brantley goes to CF) or RF. Ramirez's glove, speed and ability to handle the bat a bit make him an ideal 2B and 2nd-place hitter. Combine him with Lindor and you have a great double play combo. Gomes behind the plate and Brantley in center and suddenly you're looking at a pretty darn good defense, particularly up the middle where it's most important.

In a perfect world - somehow we rid ourselves of some combination of Swisher, Bourn, Raburn and Aviles, opening up regular playing opportunities for Ramirez, Walters, perhaps Aguilar next year.

In a realistic world - we're stuck with Swisher and Bourn and the front office will mandate that Tito keeps trotting them out there every day in the desperate hope that they can play better and save some face. Of course this in turn prevents the organization from giving the aforementioned youngsters a chance and also stymies the Tribe from improving themselves in other areas due to payroll inflexibility. Good work Shaponetti.
Joe Chengery
August 9, 2014 - 9:54 PM EDT
It would be a mistake for the Indians to compound what is turning out to be a long-term mistake with Swisher by trading Aguilar away unless they really get something impactful. The Indians would be better off eating most to all of Swisher's contract either in a trade or even if you have to outright release him (like the Phillies are considering with Howard). Chances are, the Indians could have him serve the "Giambi role" (25th man) next year where he plays 1-2 times a week and lends his experience to the younger players, including Aguilar.

The same goes for Kipnis and Ramirez- it would be a mistake for the Indians to just trade Ramirez just because they gave a long-term contract to Kipnis, which is looking more and more like a mistake. Ramirez, in time, can likely be a more complete player than Kipnis, and is virtually a lock to be a better defender at 2B than Kipnis. Plus, you have holes in the outfield, and neither Moncrief or Ramsey look to be ready for a starting role to begin 2015, while there's still questions over whether Holt is a fourth outfielder or possibly a starting CFer. Add in that Walters profiles more as a super-utility guy, and the OF easily has one to two spots where you can move Kipnis back to, his natural position (yes, he was a CF at Arizona State, but he's likely to be more comfortable and a better defender in the OF than at 2B, especially when compared to Ramirez).

Therefore, I'm hopeful the Indians aren't hasty in trying to make up for what appears to be two long-term bad signings by trading guys who could potentially replace both of the - that would just compound the long-term signing mistakes, not alleviate them.
August 9, 2014 - 8:09 PM EDT
The team needs to be restructured. Some players we currently see as regulars are going to have to be moved. If we are going to replace current players with Columbus guys we need to see them in September.

That said, I would not give up on the 2nd WC until it is clearly out of reach. I see a current team that still has a chance to make a run.
August 9, 2014 - 4:55 PM EDT
My guess is that Aguilar does not have much chance of being a regular in Cleveland next year. We already have a logjam of 1B/DH types with Swisher, Santana and perhaps even Chisenhall throwing his hat into the ring as a possible/occasional 1B. It would be nice to think that Aguilar could be part of a fair competition next spring for 1B/DH, but as long as swisher is on the roster that is not going to happen....and unfortunately Swisher ain't going nowhere. Betting that Aguilar is either packaged in an off-season trade or spends next year at Columbus and waits on call to fill in with the Tribe in case of injury to a regular.
August 9, 2014 - 3:20 PM EDT
I think we could see a good amount of youth infusion on this team next year - I could easily see Lindor and Urshela on the left side, Aguilar at DH and Walters as a utility man. Or at least, I hope that's the there a realistic shot of this happening or do you all think Urshela gets another year at Columbus?

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