Around The Farm: December 13, 2013
Around the Farm (ATF) takes a quick look at some of the daily performances by Indians prospects. This is a special fall and winter ball version of ATF that recaps all the offseason action by Indians players in offseason winter ball leagues. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in the game.
PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE (LBPRC)
Joseph Colon (Cabgrejeros de Santurce, SP): W (1-0), 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R (earned), 1 BB, 3 K - Finally! A winter ball win for Joe Colon! He gets to pitch five innings and earn his first win of the winter in his sixth LBPRC start of the season. This win is well deserved as this was his fourth solid start of those six.
Carlos Moncrief (Gigantes de Carolina, RF): 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K - Moncrief's mini-slump continued as he posted his fourth hitless night in his last five games in the Carolina lineup. In those games, he is 1-for-19 with 8 Ks and 2 BBs. I am thinking this is a result of the fatigue that has prevented him from performing better in PR. Shutting him down may be the only option for the Tribe now.
Brett Brach (Gigantes de Carolina, RP): 2.1, 2 H, 1 K - Brach's solid relief effort helped keep the Gigantes in the game, but was ultimately not enough to account for their anemic offense on the night. While Brach's winter ERA is 4.98, that is a deceptive number as he has held the opposition scoreless in six of his ten outings thus far on the LBPRC season. The ERA is only so high since he, being a reliever, pitches so few innings that a bad outing or two sends his ERA sky high.
DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE (LIDOM)
Carlos Santana (Leones del Escogido, 3B): 1-4, 1 R - Santana finally makes his winter ball (and third base) debut, which had been delayed by the failure of the Commissioner's Office and the Caribbean Leagues to renew their agreement regarding Major Leaguers playing in those leagues in time for the start of the winter season. Santana got his lone hit of the night in his first time at the plate this offseason, ultimately scoring on a two-out, three-run double.
Erik Gonzalez (Leones del Escogido, SS): 1-3, 2B, 3 RBI, 1 K - While he only managed one hit on the night, it was a huge one as it was the aforementioned double which gave the Leones a lead they would never relinquish. Gonzalez's double raised his RBI total to 17 in 42 LIDOM games and his offseason slash line now stands at .333/.350/.464. That is some impressive baseball for a guy who's been playing since March.
VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE (LVBP)
Jesus Aguilar (Leones del Caracas, 1B): 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI - Aguilar's only hit of the night was a solo blast in the fourth inning that gave Caracas its only run of the night. The RBI machine's winter power numbers now stand at 17 HR and 47 RBI in 47 LVBP games. Pair that with a batting average over .300 and it makes for an impressive Caribbean season.
Toru Murata (Caribes de Anzoategui, SP): ND, 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 K - Toru remains unscored upon (earned run-wise, at least) in 12.2 IP in three starts thus far on the LVBP season. He only failed to pick up his first win of the winter season due to a poor performance by the Anzoategui bullpen, which thankfully was not inclusive of any Indians pitchers.
AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE (ABL)
Ben Shorto (Perth Heat, backup 2B): no plate appearances - While the 18 year-old Shorto is still playing in Major League Baseball's Australian academy Program, he is in fact under contract to the Indians. He is making his ABL debut this season and is 0-2 in three substitute appearances thus far. It will be interesting to see if he is brought to the States this summer for Extended Spring Training and the Arizona League Indians' season. On Friday, he entered the game defensively in the ninth and did not get a chance to hit as the Heat had already won 6-0 and did not need to bat in the bottom of the inning.
Ryan Battaglia (Brisbane Bandits, DH): 0-4, 2 K - Battaglia's rough Aussie campaign continues as his hitless effort on the night drops his season slash line to .216/.365/.588 in 16 ABL games. His production numbers have been solid (5 HR and 9 RBI), but when he's not getting big hits he's not getting anything. This is most evident in the major disparity between his slugging percentage and his batting average. Combined with a similar season (with lesser power numbers) in Mahoning Valley and Carolina during the regular season; Ryan is cementing his org soldier status within the organization.
Everyone keeps saying Swisher is going to play 1B and not the OF, but if Aguliar does play his way onto this club eventually...where does he play? 1B is Swisher's, DH is Santana's. Does Swisher move to the OF mid-season? Does Santana move to 3B or the OF?
Can't see Aguliar making this club even this summer unless the Tribe is willing to do one of those.
Re: Carlos' defense at 3B, all I have to go off of is the boxscore. LIDOM web streaming is restricted to the DR and the only broadcasts in the US are on ESPN3. Escogido is scheduled to be on ESPN3 Thursday at 6:30 PM EST. I will be watching that game and hopefully Carlos will be at 3B that night so I get a chance to see how he's fielding the position.
Thank you for you info.
I agree that it might be time for Moncrief to shut it down. He had a very good showing in Akron this year, but this showing in Puerto Rico is really taking away from that. I hope all of the strides he made with the plate discipline are not a fluke or have not gone by the wayside with him pressing in Puerto Rico. It is that significant step forward in improving the strikeout rate and plate discipline this year which was so exciting.
Colon is a legit prospect. He is probably one of the Indians top 5-7 starting pitching prospects (off the top of my head). Injuries have hurt him....but when he has pitched he's been impressive and the velocity continues to rise.
Gonzalez has had an amazing showing in winter ball. I'm impressed with his 2013 year as a whole. He did it from spring training through winter ball. Sadly, his winter season is supposed to end this weekend. I am still very concerned about that strikeout rate, but hell, maybe he's just another Alexei Ramirez type when he first came into the big leagues who is a hacker that does not walk and strikes out a lot, but still finds a way to be productive.
I see your points
IE...he may quickly be becoming a guy that they look at as an initial replacement should something happen either via injury or non-performance.
He'll have to start though...I don't see them bringing him up to be Jason Giambi, unless they find him regular at bats, and right now, especially with five outfielders...they don't have the room...
A Winter League season does not make the player, but the biggest curiosity with me has been what managers have said about Aguilar, and I've talked about this on my show a couple of times.
The Indians have been working with him on specific skills for a couple of years, and while he has taken to the "new approach" in strange streaks and strange ways, which is the weirdness of it all.
A lot of times, you'll see a player take to changes and still maintain his other attributes...home runs for example. With Aguilar, it's almost like he's done one thing at a time.
So let's say that after working on all these skills...more compact swing, hitting to the opposite field, cutting down on strikeouts...and has the habits...and he matures...
and I still say he's more athletic than people give him credit for. I've seen some lumbering idgits at first. He's not lumbering. I'm not saying he's a great defender or ever will be, but he's not the lump of garbage that folks say he is with regards to athleticism.
Now, there's having everything click, and having a torrential hot streak, which is the more likely scenario...but one doesn't have to be devoid of the other.
That said, the only way he breaks camp, hot streak or not, is if something happens to Swisher or Santana...or if things really flipping click for Santana at third...
but I do agree...it gives them flexibility, if this does preclude an upswing in Aguilar production....
Good to see Erik Gonzalez with another productive night at the plate. Gonzalez really seems to be coming out as a prospect. Just saying, he's went from an after thought to a potential piece for the future. I'd suggest he could make good trade bait, with the Indians MIF depth.
Joseph Colon will amount to an organizational filler/arm or perhaps a middle reliever on a trial/cuppa coffee basis in the big leagues. He doesn't project well with his physical presence, command or stuff. He doesn't have age on his size as well..
How close is Colon becoming a legit prospect? Or is he depth guy for the minors?