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Around the Farm: July 14, 2012

Around the Farm: July 14, 2012
July 15, 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.

Matt Packer: SP, Carolina Mudcats: W (1-0), 5 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 K:

Packer followed up his brilliant 2012 Carolina debut with an even better start for his encore. He tossed five shutout innings against counterpart, top prospect Dylan Bundy. Packer has now gone eight innings in his two starts with the Muddies, giving up three hits and a walk, while striking out seven. If you extend the umbrella to his two starts in the Arizona League, Packer has gone 11 total innings, giving up six hits and a run (none earned), while walking one and striking out nine. Packer was last in Akron, and seemed destined to start the year off in Columbus and become a factor with the Indians this season. It seems fairly certain that Packer would have made things interesting had he not gotten hurt. As it stands, it’s likely that Packer is definitely in the equation next season in the spring.

Jordan Smith: RF, Lake County: 3-for-4, 1 R, 2 RBI: 

Boy, this guy is just locked in. He’s had multi-hit games in four straight games, and in five of his last six and seven of his last 10. He’s 11-for-20, with three runs, two homers and nine RBI in his last four ballgames. That’s about as on as you can be. His ten game line is .450/.465/.650, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a call-up to Carolina soon. His bat is just too advanced for the Midwest League. Talk about progression. He hit .255 in April, .284 in May, .337 in June, and is hitting .452 in July. The sky is the limit for this kid offensively, and I’d love to see that power continue to develop. If it does, he immediately turns into a special prospect.

Joseph Colon: SP, Lake County: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 2 K:

Colon has to be the breakout pitcher of the system in 2012, and has to be a top three candidate for pitcher of the year for the organization. He has had less than five bad starts out of 19, and since May, has easily been the best pitcher in Lake County. Over his past five starts, He’s gone 29 2/3 innings, giving up 27 hits and six runs, with seven walks and 24 K’s. That’s a 1.82 ERA, and he’s gone 3-1 over that stretch to get his overall record to 8-8. 11 of his 19 starts have been a quality start. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a guy like Colon to make a similar move as Michael Goodnight and Mike Rayl last season, who both made August moves to Carolina after being workmanlike workhorses in Lake County. It should be interesting to see if Colon can carry this dominance to the next level.

  • Ezequiel Carrera: CF, Columbus: 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 K, SB: Carrera continues to go back and forth between streaks of solid play and streak of mediocrity. To be fair, it’s really what you should expect out of the fleet-footed centerfielder. He currently has a modest four-game hit streak, going 6-for-15, with two runs, a double, a triple, three RBI, two walks, a K and an impressive five stolen bases without getting caught. He’s stolen at least one base in six straight games.
  • Jason Donald: LF, Columbus: 2-for-3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K:  I’m not really sure what they are doing with Donald at this point. It’s hard to see why Donald would be in left over a guy like Jared Goedert, but who knows what the Indians are thinking at this point. Perhaps Goedert is more enticing in a trade as a third baseman.
  • Vinny Rottino: DH, Columbus: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB: Rottino hit a three-run blast in this game, and has homers in back-to-back affairs. His ten game line is .333/.444/.611, with eight runs, two doubles, a triple, two homers, 11 RBI, seven walks, six K’s and three stolen bases. Maybe Rottino is next in line for a call up.
  • Russ Canzler: RF, Columbus: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: Canzler is hitting .273 on the season, and .273 over his last ten ballgames. There’s something to be said for consistency, right. He has eight runs and eight RBI over that span, with four doubles and three homers, while walking seven times, with only four K’s. Maybe Canzler is next in line for a call up?
  • Cord Phelps: 2B, Columbus: 2-for-5, 1 2B, 1 K: There’s value in Phelps  at the major league level, but it’s likely that the only way the Indians ever get him up is if something happens to Jason Kipnis. That said, Phelps is playing out of his mind right now, with three two-hit games in his last four. He’s gone 7-for-13, with three runs and two doubles over his past four.
  • David Huff: SP, Columbus: 5 IP, 8 H, 6 R/ER, 4 BB, 3K, 2 HR: There’s really nothing good about this start for Huff. He struggled with command, gave up the long ball, and extremely hittable when he did throw strikes. Huff hasn’t had the type of consistency that you would want from a major league veteran. Over his past ten games, he’s got a 5.81 ERA, and sports a 4.74 ERA overall this season.
  • Thomas Neal: DH, Akron:  1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K: Neal may be the best offensive player on the team right now, as he’s hitting, and hitting for power, is showcasing good speed, and at least making himself viable in a trade or move to Columbus this season. If he continues, as a right-handed stick, you’d have to think he’d be a factor with the Indians in 2013.
  • Juan Diaz: SS, Akron: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K: Diaz is tearing it up right now. Over his last ten, he has a line of .351/.442/.622, with seven runs, two doubles, a triple, two homers and 14 RBI (!). He has his average up to .256 on the season, which is still below what he hit in his brief stint with the Indians.
  • Rafael Perez: SP, Akron: 1 IP: Yep, it’s THAT Perez, who made eight pitches, seven of which were strikes. Talk about an impressive debut for a guy that would really extend that bullpen.
  • Shawn Armstrong: RP, Akron: W (1-0), 2 1/3 IP, 2 H, 4 K: Armstrong made an impressive debut with Akron on Saturday night, getting the win in 2 1/3 innings of solid pitching. Armstrong will likely end up in Columbus by the end of the year, and be a factor in the Indians bullpen in 2013.
  • Loek Van Mil: RP, Akron: H (2), 2/3 IP, 1 BB, 1 K: Van Mil made a brief but nice outing on Saturday night, continuing a solid 2012 campaign. Van Mil did leave the game with a potential lat injury, so something to keep an eye on going forward.
  • Bo Greenwell: RF, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B: Greenwell’s double in the fourth inning broke up Dylan Bundy’s perfect three innings. He would move to third on a Bundy passed ball, then would score on Jesus Aguilar’s single. Greenwell’s hitting .357 on the season, and is 8-for-18, with three runs, two double and a triple over the past four games. He has four RBI during that stretch.
  • Giovanny Urshela: 3B, Carolina: 2-for-4, 1 2B, 2 K: Urshela has been horrible offensively over the past ten ballgames, jhitting .211, with two runs, two doubles, two homers, but eight RBI. He HAS had much of that offense over the past four games, however, going 5-for-16, with a run, two doubles, a homer and four RBI. Urshela was the only Mudcats ballplayer with multiple hits, and had two of the six hits.
  • Carlos Moncrief: CF, Carolina: 1-for-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: Moncrief walked in the seventh, worked his way to third, and scored on an Anthony Gallas infield single. Moncrief then blasted a solo shot in the top of the ninth, which was his eleventh on the season. Moncrief needs one more strikeout on the season to make it 100.
  • Jose Flores: Closer, Carolina: S (14), 1 IP: You can’t get much cleaner than this appearance. Flores entered the game in the ninth with a run in, runners on first and third, and nobody out. Nobody else scored as The Keys went down, 1-2-3.
  • Jerrud Sabourin: 1B, Lake County: 2-for-4: Sabourin has made himself a factor this year, and has been as consistent a player as there is in the system. His lowest average of the year was the month of May when he hit .283. He doesn’t have any power to speak of, but is becoming a valuable minor league piece.
  • Todd Hankins: 2B, Lake County: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K: Hankins is hitting .297 over the past ten games, and has stolen eight bases, without getting caught. That’s going to be his calling card if he wants to advance. Hankins has 23 stolen bases, and has only been caught twice.
  • Marcus Bradley: RF, Mahoning  Valley: 3-for-4, 2 R, 1 K: The Scrappers only managed seven total hits, and three total runs. Bradley had three of the seven, and two of the three. He’s been used mostly as a back-up to Tyler Naquin, but with Naquin playing every day at this point, they’ve moved Bradley to other outfield positions, and he’s responded, hitting .333 over his last ten ballgames.
  • Jorge Martinez: 3B, AZL Indians: 4-for-6, 1 R, 1 RBI: Martinez started off the rookie league season on fire, but had tapered off over the past week. That’s all changed, as Martinez has now gone 7-for-11, with three runs, a double, triple and four RBI over the past two games. He’s back!
  • Kieran Lovegrove: SP, AZL Indians: 2 IP, 5 H, 3 R/ER, 1 BB: This probably wasn’t the debut that Lovegrove wanted, but remember, we’re talking about a kid that was in high school a month ago. It was good to see a top five pick make a start, and at least he has that first one out of the way.
  • Trey Haley: RP, AZL Indians: 1 IP, 1 H: The oft-injured Haley has been shut down since a May 22nd outing for Carolina, so it was good to see him back pitching, and looking good as well. There was a time that you could say that Haley was an elite arm, and he still has the type of velocity you want in a reliever, but he just has to stay healthy.

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

July 16, 2012 - 10:24 AM EDT
Sadly, there is not much the Indians can do internally to help the outfield. Canzler, LaPorta, and Rottino are more retread Duncan types it seems, and are guys that will probably be hugely inconsistent at the ML level. They just don't stay in the zone well enough to avoid being exposed at the big league level. Carrera is a poor fit because he is left-handed and has regressed defensively (and offensively). Crowe needs to show he can maintain healthy before he is brought up. The only guy that is truly an option is Fedroff, but again, he hits left-handed and is a poor fit for the team. Whoever comes up would fill the 4th outfielder role, so that guy has to be a right-handed hitter or a switch-hitter. So, unless Damon goes down or more injuries mount, Fedroff is not getting a chance in Cleveland this year.
July 16, 2012 - 9:35 AM EDT
Rick, it sure is good to have you here at IPI. I can't say I've been around since 1948, but I've been a big time fan of the Tribe since I was stuck in the 70's era of bad baseball. At least you had the heydey!...the 48 series...the great staff...feller...Boudreau...Wow...those great teams of the 50's that were stuck behind the Yankees...

If you're thinking of Canzler, LaPorta and Rottino, I do agree to a point. I think that LaPorta, as much as I shred the guy, should be a call up...I think his lackluster production is better than the combo production of what's there now. Canzler and Rottino are good back-up options, but neither will be an option in the bigs next year...

If you're talking about the fleet footed Fedroff/Carrera/Crowe combo...those guys are fourth outfielders...although Fedroff is making a case right now...

July 15, 2012 - 4:12 PM EDT
I have been an Indians fan since 1948 (born and live in Connecticut). The problem with the Indians is the front office--the system has at least three possible left fielders in the high minors that cannot be any less of a producer then the three the team currently uses in left field,\ Why do they not bring at least one of them up? This is frustrating.! All three of them will probably be released and become serviceable players on other teams in the next year or so.
Thanks for listening,

July 15, 2012 - 2:34 PM EDT
Thanks MT...I usually note that stuff, but I'm taking the birthday clause...didn't put as much into this piece because I was just too damn busy...;)

That's the problem with Bryson, while he did a nice job getting out of the jams, he gets into them a lot...and that will ultimately keep him from being anything bigger than he is right now.

Love Holt...that's him to a t...when he's on...he just wreaks he did for 1 1/2 years here in Carolina...
July 15, 2012 - 1:46 PM EDT
I meant one last item....
July 15, 2012 - 1:45 PM EDT
I was at the Akron game. A couple of items not included in the article but rather important in the game.
Tyler Holt scored as an insurance run in the 9th after being HBP & then stealing 2nd. Biggest item was gunning a runner out at 3rd base in top of 2nd to create a DP and get the 3rd out before the runner on 3rd reached the plate. Nicely done.

Rob Bryson walked 2 in 1.1 IP. More importantly he entered in the 8th with tying run at 3rd and stopped the rally. Then in the 9th after allowing a triple that scored a run & put the tying run again at 3rd with no outs, he then struck out the next 3 batters to end the game.

One last time, the Juan Diaz 2 run shot was off uber-prospect Gerrit Cole and it cleared the batter eye wall in CF.

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