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Around the Farm: July 18, 2012

Around the Farm: July 18, 2012
July 19, 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.

Thomas Neal: LF, Akron: 3-for-4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB:

Neal hasn’t been at the top of ATF in a couple of weeks, so it was nice to see this type of ballgame from the former top prospect. Not only did he have three hits, but his last hit turned out to be perhaps his biggest hit of the season thusfar.  With the bases loaded, and two outs in the ninth, Neal hit a walk-off single to help the Aeros beat Harrisburg. Neal hit over .300 in both May and June, but had really faltered a bit in July until Wednesday night. He is shredding left-handed pitching right now, which begs the question as to why the Indians have guys like Chad Huffman blocking his way in Columbus. I didn’t used to think this, but I’m really starting to wonder about whether or not management even has a clue on how to handle the system in certain instances….this being one, IMO.

Tyler Cannon: 1B, Carolina: 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 SB:

While every team will showcase a star, or two, or even three, every manager dreams of players like Tyler Cannon. That sounds a bit like a rip, as I’m insinuating that Cannon isn’t a star. Well, he truly isn’t a name like Lindor or Wolters or Aguilar, but it is a name you should remember. Cannon can literally play every position, and in his two year career, he’s played short, third, second, first, left, right, DH and catcher. His overall fielding position at ALL those positions is .968, which is solid. He’s an infielder by trade, but became extremely valuable this season, as he was able to play 24 games at catcher, a position he played briefly in college. He made only three errors, and threw out 30% of his runners. Not shabby for a guy that hadn’t played the position with any regularity…well…ever. Offensively, he’s been a mixed bag, but I can’t get out of my head his stretch of games at Lake County last year when he was leading the league in hitting. He left the Captains after a month hitting .366, with three homers, two triples, 10 doubles and 17 RBI in 30 ballgames. There’s offense in there, so it should be interesting to see how Cannon develops over the next couple of years. It looks like he could be another Cord Phelps or Jared Goedert, but a little better defensively, and a little more versatile. That might be enough to get him in the bigs.

  • Ezequiel Carrera: CF, Columbus: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B: Carrera’s hit gives him an eight game hit streak in which he’s gone 11-for-32, with five runs, two doubles, a triple and three RBI.
  • Cord Phelps: 2B, Columbus: 1-for-2, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB: Phelps is certainly on the outside looking in as far as a major league shot goes, as long as he stays with the Tribe. Still, he’s hitting the ball well, and has gone 12-for-27, with six runs, two doubles, a homer and two RBI over his last eight ballgames.
  • Jeanmar Gomez: SP, Columbus: 7 IP, 10 H, 3 R/2 ER, 8 K: Gomez has really found his mojo. He’s made four starts back in Columbus, and only one of them was a struggle. In his other three starts, he’s gone at least seven innings twice, to go along with a complete game shutout. He went 23 innings in the three starts, gave up 22 hits and four runs, with only two of them earned. He’s walked two against 20 K’s during that stretch. If anyone continues to falter in Cleveland, Gomez may find his return ticket.
  • Rafael Perez: RP, Columbus: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K: Another promotion on his rehab tour, and another dominating performance. Perez is scheduled to take a bullpen session in Cleveland on Friday, and will then pitch in back-to-back games in Akron on Monday and Tuesday. If everything goes well, the Tribe will activate following those appearances. It will be a welcome addition.
  • Ryan Rohlinger: 3B, Akron: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K: Rohlinger is only hitting .233 for the season, but his name comes up a lot while making ATF decisions. I rarely side on the “put him in there” faction, but he does have those games, seemingly weekly.
  • Adam Abraham: 1B, Akron: 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI: Here we go again with Abraham. This kid just won’t go away. He’s hitting .300 over his last 16 ballgames.
  • Steven Wright: SP, Akron: 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R/3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR: It wasn’t Wright’s most phenomenal outing, but he didn’t let things get out of hand like can happen with a struggling knuckleballer. Not for Wright, who maintains a 2.60 ERA. The one thing of note is that Wright gave up his fifth homer in six starts, but again, you’ll have that with an occasional floating knuckler.
  • Loek Van Mil: RP, Akron: 2 IP, 1 H, 1K: Van Mil continues to dominate in double A, and you have to start to wonder how things are going to change for the HUGE starter/reliever.
  • Rob Bryson: RP, Akron: W (4-1), 1 P, 1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K: Bryson has only given up one run over the past six outings, with four walks and 12 K’s.
  • Bo Greenwell: RF, Carolina: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: It doesn’t get much better for the hot-hitting Greenwell. He has a current eight-game hit streak in which he’s gone 15-for-36, with seven runs, a double, a triple and a homer, with six RBI. He’s led the team in hitting since his first game back on June 14th, and is hitting .364 on the season. This seems to be the outfielders pattern in previous years as well. Let’s see if he can maintain that high level of play, as you’d have to think he’s first on the list to move to Akron.
  • Anthony Gallas: DH, Carolina: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI: Gallas ripped a three-run triple in the eighth inning, and now has back-to-back-to-back two hit games, and a seven game hit streak. Gallas has had an incredible summer, hitting an impressive .364 since June 12th, with eight doubles and four home runs. As I’ve said before, this kid will continue to progress as long as his level of play continues. Talk about a sleeper.
  • Ronny Rodriguez: SS, Carolina: 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI: Since June 3rd, Rodriguez is batting an impressive .301, which is third on the team during that stretch, behind the hot hitting Gallas and Tony Wolters. He leads the team in runs during that stretch, with 29, and while that might not be a surprise, the fact that his eight homers during that stretch leads the team should be. Rodriguez is breaking out, and not many people are paying attention to it.
  • Will Roberts: RP, Carolina: H (2), 2 2/3 IP, 3 H, 5 R/ER, 3 BB, 2 K: Roberts continued a trend that he’d like to put behind him. The trend? Getting shelled. He had been showing signs of improving over the past couple of games after giving up nine runs in four inning on the Fourth, but he just can’t seem to escape these horrifically bad games. His ERA in Carolina is 6.46. Hopefully this is a blip on the radar, and not the picture of a guy who has reached his top level.
  • Jose Ramirez: 2B, Lake County: 2-for-4, 3 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 BB: Ramirez has been in a bit of a funk of late after hitting .324 in June. He’s still having a solid season, and has taken his .370 OBP to the top of a loaded line-up.
  • Francisco Lindor: SS, Lake County:  2-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K: How many times this month do you think Chris Antonetti has said, “I really want to get…uh…not going to happen.” Lindor continues to play at an incredibly high level. Since the Fourth of July, he’s been providing fireworks of his own, with nine runs, five doubles and a homer in 11 ballgames. During that stretch, he’s walked 11 times, and only struck out three times. High upside anyone? Think this kid can learn? He’s on the table, but he isn’t going anywhere…well…except Cleveland…by 2014. Book it.
  • Jordan Smith: DH, Lake County: 3-for-4, 2 RBI, 1 BB: On May 21st, Smith was languishing with the Captains, hitting only .252. Since then, he’s only led the Midwest League in batting, hitting .362 over that stretch of 43 ballgames. In July, he’s only hitting .464, with no signs of letting up. He’s currently tied for the league lead in batting at .322, and the only way he doesn’t take the batting title is if he heads to Carolina, and doesn’t qualify.
  • Jerrud Sabourin: 1B, Lake County: 2-for-5: Sabourin is hitting an impressive .331 since May 20th, which is only behind Smith during that stretch of games. He only has one homer, so that lack of power will only take him so far, but count me in as a Sabour-cat…this kid has made himself into a professional ballplayer.
  • Luigi Rodriguez: CF, Lake County: 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 3K, 1 SB: Rodriguez certainly makes his swings count, but while you are going to get those strikeouts (he’s heading for 100, sitting at 96), he’s also doing everything else. He has 15 doubles, four triples, eight homers and 18 stolen bases. He’s still a raw talent, but the tools are uncanny. He’s very similar to a guy like Carlos Moncrief in Carolina.
  • Bryson Myles: RF, Lake County: 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 K: Myles has been a bit under the radar since he’s come back from injury, but he’s been playing extremely well. Since June 31st, Myles is hitting .317 over those 16 ballgames, scoring five runs on three triples. He hasn’t been powering the ball or stealing many bases, but that’s likely a bi-product of his hamstring issues. As the legs get right, you’ll see that gap power and raw speed return.
  • Todd Hankins: 3B, Lake County: 0-for-5, 1 K, 2 SB: I love lines like this. It makes you think that Hankins literally snuck onto first and started stealing without actually getting on base. He has 10 stolen bases in his last 12 games, and only been caught once.
  • Shawn Morimando: SP, Lake County: W (4-2), 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K: Morimando has put together three solid starts in a row in which he’s gone 16 innings, giving up 12 hits and five runs (four earned), while walking 10 and striking out 9. Clearly the walks are an issue, as he’s given up 32 in 71 innings, against only 37 K’s. This has kept him from moving to that elite level.
  • Joseph Wendle: 3B, Mahoning Valley: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K: Wendle was clearly sick of being the guy “without any power,” as he hit his first professional home run on Wednesday night. He has a hit in 15 of his last 17 ballgames.
  • Jeremy Lucas: C, Mahoning Valley: 3-for-4, 2 R, 2 2B: Lucas doesn’t really middle around with his hitting. He’s had hits in six of his 12 games. In three of the six with hits, he’s had nine of his 12 total hits. Lucas is an interesting prospect, and continues to fill a rather potentially deep position in the system.
  • Erik Gonzalez: 1B, Mahoning Valley: 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI: Gonzalez has really scuffled in the NY/Penn league, until Wednesday night, when he hit two of his four total doubles on the season.
  • Hunter Jones: RF, Mahoning Valley: 2-for-2, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB, 1 CS, 1 PO: Jones had his first multi-hit game since, well, his first game with the Scrappers, back on June 18th.

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 19, 2012 - 9:30 PM EDT put it frank, there isn't a player in that Akron infield that will EVER be a factor going forward. If you look at first base, you have Chun Chen and Adam Abraham. Chen may very well be a top candidate for MVP in the Eastern League, but he's just a more modern version of Jordan Brown...a high average, no pop, likely lifetime minor leaguer. Abraham is a true wonder...not the talent of a lot of guys, but the work ethic is tremendous. Again...if he ever makes it to Columbus, it's as fill...and he's not as good as the fill that's there already.

At second, you have Rohlinger and Lawson...both older guys that are fill at this point...with major league experience...and Stoneburner...who's a career .260 guy.

At third, you have Kyle Bellows, who can't really hit...but can field...and will never play in the majors as a starter...

At Juan Diaz...and perhaps there's something there...but again...not much thought that he'll be in the bigs at any point...

I've said from the star, rRod is the real that Jimmy Rollins mold...I think he'll be a more than serviceable major leaguer...

I'm not totally sold on Wolters, but he is intriguing as a leadoff guy...and who knows what kind of gap power he'll develop.

Aguilar is a major leaguer...period...

and Urshela, at the very a defensive backup...

As far as the outfield goes...there's Moncrief...he could be a certifiable star if he ever improved his approach...

I don't think the BEST prospects are here....but some darned good ones are...
July 19, 2012 - 3:41 PM EDT
It really is maddening to see Neal stuck in AA, where he's been a completely destructive force, while organizational filler players are cluttering up our AAA OF and we have to see Duncan in LF everytime there's a lefty on the hill in the majors. Neal has an OPS over .900 against lefties this year. If we can find a trade to bring in a RH bat, great, but if not I think Neal needs to be in Cleveland.
Lee P
July 19, 2012 - 1:37 PM EDT
Thanks Jim, I triple checked for him because I know hes a favorite of yours. The Carolina team is so fun to follow I'm jealous that you get to watch in person. Beyond the box score, who looks to be the real deal in person? RRod? Also how do you see any position player movement going btwn Carolina and Akron for the remainder of the season. Thanks!
Jim Piascik
July 19, 2012 - 10:52 AM EDT
A note on that Wright home run: I don't think it was all that well hit. The guy hit it well and pulled it down the line, but it caught a massive gust of wind. Now, that's not to say Wright isn't struggling with home runs lately, but I was really shocked when that one worked its way over the fence.
July 19, 2012 - 10:21 AM EDT's funny. I wrote of of ATF last night...and the other half early this morning...

I think I left off with Gallas last night...and when I picked up...I started with Rodriguez...I was actually at the game...hahahaha...which is why I was so tired last night...

I stopped at Gallas thinking, "Moncrief'll go as a headliner..." then must have just thought he was up there...

Listen...Moncrief is the most toolsy player in the system...and...that 13th homer gave him the team lead on the year...with a big group at 12 (Tice, Aguilar and Ronny R)...

Thanks for the catch....
July 19, 2012 - 10:16 AM EDT
Oh Norm, I know full well why he's sitting in Akron...and don't agree with the philosophy at all. Neal can play center if he had to, and I'd have him ahead of every outfielder they have in Columbus, both as a prospect, and as a player they could use this season. LaPorta is clearly not anything to this organization at this point. Rottino is a potential injury fill. Huffman is a wasted player (would have kept Crowe, unless Crowe asked to be released...which is possible). Canzler...Geodert...Donald...

I mean...just ridiculous. I can see having a couple of guys like that...but to have six or seven? In my estimation, Neal is a guy who's been a top prospect, is healthy again, and should be ahead of most of those guys listed above...

Hell, I'd have Fedroff in center, Neal in right, and Goedert in left...I'd trade LaPorta for a bag of baseballs...keep Canzer at third...Rottino at could keep LaPorta as a DH...

Not a hug fan of Carrera' he'd be gone, and so would Huffman...of could keep on Carrera as the fourth outfielder...but you wouldn't have to...because guys like Donald can play outfield... get my point. I'm sure Neal will get up in August after a move is made...but we'll see...

As per Gomez...I think if you look at a few of his bad games with Cleveland over that last stretch of'll find that his starts weren't horrible until the tail end...fourth...fifth...sixth innings...

IE...second/third time through the lineup.

That's fixable...Gomez will be back...
Lee P
July 19, 2012 - 9:41 AM EDT
You missed what should have been the headliner, your boy Moncreif went 2-3 with 2R, 1HR, 2RBI, 1 SB AND 2 BB!! Another break out game, fun to follow.
July 19, 2012 - 9:37 AM EDT
Hey Jim, I really have nothing to go on but it seems to me they want Neal to play every day and Huffman is just a fill in. Already moved two corner OFs up from Akron who cannot play CF at the ML level and added Rotino for depth. Until you move the regulars, he really won't play full time.

Speaking of promotional decisions, I wonder if it is the best use of resources to keep Gomez in Columbus. At the time they demoted him, I wondered if it was the right guy. He seems to have recaptured the command of his slider and the sinker is working again.

This may not be the greatest farm system for super prospects but it is comforting to see that there is solid prospects for promotion at every level except for Akron position players. I don't see much position help for next year but pitching depth looks pretty decent.. Time will tell as these players advance but the many prospects at A levels and lower give me a good feeling.

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