Around the Farm: July 2, 2012
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.
Jesus Aguilar: 1B, Carolina Mudcats: 4-for-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1 K:
This was Aguilar’s second two-homer game in his last seven, and his 11 homers are now second on the team next to Jeremie Tice’s 12. Aguilar is hitting .312 on the season, and has shown off a marked improvement at the plate. While he’s still on pace to strike out right around 100 times, this would be a dramatic improvement over last season’s 126. He’s also on pace for 55 walks on the year, which would also be a nice increase. I’m not sure there’s anything left for him to prove at the Single A level, and it’s time to get him to Akron to see if his game translates to an upper level. Most who read my daily ATF’s know that I think extremely highly of Aguilar…probably higher than most, and games like this really showcase how talented this kid is. With all that said, I still believe that his biggest asset is his ability to learn and adapt. That’s what will take this talented first baseman to the bigs.
Giovanny Urshela: 3B, Carolina Mudcats: 3-for-5, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI:
This kid is really starting to catch my eye, and his bat has really been talking over the past couple of weeks. He’s 11-for-36 over his past ten ballgames, with nine runs, four doubles, three homers and eight RBI. He’s walked and struck out once each. Scouts believe that Urshela has the defensive ability at third to be a potential gold glove candidate in the bigs, as he has all the tools you would want in a third baseman. He’s quick, reacts well, and gets a glove on everything. On top of that, he has a big arm. Offensively, he’s been a mixed bag. He hit .290 in his first taste out of rookie ball at Mahoning, but followed that up by hitting .238 in his first full season. This year began with an injury that cost him a month of baseball, and when he came back, he struggled mightily…for a bit. He’s figured something out, because he’s found his power, and his average, and he could provide the Indians with an interesting predicament should he continue to showcase a complete package.
Rob Bryson: RP, Akron Aeros: 3 IP, 6 K:
This is the frustration for me for one Rob Bryson. When the Indians made the Sabathia deal, Bryson was considered a big arm and a lock for the bigs at some point as a potential back-end reliever. Unfortunately, he went on the DL nearly the second he joined the Indians’ organization, and it’s been a roller-coaster ride for Bryson ever since then. His velocity is still up, and he still has a nice arm that could be something special, but he’s just never garnered the consistency over the past couple of seasons that has been able to move him into serious contention for a call-up. But ever so often, Bryson will have one of these perfect performances that let you know just how good he could be, may be, or almost will be going forward. This was as dominant as you can get, and he’s had, overall, a very good season. He’s 3-1 with Akron, with a 2.68 ERA. He’s struggled with walks this season, with a 24:48 BB to K ratio. But, over his last ten games, he’s corralled that a bit, giving up only five walks vs. 20 K’s in 11 2/3. The 24-year-old still has value as a potential reliever in the future, but more outings like this are exactly what will wake the Indians up to make a move to finally get him to Columbus.
- Ezequiel Carrera: CF, Columbus: 2-for-5, 1 RBI, SB: Carrera has been hot of late, with three two-hit games in his last four, going 7-for-18, with four runs, a double and two RBI. Carrera has evened out this season as a .270 hitter, with plus speed, that really doesn’t offer the type of skill that will present itself at the major league level. Funny how quickly things change.
- Travis Hafner: DH, Columbus: 0-for-4: Hafner played his third game with the Clippers, and still only has one hit. I doubt anyone’s worried about his production in Columbus, as much as they are worried about his health. Hopefully the offense will come, because the Indians sure could use it.
- Matt LaPorta: 1B, Columbus: 2-for-4, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 K: LaPorta continues to own Triple A, with his 12th and 13th doubles on the season. There really aren’t any superlatives right now to describe LaPorta’s play. The Indians either want him to make the club, or they don’t. My guess? They don’t…
- Jared Goedert: 3B, Columbus: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K: Goedert likes playing hot potato/cold potato, and right now he’s playing hot potato. This was his third straight two-hit game, and extending his hit streak to four. He’s 15-for-40 (.375) over his last ten ballgames, and is now hitting nearly .290 in Columbus after struggling once joining the club from Akron.
- T.J. McFarland: SP, Columbus: W (3-1), 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R/ER, 3 BB, 5 K: McFarland continues to dominate at Triple A after doing the same at Double A Akron. Overall, he’s 11-3 with a 3.69 ERA. What’s most impressive about McFarland is that he gave up ten runs in one 4 1/3 inning outing, yet still has an ERA under 4. That’s how good he’s been.
- Dan Wheeler: RP, Columbus: H (4), 1 IP, 1 K: Wheeler is still with the team? Talk about clogging up space…
- Cody Allen: RP, Columbus: S (1), 1 IP, 1 BB, 2 K: Allen was as good as ever tonight, rebounding after giving up a run in his last outing…his first in eight ballgames. Allen may be the best arm in the system.
- Matt Lawson: 2B, Akron: 2-for-6, 1 R, 2 2B, 2 K: Lawson has back-to-back two hit ballgames. There isn’t anything that’s going to change the fact that the 26-year-old is nothing but minor league fill at this stage of his career.
- Adam Abraham: DH, Akron: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 K: Abraham may have to start looking over his shoulder a bit. As hard a worker as he is, I can’t imagine there’s anything he can do to stop the freight train known as Jesus Aguilar. He just has to get the average above .245.
- Roberto Perez: C, Akron: 2-for-5, 1 RBI, 1 K: Perez is hitting his typical close-to-the-Mendoza line average, so it’s nice to see him with a two-hit ballgame.
- Steven Wright: SP, Akron: 6 IP, 7 H, 5 R/4 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 HR. This wasn’t Wright’s best ballgame, but he still left without getting the loss. R.A. Dickey has likely increased his value to other teams, and you have to think that the Indians are keeping a close eye on him as he would add an interesting dynamic to any rotation. After rolling through the season, Wright has struggled in his last two starts, going 11 innings, and giving up 15 hits and ten runs (eight earned). He’s not walking many though, which is strange for a knuckleballer.
- Preston Guilmet: RP, Akron: 1 IP, 2 K: Guilmet continues to impress, and has re-emerged as a quirky reliever with a strange delivery that can replicate and devastate. His ERA over his past ten games is 0.00 in 10 2/3 innings, and he’s given up only seven hits, without a walk. He’s struck out six. Guilmet had an incredible season last year, leading the organization with 35 saves, but the big question mark was how it would translate to the upper levels. After struggling early, and rolling at a 3.00+ ERA (never over 4), he’s actually IMPROVED upon last season, as his ERA is currently .04 below last season’s 2.16. He’s still the Aeros closer, but has been used in multiple roles this season, dropping his saves totals to 10, but it is only the first week of July, and he’ll no doubt have 20+ saves by year’s end. Is he viable for Columbus and Cleveland? I wouldn’t bet against him.
- Bryce Stowell: RP, Akron: L (1-1), 1/3 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB: While Stowell took his first loss of the season, you have to start thinking that his days of being an elite arm are over. Injuries have curtailed a career that looked like a sure thing for the bigs. I’m not saying Stowell is done by any stretch, but this year has certainly knocked him down a peg or two. In his last five games, he’s given up seven runs (six earned), while walking four batters. He’s struck out six during that stretch. To top things off, Stowell left the game yesterday with an oblique strain. If that’s true, just another injury for a guy who’s had a bunch of them.
- Bryan Price: RP, Akron Aeros: 2/3 IP, 2 H: It’s interesting how many people are rooting for Price to make it to the next level. I’ve received a few e-mails over the past couple of months regarding Price and his potential as a major league reliever, and I do believe that he’ll ultimately find his way onto a big league roster. At the end of the day, he’s just not an elite arm in the system, and can be extremely hittable at times. That’s not to say he couldn’t find a niche in a bullpen. He could, and will, but don’t ever expect him to become that dominant, Vinnie Pestano-type.
- Tony Wolters: DH, Carolina: 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 K: Wolters has caught fire again after a bit of a slump through the end of June. His two hit game continued an eight-game hit streak in which he has four multi-hit ballgames. During the streak, he’s hitting over .350, with six runs, two doubles and six RBI.
- Bo Greenwell: LF, Carolina: 2-for-5, 1 RBI, 2 K: Greenwell is hitting .359 after his 10th game, and has hit safely in eight of ten ballgames since his return.
- Ronny Rodriguez: SS, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K: Rodriguez hit his ninth home run on Monday night, which puts him two away from his career high 11 that he hit last year at Lake County. The kid has surprising power.
- Danny Salazar: SP, Carolina: 4 IP, 2 H, 3 K: Salazar went four innings for the first time since his second start in early April, and the Indians upped his pitch count to 50 pitches. He didn’t disappoint, handing Jordan Cooper another win. Salazar is the best starter on the Mudcats roster, and it will be interesting to see if the Tribe continues to up his pitch count as the season progresses.
- Shawn Armstrong: RP, Carolina: 1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K: Armstrong has done nothing but struggle over the past month, giving up five runs over his past nine games, and his ERA over the past ten is a robust-for-him 3.86. He had a nice outing on Monday, but will need to regain that dominant consistency to continue to be considered an elite bullpen arm in the system.
- Jose Ramirez: 2B, Lake County: 3-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 SB: Ramirez has sure found his swing at Lake County. In his ten games, he has hits in five of them, and in all five, he has multiple hits. He’s gone 14-for-41 (.341), with eight runs, three doubles, two RBI, three walks, four K’s and three SB’s. I don’t think Ramirez is a major prospect, but boy can he hit.
- Luigi Rodriguez: CF, Lake County: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 SB: Rodriguez has really balanced out his offense, raising his average to .285 with his fourth multi-hit game in his last nine. If he can continue this consistency, this is what will get him bumped up a level. It’s clear that he has an abundance of talent. He still has to curb his strikeouts.
- Alex Monsalve: DH, Lake County: 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K: Monsalve has hits in eight of his last ten games, and has five multi-hit games during that stretch. He definitely has big-play ability with the bat, and needs to continue to show it. His ten-game line is .317/.333/.488.
- Alex Lavisky: C, Lake County: 2-for-4, 2 K: Lavisky has really been a bit of a forgotten guy on this roster, but it says a lot with someone’s play when you look at an average of .236 and thing, “Wow, what an improvement.” Yeah, it’s been that bad, but hopefully he can continue to improve with the bat, as he provides plus defensive skills.
- Felix Sterling: RP, Lake County: 2IP, 1 K: Sterling has been drop-dead horrible since the end of May, with Monday Night’s performance being one of his best since. He’s in the bullpen now, so perhaps he can work through his recent struggles.
- Tyler Naquin: CF, Mahoning Valley: 1-for-3, 3 R, 3 BB: I love lines like this, and it goes to show just what kind of offensive player Naquin really is. He’s a guy that gets on base any way he can, and scores runs. He’s scored six runs, hit three doubles, driven in two, walked six times and struck out seven.
- Charlie Valerio: C, Mahoning Valley: 1-for-3, 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: Valerio has scored six runs in his last three ballgames, and has eight RBI in his last eight.
- Joe Sever: DH, Mahoning Valley: 2-for-4, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: The Indians 21st round pick in 2012 has had a nice start to his professional career. In his first five games, he’s 6-for-17, with a run and four RBI.
- Aaron Siliga: LF, Mahoning Valley: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 RBI: Siliga has a five-game hit streak, and has hits in eight of his last ten ballgames.
- Evan Frazar: 1B, Mahoning Valley: 3-for-5, 1 R, 3 RBI: Frazar was 0-for-9 in his last three ballgames before busting out of his slump with Monday Night’s three-hit gem.
- Louis Head: RP, Mahoning Valley: S (1), 2 IP, 1 H, 5 K: Head was drafted by the Indians in the 18th round out of Texas State, and it was clear that he was going to be a reliever, as he was Texas State’s closer at the end of the season. He closed the season with 10 1/3 innings without giving up an earned run. He’s undersized, listed at 6’0” and 210, but most think that’s stretching it a bit. Because of that size issue, he’s always pitched with attitude, a chip on his shoulder. He struggled at Texas Teach as a starter for the most part, before moving to Texas State, maturing, and moving to the closer role. He hovers in the low 90’s with his fastball, and has good breaking stuff to go with it. He could be one to watch.
- Joseph Wendle: 3B, Mahoning Valley: 3-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB: The 22-year-old is just decimating NY-Penn pitching, and is now hitting .400 in his ten-game debut as a professiona. You have to wonder when and if they will move him up to Lake County because of his advanced age, or if they’ll see if he can remain consistent at a level that he clearly dominates. He’s hitting a crazy .455 against lefthanded pitching, and is hitting over .500 for the month of July.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
As for Urshela, he's got all the goods defensively but has a very suspect bat. Not patient, doesn't walk, expands zone, and limited power still. He's nowhere close to a Top 10 prospect. Maybe...MAYBE a top 30 guy. I mean, he was the #51 prospect this year for me....and while he has had a solid year, hasn't made that much of an improvement offensively to make a sizable leap. Would need to not only perform better the second half but also show an much improved approach.
Not only do I agree that Aguilar should be in Akron but I still believe that RRod ahould join him there. It would be a treat to watch Lindor and Urshela defend the left side.
I think you have the right idea on Urshela's swing length. He has a ways to go in that regard but his pitch recognition and ability to handle breaking balls looks much improved to although I don't see him regularly as you do.
What a rough year...
Imagine a guy like Tyler Holt, who has similar players like Zeke Carrera, Tim Fedroff, Trevor Crowe and Jordan Henry in front of him, and other like Canzler, LaPorta, Neal and Tice as well...
and those are just decently profiled guys...every year I cover minor league stuff...there's ten stories of guys that don't get a chance for healthy...or other players...or potential deals...or bad play...or spectacular play from others...it's the nature of the beast...
He still has that long swing...but it is improved...as far as his defense goes, you just need to see him a couple of times to see how well he moves, and his strong arm to understand just how good he is...and likely will be. Of course, it won't always translate.
Per the injury to Stowell last night, it hasn't been confirmed by the Indians as of yet, but it was making the rounds in the press box. Hopefully it's not the oblique, because that's an automatic 2-4 weeks...and he doesn't need that right now...
Im also very intrigued about Urshela. I did get to watch a couple Lake County games on Milb TV last year, and his defense was standout. He even made an error or two in those games I watched, but he was constantly making tough plays look easy. Defense is certainly one of those things you can't judge by looking at the box scores. One negative about his offense that I remember from last year is the length of his swing. He extends his arms a long way over the plate (similar to Laporta) and I feel that once he moves up in the organization he will have trouble catching up to fastballs on the inner part of the plate. However, if he can manage to get stronger and increase his bat speed, he will be a very interesting player.
Thanks again for all your work Jim.
Stowell was pointed straight to the majors a couple of years ago before injuries derailed him. Now, he's 25 years old, stuck in Akron, can't get healthy, and struggling over the past month. You do the math...since you are so good looking at the big picture.
Seriously, I want Stowell to dominate, and he may, very well, do it again, but until he can stay healthy and consistent, which he hasn't been doing a good job of, he's not elite...and clearly...that's just my opinion.
As far as Urshela goes, if you consider him a top ten...so be it...I have no problem with that. I just need to see the offense over a larger sample size, and perhaps without the protection of a guy like Jesus Aguilar...
With regard to Nivar, I don't cover the Dominican Summer League in ATF, but perhaps we should. Of course, covering seven games a night for this report isn't the easiest, so adding an eighth wouldn't be easy to do.
Wow...people are cranky this morning...;)
Thanks for the posts guys...as always...
In the front page lede, is it really accurate or necessary to say Urshela is not a top prospect? If he indeed has legit potential gold glove defense (not doubting however it seems like we've been hearing this for years with few updates), hitting .265+ with average power in his 20yo season in HiA would certainly make him a top 10 prospect IMO. There's certainly a lot of baseball left to play, but perhaps he can ride Aguilar's hot-hitting coattails for a while.
How about Juan Nivar throwing 6 perfect innings with 8 Ks? I haven't seen a line like that from an Indians prospect in who knows how long...
Why is he giving up so many runs when he rarely walks anyone and is missing to many bats? He's only allowed two HR's. Are they bunching hits off him?
Looking at his splits, his ERA with the bases empty is 0.75. With runners on it's 9.39. I think we've figured out his problem. Still, with 21 K's in 12 innings with the bases empty it appears there's nothing wrong with his arm. Maybe he needs to learn to focus on the hitter with runners on base.
A lot of very interesting bullpen arms on that Akron team.