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Around the Farm: July 20, 2014

Around the Farm: July 20, 2014
Francisco Mejia (Photo: Ken Carr)
July 21, 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.

Note, rookie level Arizona was off on Sunday.

Francisco Mejia (C, Mahoning Valley): 3-for-4, 4 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, K. Mejia cranked his first homer of the Mahoning Valley season and really had an excellent all-around game at the plate. It is not often that you see an 18-year old hitting cleanup in the NY-Penn League – let along such a player being a catcher. That’s just another example of how special the Indians believe Mejia is and the massive upside he has. He has all of the tools with his arm behind the plate and his bat to be an impact player both offensively and defensively. He is a guy fans will need to be patient on as the performance will probably lag behind the next few years since he will be so young for the league.

Tyler Holt (CF, Columbus): 4-for-5, R, K, CS. If anyone thought Holt might have a Major League hangover after his first call to Cleveland – albeit a short one – they were wrong. Since returning to Columbus after his two day stay in Cleveland two weeks ago he has been on fire hitting .389 with a .948 OPS in his last 10 games. His roster assignment pretty much solidifies him as at worst a depth outfield option for the Indians the next few seasons as the Indians like his work ethic, drive, versatility and on-base ability.

  • Giovanny Urshela (3B, Columbus): 2-for-4, R, 2B, 2 RBI, E. Urshela continues forward with a nice season and one that has solidified himself as a legit Major League option for the Indians and potential solution to their third base woes in Cleveland. His defense is top notch, and even if he is just average with the bat he has a chance to really impact the big league roster soon.
  • Justin Sellers (SS, Columbus): 2-for-4, R, HR, RBI. Sellers was brought in to be immediate utility depth for the Indians on a short term basis this season, though his long term prospects with the organization appear remote. Once Francisco Lindor is given the go ahead to move up to Triple-A then Sellers is going to take more of a backseat with his role.
  • Justin Masterson (SP, Columbus): 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB, 6 K. This is a nice outing and what you want to see from the Indians “ace” in his first rehab appearance. I still find it hard to believe his ongoing knee issue is suddenly better and he is going to be back to his old self, but at least he threw two thirds of his pitches for a strike (71 pitches, 47 strikes).
  • Vinnie Pestano (RP, Columbus): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K. After a four week stay in Cleveland, the Indians sent Pestano back to Columbus last week. He has since responded with two outings where he has not allowed a run in 1.1 innings but has also allowed 4 walks. He unfortunately now looks like an organizational up and down guy….which is sad considering how great he was just two years ago.
  • J.C. Ramirez (RP, Columbus): 2.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HR. For the most part, Ramirez has been effective this season and done a nice job providing veteran depth and insurance in the upper levels. That said, I would rather move on from him and open his spot for a deserving pen arm from Akron.
  • Jordan Smith (RF, Akron): 1-for-5. With Tyler Naquin done for some time, Smith has seen some time in the leadoff spot. He’s had a good month hitting .303 in 18 games but is still not driving the ball for much power at all.
  • Tony Wolters (C, Akron): 1-for-3, 2B, BB, 2 K. It is hard to believe that Wolters is now 22 years old….so he is not a young pup anymore. There is still some upside with the bat, though at this point it may be limited – which is not a bad thing if you are at least solid defensively behind the plate and have the versatility to play anywhere in the infield. That’s a rare commodity.
  • Justin Toole (3B, Akron): 2-for-4, 2B, RBI. Toole is a great example of a guy who just continues to make the most of his opportunities. He’s not a prospect by any means and is an “organizational” guy, but even so he is having a great season hitting .310 with a .372 on-base percentage in limited time at Akron.
  • Duke von Schamann (SP, Akron): 7.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R/ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HR. After an impressive April, the Duke really has struggled in the months since; however, he put together a nice outing on Sunday and pitched deep into the game and gave his team a chance to win. Maybe this is the start he needs to kick things back into gear.
  • Trey Haley (RP, Akron): 0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R/ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR. Haley came in and served up a three-run homer thus allowing an inherited runner from von Schamann to score in the process. He is 24 years old now and has really struggled to stay on the field over the years, and his future in the organization does not look promising.
  • Elvis Araujo (RP, Akron): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K. After allowing a run in each of his first three outings with Double-A Akron, he has bounced back with two scoreless outings his last two times out. He’s very much in the Major League mix down the road and is in for a key offseason.
  • Todd Hankins (CF, Carolina): 3-for-5, 2 R, K. Hankins has really had a solid season. He is versatile where he can play infield and the outfield and has some speed and a little pop, so there is value there. He continues to improve his stock but is still more of a fringe prospect, though has a good shot to get to Akron next season or even later this season.
  • Yandy Diaz (3B, Carolina): 1-for-3, 2 RBI. Diaz continues to play well and make up for lost time. He is a conversion to third base so is still learning to play the position on an everyday basis, but the bat is what brings the most promise. He is still not showing a lot of power, but it is in there and should come out more as he gets further away from his hand injury.
  • LeVon Washington (LF, Carolina): 1-for-3, BB. Washington has been consistent all season and really has a good approach. That’s what you have to like, is the ability to put up consistently good at bats. That said, he doesn’t run much, he doesn’t hit for much power and he is limited to left field only. He has to hit a lot more to be considered much more than a mid-level prospect.
  • Michael Peoples (SP, Carolina): 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R/ER, 3 BB, 3 K. Peoples continues to have a solid season and is a guy with the size and frame you love in a pitcher. He is getting a good amount of swing and miss this season and the stuff is interesting, and most importantly his outings are getting more consistent. Keep an eye on him.
  • Josh Martin (RP, Carolina): 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. After a rough June where he allowed 12 runs (all earned) on 14 hits and 4 walks in 11.0 innings (9.82 ERA), Martin has bounced back with a nice July allowing 2 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks in 8.0 innings.
  • Grant Sides (RP, Carolina): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K. Sides has really had a nice bounce back season after a disastrous 2013 campaign. His walks are down, which has been the primary reason for his success – though he has ran into the walk bug of late with 7 in his last 10 outings (9.2 IP).
  • Clint Frazier (CF, Lake County): 0-for-3, BB, 2 K. When you lose 2-1 and are limited to just 5 hits on the evening, the pickings are slim when it comes to standout performers at the plate. After a hot week Frazier looks to be cooling off as he is 4-for-19 over his last 6 games.
  • Mike Papi (RF, Lake County): 0-for-3, R, BB, K. It has been just 5 games and Papi is only 3-for-19 at the plate in combined time at Mahoning Valley and Lake County. Once he settles in not just as a pro but also with an affiliate then the bat may start to show itself a lot more. He’s easily one of the top bats to watch at Lake County right now.
  • Nellie Rodriguez (1B, Lake County): 1-for-2, 2 BB, K. Lake County had just nine baserunners all night, and Rodriguez accounted for three of them. He continues to play well in the second half with a .330/.383/.632 slash line in 27 games since the All Star break.
  • Jordan Milbrath (SP, Lake County): 5.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R/ER, 3 BB, 1 K. Milbrath drops to 3-10 on the season,  though had a solid outing and pitched well enough to win. After a midseason hiccup with his performance, he’s really honed it in of late with a 2.81 post-All Star ERA (6 starts).
  • Steven Patterson (3B, Mahoning Valley): 2-for-5, 2B, 3B, 3 E. Patterson has had a nice introduction to pro ball at the plate hitting .289 with a .841 OPS in 24 games. This was a tough game for him defensively with three errors, and he now has seven on the season.
  • Bradley Zimmer (CF, Mahoning Valley): 2-for-5, 2 R, 2B, 3 RBI, SB. Zimmer showed it all in this game with some run production ability to go along with some table setting ability as well. That 10-8 walk to strikeout ratio in 20 games is very encouraging to see.
  • Josh McAdams (LF, Mahoning Valley): 2-for-4, R, BB. This is an encouraging game from McAdams who has had a forgettable season as he is hitting just .194 with a .475 OPS in 48 combined games between Lake County and Mahoning Valley. He also has 72 strikeouts in 175 at bats.
  • Yonathan Mendoza (SS, Mahoning Valley): 3-for-5, 2 R, 2B, 3 RBI. Mendoza needed this game in a big way and he continues to play better of late going 9-for-23 over his last 6 games. The Indians like his versatility and he has a great chance to be in such a role with Lake County next season.
  • Kieran Lovegrove (SP, Mahoning Valley): 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 1 K. The high amount of walks and lack of strikeouts continue to be a concern, but the quality of Lovegrove’s outings has improved immensely since the start of the season. You are seeing some real progress in his outings.
  • Jordan Carter (RP, Mahoning Valley): 3.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K. Carter has done a nice job in his pro debut of providing multiple innings in each of his outings. Aside from one bad outing on June 20th when he allowed 5 runs (3 earned) in 2.0 innings, he has been good all season.

Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.

User Comments

July 21, 2014 - 6:23 PM EDT
Absolutely Ryan. But the guys being promoted have to be ready and it has to be the right move. For a guy like Colon who is working on the consistency of his secondary stuff and keeping his misses low in the zone rather than up, sometimes that is something that can be worked on at the current level while having success rather than promoting and having to worry about a transitional period.
July 21, 2014 - 6:23 PM EDT
Not sure why everyone wants to write off VS so fast, he is only 23, JUST turned 23!
It isn't like he is an old 25 or something.
Holt would be a perfect fit as the 4th OFer next year, unfortunately we have Raburn to supposedly do that job. Also, Francona is the manager, and is always averse to using rookies.
July 21, 2014 - 6:19 PM EDT
One would think that promoting a starter or two from AA to AAA wouldn't be that hard considering that most of the AAA rotations are organizational fillers like Cloyd and Barnwart.
July 21, 2014 - 6:00 PM EDT
Moving Roberts and Patterson to third we should expect a few more boots till they acclamate
July 21, 2014 - 3:00 PM EDT
McAdams, Mcclure , Lovegrove next year at this time will join Dillion Howard in the unemployment line..
July 21, 2014 - 2:44 PM EDT
Unrelated but related, Houston was smart in not signing Aiken, he'll need TJ in the next 3-5 years due to the small UCL.
July 21, 2014 - 1:21 PM EDT
Thanks BigTex!
July 21, 2014 - 1:18 PM EDT
Baker returns tonight
July 21, 2014 - 1:17 PM EDT
anyone have scouting report on masterson to share. what was his velo why did they get so many hits off him. It would seem to me he should have blown the batters away. please shed some light
July 21, 2014 - 12:57 PM EDT

I try to listen to most Mudcats games when they're not on The announcer, Darren Headrick, interviewed Steve Karsay who mentioned they were working on the cutter. With Merritt's elite control, it only makes sense to develop a 4th pitch. This will be a very important offseason for him to continue to add weight/strength in addition to command of a 4th pitch when, hopefully, he joins the starting rotation in Akron next year.

Any news on Baker and his return to Carolina?
July 21, 2014 - 12:00 PM EDT
Mejia out in the DSL is a legit prospect and what the Indians consider to probably be their best prospect out there. I will have more on him in a MH this week, but he is certainly a guy to keep an eye on and probably will see some time late in the season in the AZL and definitely in Instructional League. I can't wait to see him there.
July 21, 2014 - 11:51 AM EDT
NIce info BigTex, how do you know that? (just curious)

And it makes sense to have Merritt work on those kinds of things at Carolina, before making the jump to AA. That said, of Roberts, Morimando, Anderson, Colon and von Schamann, l could see Roberts or Colon moving up for the last third or quarter of the season, and that would give Merritt a nice little reward and challenge.

On another topic, if I were Antonetti I'd be on the phone w the Marlins GM and willing to give up Naquin, Hagadone/Pestano and J-Ramirez in exchange for Cishek (and someone else, maybe Ozuna if we could get him). Despite having a lot of bodies in our pen, its still pretty shaky imo, and Cishek would really make it much stronger.
July 21, 2014 - 11:07 AM EDT
going off on a bit of a tangent, can someone give me some background on Gabriel Mejia from the Tribe's Dominican Summer league team? 7th in the league in batting with a .358 avg, 48 steals in 42 games, just as many BB's as K's. Is he a legit prospect, and where might he play next year?
July 21, 2014 - 10:52 AM EDT
Merritt should replace VS in the Akron rotation, not sure how Tony concludes that VS is still a prospect at this point.

Wolters needs some more power, or else he is a fringe MLB player.

Sending Papi down to Mahoning does nothing, he has the most advanced bat of anyone the Indians drafted this year. I see Zimmer as a serviceable big league player, although, his lack of power could limit him to CF.

Lovegrove is still very young, way too early to get down on him

McAdams will more than likely either be given one more shot next year at LC, or he could be a roster cut this spring.

Patterson should be playing well at MV based on his age

Washington is probably not a top 20 prospect for the Indians anymore, his injuries have really impacted his abilities on the base paths and he really has never had power. Too light of a hitter for a corner outfield spot

Indians are going to have some tough decisions on the 40 man this upcoming off season, may lose some talent to Rule 5.
July 21, 2014 - 10:48 AM EDT
Holt's RH bat makes him a great fit as a fourth outfielder for the near future (unless/until Bryson Myles stays healthy enough to nab that role or, fingers crossed, grab a starting corner spot). In fact, if it weren't for Raburn's contract (and that damn option for next year), he'd probably be up right now. Any chance the Tribe eats Raburn's 2015 salary if Holt has a solid spring training?
July 21, 2014 - 10:29 AM EDT

While I completely agree that Merritt does indeed belong in AA, the Indians are doing a great job of trying to continue the development of Merritt in Carolina. One of the challenges he has faced since turning pro is the inability to get swing and miss with 2 strikes. His K's are up this year, but a large percentage of hits have come with 2 strikes. His curveball has greatly improved this year, but the lack of velocity allows hitters to continue to foul balls off until they get a hittable pitch. The Indians are addressing this by adding a cutter into his arsenal. As a result, his last few starts along with a large jump in homeruns have shown that this is a work in progress. It has taken me a while to understand the Indians approach; however, I believe another 4-5 starts in Carolina would not be a bad thing.
July 21, 2014 - 10:13 AM EDT
Last post was from me...

Just a note on Patterson's 3 errors: he was playing 3B, but is a 2B. Probably trying him out there to test his versatility. Maybe just leave him at 2B.
July 21, 2014 - 10:08 AM EDT
Wolters was the 2nd youngest player to open on the Akron roster, behind only Lindor. The average age for AA is 24.6 and Wolters played it at 21.5, as he turned 22 mid-season. So, while "not a pup anymore", he's still very young for the league and it's his first stay at the level. He's having the same season Ronny Rod and Urshela had last season in AA at the same age. Next season will decide if he takes off like Urshela or plateaus like RRod, so I'm not too concerned about his performance yet, as there's still a lot to like.

While not a top 10 spec anymore after this season, he should still be safely in the top 20.

As for Peoples. Like Sulser, he offers some intriguing swing and miss. It will be interesting what the Indians do with those two, as the Akron 2015 rotation seems crowded already: C.Anderson and DVS should repeat. Merrit and Morimando are locks to be in it and even Plutko has a case and should be higher priority. A move to the bullpen? Piggyback?
July 21, 2014 - 9:55 AM EDT
Hiram, I agree that Merritt deserves to be in Akron.....though there has to be a spot to promote him to. Right now Roberts, Morimando, Anderson, Colon and von Schamann occupy the five rotation spots. That is the main issue. To promote a guy there has to be a spot to promote him to, and all five guys are prospects and non-filler so it is not as easy as just moving a guy to the pen. Also, while the performance is great for Merritt, it should be noted that the Indians have always expressed a need to have pitchers get a large number of starts in High-A before a promotion....regardless of how good they are doing. They did it with Anderson last year and have done it with others in the past. Shoot, I remember the year Scott Lewis had like a 1.50 ERA or whatever and was the Carolina League Pitcher of the Year and they kept him there almost all year or did in fact keep him there all year. I would think that if a spot opens up in Akron with someone being promoted to Columbus late in the season or someone getting hurt that it would be what gets Merritt to Akron.
July 21, 2014 - 8:41 AM EDT

what does Ryan Merritt have to do to get promoted to AA?? He seems to have nothing else to prove
July 21, 2014 - 8:36 AM EDT
Why is the Duke still in the rotation at Akron, time to pull the plug on this guy

Send Papi down to the Valley, he is overwhelmed at Lake County. Bring Zimmer up to Lake County, Zimmer looks like a single and doubles type of hitter without much power, but he will hit better than Papi right now at LC.

Lovegrove, another in the long line of Indian soft tossers, hopefully the organizations transitions away from soft tossers like Lovegrove.

McAdams is still hitting a buck ninety four, so why do so many in this forum like the guy? I think he is just occupying space in the lineup and those at bats would be better off going to someone else.

Levon Washington's loss of speed is alarming, this guy will be lucky to get past Akron since he really doesnt have any great tools, might be time to cut ties with him after this season.

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