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Around The Farm: July 24, 2014

Murata's dominant start, Moncrief's power highlight the night on the farm

Around The Farm: July 24, 2014
Toru Murata (Photo: Brittany Chay)
July 25, 2014
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Toru Murata (SP, Columbus): W (1-2), 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 SO

Toru Murata (Photo: MiLB)Corey Kluber's outing may have outdone Murata's on Thursday, but seeing the right-hander take a no-hitter into the sixth inning is still impressive. Murata had everything working as he turned in his best start at Triple-A this season. It has not been the best year for Murata -- he owns a 5.26 ERA and 27:7 SO:BB in 39.1 Triple-A innings to go with a 4.81 ERA and 32:15 SO:BB in 48.2 Double-A innings -- but the 29-year-old is still filling in the gaps of the Clippers' and RubberDucks' rotations quite well. Murata's ability to move from team to team (and from the rotation to the bullpen) as needed and pitch relatively effectively is very useful, and while he is not a prospect at this point, it is great to see him find some success and dominate a game.

Carlos Moncrief (RF, Columbus): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI

Carlos Moncrief (Photo: MiLB)Moncrief is doing a much better job of tapping into his power and reaching base over the last two months, though taken as a whole, 2014 is still a reason to pump the breaks on the 25-year-old's future role. After taking a huge step forward with his plate discipline last year, Moncrief has fallen back this season. Here are Moncrief's strikeout and walk rates in his full seasons at a level:

2011 (Lake County): 28.6 K%, 13.8 BB% in 122 games

2012 (Carolina): 31.0 K%, 11.3 BB% in 101 games

2013 (Akron): 17.8 K%, 10.0 BB% in 129 games

2014 (Columbus): 24.9 K%, 6.8 BB% in 98 games

Moncrief's strikeouts bounced back up toward his 2011-12 levels while he has simultaneously stopped walking at the same rate he used to. As he is now, Moncrief's power and defense make him an intriguing player in the major league picture, but in order to look like a bona fide starter again, he will need to get back to his 2013 approach at the plate.

  • Francisco Lindor (SS, Columbus): 1-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB. Lindor's introduction to Triple-A continues to go smoothly, as the 20-year-old has a hit in all three games and now, thanks to drawing his first two walks as a Clipper on Thursday, a .462 on-base percentage.
  • Matt Carson (CF, Columbus): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 SO. Carson is still plugging away down in Columbus and now owns a .781 OPS to go with nine steals in 58 games.
  • Audy Ciriaco (1B, Columbus): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI. In addition to his .799 OPS in 79 games, the 27-year-old Ciriaco has been an important member of the Clippers' roster defensively, playing at least 13 games at each infield spot this season.
  • Jordan Cooper (SP, Akron): L (6-3), 7.0 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, 2 HR. Cooper pitched in place of Cody Anderson, who had his scheduled start skipped due to elbow soreness. Though he gave up a few too many runs, seeing a spot starter go seven solid innings is still a pretty good result.
  • Bryson Myles (RF, Akron): 0-for-4, 2 SO, 1 HBP. Myles was back in Akron after missing a little over six weeks due to meniscus surgery. The 24-year-old will look to pick up where he left off, as he posted a .282/.353/.421 line in 54 games pre-injury.
  • Jordan Smith (CF, Akron): 0-for-5. Smith's 10-game hitting streak was snapped Thursday, though the gains the 24-year-old has made over the past two months (.492 OPS, 40:11 SO:BB in 47 April/May games; .728 OPS, 23:13 SO:BB in 48 June/July games) remain.
  • Justin Toole (2B, Akron): 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI. The RubberDucks' lone extra base hit Thursday came off Toole's bat as the utility man continued his solid play in Akron (.718 OPS in 47 Double-A games).
  • Tony Wolters (C, Akron): 2-for-4, 1 BB, 1 SO. The lack of extra base pop in Wolters' bat to date is still a long-term concern -- he only owns a .065 isolated power in 92 games -- but the 22-year-old still has the intangibles you want behind the plate and is still learning the catcher position, something that could be dragging down his offense a bit.
  • Luis Lugo (SP, Lake County): L (5-8), 1.2 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 1 SO. As a whole, Lugo is still having a pretty strong season thanks to his 111:34 SO:BB in 87.2 innings. However, there is still plenty of growth ahead for Lugo, who is still working to gain more consistency with that raw ability.
  • Wander Beras (RP, Lake County): 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO. With Lugo's outing running short, Lake County had to dip into the bullpen early, with Beras picking up a good chunk of the slack. This outing lowered his ERA to 4.11 and increased his SO:BB to 44:23 in 50.1 innings.
  • Richard Stock (C, Lake County): 3-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 E. Stock has not played much this season, but the catcher has put together a solid .260/.305/.412 line in that limited playing time (37 games).
  • Brian Ruiz (LF, Lake County): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI. Ruiz has never been a guy who makes his name off his bat, but the 21-year-old is putting together a solid month offensively with a .283/.306/.417 line in 17 July games.
  • Nellie Rodriguez (DH, Lake County): 1-for-3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 2 SO. The hot streak Rodriguez was riding in June and at the beginning of July has faded, but the first baseman still owns a .782 OPS with 37 extra base hits in 95 games this season.
  • Juan Santana (SP, Mahoning Valley): L (0-5), 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO. This type of low-strikeout, even-lower-walk start has been Santana's style this season, as the right-hander owns a 23:6 SO:BB in 38.1 innings. The style is working pretty well, as Santana owns a 3.76 ERA to go with those decent peripherals.
  • Anthony Vizcaya (RP, Mahoning Valley): 3.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 3 SO, 1 WP, 2 HBP. With 12 walks, five wild pitches, and four hit by pitches in 20.0 innings this season, Vizcaya is still working through some control issues in his first action above the Arizona League.
  • Josh McAdams (DH, Mahoning Valley): 1-for-4, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 2 SO. McAdams is still working on solidifying his approach (34:5 SO:BB in 22 games with the Scrappers) as the swing and miss in his game does not allow him to regularly tap into the power he showed Thursday.
  • Austin Fisher (SS, Mahoning Valley): 2-for-3, 1 BB, 1 SO. Making his first appearance since July 10, Cleveland's 13th round pick in this year's draft hit the ground running, reaching base three times.
  • Ordomar Valdez (2B, Mahoning Valley): 1-for-2, 1 BB. Valdez still is not hitting for much power, with only two doubles in 21 games, but the infielder is reaching base at a .363 clip and owns a strong 9:11 SO:BB.
  • Grant Hockin (SP, AZL Indians): ND, 2.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 HBP. Hockin is still being brought along slowly, as this was the fourth-straight two-inning outing of his professional career.
  • Jared Robinson (RP, AZL Indians): 3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO. Robinson, who was picked in the 11th round of this year's draft, has done well in the early going, putting up a 0.90 ERA and 7:2 SO:BB in 10.0 innings out in Arizona.
  • Francisco Miguel (RF, AZL Indians): 2-for-6, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SO, 1 E. Miguel's first exposure to stateside ball has not gone well -- the 19-year-old owns a .445 OPS in 13 games -- but he did really well Thursday.
  • Nathan Winfrey (1B, AZL Indians): 2-for-6, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 4 SO, 1 E. Winfrey's introduction to professional ball has gone pretty well, as the infielder owns a .765 OPS in 16 games. As you can see from Thursday's game, however, he has some work to do with his strikeout (he has 22 in those 16 games).
  • Jodd Carter (LF, AZL Indians): 3-for-6, 3 R, 1 2B, 2 SO, 1 E. Carter just turned 18 years old on Sunday, but the 24th round pick in this year's draft is holding his own out in Arizona, putting up a .352 on-base percentage through 15 games.
  • Li-Jen Chu (C, AZL Indians): 1-for-1, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI. Chu came in as a defensive replacement in the top of the 12th and hit a walk-off homer in the bottom half of the inning. That sounds like a pretty great way to end the game (and ATF).

If you want to follow Jim on Twitter, he’s @JimPiascik. If you want to e-mail him, you can do so at If you want to read his Master's thesis on college athletes and Twitter, you can do so here.

User Comments

July 26, 2014 - 8:03 AM EDT
Lugo's FIP is 3.87, much lower than his actual ERA which is closer to 6.00. That and his excellent K/BB ratio lends some optimism for the future.

Still, he kind of reminds me of Elvis Araujo, another big lefty with an impressive arm who folks were high on for years despite his consistently putting up bad numbers. Hope Lugo can harness his stuff better than Elvis.
July 25, 2014 - 8:39 PM EDT
Sorry, the post on Lugo was by me.
July 25, 2014 - 8:37 PM EDT
I find it a bit humorous reading, both in the recent feature and in this recap, the advanced analytical spin being put on Lugo. Crunch all the numbers you want, but he stunk up the joint in this one, and his ERA -- try as you might to discount it, it still matters -- is abysmal.
Jim Piascik
July 25, 2014 - 11:23 AM EDT
Yeah, his rates since April/May are better, but you can't just ignore what's already happened. April and May are a part of what makes up Moncrief's 2014 season, not just setting the arbitrary start point at June 1.

There's some hope Moncrief is rediscovering his 2014 form, but it is far from a sure thing. We now have two months on one end of the spectrum and two on the other end. As for predicting the fifth month (August), it's best to bet in the middle, thus using the season strikeout rate.
July 25, 2014 - 10:49 AM EDT
Even at 24.5%K rate Moncrief is substantially under Nick Swisher's 30%. And the K rate is showing statistically significant improvement and month to month in 2014 after a really poor start in April/May. Look at his YOY stats for months of June and July.
July 25, 2014 - 8:43 AM EDT
Papi is over his head at Lake County, don't ruin the kids confidence, send him down to the Valley.

When will Ruiz start to play more over Paulino, I think we now know that the Paulino numbers from Arizona were a mirage and he doesn't have enough power to play a corner outfield spot.

The Akron batting order is like stiff central, worst order in the Eastern League.

Why is Murata still in the rotation, ea he had a nice game kudos, but he is 29 years old and really isn't even a depth option in the event one of the Indians rotation pieces gets hurt. The Clippers rotation is full of journeyman types that are taking innings away from others.

Moncreif, is looking good, not sure he is an everyday MLB corner outfielder due to his lack of strike zone discipline, but he has definitely joined Holt as an extra outfield type for the big league team.

When will the Indains sack up and bite the bullet with Swisher this season, sit the guy, bring up Aguilar and let him DH, I am sure he will put up better numbers than Swisher.

The more I watch Jose Ramirez the more I begin to think he is going to be a fringe MLB player, a guy that can play multiple positions, but will never hit much. If the Indians were in contention it would be a good time to include him in a package since his value will never be higher.

Cody Anderson, pretty much been a lost season for him.

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