Around the Farm: July 25
I just wanted to take the time to congratulate Jason Kipnis on his game-winning single last night for his first major league hit. I've watched a lot of minor leaguers over the years in Kinston (and all the other various affiliate locations), and Kipnis stood out, especially as an offensive player at second base. For those of you that are seeing him for the first time, you can see what I mean with his approach at the plate. His demeanor showcases an "I've been here before" kind of attitude. It's not cocky by any stretch, but 100% professional. Watch his at bat from last night, if you get a chance. If you didn't know any better, you would never guess that he's a rookie. The kid can hit, and if he's playing every day, he's going to make a difference on this team. Last night was just a showcase of that talent.
Cole Cook: SP, Lake County: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R/0ER, 1 BB, 4 K, W (5-10):
Cook has had a solid July, going 2-2 in 28 IP, walking only eight batters and striking out 15. His ERA over that time period is an impressive 2.89. His lone bad July start saw the righty give up four homers and five earned runs, which makes that 2.89 ERA even more impressive. Cook isn't high up the prospect rankings by any stretch, and he likely isn't even the best Cook in the system, but he's certainly been pitching better than his counterpart since the summer months have heated up.
- Luis Valbuena: 3B, Columbus: 2-4, 1 K: Valbuena has been hot-and-cold since returning from his short stint in Cleveland. He's alternated Oh-fer's with multi-hit games. Valbuena's in minor-league limbo at this point, so it will be interesting watching how he performs going forward.
- Beau Mills: 1B, Columbus: 1-2, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: Mills crushed his first homer at the Triple A level, which also happened to be his first hit there as well. I suspect Mills is on his way to having a solid year with the Clippers, and this is the first sign that his hotting hitting will continue.
- Chen Lee: RP, Columbus: 1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 1 K: Lee gave up his first earned run in Columbus tonight, and for the first time, didn't look all that good. The only thing tonight proved was that he's human. He's still well on his way to Cleveland, if not this year, then next.
- Mitch Talbot: RP, Columbus: 2 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 BB: Talbot was solid in his ongoing audition as a member of the bullpen mafia. So far, he's gone 5 2/3 IP in the relief role, giving up two earned runs. What's unfortunate is that he could keep a true reliever from getting their chance.
- Karexon Sanchez: SS, Akron: 2-4, 1 R, 1 K: Sanchez was bumped up to second in the order, and he responded with his first multi-hit game since July 14th.
- Matt McBride: 1B, Akron: 2-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI: McBride continues to rake since being demoted to Akron. He's had four straight multi-hit games, and had six multi-hit games in a row at the Double A level, dating back to June 26th and 27th. During that stretch, he's 13-for-27, with six runs, six doubles and nine RBI.
- Kyle Bellows: 3B, Akron: 3-5, 1 2B, 2 RBI: Bellows has a six-game hit streak, going 9-for-25, with three runs, two doubles and four RBI.
- John Drennan: LF, Akron: 2-5, 1 R: Drennan is starting to regain his footing a bit, going 7-for-20 in his last five games. He's hitting .244 overall on the season, but .270 in his last ten.
- Drew Pomeranz: SP, Akron: 4 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R/ER, 3 BB, 6 K: Pomeranz was okay in last night's start, but certainly not up to his normal standards. So far in his stint at Akron, Pomeranz has gone 14 innings, giving up 10 hits, four earned runs, six walks and has struck out 17 batters.
- Adam Miller: RP, Akron: 1 1/3 IP, 5 H, 5 R/ER, 2 BB: Miller was the feel good story to the first half of the season, but July hasn't been kind to the rehabilitating right-hander. Since June 9th, Miller has given up 11 runs in 8 2/3 IP, and just hasn't looked very good. Remember, he missed two entire seasons, and most of a third, so it's possible that this has more to do with stamina than anything else.
- Rob Bryson: RP, Akron: 1/3 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 BB: Bryson entered the game in the sixth inning, with runners on first and second, and Adam Miller having given up five hits, a walk and three runs. Bryson hardly locked things down though. He gave up a two-out walk to lead off his appearance, followed by a two-run, ground-rule double, then another walk. After a fielding error to the next batter, scoring two more runs, Bryson got out of the inning on a grounder. Not a stellar outing for Bryson, even though he didn't give up an earned run.
- Matt Langwell: RP, Akron: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 K: Langwell rebounded from a rough outing on July 22. His overall ERA is a solid 2.83, but it's at 4.60 over his last ten games. He seems ready to take the next step, but there are a bunch of arms now between Langwell and the big leagues.
- Eric Berger: RP, Akron: 1 IP, 1 K: 'The Mustache" with his second perfect inning in a row, has been outstanding throughout July, giving up only one run since July 3rd, and lowering his ERA to 3.30 on the season.
- Adam Abraham: 3B, Kinston: 2-4, 2 K: Abraham seems to be finding his stroke again after only two hits last week. He's 7-for-17 in his last five games.
- Chase Burnette: 1B, Kinston: 1-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: Burnette is doing everything to salvage the season, and perhaps his career in the organization. His homer last night was only his fourth of the season, but he's now 4-10 in his last three games, with four runs, two doubles, a homer and three RBI.
- Delvi Cid: LF, Kinston: 2-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, SB (18): Cid is intriguing because of his size and raw speed, but has been a let down thanks to a slow start after an injury-plagued start to the 2011 season. He's broken out of a monster slump over the past two days, however, by going 4-7, with a run, an RBI, two walks and three stolen bases. He's stolen seven bases in his last seven games, finally showing signs that he's returning to his 2010 form, when he stole 71.
- Clayton Cook: SP, Kinston: 3 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 R/ER, 4 BB, 4 K: Cook's been terrible since the start of July, giving up 17 runs in 13 2/3 IP, raising his overall ERA to 4.40. He was so good up to that point, that you have to wonder if there's some stamina issues. He just turned 21 this past week.
- Toru Murata: RP, Kinston: 1 2/3 IP, 2 K: Murata remains an intriguing prospect, and has been perfect since his return from a two-month stint on the DL. He's gone 3 2/3 IP, while striking out four batters. He's shown signs of brilliance out of the pen, and as a starter, and may be someone to keep an eye on. He is 26-years-old, but is playing his first season in the states.
- Carlos Moncrief: RF, Lake County: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 K: Moncrief is a tantalizing talent, and has the makings of a five-tool major leaguer. His stat-line over his past ten games is .295/.367/.659, with 13 runs scored, a double, five homers and seven RBI. He still strikes out way too much (53 BB-116 K's this season), which has really hurt him this season, but it's clear that there's a lot of promise with the free-swinger.
- Jesus Aguilar: 1B, Lake County: 2-3, 1 R, 1 2B: Aguilar had been 0-for-6 in his last three games before his two hit performance last night. He still remains one of the break-out stars of this 2011 campaign, and is an intriguing watch next year as he continue to learn plate discipline.
- Clayton Ehlert: Closer, Lake County: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K, S (11): Ehlert has been lost in the closer shuffle, and saved his first game since mid-June. Still, Ehlert's been solid, only giving up an earned run in his last 15 innings pitched. He's only walked three batters during that time, but only has two strikeouts.
- Mahoning Valley offense: 6-32, 0 R, 2 2B, 1 BB, 6 K: The normally tough Mahoning Valley offense was completely shut down last night. Not a player on the team had multi-hits, with Tony Wolters being the only player to get on base twice, with a double and a walk. This isn't the norm for this offense, so give credit to the Hudson Valley pitching staff.
- Nathan Striz: RP, Mahoning Valley: 2 IP, 3 K: Striz has made a few appearances on ATF, and while he's had a couple of bad outings since being demoted from Mahoning Valley, it's clear there some talent here. The big righty dominated last night, and lowered his ERA to 2.45 on the year with the Scrappers.
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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 email@example.com.