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Around the Farm: July 3, 2012

Around the Farm: July 3, 2012
July 4, 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.

Jacob Lee: RP, Mahoning Valley: 1 2/3 IP, 1 BB, 3 K:

Lee officially has my attention, striking out three of the six batters he faced. He mowed down his last two in resounding fashion. Not saying where this kid ends up because of the small sample size, but he’s certainly going in the right direction. After giving up a run in his first outing, he’s been lock-down good since, going 6 1/3 in three outings, giving up all of one hit and an unearned run, while walking only two and striking out 11. Lee’s fastball is solid, with movement, but in the low 90’s. He tops out in the 92-93 MPH range. What makes Lee special is a curveball that just drops off the table. If you ask Lee, he’ll tell you he “pitches to contact,” and that he isn’t “a bit strikeout pitcher.” Perhaps that was the truth when he was pitching out of the rotation, but out of the pen, he’s just mowing people down. It will be interesting to see how far he goes in the system pitching this well. He does have that out pitch, and if the changeup improves, he could be deadly. Welcome to the top of ATF Mr. Lee, you’ve earned it.

Enosil Tejeda: Closer, Mahoning Valley: 2 IP, 1 H, 3 K:

I’m not ready to put Tejeda into that elite mix just yet, because there is clearly a reason why he’s still in Mahoning after playing there for the entire 2011 season. But here’s the thing: his K/BB ratio is just off the charts since he has started playing professional baseball. In 111 innings pitched, he’s struck out 140 batters against only 32 walks. This season, he’s already got eight K’s versus only two walks in 7 1/3 innings, and you’d have to think that the now 23-year-old will be moving up the prospect chain. There has to be something to how many bats he misses.

Jorge Martinez: DH, AZL Indians: 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 K:

How sick has this kid been playing? I do want to preface this with the fact that we’re talking about the Arizona Rookie League here, but wow, what numbers this kid has right now. He’s played in ten ballgames, and has hits in all ten so far. He has seven multi-hit games, five doubles, a triple, three homers, ten RBI and three walks. What’s more sick is that he’s hitting .467, and not leading the league in hitting, which perhaps says more about what Martinez is doing than anything else. It will be interesting to see where this lanky infielder ends up playing. He’s 6’2” and 170 pounds, and that didn’t seem to fit second base or short, where they had him playing previous. To say that he was good defensively would be the understatement of the centure. This season, the Indians have him playing third base, and, well, he’s already made three errors in eight games, but give him some time. The Indians have DHed him over the last two games, perhaps to clear his brain a bit defensively. Of course, when you hit like this kid, I think you can overlook some things. Oh yeah, he’s 19-years-old, to boot. The kid has some skillz.

  • Trevor Crowe: RF, Columbus: 0-2, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 SB: I always find myself rooting for Crowe to do well. I’m sure a part of it is me wanting a #1 to show some of that talent, but the reality is that Crowe has always seemed to be an underdog to me. Either way, if he’s healthy, Aaron Cunningham needs to go away.
  • Matt LaPorta: DH, Columbus: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI: You’ve heard it all before from me here. He’s hitting .307, and now has 17 dingers and 40 RBI. I know, I know, the Indians have him working on patience and how to shorten his swing and you know, all that fun stuff that will make him a star. In other words, he’s fallen out of favor. But I ask you…who would you rather have in the Indians outfield at this point: Johnny Damon, Shelley Duncan, Aaron Cunningham or Matt LaPorta (yeah, you in the back row, I heard you say “none of the above,” that’s not a choice…).
  • Vinny Rottino: 1B, Columbus: 1-for-3, 1 RBI: Rottino has spent parts of five seasons playing for Milwaukee, Florida and the Mets, with a lifetime .188 average, with two homers and nine RBI. His career minor league numbers in ten seasons is .294/.363/.423. He has 77 total homers, and 557 RBI. Rottino’s 2-for-8 since the Indians picked him up, but more importantly, can he qualify to pitch for the bullpen mafia?
  • Jared Goedert: 3B, Columbus: 1-for-4, 1 K: Goedert broke his three-game, multi-hit hitting streak, but continued his five-game hit streak. He’s hitting .375 in July, after hitting a solid .310 in June. His overall average this year is .333, with 12 homers and 48 RBI. Great numbers from a guy who just can’t make the next step…yet.
  • Gregorio Petit: SS, Columbus: 3-for-4, 1 2B: Petit is hitting .224, and regardless of this game, you do have to wonder if the Indians don’t have anyone else better to play short at this level? Of course, with a bevy of talent in the middle-infield in Carolina and below, perhaps they are keeping this position open for later this season, and early next season.
  • David Huff: SP, Columbus: 6 IP, 9 H, 4 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 K: Huff certainly has made a case of late that he’s ready to return to the bigs with two nice starts heading into Tuesday Night’s game. It turned out to be the worst start of his last three. Overall, Huff’s ERA is over six over June and July, so he really has to start showing the consistency if he’s ever going to get that chance again.
  • Scott Barnes: RP, Columbus: 1 IP, 1 K: Barnes continues to learn the ropes in the pen, and has only given up one earned runs in his last nine ballgames. It’s only a matter of time for Barnes to end up in Cleveland. You don’t temporarily move a starter of his caliber to the pen without having the endgame be a stint with the Tribe, do you?
  • Eric Berger: RP, Columbus: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K: Berger’s Triple A ERA is a solid 3.68, and you have to keep in mind the many different roles that the mustached one has played this year. He’s made six starts and seven relief appearances of varying amounts of innings since joining the Clippers. Hopefully it pays off for Berger down the road with a stint in the majors, but he’s definitely not the first in line.
  • Chun-Hsiu Chen: 1B, Akron: 1-for-4, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K: Chen ONLY had one hit, but did manage to get on base twice and score two runs, to continue a fantastic season in which he has a .319/.408/.431 for a so-so .838 OPS (surely you realize that I jest). Chen still only has two homers on the year, but his overabundance of other numbers can’t be ignored.
  • Nick Weglarz: DH, Akron:  2-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K: I don’t think that Weglarz has earned back his 40-man roster start, but there’s still a lot of baseball left to be played, and the  big outfielder is finally starting to play it. It will be interesting to see if Wegz can continue this over the long haul while staying healthy, or if he’s just riding that wave of fear of being DFA’ed.
  • Jeremie Tice: LF, Akron: 1-for-5, 1 2B, 2 K: Tice isn’t a big-named prospect, but he’s overlooked because of age, injury and lack-of-position. Okay, so why, then am I so excited by Tice? He has the look of something special offensively, and I believe the Indians brass sees it to. They now have him playing the outfield every game, and while not a groundbreaker, he’s not doing a bad job according to everyone I’ve talked to. Now, if he can just stay healthy, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in Columbus by the end of the season, and potentially looking for a September call-up. That’s how good I think his bat is (pssst, he’s a right-handed hitter). In his stint with the Aeros, his line is .333/.390/.528, after rolling out a .282/.370/.580 line in Carolina.
  • Juan Diaz: SS, Akron: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB: Diaz is hitting .243 this season in the minors (he actually played better in the bigs), but is hitting .300 over his last ten ballgames.
  • Roberto Perez: C, Akron: 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K: Okay, so Perez has back-to-back two-hit ballgames, and while this will be a surprise to some, not to me. He actually had moments in Carolina in which he had a bit of a stick. The thing with Perez last season is that I believe he wore down from his role as a backstop. You see, this guy can glove. He’s the best defensive backstop in the system, and I firmly believe that the effort this guy uses takes away from his offense. He’ll be a big league player at some point, and if he can maintain a moderately respectable average, he may even start.
  • Matt Lawson: 2B, Akron: 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 K: All the sudden Lawson has back-to-back-to-back two hit ballgames. No, this doesn’t all-the-sudden make him a big time prospect as a 26-year-old, but it does get him a nice write up in ATF. Lawson is hitting a respectable .279 with the Indians organization this month in 22 games, with five doubles and a triple. He’s got a nice, professional bat, and is a place holder for Wolters/Ronny Rodriguez in the future. How long in the future? C’mon, it can’t be later this year, can it? I mean Diaz and Lawson have game!
  • Jose De La Torre: RP, Akron: 3 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K: DLT came in after Brett Brach got absolutely jacked, and pitched fairly well. You are never happy with walks, but overall, he’s pitched very well over the past couple of weeks. In his last four appearances, he’s gone 7 2/3 IP, giving up only three hits and three walks, while striking out nine. Not too shabby.
  • Kyle Landis: RP, Akron: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 K: Landis hasn’t had an easy road of late, with a 6.28 ERA over his last ten ballgames, so this was a nice change of pace. Still, his awesome start to the season has his overall ERA at a much-more respectable 3.45 with the Aeros in 27 appearances.
  • Tyler Holt: CF, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI: Another game in the day-in-the-life of Holt’s two-year journey in High A baseball. He hit his tenth double of the season and scored his 48th run, which is one behind team leader Jesus Aguilar, and seventh in the league. I’m sure he’d rather be in Double A.
  • Justin Toole: 2B, Carolina: 2-for-4, 1 RBI: Toole is that uber-utility guy that ends up playing at every level, covering for every infielder that gets hurt. Well, Kyle Bellows just went on the DL in Akron, so we’ll have to see if Toole is the guy that ultimately takes his place.
  • Giovanny Urshela: 3B, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 RBI: Urshela is hitting .297 over his last ten ballgames, and hitting .385 in July so far. Sure, it’s a small sample-size, but it’s certainly a nice progression for Urshela, who continues to work on a swing that could make him a more-than-solid prospect going forward.
  • Ronny Rodriguez: SS, Carolina: 2-for-4, 1 R: Rodriguez continues his hot-hitting with the Mudcats. He hit a stout .340 in June, and is hitting.289 over his last ten games. He’s relatively even at the plate, hitting .281 against lefties, and .276 against righties. He’s struggled a bit with the glove this year, committing a horrifying 24 errors overall at both second a short, but 20 of those have come at short, where’s he’s played a bunch more. That’s okay, because Tony Wolters has committed 14 errors this year, and 11 of them at 2nd. Can anyone say…SWITCH!!!
  • Carlos Moncrief: RF, Carolina: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K: Moncrief blasted his tenth home run of the season, as he continues to showcase an abundance of talent that will continue to push him through the system. Of course, he struck out two more times for 88 total, with 32 walks. He crushes left-handed pitching to the tune of a .326 average, and is a left-handed hitter. His power is from the right side though, with nine of his ten homers from that side of the plate. Yeah, Moncrief is an enigma, wrapped in a question.
  • Tyler Cannon: C, Carolina: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K: Cannon really is one of the best stories in the system. He moves to catcher, becomes the primary backstop in Carolina, and really does a nice job offensively (.268), and defensively. He’s made one error, and thrown out 30% of all basestealers. Not bad for his first time at catcher as a professional.
  • Mike Rayl: SP, Carolina: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R/ER, 3 BB, 3 K: Rayl pitched well, but didn’t get the win. He followed up a seven-inning, two-run outing on June 28th, and he’s really righted the ship a bit after getting shelled for much of June (6.93 ERA).
  • Grant Sides: RP, Carolina: W (1-0), 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 2 K: Okay, so this was Sides first win, and first run given up. It wasn’t his best appearance in his five with the Muddies, but I do believe he belongs in the conversation with some of the elite arms in the system. He can be explosive.
  • Jose Flores: Closer, Carolina: S (11), 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K: Flores rebounded from a rough outing on June 30 in which he gave up two runs on five hits in two innings pitched. He has a solid 2.76 ERA, but isn’t a guy that I’d expect to ever make a dent at the big league level.
  • Jordan Smith: RF, Lake County: 1-for-2, 1 R: Smith had a hit in the 4 ½ inning, rain-shortened ballgame, starting another hit streak after his seven-game streak was ended on Sunday afternoon.
  • Alex Monsalve: C, Lake County: 1-for-1, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB: I’m not going to lie to you. Whenever Monsalve belts a home run, I get a bit giddy. I love this kid’s potential, and put it right up there with a guy like Jesus Aguilar. I’m not sure if the Indians plan on keeping him at the catcher position, as he’ll need to improve there (.977 fld % in his career, 27% CS rate), but he’s only 20, so the ceiling is really high.
  • Jerrud Sabourin: 1B, Lake County: 1-for-2, 1 RBI, 1 K: Sabourin is hitting .293, and drove in the winning run in Tuesday Night’s ballgame. The Sabour-Tooth Fan Club notches another big day in for the up-and-comer in the system.
  • Elvis Araujo: SP, Lake County: W (3-6), 5 H, 1 R/ER, 3 K: Araujo has gotten absolutely shelled over his last four starts, giving up 21 hits and 19 earned runs over 14 2/3 innings, so it was nice to see him dominate in his pseudo-complete game, one-hitter. Okay, it was only a five inning game, but c’mon.
  • Tyler Naquin: CF, Mahoning Valley: 1-for-4, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 K: Naquin hit his first professional triple, a two-out rope to center that drove in two with the Scrappers down 1-0. Yeah, big-time hit for the first round draft pick. If you are getting the impression that this kid is better than you originally thought, you’d be right. It’s a small sample size, for sure, but I think it’s safe to say this kid has skills. We’ll see how it translates when he gets promoted, either later this year, or more likely, at the start of next season.
  • Juan Romero: DH, Mahoning Valley: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 K: Well, Romero hit his fifth homer of the season, UPPING his average to .217. He also had his 21st, 22nd and 23rd strikeout against only two walks this season…in his 12th game. Okay, repeat after me…”ALL, OR NOTHING…” I’m just guessing that the Indians have a thing or two to work on with their lanky outfielder, wouldn’t you agree?
  • Jeremy Lucas: C, Mahoning Valley: 2-for-3, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB: Lucas was selected by the Tribe in the 12th round out of Indiana St., and has had a nice start to his season. His stats are a bit skewed from his 4-for-4 game on June 28th, but you can’t discredit a solid start to fantastic game, can you?
  • Robel Garcia: SS, Mahoning Valley: 1-for-2, 1R, 2 BB: Garcia got demoted to Mahoning, and is hitting .147. He did get on base three times on Tuesday night.
  • Geoffrey Davenport: SP, Mahoning Valley: 5 1/3 IP, 6 H, 1R/0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K: The lefty picked in the 43rd round of the 2011 draft had his first good start for the Scrappers after three rough outings.
  • Nick Hamilton: 3B, AZL Indians: 1-for-3, 1 K: Tom Hamilton’s kid (Yo Nick, last time I do that, promise) played in his first professional ballgame, and got his first professional hit. Congrats go out to Nick…well done. Here’s to many more, and perhaps your Dad will get to call your first game within the next few years.
  • Dillon Howard: SP, AZL Indians: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R/0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K: Here’s the start we were looking for from Howard, after really looking rough in his last two outings. Give this kid some time, he just turned 20 on Sunday. He’s pitched in three games so far, in 10 1/3 innings, and struck out 10 with five walks.
  • Alexis Paredes: RP, AZL Indians: 3 IP, 1 H, 5 K: The 6’3” righty absolutely dominated in Tuesday night’s performance, striking out five, and inducing three more groundouts. He has ten K’s vs. only two walks so far on this season.

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 jpete@indiansprospectinsider.com.

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