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Around the Farm: July 8, 2012

Around the Farm: July 8, 2012
July 9, 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.

Juan Diaz: SS, Akron Aeros: 4-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 1 BB:

There aren’t many minor league performances that truly surprise me, but I have to admit, this one does. I’ve always like Diaz as a sleeper prospect, but he’s done absolutely nothing over the past three seasons to give anyone any hope of doing much of anything. He did make the big league club this year, on a fluke, but has been mired below .250 for most of the season. Where did this game come from? You got me, but it was some kind of ballgame. He hit a run-scoring single in the first inning, to get the ball rolling on his big day. He hit a two-run double in the third to continue the big game. He hit a grand slam in the fourth inning, to blow the game open. He was a triple away from the cycle when he hit another run scoring single in the sixth inning.  He had another shot in the eighth inning, but was intentionally walked. Eight RBI…some game…

Mike Rayl: SP, Carolina Mudcats: W (5-7), 7 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 3 K:

Rayl has been outstanding over his past three starts, going 20 total innings, giving up 12 hits and four runs (three earned), with seven walks and 10 K’s. Rayl had a horrible month of June overall, with a 6.93 ERA, but has really looked sharp at the tail end of the month, and at the start of July so far. Rayl isn’t a big-time prospect, but he’s done some damage so far in the low minors. Last season, Rayl went 6-8 combined, in Lake County and Kinston. He was particularly effective in Lake County, going 5-5, with a 2.83 ERA, but struggled in his eight High A starts. Rayl is a big lefty, but is more of a finesse pitcher than anything else. When he throws strikes, he’s extremely effective. He has good confidence and presence on the hill, but I’m just not sure how it will translate to the high minors or the bigs.

  • Ezequiel Carrera: CF, Columbus: 0-for-2, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SB: Carrera did about as much as you can do without getting a hit, creating the type of havoc that you want from a lead-off guy. Carrera needs to step up his game with a whole slew of centerfield options available at Triple A and Double A that are similar. .258, with a .308 OBP just isn’t going to get the job done.
  • Cord Phelps: 2B, Columbus: 2-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 SB: To say that Phelps has been struggling would be an understatement. Coming into Sunday afternoon’s ballgame, Phelps was 2-for-31 during his previous eight ballgames. He doubled his hits in one game, and had his most productive outing in over a week.
  • Vinny Rottino: 1B, Columbus: 0-for-3, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 SB: I don’t know much about Rottino, but he does seem to bring an interesting group of intangibles to the table. He’s got some solid base-running, pretty good power, but at 32, he’s a fringe player at best, going forward. It has to be incredibly frustrating to make the Mets, then get DFA’ed and head to another organization. As a 32-year-old, it has to be tough to establish yourself after so many years of trying.
  • Russ Canzler: 3B, Columbus: 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K: Canzler continues his hot summer with another multi-hit ballgame. He’s now 10-for-33 over his past ten ballgames, with 10 runs, five doubles, three homers and 12 RBI. Yeah, he’s a fringe guy, but he sure can hit.
  • Luke Carlin: C, Columbus: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI: Carlin blasted a grand slam in the fifth inning that blew the game wide open. He’s on fire in his last ten games, with a .361/.452/.472 line over his last ten games, and has his average up to .267 on the season, after a May that saw him hit .105.
  • David Huff: SP, Columbus: W (4-4), 7 IP, 8 H, 3 R/ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 2 K: Huff has now had three solid starts over his last four, and while none have been brilliant, Huff has seemed to right the ship after struggling through much of the early part of June. It will be interesting to see if he can make it back to the top of the Columbus rotation, and put himself in position to make it back to the big leagues. Right now, he’s behind some guys…
  • Cody Allen: RP, Columbus: 1 IP, 1 K: Allen has finally gotten his game on in Triple A, and has only given up one run over the past ten ballgames. Over the same stretch, he’s only given up three hits and two walks, while striking out 11. In other words, he’s back, and likely the next call-up, should the Indians need a bullpen arm.
  • Tyler Holt: CF, Akron: 2-for-6, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K: Holt is making every at bat count in Akron, with his third two-hit game in his first four games at Double A. He’s now 6-for-19, with four runs, and a double.
  • Matt Lawson: 2B, Akron: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B: Lawson now has six multi-hit games over his last seven, and has a seven-game hit streak. He’s 15-for-31, with five runs and six doubles. He’s hitting .338 on the season in his 26 games with the Aeros, and really turned a rough June and is hitting .484 in July.
  • Chun Chen: C, Akron: 2-for-3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB: Chun played his seventh game this season at the catcher position, and celebrated by throwing up his second straight two-hit ballgame, and now has a seven-game hit streak. I’m hoping that this all-star break will unclog Columbus a bit. It’s time to move Chen up.
  • Adam Abraham: PH/DH, Akron: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 K: Abraham took over the DH role after Nick Weglarz was ejected in the top of the third. He continued his hot play with his fourth multi-hit game over his last ten.
  • Thomas Neal: RF, Akron: 1-for-1, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 3 BB: Wow, Neal has just figured things out this season in so many different ways. Neal has his average up to .310, and is 15-for-37, with seven runs, a homer and seven RBI, with a .389/.522/.611/1.133 line over his last ten games.
  • Preston Guilmet: Closer, Akron: S (11), 1 IP, 2 BB, 1 K: Guilmet gave up a couple of walks, but at the end of the night, it was another typical Guilmet outing…full of zeros. His ERA is down to 2.05.
  • Tony Wolters: SS, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K: Wolters hit a sixth inning double into the right field corner that scored a run, and upped his hit streak to 13 ballgames.
  • Alex Monsalve: C, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI: Monsalve hit his first home run in Double A in only his second ballgame. It was also his first Double A hit. It turned into the game-winning run on the night.
  • Shawn Armstrong: RP, Carolina: 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 2R/ER, 3 BB: Well, this sure isn’t a typical outing for Armstrong, but the three walks continues a concerning trend with regards to Armstrong and his control. He’s walked 25 batters overall this season in 47 1/3 innings.
  • Elvis Araujo: SP, Lake County, L (3-7), 4 IP, 4 H, 6 R/5 ER, 7 BB, 2 K: Araujo is a talent, but he’s really struggled mightily over his last six starts, with the exception of his July third outing. His ERA in June was 8.71, and in July it was 6.00.
  • Rob Nixon: RP, Lake County: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 2 K: Nixon has been nothing short of spectacular over his last seven appearances. He’s gone 19 1/3 innings, giving up 16 hits, five runs (three earned runs) , four walks and 13 strikeouts. Not a bad stretch for a reliever that’s logged some serious innings.
  • Todd Hankins: 3B, Lake County: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 K: Nobody for Lake County managed more than one hit. Hankins double gives him a modest four-game hit streak.
  • Jake Lowery: DH, Lake County: 1-for-5, 2 RBI, 1 K: Lowery had a two-out, two-RBI hit in the seventh inning. He’s not pounding the ball since being demoted, but does have three RBI in three games.
  • Aaron Siliga: LF, Mahoning Valley: 3-for-5, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB: Siliga led ATF on Saturday, and made another run at it again on Sunday. He was the only Scrapper with multi-hits on Sunday, and is now 6-for-10, with three runs, a double, triple and two RBI over his past two games.
  • Tyler Naquin: CF, Mahoning Valley: 1-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB: Naquin hit a walk off single in the 11th inning, giving the Scrappers the extra-inning victory.
  • Joseph Wendle: 2B, Mahoning Valley: 1-for-4, 1 BB: Wendle has a five game hit streak, and has a ten game line of .415/.489/.610.
  • Erik Gonzalez: 3B, Mahoning Valley: 0-for-3, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K: Gonzalez managed to get on base a couple of times on Sunday without a hit, but he scored the winning run when Naquin singled in the eleventh.
  • Geoffrey Davenport: SP, Mahoning Valley: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 3 K: Davenport was dominant for the second straight start, and has now gone 11 1/3 innings giving up only nine hits and two runs (one earned), while walking two and striking out five. His first hit given up came on a lead-off triple in the third inning. He would allow that run to score on a sac fly, but then struck out the final two batters to get out of the inning. You have to like that moxie. He allowed a lead-off single in the fourth, but promptly doubled him up. He hit the lead-off batter in the fifth, then allowed a single, pushing the runners to first and second, but then settled down, getting a flyout, a groundout and a punchout to end his day with a 4-1 lead. The bullpen would blow it but Davenport is starting to look like a settled professional in his first season.
  • Enosil Tejeda: RP, Mahoning Valley: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K: You have to like a closer that can go two innings when asked. Tejeda came on in the ninth inning after James Stokes (two earned) and Rafael Homblert (one earned) blew Davenports lead. He righted the ship in the ninth after Homblert started the inning with a lead-off single by getting a double play off a bunt, then struck out a batter to get out of the inning. He did give up a one-out walk and a single, putting the winning run on third in the tenth, with one out, but induced a double play to get out of the jam. He’s only given up runs in one of his eight ballgames so far. Tejeda should find himself in Lake County before too long.
  • Dorssys Paulino: DH, AZL Indians: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 BB: Paulino is having a brilliant start to his professional career, with hits in 11 of his first 14 ballgames. Over his last ten, he’s scored 11 runs on three doubles, a triple, two homers and four walks, while driving in six RBI. The only warning sign may be his strike total, which sits at ten, but he does offset the K’s with the walks, and his OBP is sitting at a solid .387. By all indications, this kid has top five potential, so keep an eye on him going forward. A guy like Paulino could take the sting away from a deal involving Lindor, if the right deal comes along.
  • Jorge Martinez: 3B, AZL Indians: 0-for-4, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K: Martinez went hitless for the first time this season, but managed to get on base, and score two runs. It’s hard to gauge players based on the Arizona League because of the sometimes laughable offense (a team scored 17 runs in an inning on Saturday), but you do see the exceptional players be, well, exceptional, and Martinez has really burst upon the scene. He did play in 2010 and 2011 as a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old, hitting .216 and .254 respectively, so he’ll definitely be an interesting watch, and a kid that has the potential to move up in the system should he continue the hot play. This is his first year playing third base, after playing in the middle infield his first two seasons, and it’s been a rough go of it for Martinez so far (three errors in eight games to the tune of a .906 fielding percentage), but it’s early.
  • Anthony Santander: LF, AZL Indians: 2-for-5, 1 RBI, 1 K: Santander was a 2011 signing, and is an old man, well, if you consider 17 old. He’s getting his first taste of professional ball this year, and while he’s struggled early on getting on base, he hasn’t had any trouble driving in runs. He has 13 RBI in 11 games, but does have ten K’s against only one walk.
  • Martin Cervenka: C, AZL Indians: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K: Cervenka, from the baseball hotbed in the Czech Republic, has struggled this season after back-to-back two-hit games early on. He’s not a top prospect, but he’s from Prague, and that makes him interesting, at the very least.
  • Luis Morel: SP, AZL Indians: W (1-1), 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R/ER, 1 BB, 8 K: Whenever you throw up eight K’s in five innings of work, with only one walk, you are going to get noticed. Morel, a free agent signing out of the Dominican in 2010, has quietly glided along over the past couple of season to mixed results. While he pitched well in the Dominican Summer League in 2010, he struggled in his brief time with the AZL Indians that year, going 0-1, with a 5.40 ERA. He did strike out 21 against only seven walks in 18 1/3 innings. He followed that up with another 0-1 season in AZL in 2011, but saw that K/BB ratio get a lot worse. In 25 innings, he struck out 22, while walking 16. This season, Morel has made five appearances between Mahoning Valley and the AZL rookie league over 17 innings, striking out 21, and walking only four. I’d say that’s improvement for the nineteen year old.

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.

User Comments

Tony
July 10, 2012 - 2:20 PM EDT
Shadow, yep, in most cases more things beyond stats are what matters. Stats can often be misleading, which is why people need to see how those numbers are being accumulated. How old is the player compared to the rest of the league, what kind of swings are they taking, how is their approach, what is their hard-hit percentage, etc. So many variables which are considered in addition to the tools/abilities being evaluated by scouts/org personnel. Stats are certainly used in the process, but are simply a small piece of the piece and not the end-all-be-all like in the big leagues. It's all about development, performance, and tools in the minors.....in the big leagues it is all about performance. That's the big difference I think a lot of people miss when looking at minor league players.
Shadow
July 10, 2012 - 9:24 AM EDT
Tony, so you're telling me that if a guy is labeled as a 'can't miss' prospect that the numbers they put up don't make a difference? It should be all about numbers. If a guy makes it or not not should be determined by the numbers they put up. Didn't Billy Beane develop that idea with the A's?
Tony
July 10, 2012 - 12:23 AM EDT
Lawson has done a solid job so far, but the reality is that a great majority of players in a minor league system are just "organizational players". Teams look beyond the stats most of the time and look at tools, ability, etc and how it translates to the next level, and sometimes even for a player performing well the value is just not there. I don't think people realize how hard it is to get to the big leagues. There really can be but a differing opinion that is the difference between one player getting a crack at a bench job in the bigs or just being stuck in the minors for eternity.
Norm
July 9, 2012 - 5:56 PM EDT
Nice write Jim. Couple of unusual names at the top. As you mentioned, it seems like housecleaning and promotions are going a bit too slowly for my taste as well. Just seems like a lot of promotions in the MI are lagging as is some obvious upgrades for some prospects in the OF. Ideally, these guys would be completely ready but some talent is just blocked by placeholders.

Also interested in the progress of two pitchers at Carolina, Clayton Cook and the newly assigned Packer, if you get a chance to see them. Do you still think Wolters should be demoted to LC? Personally, I would rather see him promoted although he is not close to ready but neither Wolters or RRod could be much worse that what is playing 2B in Akron now.
Shadow
July 9, 2012 - 5:31 PM EDT
OK, I have looked at Lawson's numbers from previous years. The guy has put up good numbers thru out his minor league career. Why is he labeled an "organizational" guy? I know he had a rough year last year when he quit playing but give the guy some kudos for coming back and playing lights out recently.

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