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Around the Farm: July 9, 2012

Around the Farm: July 9, 2012
July 10, 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.

Jake Sisco: SP, Mahoning Valley Scrappers: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 4 K:

A funny thing has happened over the past two weeks; Jake Sisco has started to look a lot like a third round pick. In his last three starts, he’s gone 17 1/3 innings, giving up 15 hits and three earned runs, while walking five and striking out eight. In his five starts this season, his ERA has improved in each start, from 4.91 to 4.50 to 2.84 to 1.80 to a perfect 0.00 on Monday night. His overall ERA stands at an impressive 2.52 over 25 innings, giving up only 22 hits and seven earned, while walking 12 and striking out 13. He’s walked a bit too many, and struck out a few too few, but he’s improving with ever start, which is the only thing you can ask of any player in the minors. Now, if the Scrappers could just score some runs for him.

Todd Hankins: 3B, Lake County Captains: 4-for-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K, 2 SB:

Hankins has been on the verge of a break-out game for awhile now, and did it in a big way. Hankins isn’t a plus prospect, but he does have plus speed, as he’s stolen 17 bases, and only been caught twice. He has struck out 61 times in 61 games, and if he could improve that approach, he’d more than likely improve his stock. As it stands, his OBP is a solid .346, but it’s hard to overlook the .687 OPS. Still, Hankins has had a season that he can most definitely build upon in his first full season at Low A ball. It will be interesting to see if he can build upon this season and become a guy with great speed, who can get on base and stir the drink a bit. You can’t teach speed, and if he can harness that, he can likely become a commodity going forward. I’m not saying he’s a superstar in the making, but you can’t teach speed.

  • Nick Weglarz: LF, Akron: 2-for-4, 1 R, 2 K: The Aeros mustered up six hits in their 4-2 win, and Wegz had two of them. The burly outfielder continues to hit the ball. He had a .292 average and an insane .415 OBP in June, and is following that up by hitting .290 in July. He’s still not the prospect he once was, but you have to be rooting for this kid. If he doesn’t make it with the Tribe, you have to hope he catches on with someone, and has the career everyone thought he’d have. Talent doesn’t disappear, as long as he stays healthy.
  • Adam Abraham: 1B, Akron: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI: Abraham hit a solo shot in the fourth inning for his ninth homer of the season. He’s 4-for-8 in his last two games, with four runs and the three RBI. His ten game line is .293/.326/.537. Abraham is a streaky player to say the least, but you gotta like the fight that this kid has.
  • Paolo Espino: SP, Akron: W (4-2), 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR: Is there a more consistent pitcher in the Tribe system than this guy? You give him the ball, and get out of the way. He’s had a couple of bad outings this season, but overall, he’s been outstanding. In his last ten games, he’s given up more than three runs twice, and more than two runs three times. This guy isn’t spectacular, but he knows how to pitch. He’s 4-2 with Akron, with a 3.41 ERA.
  • Tyler Sturdevant: RP, Akron: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K: Sturdevant has scuffled a bit in his return to Akron, after dominating in Carolina. He’s given up two earned runs in two of his six starts, and allowed three on base tonight in his one inning of work, including two walks.
  • Loek Van Mil: RP, Akron: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K: Van Mil had given up runs in three straight appearances, including three against Erie on June 27th, but righted the ship tonight with two stellar innings. I’m still not sure what they have in Van Mil. Is he a 28-year-old journeyman, or is he a great story in the next year or two when he makes the bigs? Hard to say, but you have to hope he can replicate what he’s been doing in Columbus, so he gets his shot.
  • Preston Guilmet: Closer, Akron: S (12), 1 IP, 1 K: Guilmet is the closer version of Paolo Espino. He’s found his groove this season, and you can make the case that he’s pitching as good right now as he ever did last season in a dominating year in Carolina. Nobody ever talks about this guy because he doesn’t have an elite arm, but with that odd, hidden delivery, with a bit of Fernando Valenzuela in it, you never know where he can go. His results are deadly, but I’m not sure if they value him as a future major leaguer, or as a commodity to get some middle-of-the-road talent, like Cory Burns. Hard to say, but there isn’t a reliever pitching better right now, this side of Cody Allen.
  • Tony Wolters: SS, Carolina: 0-for-4: Wolters saw his 13-game hit streak come to an end tonight in a well-pitched game in Virginia.
  • Giovanny Urshela: 3B, Carolina: 2-for-4, 1 2B: Urshela had really cooled off over the past four games, going 0-for-14, but broke out on Monday night with another two-hit ball game. There are a lot of intangibles to this kid, but he does always seem to regress back to that impatient, long-swinger that keeps him away from being an elite prospect. He was the only Muddy with multiple hits.
  • Matt Packer: SP, Carolina: 3 IP, 3 K: Hello Matt Packer, and welcome back to the minor league ranks! What a first outing for Packer in Carolina this season. His shoulder injury, combined with a stumble to start the 2011 season off has really stopped any momentum Packer had after 2010 heading to the big leagues. If he has ANY shot to be a factor going forward, he has to have a perfect second half, so it was good to see this progression after a couple of nice outings in Arizona. He has a long way to go, but I would imagine will be heading to Akron before too long either way.
  • Will Roberts: SP, Carolina: L (3-6), 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R/ER, 1 BB: Roberts didn’t pitch badly, but didn’t knock anyone’s socks of either.  He hasn’t had a really good outing in a month, and you’d expect a bit more out of a fifth round pick. He’s only 21 though, so there’s time for the lanky right-hander to figure things out.
  • Grant Sides: RP, Carolina: 1 IP, 1 H, 3 K: His ERA at Lake County was 1.05. His ERA at Carolina was…er…is 1.08. He’s still here with the Muddies, but I can’t fathom it will be for much longer. ELITE ARM…
  • Francisco Lindor: SS, Lake County: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K: Lindor didn’t waste any time getting back from the Future’s game, and ended up scoring the game-winning run on a Bryson Myles sac fly.
  • Luigi Rodriguez: CF, Lake County: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K: Rodriguez had one of everything on Tuesday night, it seems, as the talented outfielder continues to try and right the ship. He’s been in a major slump, going 2-for-29 over his last nine ball games, and 0-for-19 over his last six.
  • Jerrud Sabourin: 1B, Lake County: 1-for-2, 4 BB: C’mon, the guy had one hit AND FOUR WALKS!!! Admit it, you want to join my Sabourin fan club! JOIN THE SABOUR-TOOTH FAN CLUB TODAY! Yeah, it’s late…
  • Zach MacPhee: RF, Lake County: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB: MacPhee was only one of two players with more than one hit.
  • Joseph Colon: SP, Lake County: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB, 6 K: Right now, Colon is easily my favorite pitcher in the system. No, he’s not the best pitcher, and no, I have no idea if he’ll translate to the upper levels. What I do know is that he’s burst upon the scene with some outstanding consistency. In many ways, he’s like Espino. He doesn’t dominate, but throws strikes, and lets the hitters come to him. That said, he gets a decent amount of strikeouts, and has six in four of his last five ball games. Over that stretch, he’s struck out 28, while walking only seven.
  • Jairo Kelly: SS, Mahoning Valley: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K: Kelly is playing really good baseball offensively right now, perhaps the best of his career. He’s currently riding an eight-game hitting streak, and is hitting .311 over his last ten games, with eight runs scored, two doubles, a triple, a homer and 11 RBI. Of course, it’s hard to overlook his 16 strikeouts over the same period.
  • Tyler Naquin: CF, Mahoning Valley: 2-for-5, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 K: It’s early yet, but Naquin is living up to his number one status. He hit his second triple of the young season, and drove in two more runs. I don’t know if he’s going to be special, but early returns have him being productive.
  • Aaron Siliga: RF, Mahoning Valley: 1-for-4, 1 K:  Siliga had back-to-back three-hit ballgames heading into Monday night, and now has a five-game hit streak, and has hits in ten of his last eleven ballgames.
  • Evan Frazer: 3B, Mahoning Valley: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K: Frazer hit .304 last season at Mahoning Valley, and has struggled early on to match that. He’s 5-for-11 over his last three games, with two runs and three RBI.
  • Louis Head: RP, Mahoning Valley: BS (1), L (0-2), 2 IP, 4 H, 3 R/2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K: Head has been nothing short of awesome all season long, so we can forgive one bad outing. Overall this season, Head is 1-2 with a 1.59 ERA over seven total games and 17 IP, with two saves. He’s given up 12 hits, three earned runs and a walk, while striking out 15.
  • Jorge Martinez: DH, AZL Indians: 0-for-4, 1 K: Martinez has back-to-back games without a hit, and has seen his average “drop” to .386. Yeah, he was shredding the ball early on. It will be interesting to see if the hot start was a fluke, or if this kid is going to be a break-out star.
  • Eric Haase: C, AZL Indians: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K: Haase had one of two extra base hits in the game for the Indians, who were shut down after scoring three second inning runs.
  • Ryan Battaglia: 1B, AZL Indians, 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 K: Battaglia hit his first professional home run after the Indians signed him in 2009.
  • Dillon Howard: SP, AZL Indians: L (0-3), 3 2/3 IP, 4 H, 4 R/ER, 1 BB, 3 K: Well, Howard is too young to get overly concerned over, but he’s only had one good start in his taste of professional action. He’s young, but has a ways to go before he becomes effective.

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

Jim
July 10, 2012 - 2:36 PM EDT
Yo Tony...so are you saying my predictions of 30 homers and 130 RBI are a stretch?
Tony
July 10, 2012 - 2:24 PM EDT
Roger, I agree with DetDawg on Naquin. Difference is Sizemore had the projection to add power/size as he was young when he came into the org. When the Indians acquired Sizemore he was just 19 years old so the power was still developing. Naquin is already 21 years old. In Sizemore's 20 year old season at Akron he had 13 HR and 50 XBH. Naquin is a solid player, but expecting power to ever come is waiting for something that likely won't happen. He has a nice swing and he is still growing into his body, but I see him as always being a below average to average power guy that can MAYBE hit 10-15 homers in the big leagues.
Jim
July 10, 2012 - 2:24 PM EDT
Hey guys, I have a monster ATF planned for tonight...HUGE!!!! So even though there aren't any games on tap...pay attention to a special edition of ATF...
Jim
July 10, 2012 - 2:23 PM EDT
No det, I think the scouts failed to take into account Kipnis' work ethic. If I remember correctly, guys like Keith Law were talking about how he had some power, but would strike out too much. Most figured that, even as a second baseman, his "average tools" would hold him back, even with a high motor. What most folks called him was a "tweener." He had more talent than they gave him credit for...and his drive has made him above average in all areas.

Naquin has many of those same qualities. What he has offensively that Kip didn't have was good leverage to start...but I agree...he doesn't have as much body strength. I think it's easier to increase strength, then to fix a swing, so we'll see what happens.

I would be willing to bet the Indians saw him in that Kipnis mode, and I likely believe they think he can develop power down the road...15-20 HR...which wouldn't be a stretch...a bit more strength with a leveraged swing, and by all accounts, his swing is pretty to watch...

We'll see. Kipnis is a rare bird...but they do seem similar in make-up...I'm optimistic...what else is new
detdawg
July 10, 2012 - 1:11 PM EDT
Roger, I just don't see the projection for Naquin that we saw in Sizemore, who was a football player who had the physique and attitude for football and applied it to baseball. Naquin, on the other hand, does not project to get a lot stronger - according to the experts. So, his power game is unlikely to improve like Sizemore's did.

And while there may be similarities right now between the slightly above average tools of Kipnis and Naquin, Naquin doesn't have the physical build to take his game to another level like Kipnis has. In the end, I believe the scouts failed to take into account Kipnis' upper body strength when projecting his major league power potential.
Nick
July 10, 2012 - 12:37 PM EDT
Very cool, thanks.
Roger
July 10, 2012 - 10:10 AM EDT
an addition comment based on pure numbers for Naquin; early in sizemore's career in the minor home runs were scarse however he got bigger and stronger and the homeruns came in bunches. naquin is wiry if his ht and wt numbers are correct and in a couple years i can see him at 200#'s + so homers maybe slightly above average for an outfield and he seems to be similar to kipnis in that he does everything right on the field and basepaths. Stranger things have happened no one thought that dustin petroia had MVP in him however in his second major league season he won the MVP. Naquin could be an overachiever he certainly seems to be off to a good start
Tony
July 10, 2012 - 8:47 AM EDT
Mike, nothing new other than Washington is not expected to be back with a team this year. Same as originally noted a few months ago. May see time at tail end of season with a team, but even if so, he's likely only playing rehab games in Arizona and then goes to Instructs.
Tony
July 10, 2012 - 8:46 AM EDT
Yep, we have someone down in Arizona that is watching the games and sitting with the scouts during them, often discussing the players with them. Here is what he saw last night velocity-wise and pitching-wise out of Howard: http://www.indiansprospectinsider.com/blog/azl-indians-trounced-13-3-by-dodgers-29826
Mike
July 10, 2012 - 3:07 AM EDT
Any update on Levon Washington's return?
Jim
July 10, 2012 - 3:05 AM EDT
Our guy that does the reporting down there has seen all his starts...if I'm not mistaken...
Nick
July 10, 2012 - 2:23 AM EDT
I can't get too worked up about Howard's performance in the the AZL. Has anyone seen him in person? Is he using all of his pitches? Or are the Tribe having just throwing fastballs and working on secondary offerings in side sesiions?
Andrew
July 10, 2012 - 1:37 AM EDT
Saw Sisco in action tonight and he was pitched well all game. He got into a tiny bit of trouble in the second, but aside from that, pitched exactly how one can expect.

Naquin has been outstanding. He also had a laser putout from CF to home. Dead on accurate and impressive. I'm not sure he'll be "special" perse, but I can see him having a very productive career.

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