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Around the Farm: June 13, 2012

Around the Farm: June 13, 2012
June 14, 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.

Kyle Blair: Relief Pitcher, Carolina Mudcats: W (5-1), 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR:

You want to talk about a mixed bag as a pitcher for the Indians organization. In two appearances earlier in the season for the Mudcats, Blair gave up 12 runs total, and looked like the same guy that seemed to get torched all season long in 2011. In Lake County last season, he gave up 45 earned runs in 80 2/3 innings as both a starter and a reliever. In 2012, Blair started the year off in Lake County, and again got blitzed out of the gate. He gave up four runs in four innings of his first start, then gave up 13 runs in 3 1/3 innings of his second start. They moved him to the pen after that, and he began working one-inning stints, and seemed to right the ship, but after three relief appearance, the Indians unexpectedly sent him up to Carolina. Things seemed to be going well, as Blair went 10 innings and three appearances only giving up one run. Then the bottom fell out again, as Blair gave up those 12 earned in 5 1/3. But Blair battled back. Blair isn't starting, but he is piggy-backing with Danny Salazar, coming in at the start of the fourth inning for most of Salazar's starts. Over his last four piggy-backs, Blair has gone 19 2/3 innings, giving up only 13 hits and four earned runs. He’s struck out nine batters, and walked nine as well. Sure, you have to be concerned about his walk total, but you have to be impressed a bit with his tenacity. it's clear Blair brings an interesting make-up to the mound, and while you want the K/BB rate to be better, you can see that Blair is gaining his footing. He's gone 4-0 in those last four outings, and may just turn into a prospect after all. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain his current success, and built upon it in the future.

Anthony Gallas: DH, Carolina Mudcats: 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI:

Gallas launched a three run bomb in the fifth inning, giving the overachiever five dingers on the season. Gallas just went through a slump that I thought he was never going to break out of. Well, he has, and he’s currently on a four-game hitting streak in which he’s gone 7-for-13, with a double, a homer and five RBI. Overall, he’s only hitting .231, and this was after starting the month of April like a house of fire. He was hitting .326, dropped to .147 in May, and then back up to .286 in June. Looks like the summer months could really help. On Wednesday, Gallas had a two-run homer and a two –run single, capping his best night of the 2012 season.

  • Thomas Neal: RF, Akron: Game 1: 1-for-3, 2 K: With Tim Fedroff and Trevor Crowe in Columbus, Neal found himself in the lead off position after spending much of the season buried in the lineup. Perhaps the former top prospect can find himself with a new chance at the top of the order.
  • Chun-Hsiu Chen: 1B, Akron: Game 1: 1-for-2, 1 BB: Chen still isn’t showing of any power. I know, I know, he must be working on something. The great mystery of the minor leagues. Of course, when you move a guy to first base who has shown power, and he shows none, he must really be working on something complicated. Chen is hitting .315, but you have to wonder if he’s not entered the Jordan Brown-zone.
  • Ryan Rohlinger: LF, Akron: Game 1: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K: Akron’s offense had three hits, one run, one homer, one RBI, one walk and 10 K’s during Wednesday Night’s ballgame. Rohlinger had the run, homer, RBI and 1/3 of the hits.
  • Steven Wright: SP, Akron: Game 1: L (5-3), 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R/0ER, 3 BB, 1 K: Wright scuffled a bit today, but still didn’t give up any earned runs. Still, Wright had the bases loaded in the first, allowed runners onto second and third, and they eventually scored (after an error on Wright), had runners on first and second in the third inning, and had the bases loaded in the fifth. Ah, the life of a knuckleballer. Wright has been lights out over the season, but especially over his last four starts. During that stretch, he’s gone 21 innings, giving up only 11 hits, five runs, two earned runs, 13 walks and 16 K’s. Again, remember, a knuckleballer is going to have a few walks, there just something to deal with.
  • Bryan Price: RP, Akron: Game 1: 1 IP, 1 R, 1 BB: Price has been pitching well of late, and has his fifth straight unscored-upon outing. He’s gone eight innings, giving up only five hits and three walks, with four K’s.
  • Ben Copeland: RF, Akron: Game 2: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 SB (7): Copeland is batting under .200 on the season, but he managed a seventh-inning bomb in this one.
  • Thomas Neal: CF, Akron: Game 2: 1-for-2, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB: Hmmm, Neal batted second in this game, and played center, after leading off in the first. Seems like the top of the order and Neal are suited to each other. Let’s hope the light is turning on for Neal, as this was his first tater of the season.
  • Chun-Hsiu Chen: DH, Akron: Game 2: 1-for-1, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 BB: Another double for Chen in Game 2, and an on-base machine with three walks to go with it.
  • Nick Weglarz: LF, Akron: Game 2: 1-for-2, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB (1): If you haven’t seen Weglarz in awhile, he’s turned himself into a stolen base threat. Not really…
  • Brett Brach: SP, Akron: W (2-2): Game 2: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB: Brach had a beautiful return to form after a rough outing on June 6th. Overall, he’s got a 4.79 ERA in both Carolina and the Eastern League.
  • Preston Guilmet: Closer, Akron: Game 2: S (8), 1 IP: Six of his last seven appearances have been of the shutout variety, giving up five hits, a run, three walks and nine strikeouts.
  • Tony Wolters: SS, Carolina: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K: Wolters continues to hit the baseball, and drive those doubles. In his last ten, he’s hitting .297, with four runs, four doubles and two triples, as well as six RBI. He already has 26 RBI this season, which is six more than he had last season in 11 more games.
  • Jeremie Tice: LF, Carolina: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB: Tice got his first hit after not playing for a week, and it turned into a long bomb. Tice has 12 homers on the season, and 46 RBI.
  • Ronnie Rodriguez: 2B, Carolina: 1-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B: Rodriguez is hitting just under .300 over his past ten games, and has the average up to .259 overall. It’s funny how Rodriguez seems to be trending with Wolters throughout the season.
  • Delvi Cid: RF, Carolina: 2-for-4, 1 R, 2 SB (17): Out of nowhere, Cid has his average up to .275, and is 8-for-21 in his last ten games. Cid showed his crazy speed with two stolen bases, and his 17 are three behind the league lead of 20.
  • Danny Salazar: SP, Carolina: 3 IP, 4 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 2 K: It wasn’t a bad start for the youngster, and it mirrored his last start when he went three innings, gave up five hits and a run, while striking out four without a walk. He only had two, but in three innings of pitching.
  • Shawn Armstrong: RP, Carolina: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K: Armstrong has been very, very good this season. After debuting at Lake County, it only took two games for management to bump Armstrong up to Carolina. In his 19 appearances with the Muddies, Armstrong has gone 32 innings, giving up only 19 hits and four runs (all earned), while walking 15 and striking out 40. You could argue that he’s the best reliever on the team right now, and was picked this week to represent the Mudcats in the all-star game. It may be his last appearance, as his promotion could be imminent.
  • Luigi Rodriguez: CF, Lake County: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K: Rodriguez launched a two-run shot in the third inning of Wednesday night’s ballgame that put Lake County on the board when they were down 3-0. It was Rodriguez’s third homer on the season, and continued his home run streak to nine ball games. During that stretch, he’s gone 14-for-38 (.368), with eight runs, four doubles, a triple, a homer and three RBI.
  • Jerrud Sabourin: 1B, Lake County: 2-for-4, 1 BB, 1 K: Sabourin may be my favorite captain right now. No, it’s not because he’s the best player on the team, but he may just get more out of his talent than any of the other guys on the roster. He now has 10 multi-hit games in his last 17 games, and in four of his last ten.
  • Zach MacPhee: DH, Lake County: 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, SB (2), CS (5): MacPhee is trying to find a place on a team that’s loaded with middle infielders, and has struggled so for. He does seem to be getting better, at least offensively, from month-to-month, and is clearly having his best month at the plate in his professional career. After starting off the season hitting .182 in June, he’s slowly brought his average up to .256 (.244 in May/.265 in June). He’s an interesting prospect with solid speed, but not nearly as polished as the Indians had hoped when drafting him out of Arizona St.
  • Felix Sterling: SP, Lake County: 4 IP, 6 H, 4 R 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR: What began as a promising season for Sterling is slowly turning into a nightmare. In mid-May, Sterling’s ERA was sub 3.00, and it appeared as though the 19-year old would be a break-out star in the organization. Since a May 17th start, Sterling has given up 31 runs total, 27 earned, on 27 hits, six homers and 12 walks, while striking out nine over 18 innings pitched. His ERA has ballooned to 5.79 on the season, and there’s certainly some cause for concern. It’s clear that the talent is there, but he’s giving up far too many walks and homers. If he can’t keep the ball down, he’ll run into problems. Remember though, he looked light’s out in April and the first half of May, and he’s only 19. When he figures it out, he could become a top-end pitcher going forward.
  • Cole Cook: RP, Lake County: L (2-2), 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 K: With one out in the fifth inning, Cook gave up what seemed like a harmless single. He forced his next batter into what appeared to be a double play ball that could have ended the inning, but an error by Leonardo Castillo nixed the DP, and both runners were safe. Cook would give up a single to the next batter, scoring the run, and taking the loss. He would retire South Bend in order in the sixth inning. Overall, it was a solid performance by Cook, who should have been out of the inning in the fifth. Instead, he took the loss.

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
June 14, 2012 - 5:23 PM EDT
Armstrong has certainly been one of those helium-type prospects this year as his prospect status has risen significantly. There was a lot to like about him going into the season, and all he has done is make good on all those good feelings about him. As for Wolters, I am concerned with the lack of bat speed, but he is just such a tough minded individual and has more than held his own offensively this seasoj
DetDawg
June 14, 2012 - 9:18 AM EDT
In his last 6 games and 7 innings, Shawn Armstrong has given up just 1 BB. That's a significant improvement over the 14 BB over his prior 25 innings at Carolina. While he's given up more hits, it seems clear Armstrong is successfully working on his control, with command to be addressed in the future.

There are a number of differences between Wolters' first season in pro ball and this season. One of them is that Wolters faded in the stretch last season, his power in particular. This season, Wolters is just showing what potential he has in that department. In his last 10 games, Wolters' ISO is Kipnis-like .211.

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