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Around the Farm: June 16, 2012

Around the Farm: June 16, 2012
June 17, 2012
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Around the Farm was originated here at Indians Prospect Insider, and 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.

Russ Canzler: DH, Columbus Clippers: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 K:

When the Indians traded for 25-year-old Russ Canzler, they were looking for a player they could throw into the mix for either the first base or left field jobs. He had torn through the International league last season, going 149-for-474 (.314), with 40 doubles, four triples, 18 homers and 83 RBI. He played all four corner positions for the Durham Bulls last season, and had an overall OPS of .931. He really had a hot second half of the season though, batting .356, with 17 doubles, eight homers and 40 RBI after the Triple A All-Star break. So far this season, the Indians haven’t seen any of that…until this past week. Canzler is finally starting to show off some of that power production. Over his past four games, Canzler is 6-for-13, with three runs, a double, three homers and 11 RBI. Prior to this four game stretch, Canzler had 18 RBI. I don’t think Canzler is the answer at first or in left field, but he should at least be making himself an option, which he may be finally doing. If he continues this play, it will be interesting who gets the next look from the Indians with Laporta getting sent down. They are basically the same guy at this point, but Canzler could conceivably pass him should he remain the hotter of the two players, which he’s shown to do in the past.

Chris Schwinden: SP, Columbus Clippers: W (4-5), 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR:

Schwinden was a 22nd round draft pick of the New York Mets in 2008, and he was never projected to be a top prospect. With that said, he did make his major league debut in 2011 for the Mets, and pitched fairly well in four starts, going 0-2, with a 4.71 ERA. He didn’t have as much luck in 2012 with the Mets (0-1, with a 12.46 ERA), and ultimately was designated for assignment, leading him on a quest from the Mets to the Blue Jays to the Indians in the span of a week. Schwinden has always been a tweener, a guy that many looked as a Quad A pitcher. That very well may be true, but on Sunday, Schwinden looked every bit the potential major league fill pitcher that the Indians may need him to be at some point in the season. With Buffalo this season, he went 3-4, with a solid 2.59 ERA in nine games, including one complete game. He struck out 41 batters, while walking only 17. Schwinden could turn into a steal.

  • Jason Donald: 3B, Columbus: 1-for-4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: Donald had been playing well up until a stretch last week that saw him go 2-for-16. He saw his average drop 30 points during that stretch.
  • Cord Phelps: 2B, Columbus: 1-for-3, 1 R, 2 BB: This wasn’t some sort of breakout game for the Clippers second baseman, but over the past couple of weeks, these are his “off games.” His line over the past ten games is an impressive .364/.447/.545, and it’s because of games like this. He has at least one hit in 12 of his last 13 games.
  • Matt LaPorta: 1B, Columbus:  0-for-4, 3 K: LaPorta played in his first game since being sent down from the Indians last week. There is quite a bit of gap between LaPorta’s demotion and his first game. Not sure if there’s anything to the time off, but he certainly looked terrible at the plate on Saturday. It will be real interesting to see what LaPorta does going forward.
  • Luke Carlin: C, Columbus: 3-for-4, 1 R: Carlin in 6-for-18 since returning to Columbus from his stint with the Indians. As I’ve always said, offense is icing on the cake for the defensive-minded backstop.
  • Cody Allen: RP, Columbus: H (3), 1 IP, 1 K: Look out international league, Cody Allen seems to have found his footing. This was Allen’s third perfect outing in a row, and he was only one walk away from four. He’s gone five innings during that stretch, giving up that walk, with seven strikeouts.
  • Thomas Neal: CF, Akron: Game 1: 1-for-3, 1 RBI: Neal continued to hit well at the top of the lineup, and is currently on a seven-game hit streak, in which he has scored four runs. If he could only show a bit more power.
  • Nick Weglarz: LF, Akron: Game 1: 1-for-3, 1 2B, 1 BB: It’s getting fun to talk about Weglarz again, as he continues to show the bat that made him a top prospect. He roped another double, and is continuing to show off that professional bat that has been missing for two seasons.
  • Giovanni Soto: SP, Akron: Game 1: L (5-3):  6 IP, 5 H, 2 R/ER, 1 BB, 9 K: Soto really should be sitting at the top of ATF tonight, as he proved that he’s more than a marginal prospects, as some of his starts would suggest at times.  It’s his third solid start in a row, and he’s gone 15 2/3 innings, giving up 15 hits, five runs, seven walks and struck out 16 during that stretch. Where he runs into trouble is with the long ball. He doesn’t throw hard, so if he leaves something over the plate, he can get belted. He’s given up four homers in those three games.
  • Thomas Neal: RF, Akron: Game 2: 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K: Okay, so there’s the power. Neal hit his second homer of the season, and coincidentally, his second homer of the week in game 2 of Saturday’s double header.
  • Chun Chen: DH, Akron: Game 2: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K: Chen is hitting .319 on the season, and continues to hit well. I could talk about his lack of home run power, but it’s starting to get redundant. At the end of the day, the Akron 1B/DH is having a fantastic season at the plate. Without the power though, he won’t be an effective major leaguer at the positions listed.
  • Nick Weglarz: LF, Akron: Game 2: 2-for-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB: So, Weglarz line for the night is 3-for-6, with two runs scored, a double, a homer, an RBI and three walks. His overall average is up to .242, and out of nowhere, he’s showing he can take walks again. What is going on with this guy? Is he really back?
  • Bryan Price: RP, Akron: Game 2: 2 2/3, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 2 K: Price gave up his first earned run since May 20th in Game 2 of Saturday Night’s game. Overall, he’s 2-1, with a 2.29 ERA, and carrying a 1.65 ERA in his last ten games.
  • Bryce Stowell: RP, Akron: Game 2: BS (1), 1 1/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER: Stowell continues to struggle to find that consistency after his injury issues. He’s given up three earned runs in his last 3 1/3 innings pitched.
  • Jose De La Torre: RP, Akron: S (2), 1 IP: De La Torre is pitching the best of any Aeros reliever right now. He hasn’t given up a run in ten games over 16 innings, and only given up six hits and four walks during that stretch, while striking out 17.
  • Tyler Holt: CF, Carolina: 0-for-5, 2 K: Holt continues to sink as the summer approaches, and is now 1-for-21 in his last five ballgames.
  • Bo Greenwell: LF, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 K: It’s good to see Greenwell back after all his injury issues over the past year. He has a hit in both of his games since his return.
  • Giovanny Urshela: 3B, Carolina: 3-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI: While Urshela has been struggling with the stick since his return from the DL, he’s slowly starting to take off. He’s hit safely in his last six games, going 8-for-21, with three runs and two RBI. Perhaps Saturday’s game was a launching pad for the summer.
  • Jesus Aguilar: 1B, Carolina: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K: Aguilar has been slumping of late, so it’s always good to see an extra-base hit. He’s still hitting .288 for the season, and seems to be ready for another one of those hot streaks of his.
  • Ronny Rodriguez: SS, Carolina: 1-for-3, 2 R, 1 3B, 2 RBI: Rodriguez is getting to be one of the more fun guys to cover in ATF. He has tantalizing ability, and it’s always interesting to me to see the minor league pundits pooh-pooh his potential after seeing him for a couple of games every couple of months. What Rodriguez has is plus speed, gap power, and a nice glove. All that translates to the bigs.
  • Anthony Gallas: RF, Carolina: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K: Gallas continues his torrid month of June, and is hitting .347 for the month. He is hitting an even better .394 over the last ten, and has a seven-game hit streak on top of that.
  • Shawn Armstrong: RP, Carolina: BS (1), L (0-3), 2 IP, 4 H, 2 R/ER, 1 K: There was nothing good from this outing for Armstrong, but it doesn’t diminish his future for the Tribe. His ERA is still a crazy 1.59 after this game, which should show you just how well he’s pitched all season long. What will be interesting is seeing how he rebounds.
  • Luigi Rodriguez: DH, Lake County: 2-for-5, 3 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K: Lake County will often put together these games in which every prospect just goes off, and Rodriguez usually starts things off, as he did on Saturday. Rodriguez slumped in May and early June, but is rebounding nicely, hitting .319 over his past ten games, with two homers, six RBI, 11 runs, a double and a triple.
  • Francisco Lindor: SS, Lake County: 3-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 K: It’s funny how Lindor and Rodriguez continue to mirror each other as the season progresses. Both started off the season hot. Both slumped in May, and both are waking up at the same time. Lindor has his average up to .289, and it’s always good to see that gap power.
  • Jerrud Sabourin: 1B, Lake County: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 4 RBI, 1 K: With Rodriguez and Lindor carrying such a hot stick in this one, you didn’t really think that their new hot prospect (sorta sarcastic) Sabourin would be left out? Mr. Multi-Hit did it again, and drove in a game high four runs. In all honesty, this is getting to be an old hat for the Captains first baseman.
  • Todd Hankins: LF, Lake County: 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI: Hankins blasted his first homer of the season, and also hit his fifth triple. He’s a speedster, so expect more of the triples, and less of the homers.
  • Cody Anderson: SP, Lake County: 3 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 1 K: Anderson looked great after getting beat up in his previous two starts. It looked like they were controlling his innings, but it was still good to see the big righty pitch well.
  • Mason Radeke: RP, Lake County: W (4-1), 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R/ER, 4 K, 1 HR: Radeke gave up a meaningless solo home run, but otherwise dominated to get his fourth win of the season. He’s been awesome in this long relief/piggy back role, and has three solid appearances in a row, in which he’s gone 13 1/3 innings, giving up only eight hits, a run and a walk, while striking out an impressive 17 batters.

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
June 17, 2012 - 5:28 PM EDT
Ralph--Yeah, I know his rankings well...but sometimes tweets don't mesh with rankings...
Jim
June 17, 2012 - 5:24 PM EDT
Det...I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about Stowell. He's had arm issues, and just can't seem to gain the consistency you'd like to see. Hopefully, he can stay healthy...regain his confidence, and right the ship, so to speak, as the year progresses. We shall see.

Now that Allen has gained some footing, it would appear that he's next in line for the Indians. But, if you look back to Hagadone's life in Triple A, Allen may have a bit more time to get seasoned. Of course, Hagadone didn't move up through the system like Allen's meteoric rise...really...in one season...

So it's likely...

Radeke...when he signed, I have a friend that watched him at Cal Poly that said he had incredible make-up, and with added velocity, could become a solid starter someday. Well, it appears as though he's added some velocity...so who knows. He is an unknown right now...but hitting 93 or so on the gun, so maybe there is something there going forward.

As for RRod...he's young...and has a long way to go...but like I said, tantalizing. Jim, while Law has him as a sleeper, there are a couple of guys I follow on Twitter that have said there's "nothing there," and he's gotten a couple of his minions to follow him. I'm not going to say any names, but it's a couple of the top three or four guys out there.
Ralph
June 17, 2012 - 3:12 PM EDT
Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus had him at number three in the system behind Dillon howard.
Jim Piascik
June 17, 2012 - 2:47 PM EDT
To be fair, one of the minor league pundits - Keith Law - had Ronny Rodriguez as his Indians sleeper pick before the season (ESPN Insider required: http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7559644/mlb-sleeper-prospects-every-organization). But I do agree that he seems to get overlooked far too often.
DetDawg
June 17, 2012 - 11:23 AM EDT
I hope I'm wrong, but Stowell seems destined to disappoint.

Hopefully, Allen's last few relief appearances are a sign that he's adjusted to AAA. He still looks like a good bet to make Cleveland sometime after the All-Star break.

Radeke seems to have come out of nowhere. Seems to have a nice combination of control and swing-and-miss skills.

Would like to see better plate discipline from R-Rod. He's better than last year, but not by much.

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