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Around the Farm: June 19, 2012

Around the Farm: June 19, 2012
June 20, 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.

Jason Donald: 3B, Columbus: 4-for-6, 2 R, 1B, 2B, 3B, HR, 4 RBI, 1 K:

I’m not sure what their plans are with Donald going forward. When they sent him down, they said he had to get playing time every day. Does that mean the Indians aren’t planning on using him as a utility player? He hit a two-run homer in the first inning, to give the Clippers a 2-0 lead. Donald tripled in the third, to lead off the inning, then scored on Matt LaPorta’s single. He would single later in the inning, but was stranded when Cord Phelps struck out. That’s right, by the third inning, Donald only needed a double for the cycle. He would wait until the ninth, when he belted the two-run double to cap off the Clippers scoring. The last Clippers’ cycle was back in 2010, when Jason Kipnis achieved the feat while beating the Durham Bulls for the Governor’s Cup in an identical 13-2 score.  What does this mean for Donald? He’s hitting .302 in 31 games, with seven doubles, 3 triples, two homers and 16 RBI. Yeah, he can play every day, but when does that translate to the utility role in Cleveland?

Thomas Neal: RF, Akron Aeros: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI:

Neal has been hopping around the lineup like a jackrabbit, and found himself hitting fifth on Tuesday Night. Of course, as he’s been doing over the past couple of weeks, offense was likely to follow the move. Neal hit his third home run in his last seven games, which has been his major knock on the season. He hadn’t hit a homer up to this point in the year, so seeing the power is certainly a plus. At 24, Neal certainly can regain a bit of his top-prospect luster, but like Nick Weglarz, he finds himself two levels below the majors, and not on the 40-man roster. There’s a lot of work to do, but he’s certainly on the path to doing it, and as a right-handed potential power bat, it’s good to see.

  • Tim Fedroff: CF, Columbus: 3-for-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI: Fedroff is his typical self, hitting .303 over the past ten games here in Columbus, after batting .305 in Akron. He’s one of many in Columbus with similar abilities as a fourth outfielder for the big league club, as he’s been successful at every level.
  • Matt LaPorta: 1B, Columbus: 2-for-6, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 K: Ho-hum…another two hit performance for Matt LaPorta. After getting ceremoniously dumped back to Columbus after a whopping three-game, weeklong stint with the Indians, he’s come back to Columbus and gone 5-for-16, with two runs, a homer and three RBI.
  • Russ Canzler: LF, Columbus: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB: Clearly Canzler has found his swing, with his fourth homer in his last seven games. His ten-game line is an impressive .406/.475/.875, and he was just named international player of the week…something he was familiar with last season on his way to the IL MVP award.
  • Trevor Crowe: RF, Columbus: 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 K: Crowe came into the game having gone 0-for-9 in his last two games. I’m sure it will take time to find his swing after missing so much over the last two seasons. Crowe can play, but at 28-years old, his window is quickly closing. Wow…hard to believe he’s already 28…
  • Jared Goedert: DH, Columbus: 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB: Well, if Columbus is going to roll out 19 hits, you know Goedert is going to be involved in some form or fashion. While he’s had big nights with the Clippers, he’s struggling overall, only hitting .252 since his promotion.
  • Corey Kluber: SP, Columbus: W (6-6), 6 1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 3 BB, 9 K: Kluber has been flat out awesome since giving up 12 runs in two games back on May 15 and the 21. Since then, the big righty has pitched in 32 innings, giving up 27 hits, 12 R (only seven earned) and nine walks, while striking out an impressive 29 batters. He can be terribly inconsistent, but you can see why they like this kid’s stuff.
  • Nick Weglarz: LF, Akron: 1-for-3, 1 R: Weglarz continues his resurgence in the Indians organization, doing everything possible to regain footing as a top prospect. He’s unbelievably gotten his average to .251, after hovering at or below the Mendoza line for much of the first two months.
  • Chun Chen: DH, Akron:  1-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B: Chen laced his 21st double of the season, and has his average at .318 for the year. Still no home run power, but the 21 doubles does give you pause.
  • Paulo Espino: SP, Akron: W (1-2), 5 1/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R/1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K: Espino made his way onto ATF a bunch last season as both a starter and a reliever, but injuries have curtailed his appearance so far this season. Perhaps he’s finally starting to find his groove with his best outing of the season.
  • Bryan Price: RP, Akron: S (4), 1 2/3 IP, 2 K: Price continued his fine season with a near two inning perfect save appearance. He does find himself a level before some top tier arms like Cody Allen, but he definitely is in the bullpen equation for the Indians, perhaps even by the end of this season.
  • Mahoning Valley Scrappers Offense: 3-for-30, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K, 3 BB: Last season, the Scrappers absolutely blasted off at the beginning of the season with a massive amount of offensive production. This season, not so much, but we’ll give the Scrappers the benefit of the doubt as some of the top draft picks begin their journey through the system over the next week.
  • Joseph Wendle: 2B, Mahoning Valley: 0-for-4: Wendle was the first draft pick to make an appearance in a ball game, and while he went oh-fer, it was good to see a top ten pick playing.
  • Richard Stock: DH, Mahoning Valley: 0-for-4: Stock was drafted in the 23rd round out of Nebraska, and was making his professional debut with the scrappers. Stock is a catcher by trade, so we’ll see what they are going to do with him moving forward.
  • Juan Romero: RF, Mahoning Valley: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K: Well, nothing like setting your expectations high or anything. The kid has three homers in his first two ball games, and while he definitely has a plus-power bat, I’m not sure anyone expected this. As with any kid at this level, they’ll be watching his approach, and if the power matches, he could develop into something…but it’s early.
  • Nicholas Pasquale: RP, Mahoning Valley: 2 IP, 1 H, 3K: Pasquale was a 20th rounder to the Indians this season, and immediately made a major impression with two innings of near-perfect baseball, to go along with three K’s.
  • Estevenson Encarnacion: RP, Mahoning Valley: 1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K: Encarnacion made his name in the Dominican Summer League last season, going 7-2, with a 2.70 ERA in 27 ball games. He pitched in 43 1/3 innings, and struck out 47 batters, so there’s something there, but he did walk 28, so it will all be about control.

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

Norm
June 20, 2012 - 11:49 PM EDT
Thanks a bunch Jim!

Saw Moncrief in HS and he had all the tools then but even more Holes in his swing than now. I suppose the flaws made them convert him to RP but I did not understand it. I don't think he makes it to the show unless his pitch recognition gets a whole lot better but what an athlete.

Personally, I am less concerned about RRod's K rate than I am about the the lack of walks. I would rather wait until his hot streak cools but Akron needs some young prospect talent in the worst way and 2B is a wasteland. IMO Lindor is ready but I do not see Wolters going to LC. Don't have a better idea unfortunately.
Jim
June 20, 2012 - 10:25 PM EDT
Norm--

Yeah...I see them weekly...and my honest assessments on all the guys you mentioned:

1. Tice--should have been moved way earlier than this. It's tough with his health history, but he does have more upside than a guy like Adam Abraham (whom I love...but again...Tice has more pop for sure), and should be gone ASAP, and likely will.

2. Aguilar--I do agree with you that he needs to move as well. I'm sure the Indians are still looking for repetition, but I do have to tell you that this kid seems to have figured things out. It's interesting though...his approach seems 100% improved about 75% of the time, then it seems to go away...but quickly comes back. They may hold him back for a bit to see if he can't lock that in a bit more.

3. Rodriguez is extremely intriguing because he has some incredible pop to his bat, sure gap power, and IMO has more upside that some folks give him credit for. I've seen him launch some shots to the deepest part of the ballpark in Carolina, and that wall is high...20 feet I believe...and he's hit a couple over, and off the wall. It will only get better. My point is...RR is a sleeper on this team, but I DON'T think they'll move him soon. With 44 K's vs. only eight walks, I have to believe the plan is to keep him here for a bit. I do think Lindor is going to hang out in Lake County for the season, but he could be the fulcrom that gets the Carolina kids moving and shaking. Still think Wolters is a candidate to swap with Lindor.

I just don't see Moncrief making the move. I have to tell you...and you can probably read it through what I write...Moncrief has as much talent as anyone I've seen here in Carolina. He is a plus runner, has more power than you'd think...and just has the feel of a big league guy...but his approach is just horrid. He swings at everything, but when he's zoned in...he's as good as it gets. he could move up just because they don't think they can do anything for him...and just see what he does at another level.

Love Moncrief, and if he ever put it all together, he'd be a tremendous player.
Norm
June 20, 2012 - 6:29 PM EDT
Hi Jim, Weglarz is in a hot streak so we need to see if he returns more to a median performance but the most significant stats about Weglarz IMO is that he is now top 10 EL in slugging, HRs, and OPS. He is still adjusting to swing changes but a little health and playing time should get him to Columbus soon.

You spend a lot of time on Carolina so I wonder if the Indians should push some position prospects to Akron. I am aware these guys will have some difficult adjustments and likely will not light the world but it looks to me like Tice is an easy decision and Aguilar is not too difficult. On the other hand, RRod and Moncrief have to be more problematic since both are emerging and streaking now. However, both show talent and upside and nothing blocks them at CF and 2B. It also makes big sense to me to make space for Lindor at SS and Smith in the OF with Myles returning to form. You see much more of these guys than the little i get to view any more to I would like your imput.
DetDawg
June 20, 2012 - 9:31 AM EDT
2011 3rd round pick Jake Sisco made his debut at Mahoning Valley. His line was 3.2-5-2-2-3-2.

Encouraging outing from Espino.
Joe
June 20, 2012 - 7:42 AM EDT
NICKY!!!!!!!!!! Up to .251 and climbing. Great to see.

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