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Around the Farm: June 2, 2013

Around the Farm: June 2, 2013
June 3, 2013
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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.

Tyler Naquin: CF, Carolina Mudcats: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 CS:

There’s nothing better than watching one of the organization’s #1 picks hitting their stride. That’s exactly what Tyler Naquin is doing right now. He has three straight multiple hit ballgames and has gone 8-for-14 during that stretch, with a slash line of .571/.600/1.000. He has four extra-base hits during the three game stretch, with three doubles and a home run. He’s certainly not ever going to be a power hitter, but there’s hope that he could develop 15-20 homer potential, which would really make the #1 selection worthwhile. It’s a short sample-size right now for Naquin, but he’s also now third in the league in hitting. He’s 45 points behind the league leader, but I still believe he’ll end up leading the league in hitting if he’s in Carolina long enough. I just don’t think he’s going to be in High A for the long haul.

Dorssys Paulino: 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K, CS (1), 2 E:

The world is clearly a different place then it once was. We are in the “USA Today” era in which everything has to be giftwrapped into a small little box. Gone is the depth of prediction and appreciation in which a player was actually allowed time to grow up and develop. Of course, Paulino has a long way to go, but the folks that are riding him hard as a failure need to back off a bit. He may fail, but it’s pretty damn hard to call it after two months. Let’s give him some room to breathe and see what happens. He’s currently riding a six-game hitting streak in which he’s gone 10-for-24, with five doubles, four RBI, a walk and three K’s. His slash during that stretch is .417/.440/.625. Of course, it’s only a six-game stretch, and he’s a kid, so I guess common sense tells me there’s a long road to go. Hoping for the best though, and perhaps there’s something to playing in warm air.

  • Cord Phelps: 2B, Columbus: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K: Phelps blasted his eighth home run, and has three in his last eight ballgames. He’s been playing well of late offensively though, going 12-for-37 over his last eight games, with six runs, two doubles and 13 RBI. His OPS is .981 over that stretch.
  • Jeremy Hermida: DH, Columbus: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB: Hermida hit his tenth homer, and he’ll never make the Indians roster, but you gotta love guys like this. He has a five-game hit streak and has a slash line of .500/.545/.900 for a 1.445 OPS. Unfortunately those numbers over that stretch are second to another guy raking who got the night off…Lonnie Chisenhall.
  • Lou Marson: C, Columbus: 0-for-2,1 BB, 1 K: He’s 0-for-4 since returning to Columbus for his rehab assignment, which is code for “hitting like normal.” There’s no way this guy takes Gomes spot, is there?
  • TJ House: SP, Columbus: L (1-4), 5 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 2 K: House has struggled in Columbus as a starter, but don’t count him out yet. You do have to wonder if the Indians might be eyeing him for a bullpen turn at some point.  I know House well enough to know he’ll do what it takes to get the bigs, so watch this closely as the year progresses.
  • Scott Barnes: RP, Columbus: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 2 K, 1 HR: Barnes hasn’t had a good year in Columbus, and he hasn’t been able to stick in Cleveland. You have to wonder if the bouncing around over the past two years has hurt his development as a reliever.
  • Akron Aeros Offense: 5-for-29, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K: The Aeros offense was utter garbage today, compiling five hits, four of which were singles. The only player with life was Giovanny Urshela, who went 1-for-2, with a run, a home run, an RBi and a walk. Urshela now has a six-game hit streak, with two homers and five runs scored. It’s like a broken record with this kid. He can defend at the major league level, and the only question left is whether or not he has a hit tool that can ultimately play in the bigs. He’s hitting .275 right now, and he continues to improve. He’s close, and could be an option down the road if Lonnie Chisenhall doesn’t ultimately make it.
  • Robert Whitenack: SP, Akron: L (0-2), 2 IP, 8 H, 7 R/ER, 2 BB: Whitenack got trashed, and there’s really not anything more to say about it. This is his second straight Akron implosion, and he’s now given up 14 earned runs over his last six innings pitched. The Whitenack experiment may be drawing to a close. With a couple of guys knocking on Akron’s door in Carolina, Whitenack’s time may be drawing to a close.
  • Cole Cook: RP, Akron: 4 IP, 6 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR: Cook struggled out of the gate this season, but has slowly but surely started to get it together this season. He’s not dominating, and he’s not a top arm that’s discussed in a system full of great pen arms, but he can be a consistent winner. I just don’t know how that translates to the big league club, if it does at all.
  • Enosil Tejeda: RP, Akron: 1 IP, 1 H: Tejeda is another one of those guys that seems to be greater than the sum of his parts. His ERA in 2010 in the Dominican Summer League was 1.76. His ERA in 2011 with Mahoning Valley was 2.91. His ERA in 2012 in both Mahoning and Lake County was 1.39. His ERA in 2013 in both Carolina and Akron is 1.59. I keep thinking Matt Langwell-ish, but boy…he’s been better. Keep your eye on Enosil Tejeda. He’s going to be a good one. If only he were a lefty.
  • Jose Flores: RP, Akron: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K: I really don’t know how Flores does it. He has good velocity, but if he still looks like Mr. Roboto on the mound, he’ll never be a big league pitcher, will he? Someone, he has stretches of utter domination. I don’t get it, and I’ve seen him extensively over the past couple of season. He keeps performing though, and I guess is interesting…right?
  • Francisco Lindor: SS, Carolina: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 E: Lindor has been mired in a mini-slump of sorts, which I documented in detail in my latest Carolina Mudcats’ notebook. This is the time in 2012 in which the grind of the season began to take its toll. The big question now is whether or not Lindor has matured to the point, and continued developing physically enough to handle the long haul. His error was his 11th of the season.
  • Joseph Wendle: 2B, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB: There’s another double for Wendle, who’s still hitting .312. The Muddies top four are hitting .315 (Naquin), .306 (Lindor), .312 (Wendle) and .316 (Jerrud Sabourin) respectively. When  you consider Jordan Smith is the guy batting fifth, and will no doubt approach .300 by the end of the season, and have Bo Greenwell and Tony Wolters hitting sixth and seventh, you can see the offensive depth this team ultimately has. Wendle really does extend this lineup.
  • Jerrud Sabourin: 1B, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1  R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K: Sabourin hit his second homer. I’d love to see that part of his game improve, so he could be taken seriously by the organization and fans.
  • Jordan Smith: RF, Carolina: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 K: Smith has a five-game hit streak, and now has back-to-back two hit games. It’s only a matter of time before he approaches .300. Now if he could just add to his extra-base hit total.
  • Bo Greenwell: LF, Carolina: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB: Greenwell is spending part of his fourth season in Carolina, and while I don’t think he has a major league career in the cards, he’s better than High A. Injuries have really done him in long term, so it’s good to see him hitting the baseball.
  • Tony Wolters: DH, Carolina: 2-for-4: Wolters is another guy that deserves some good happening to him. The Indians bounce him to catcher, and he finally finds himself back in Carolina seeing regular at bats as the Catcher/DH. He’s played well of late though, and I look for him to finish the season in Carolina, before moving to Akron in 2014 as their primary catcher.
  • Fabio Martinez: RP, Carolina: 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 3 R/ER, 4 BB, 3 K: Fabio is anything but…just saying.
  • Jacob Lee: SP, Carolina: 3 2/3 IP, 8 H, 7 R/6 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 HR: Lee always seems to be walking on the edge, and today, he fell off. His ERA jumped to 6.10, and while he’s intriguing, he really has to start showing some consistency overall to continue to progress.
  • Joe Sever: DH, Lake County: 2-for-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI: Sever was raking in Carolina, hitting .316 in 21 games, and it got him sent right back to Lake County. He hasn’t stopped yet. He’s 4-for-6 in the last two games, so he’s clearly found something.
  • Dylan Baker: SP, Lake County: L (1-5), 4 1/3 IP, 9 H, 7 R/ER, 3 BB, 2 K: Baker hasn’t been very good over his last four starts, which ironically came after his best start of the season. Since May 16th, Baker is 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA over 20 innings. He’s given up 18 earned runs and 14 walks, while striking out only 11 hitters. He’s certainly not been the starter they thought he’d be.
  • CC Lee: RP, Lake County: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K: Lee made his second rehab start, and came back to earth a bit. The good thing here is that it was still a nice outing for the righty. He’s gone two total innings now, giving up a hit and a walk, while striking out four. The Indians will handle him with kids’ gloves, but he could still be an option by September if everything goes well. If not, he should get a shot out of the gate in 2014.

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 4, 2013 - 8:50 PM EDT
No one is upset Adam. And even with the tough first two months, I still believe in his potential. The comment made about him being the best young prospect since Manny came from scouts. Not me. Remember, the Indians drafted Kipnis out of college and acquired Santana a few years into his career. So they were more advanced when they came on board. That's the distinction I explained several months ago. The Indians have had better hitting prospects the past 20 years move through AAA/AA like Victor Martinez and Carlos Santana....but they haven't had a young hitter in the lower levels with Paulino's potential in years.
Adam
June 4, 2013 - 8:29 PM EDT
Just saying, you can't call the kid the best hitting prospect since the early 90's, and then get upset when people start to criticize his poor play. Even though you're not comparing him directly to Manny, you are still comparing him to about 20 years worth of hitting prospects, when at the time, he had about 60 games played at the professional level.

So now several guys on here are saying "well, you have to remember how young he is and temper your expectations" when in fact this very site is the source of those high expectations to begin with.

That's what happens when you talk up a 17 year old kid and say he's a better hitting prospect than Kipnis, Santana, Choo, Martinez, Peralta, etc. etc.

Just say he has good tools, scouts like his swing, and he is an intriguing prospect moving forward. That's what he is.
Tony
June 3, 2013 - 10:43 AM EDT
Marson can spend up to 20 days on his rehab assignment.

Paulino is turning things around for sure. Slowly but surely. The defense is a problem spot going forward, but then again that was known. The offense and consistency to his game is starting come about now though. I think what a lo of people forget is he is 18 years old and I believe the youngest player in the league. He's getting a wakeup call and crash course of more advanced pitching. Now we will see if he can make the adjustments he needs to make. He had 1 extra base hit his first 32 games and has 8 in his past 14 games. It will be tough for his overall numbers to recover, but I expect him to have a solid season from this point going forward. He's better for the struggles he is facing. Again, no one ever compared him to Manny Ramirez. He's nowhere close to that kind of player. He's just the best young hitting prospect the Indians have had since him. Tons of upside and ability as a hitter, but also lots of potential for failure - as there is with any heralded young prospect still finding their way.

As for lots of starting pitching talent, that is probably the system's biggest weakness for sure. Though there are a lot of young arms with lots of upside from recent drafts and signed internationally that will be interesting to follow this year and next. We've only really seen one of those arms this year (Brown) and he only made a handful or starts. We should see a lot more of the young arms once short season leagues get started.
Travis
June 3, 2013 - 10:29 AM EDT
Naquin's batting average has been solid, but as Keith Law mentioned on twitter, his low walk and high strikeouts are a concern. For a guy who has limited power, a 21.5% K% is a bit steep (Lindor is at only 11% which really shows how good his approach has been). It will be interesting to see how Naquin adjusts to AA moving forward as he won't be able to sustain his current BABIP which is just below .400.
Homer
June 3, 2013 - 10:21 AM EDT
I don't have a problem with people saying that Paulino has the best bat since Ramirez. It's not a direct comparison, it's a simple statement of the potential talent of this kid.

I'm starting to think I was wrong on Tyler Naquin seems to me he could develop into a more all around everyday player than I expected, which is a good thing.

As for the Tribe having a number of talented arms... There are a lot of talented young arms that really haven't been introduced into the system yet, this yr. Dillon Howard, Keiran Lovegrove, Caleb Hamrick and Luis Lugo to name a few. There are others like Cody Anderson and to some extent Shawn Morimando that have stepped up. Then there guys like Luis DeJesus and Ryan Merritt that flash brilliance on occasion.

There should be an influx of talented arms coming later this week through the draft. And of course the International FA signing period begins July 2 and the Tribe holds the fifth largest spending pool, which is tradeable. Btw, there have been rumors the Tribe has been watching college arms especially close... could be nothing, but could be a specific focus of the up coming draft.

Of course, IF the Tribe were to flounder throughout the summer months we could see some vets moved for some young SP.
brian
June 3, 2013 - 10:19 AM EDT
Considering none of the previous guys mentioned by Matthew will graduate to the majors before the next offseason, you would have to think that we should be in that 13-17 range in the rankings. If you add in this weeks draft, and guys like Washington, Salazar, and hopefully Brown, we should have a pretty talented top 10.

Urshela and RRod are still wildcards who could reach that true top prospect status (I dont quite consider RRod there yet).
Matthew
June 3, 2013 - 8:11 AM EDT
@John yes, the time limit is 20 days on position players on rehab assignments.

@Sternfan I don't know where you heard that the Tribe farm system has an overload of good pitching prospects, but it wasn't true. The biggest weakness overall in this system the last decade years has been starting pitching, and it continues to be a very serious concern.

No system has a ton of impact prospects. Each team is lucky to have a handful of high level prospects. The Indians have Lindor, Bauer, Salazar, Paulino, and Ramirez, who all qualify as high level prospects, with Lindor being among the elite prospects in all of baseball. Minor league box scores will only tell you so much about the prospect. A lot of people here are dogging Paulino because his stats don't look good, but he's one of only a handful of 18 year old regulars playing in a full season league, and scouts still love his tools.

The truth is the system has improved over the last few years from being one of the worst in baseball to being just about middle of the pack.
Sternfan101
June 3, 2013 - 7:50 AM EDT
I look at the Indians minor league box scores every day, but the prospects all seem to be so average with the exception of Lindor and to some extent Naquin. I thought we had an overload of good starting pitching, where is it? I know its been stated that the Indians farm system has improved, but would we still be ranked in the mid 20's just because we have so few impact players?
Adam
June 3, 2013 - 7:22 AM EDT
Yeah, I would say that when writers call a 17 year old kid "The best hitting prospect we've had since Manny," that doesn't help to allow the kid the time to "grow up and develop." I would venture to say that most fans on here who are riding Paulino for his slow start are doing so because this site and sites like it built him up to be more than what he is last year.
art
June 3, 2013 - 12:55 AM EDT
I liked your Paulino comment, about the USA Today environment. However, sites like this and fans like us are why the minors don't allow the low visibility that was provided long ago. I recall many moons ago when the weekly Sporting News was the only info on the minors, and their very limited statistical information was at least a week old.
John
June 3, 2013 - 12:54 AM EDT
Is there a limit to the amount of time Marson can spend on a rehab assignment?

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