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Around the Farm: June 23, 2013

Around the Farm: June 23, 2013
June 24, 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.

Matt Packer: SP, Akron Aeros: W (5-5), 6 2/3 IP, 7 H, 1 R/ER, 9K:

There was a day when Matt Packer was a legitimate prospect. In 2010, the lefty went 9-7 between Lake County and Akron, with a 2.04 ERA. He’s scuffled ever since, but has clearly found something. Over his last three starts, including Sunday night, is 2-0 with a 0.49 ERA over 18 1/3 innings. He’s given up 15 hits and an earned run during that stretch, with only four walks and 18 K’s. In other words, Packer is pitching as well as he has since 2010, and for a club that is starving for lefties, Packer may be a sleeper heading into the hot summer months.

Austin Adams: RP, Akron Aeros: H (4), 1 1/3 IP, 3 K:

Adams has a cannon, and he hasn’t had the slightest problems using it so far in 2013. On Sunday, Adams was hitting 97 MPH on the radar, and blew through the Rock Cats. How good was he? He threw 16 pitches, and 13 of them were strikes. Adams hasn’t given up a run since May 23. Since then, he’s made ten appearances covering 11 2/3 innings. He’s given up seven hits and seven walks, but has struck out 14. Obviously, Adams has struggled a bit with control, but when he’s throwing strikes, he’s hard to hit. I’ll be shocked if Adams isn’t pitching for the Tribe by August.

Francisco Lindor: SS, Carolina Mudcats: 3-for-5, 2 R, 1 K:

If Anyone was worried about the 250 at bat threshold, they can stop.  Lindor was sitting at 250 at bats at the Carolina League break, and his average was at .300. He’s now sitting at 264 at bats, and he’s added seven hits, upping his average to .311.  He’s third in the league with a .311 average, tied with fellow Muddy Tyler Naquin, and behind Jerrud Sabourin. There are only five players in the Carolina League with a .300 average or better. Naquin and Lindor may be on the fast track to Akron once they get to the break.

  • Matt Carson: CF, Columbus: 3-for-5, 2 RBI, 1 K: Carson is about as streaky a player as you can get. This was his first three-hit game since June 1, and only his second multi-hit game since June 14th.
  • Tim Fedroff: LF, Columbus: 1-for-2, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K: This is what Fedroff does best. He gets on base whichever way he can, and scores runs. This is a down year for the usually consistent hitter, but some of it has to be out of frustration, as he’s stuck at Columbus for the foreseeable future.
  • Trevor Bauer: SP, Columbus: 3 IP, 6 H, 5 R/ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR: This was Bauer’s second straight three-inning start. While the last one was to perhaps line him up for Friday’s doubleheader, this one was partially because he got beat up. I still believe that part of Bauer’s issues are partially the fact that he’s in Triple A. Folks will disagree with me on this, but I still believe this is the type of kid that would be helped by starting big league games.
  • Paolo Espino: RP, Columbus: 3 IP, 6 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 2 K: Do you remember the days when Paolo Espino was an interesting potential bullpen arm? Okay, I know interesting isn’t exactly a big pat on the back, but Espino has had stretches of really solid play. This year, that’s all gone away.
  • Matt Langwell: RP, Columbus: W (3-1), 1 1/3 IP, 2 H, 2 K: Langwell deserves to be with the Indians for the long haul. This kid has done everything that you need to do. Unfortunately, he has options, so welcome to the rubber band rook.
  • Cedric Hunter: DH, Akron: 2-for-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: I suppose Cedric Hunter has entered Thomas Neal territory. He’s not a major prospect, but a non-roster guy that the Indians signed. He’s done everything well though, and has five multi-hit games in his last nine, and has seven homers and 24 RBI in his 50 games between Akron and Columbus.
  • Chris Wallace: C, Akron: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K: Wallace cracked his second homer for Akron in his third game since returning from the Triple A Clippers. He’s played in 11 total Double A games, and has ten games with hits, including the last ten.
  • C.C. Lee: RP, Akron: 2/3 IP, 2 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB: Lee had been pitching well, having not given up a run or a hit since June 7th. That all changed on Sunday. He’s still regaining his momentum. Hardly something to worry about.
  • Joe Wendle: 2B, Carolina: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB: Wendle will be the fourth Muddy hitting .300 when he qualifies for enough at bats. He cracked his seventh homer of the season, and his second in back-to-back nights.
  • Jerrud Sabourin: 1B, Carolina: 2-for-3, 1 R, 2 BB: Will he just keep getting better? He’s 6-for-7 over the last two games, and is now second in the league in hitting with a .318 average, and has claimed the lead on the team.
  • Jordan Smith: RF, Carolina: 2-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: How hot has Smith been? He had his fourth multi-hit game out of the past five, and has six in his last ten games.
  • Bryson Myles: DH, Carolina: 2-for-3, 1 BB, 1 K, SB (5): Myles has struggled this season thanks to his good friend, injury. If I’m frustrated that these injuries are stunting his growth as a player, imagine what he’s going through.
  • Grant Sides: RP, Carolina: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K: Sides has gotten destroyed in nearly every appearance…except Sunday.
  • Erik Gonzalez: 3B, Lake County: Gonzalez was one of only two players with multi-hits for the Captains, and has been making a habit of it. He has four multi-hit games out of his last five, and has a five game hit streak. He has a .429/.500/.762 slash during the streak.
  • Jake Sisco: SP, Lake County: W (4-5), 6 H, 2 BB, 2 K: It was another solid, if not spectacular outing for Sisco. He doesn’t overpower, but he’s been Lake County’s most consistent starter since June.
  • Juan Herrera: SS, Mahoning Valley: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI: Herrera has hits in all but one of his six games with the scrappers, and has three two-hit games out of the five.
  • Joshua McAdams: RF, Mahoning Valley: 2-for-4, 1 K: McAdams is 4-for-9 over his last two games, and is starting to showcase the promise that many felt he could bring to the table.
  • Caleb Hamrick: SP, Mahoning Valley: 5 IP, 1 H, 2 K: It doesn’t get much more dominating than this, as Hamrick was near perfect in his five innings. In his ten total innings, he’s only given up four hits, without a walk, while striking out seven.
  • James Stokes: RP, Mahoning Valley: 1 2/3 IP, 1 K:  Stokes made his third straight appearance and has yet to give up a run, while giving up six total hits.

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

Adam
June 25, 2013 - 2:46 PM EDT
Joe Chengery--

Completely disagree. Explosiveness and velocity on the fastball is a huge concern. His offspeed pitches are fantastic, but his fastball that sat 94-96 is a big reason he was the #3 overall pick, and a big reason he HAD ace potential. I've been at 2 of his starts with the Indians and 3 of his starts in the minors this year. I watched him in college and saw him a few times when he was with the D-Backs. Flat out...his fastball is awful right now. You cannot and will not survive in the majors leagues without an effective fastball long term.

The mechanical changes that he has made bare an incredible resemblance to those that Lincecum made prior to last year. His arm is slow to get through the zone, he loads his shoulder blade, and the biggest change: he internally rotates his back leg to open his hips. He used actually use his back leg to explode off the mound.

Watch video of him from college or last year in the minors, compared to now. He used to literally jump off the rubber, exploding toward home plate. Now, his back foot is still on the rubber when his front foot lands, and his stride is WAY shorter.

If I were the Indians I would tell him to ditch these mechanics and go back to actually using his lower half correctly.
Joe Chengery
June 24, 2013 - 10:50 PM EDT
Regarding Bauer's explosiveness, I don't think velocity or movement is a problem; I think the problem is commanding his pitches in or near the zone consistently where ML hitters are chasing after it. Minor Leaguers will do that more when he is wild, but not MLers as much. When he can get it in or near the zone, MLers weren't hitting him much either. His biggest problem was walks. We know he can get AAAers out, almost at will, and the indication seems to be, if he can get his pitches in or near the zone at the MLers, he'll be able to handle MLers most of the time too.

Therefore, the mechanical change is virtually necessary, and waiting around really doesn't help him or the Indians, not unless you want him to have constant lines of high walks and constantly hitting 100 pitches in 5 IP or so. He might not give up many hits or runs, but that doesn't really scream "ace," and that's what the Indians (and MLB) are expecting from him.

Therefore, the change is necessary- we just have to be patient for the new delivery to take hold and for him to be comfortable with it.
art
June 24, 2013 - 1:06 PM EDT
Wendle putting up some very extreme batting stats against lefties and righties. Doesn't match with last season, though small sample size is a legit issue.
Adam
June 24, 2013 - 12:29 PM EDT
I've always thought it was a mistake for pitchers, particularly young ones, to work on drastic mechanical changes during the season. During the season, especially when you're one call away from the bigs, you should be focused on getting batters out. Bauer probably never should have implemented the mechanical change that he made over the offseason, as his new mechanics go against pretty much all biomechanical reason, and have stripped him of the explosiveness that made him a top pick in the draft.
Willie
June 24, 2013 - 11:49 AM EDT
I think part of what makes Trevor Bauer so intriguing is his makeup. He is an absolute competitor. He's got great stuff, he's intelligent and will battle on the mound. If it all comes together Bauer is the Tribes ACE of the future. If it doesn't all come together - good chance he's still a very good young controllable SP.
Tony
June 24, 2013 - 10:25 AM EDT
I don't think the walks are fatigue-related or his warmup regimen affects his command. The only thing I think his warmup routine affects is possible health down the road. But that's just my opinion. The command issues are clearly mechanical and he is working on a new delivery as we speak to help correct his issues.
From the Bleachers
June 24, 2013 - 10:20 AM EDT
Tony,
Has Bauer ever considered the fact that his walks could be from fatigue? Would he consider re-thinking his normal warm up for a month and see how he performs?
Rocky55
June 24, 2013 - 10:10 AM EDT
Hamrick sighting. Early but encouraging. C'mon Tribe, Let's develop us a good SP from the draft!
Roger
June 24, 2013 - 8:39 AM EDT
Tony do you have the input for another RADAR REPORT? I would love to see update on adams and lee specifically but an overall radar report would be nice to see.
Norm
June 24, 2013 - 8:17 AM EDT
I don't really disagree with your observation regarding Bauer but I think the organization is well served in the long run by ensuring he does not reach "super 2" status this year. That might change if McAlistair isn't ready to pitch after the break but Kluber has been a welcome addition to the staff and we can hope that Kazmir/Carrasco can hold together thru the end of July.

It looks to me like Naquin has an easier path to Akron than Lindor who has two highly ranked prospects already in Akron middle infield. Neither posess Lindor's overall skill, although R-Rod is close offensively, but they aren't dog meat. In the OF, only Moncrief looks to have ML prospect potential to me in spite of his age. Looks like an easier advancement decision IMO.

Lastly, Hamrick looks advanced physically and seems to have a nice approach to pitching. Do you think they will advance him quickly to LC given the SP problems there?
Mike
June 24, 2013 - 3:28 AM EDT
Interesting theory on Bauer. Seems like something like that could be possible with his mindset.

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