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Around the Farm: June 6, 2012--Matt LaPorta-who?

Around the Farm: June 6, 2012--Matt LaPorta-who?
June 6, 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.

Jared Goedert: DH, Columbus Clippers: 4-for-4, 4 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 1 BB:

I really don’t need to elaborate on these numbers, do I? Goedert has been a house of fire this season, first in Akron, and now in Columbus. How good has he been? Well, he has 24 RBI and 12 runs in only 17 ballgames. His six homers are already second on the team behind Matt LaPorta. Now, I’m not sure where Goedert fits on the Indians down the road. The question that needs to be figured out is where what role he ultimately plays at the big league level. Is he a starter, and at what position if he is? Is he a utility guy, kind of in that super-utility role? Is he just a spot guy, that only comes up when a guy gets injured? Either way, his numbers over the past two months have made the Indians take notice. They forced the front office to move him to Columbus, and they just might force the Indians to make the move to Cleveland if he continues to have games like Tuesday night’s explosion. Either way, it’s a good problem to have.  By the way, Goedert is now hitting.286 in Columbus, after hitting .395 in Akron. Overall this season, Geodert is hitting .358, with 31 runs, 12 doubles, a triple, 11 homers and 41 RBI, in 52 games. He’s walked 25 times, and struck out only 33 times so far. Goedert has just served notice that his time very well could be now. On a sidenote, what the Indians do with LaPorta could speak volumes. Could the Indians be giving him a cup of coffee with the big league club to showcase him for a potential deal down the road? Is Goedert’s solid play a potential out for the Indians with LaPorta? They aren’t the same type of player, but their paths certainly cross as far as right-handed outfielders go. I’m not proposing that the Indians should deal any right-handed hitters at this point, but it’s possible that Goedert’s play makes LaPorta expendable, as LaPorta is likely more valuable on the trade front.

Ezequiel Carrera: CF, Columbus Clippers: 4-for-5, 5 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB:

I’d say Carrera found his groove tonight, since he rolled out 1/5 of his total runs on the season in one ballgame. Carrera has been playing better of late, having gone 2-for-2 on Sunday, and is 7-for-10 in his last three ballgames. Carrera was a bit of a comer last year, having a few stints with the Indians. Perhaps he was in a funk at the start of this season, or perhaps he was just in a slump. Either way, he seems to have exploded out of it. Overall, Carrera is hitting .259, with 27 runs, six doubles, three triples and two homers on the season. Carrera isn’t a long-term major leaguer, but he could provide the Indians with a spark plug on occasion. Of course, if he manages this clip, he would make a nice replacement for Aaron Cunningham.

  • Cord Phelps: 2B, Columbus: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 BB: Phelps has struggled to find his groove for the Clippers, after a hot start to the season.  Phelps was in a free fall prior to tonight’s ballgame, having gone 0-for-20 over his previous eight games, and 1-for-24 over his last nine.
  • Jason Donald: 3B, Columbus: 3-for-5, 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB: Donald cranked it up tonight with three hits, and has been a hot hitter for the Clippers since his demotion, with a .328 average overall, and a .345 average over the past ten.
  • Chad Huffman: RF, Columbus: 3-for-5, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: Huffman struggled in May, and started June off in a similar fashion until Monday night’s offensive explosion by the entire team. His three-hit performance upped his average over the past ten games to .265, and his overall average to .264.
  • T.J. McFarland: SP, Columbus: W (1-0), 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R/ER, 3 K, 1 HR: You know, McFarland is becoming an interesting prospect in many respects. He has upside, as 2010, and now 2012 show, when he’s right, he can dominate. He’s a big lefty, which many teams covet. He’s really almost a poor man’s Pomeranz in many ways when he’s right. The big question with McFarland going forward will be his stamina. In two starts with Columbus, he’s pitched in 12 2/3 innings, giving up only nine hits and three runs, while striking out six and walking four. Overall, he’s 9-2 with a 2.59 ERA in 73 innings, having given up 70 hits and 21 earned runs, while walking 16, and striking out 47. Could he get a call-up this season? Clearly Zach McAllister has earned the first call-up when it happens, and you still have to figure that Kevin Slowey and David Huff are in front of him, but who has the most upside? The answer very well could be McFarland.
  • Dan Wheeler: RP, Columbus: 2 IP, 2 H, 5 K: Well, Wheeler struck out five of six outs last night, giving up only two hits. Is it time to call him up? Is it Wheeler time? C’mon, are you serious?
  • Tim Fedroff: CF, Akron: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI: Fedroff hit his third homer of the season. His career high is four, and we still have four months to play. I’m not saying Fedroff is developing power (he’s not), but is interesting to note that he does have an uptick in power, to go along with his nine doubles and five triples.
  • Trevor Crowe: RF, Akron: 2-for-4: Crowe returned after a month on the DL with a two hit performance, but there really isn’t a doubt regarding Crowe’s play at this point. There is definitely some doubt with regards to his health, going forward. He certainly could fill a fourth outfielder role at the big league level, but he has to stay healthy.
  • Juan Diaz: SS, Akron: 2-for-5, 1 R, 2 K: You have to wonder at how Diaz’s cup of coffee will affect his career moving forward. Will it propel him to get back, or frustrate him if he gets stuck in Akron, like so many other prospects prior. He’s not a big-upside guy, but he had a nice game in his return to Akron.
  • Giovanni Soto: SP, Akron: W (5-2), 5 1/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R/ER, 5 BB, 2 HR: Soto is still trying to figure things out as a starter at this level, and while Tuesday night’s game was in the win column, he did scuffle a bit with the two homers and four walks. He’s still a talent for sure, but he has to start developing consistency before he makes the next move. He showcases big league talent for a start or two at every level, but always seems to go through a stretch where he regresses.
  • Kyle Landis: RP, Akron: H (2), 1 2/3 IP, 4 K: Hello Mr. Landis. Talk about a dominating performance, as he struck out four out of five batters, while throwing 16 strikes out of 21 pitches. After a three-game stretch in which he gave up six runs overall, Landis has been back to dominating, with four games of near perfection. In those 6 2/3 innings, he’s given up only two hits and two walks, while striking out 12. Could Landis be re-emerging as something more a guy that’s below the guy?
  • Bryce Stowell: RP, Akron: H (3), 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K: If there’s questions about Landis as a top-tier reliever, there isn’t about Stowell. He’s definitely one of those top-tier relievers. He’s also been near perfect in recent outings, giving up only one hit over his last three innings pitched, with three K’s. It’s all about consistency and health going forward for Stowell, and he could leap-frog a bunch of guys in front of him in Columbus.
  • Loek Van Mil: RP, Akron: 1 IP, 1 K: Van Mill continues to intrigue at the Double A level, as the Indians’ brass try and figure out what they have in the giant right-hander. He has been perfect in his last two games, striking out three in three innings. Could he emerge as a top tier guy, or is he in that next level?
  • Tony Wolters: 2B, Carolina: 2-for-4, 1 2B: Wolters has been scuffling after a torrid May, but rebounded nicely with this two-hit performance. He’s only hitting .205 over his last ten games, but he’s definitely that player in May, not the kid scuffling in April.
  • Jesus Aguilar: 1B, Carolina: 0-for-4, 1 K: Don’t let this oh-fer confuse you about Aguilar. He’s had a torrid May, and is hitting .324 over the past ten. He hasn’t had an extra base hit since the month started, but that will correct itself with the hot Carolina summer on the horizon.
  • Carlos Moncrief: RF, Carolina: 1-for-2, 1 R, 2 BB: Moncrief is a strikeout machine, with 66 in the first 51 games, so when he walks twice without a strikeout, that’s big news. NOW REPLICATE!
  • Mike Rayl: SP, Carolina: L (3-6), 5 IP, 8 H, 5 R/ER, 1 BB: Rayl just hasn’t been able to get over the hump with any consistency. His last outing was a seven inning gem, but that was coming off a four-run outing in six innings. To move forward, he needs to begin to even out his good from bad, or he’ll find himself stalled at High A. Ask T.J. House…
  • Tyler Sturdevant: RP, Carolina: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB: This has to be a positive debut for Sturdevant in 2012 after missing the first two months of the season while rehabbing. He is an elite bullpen arm when healthy, so his stay in Carolina will likely be a short one.

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.

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