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Around the Farm: June 7, 2011

Around the Farm: June 7, 2011
June 8, 2011
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Luis Valbuena
Columbus Clippers)

Around the Farm takes a quick look at some of yesterday's performances by Indians prospects throughout the system.

With the frenzy of yesterday's draft, I almost forgot that there were ballgames to be played. Here's a quick look at yesterday's top performers, who are about to get pushed by a solid group of draftees.

Luis Valbuena: SS, Columbus: 3-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K:

Valbuena is en fuego in Columbus.  In case you haven't noticed, the enigmatic middle-infielder upped his hit streak to a career-best 17 games.  Valbuena is clearly on a mission.  According to sources, he has really been working with Columbus hitting coach Lee May Jr. on his swing, and his approach to hitting.  According to Valbuena, he now "has a plan" when he steps up to the plate.  His goal is getting back to Cleveland, and he appears to be doing all the right things.  So I have to ask, did Cleveland call up the right guy?  I'm firmly on the Phelps' bandwagon, but with Valbuena perhaps being the hottest player in the organization, would he have been the better pick?  He's hitting well over .400 during the streak, and over his past 10 games, his line is a more-than-stellar .455/.514/.606.  Raise your hand if you can think of an offense that could use that 1.120 OPS as a spark?  Valbuena raised his overall average to .311 for the season.

  • Cord Phelps: DH, Columbus: 0-4, 1 K: Phelps celebrates his last day with Columbus with an oh-fer.  while I believe Phelps' call-up is long overdue, he's been scuffling a bit of late.  Hopefully it's just a case of a bit of over-ripeness, with the call-up being the fix.
  • Chad Huffman: RF, Columbus: 2-2, 1 2B: Here goes Huffman again.  In his last two games, he's 5-5.
  • Nick Johnson: 1B, Columbus: 1-3, 1 R, 1 K: There seems to be some momentum for Nick Johnson in the Tribe community to get to the big league club sooner, rather than later.  While I'm not one of those folks, if he can in some way get management to get rid of a player like Austin Kearns, than I'm all for it.  Johnson gets a hit and scores a run in his Columbus debut.
  • Jeanmar Gomez: SP, Columbus: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 7 K: Gomez is a steamroller, and has surpassed Zach McAllister for now as the top starter in this rotation.  This is the lanky righty's four straight impressive start.  Over that time period, Gomez is 2-0 with 30 IP (two starts of 7 innings, and two starts of 8 innings), giving up only 20 hits, five ER (1.5 ERA) and 10 walks, while striking out 20 batters.
  • Josh Judy: RP, Columbus: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 K: Judy rebounds after getting lit up on June 4th.
  • Beau Mills: 1B, Akron: 2-4, 1 RBI: What is this?  Beau Mills is starting to really hit the ball.  Mills is currently on a five-game hit streak, in which four of the five games he's had two hits each.  Overall during the streak, Mills is 9-21 (.429) with three runs, one double, one homer and four RBI.  No, there's no real power, but baby steps.  If Mills figures things out, it's icing on the cake for an organization that needs offense.
  • Nick Weglarz: LF, Akron: 1-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 2 K: There's no doubt that the Weglarz watch is on. He's playing well during his first week back.
  • Chun-Hsiu Chen: C, Akron: 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI: Chen is for real with his second solid season in a row.  Chen hit his eighth home run, and drove in his 31st.  He hit 12 all of last season, so Chen is clearly developing more power as a hitter.  It should be interesting to see what they do with him over the next year.  Might he be a starting catcher in Cleveland, so they can move Santana to first down the road?
  • Paulo Espino: RP, Akron: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 K: Espino does everything that is asked of him, and is one of the most consistent long-relievers in the system.
  • Tyler Holt: CF, Kinston: 3-5, 1 RBI, 1 K: Holt can't break out of this major slump that he's in, but this could be a sign that he's righting the ship.
  • Adam Abraham: DH, Kinston: 3-4, 1 R, 2 2B: Abraham is a moderate prospect for sure, but he keeps pulling out games like this. If this kid can figure out a way to become more consistent at the plate, he could become a plus prospect.  This kid has some talent.  He just needs to tap into it more consistently.
  • Brett Brach: SP, Kinston: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R/ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, L (4-4): Brach has settled into the pitcher he really is.  For a bit, he was darn-near dominant, but has come back to earth a bit.
  • Ronny Rodriguez: SS, Lake County: 3-5, 3 R, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI: Rodriguez had a huge night, and was a double away from hitting for the cycle.
  • Nick Bartolone: 2B, Lake County: 2-3, 2 R, 1 BB, SB (4): Bartolone needs more games like this to justify a sixth-round pick.
  • Michael Goodnight: SP, Lake County: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 K, W (5-3): Is there a better name for a major league pitcher than Goodnight?  While he certainly has a ways to go, Goodnight has arguably been the best pitcher in the organization all season long.

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

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