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Around the Farm: May 15, 2012

Around the Farm: May 15, 2012
May 16, 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.
Jared Goedert, LF, Akron Aeros: 4-for-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K:
I read a couple of articles yesterday that said this was Goedert’s best game of the season. While I don’t disagree with that, you certainly could make a case for several during the young season. It’s simple: Jared Goedert is the best player in the Indians minor league system. He’s not the most talented, but he definitely is swinging the best stick. I have to believe that the Tribe is looking at some players in Akron as an extension to Columbus right now, since Tim Fedroff and Goedert clearly should be playing at the Triple A level. Goedert has been extremely good, and over the season, the ONLY complaint was that he wasn’t hitting home runs. He was showcasing gap power, but he only had two homers prior to May 13th. Over the past three games, Goedert has three homers and six RBI, so there goes that complaint. While Goedert broke his hitting streak on Monday, he’s still hit in nine of ten, and his ten-game line is .400/.447/.743. If the Indians do value some guys at Akron as though they are actually in Triple A, you could see Goedert make a bigger jump than originally thought. Did I mention he’s hitting .333 against lefties?
T.J. McFarland: SP, Akron Aeros: W (7-1), 7 IP, 3 H, 6 K:
Not only is McFarland relevant again, but he’s making a case that he’s more than minor league fill or a major league spot starter. After struggling at the tail end of 2010 through the 2011 season, McFarland is back to his old tricks as a dominating lefty, only at the Double A level this time. McFarland was climbing up the prospect list in 2010 when he dominated the Carolina league for most of the season at Kinston before tailing off at the end of the year. He’s returned to that 2010 form though, leading the Eastern League in wins, while coming in second in innings, and third in ERA. I’m not ready to say he’s a lock for the top ten, but he’s certainly serving notice that he can be a solid lefty going forward, and should be knocking on Cleveland’s door starting next season. Consistency and stamina will be the key, and remember, we are talking about a 22-year old.l
Francisco Lindor: SS, Lake County Captains: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K:
What is it with this kid? He’s had back-to-back-to-back-to-back two-hit games, and has five two-hitters out of his past six. During that stretch, he’s gone 10-for-21, with with four runs scored, a double, a triple, a homer, eight RBI and three stolen bases. He still needs to walk more, but overall, the Indians have to be giddy over his production as a true 18-year old, who won’t turn 19 until the holidays. There’s no way he won’t be in Carolina if he continues playing this well.
  • Jason Donald: SS, Columbus: 1-for-3, 1 BB: Donald played in his first game at Triple A Columbus today, and while it was a non-descript outing for the 27-year-old, it will be interesting to see what he does going forward. The Indians have said he needs to play everyday, but I wonder…why? He’s never going to be a regular for the Indians, is he?
  • Cord Phelps: 2B, Columbus: 2-for-4, I K: Phelps has seen his average drop over a hundred points over the last month after a hot first couple of weeks, but he’s quietly done very well in the past ten days, with hits in eight of ten, and four multi-hit games. His ten day line is .300/.333/.475. It would be nice if Phelps would get another look as a potential major league fill, but the Indians seem to handle players like Phelps and Donald in an interesting, and non-effective way. While they think they aren’t every day major leaguers (clearly, by how they handle them), the treat them as though the need to play every day by sending them to the minors.
  • Matt LaPorta: LF, Columbus: 1-for-4: The LaPorta watch continues. While he’s been scuffling a bit at the plate (.200/.282/.314 over the past ten), he’s doing everything he needs to do to make sure that he’s ready over the season for a call-up. The general belief from this writer is that LaPorta is overmatched at the major league level, but would love for him to prove me wrong.
  • Andy LaRoche: 3B, Columbus: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 K: LaRoche is more Triple A fill, but has started to grow into the roll. With Hannahan hurting, he could be an interesting part-time call-up should the Indians need him. Columbus and Akron aren’t filled with many top prospects at all, and LaRoche is long past his prospect days, but he could provide decent service in a pinch. He’s hitting .240 on the season, but is 11-for-37 in his past ten games, and hits lefties pretty well. Of course, this is assuming they want Jason Donald to play every day…right?
  • Corey Kluber: SP, Columbus: 4 1/3 IP, 9 H, 5 R/ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 2 HR: Kluber has been as sharp as any pitcher in Columbus this season, until yesterday. It was his worst start of the season, but not bad if it turns out to be his floor. He clearly got the ball up too much, and struggled a bit to find the strike zone, but it could have been worse. He did throw 93 pitches, so it was clear his location was a bit off.
  • Hector Ambriz: RP, Columbus: 2 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 BB: You can only have so many Jairo Asencios and Jeremy Accardos on the major league staff. I’m not even sure if Ambriz is as good, but that would be his role. He is what he is, and this was an outing that will solidify a call-up should one of the peripheral members of the Mafia get hurt or struggle.
  • Matt Langwell: RP, Columbus: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K: Langwell may have a bit more upside than Ambriz, and would be a level below the top tier guys that all seem to be hurt right now, with the Indians, or Cody Allen. Langwell has had a crazy amount of success over his career, so I could see him filling in the role of a Joe Smith at some point. It won’t be this year, but don’t be surprised to see him in Cleveland next year, or even a September call-up.
  • Tim Fedroff: CF, Akron: 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 K: Fedroff hit his first homer of the season, a lead-off jack that really got the ball rolling for an Akron team that has overachieved all season long. Fedroff is one of several guys who will be fighting for a fourth outfield job in the next season or two, and just gets minor league baseball. He’s currently riding an eight-game hit streak, and is hitting .390 over the past ten games.
  • Kyle Bellows: 3B, Akron: 2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI: Bellows has had a horrible season offensively this year…well…really, every year, which should show you just how highly the Indians think about his glove. Still, the likelihood that Bellows will make the majors hitting like this is nil…even as a defensive specialist that can only play third.
  • Tony Wolters: SS, Carolina: Game 1: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI: Wolters went oh-fer in game 2, but after his double in game 1, he had scored a run, doubled and hit five RBI in his previous four games. Wolters is far from playing to his ability, but he’s starting to figure things out at the new level. He rolled at Mahoning last year, and while it was a gamble to move him up a level, it’s starting to pan out. It will be curious to see where he is in July.
  • Carlos Moncrief: RF, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 K: Moncrief has five-tool ability, but Tuesday’s game is a microcosm of Moncrief’s career. He homered, but struck out three times. Over his past ten games, he’s hitting .294, with seven runs, two doubles, two triples and two homers, with seven RBI, but 16 strikeouts. Yeah, you read that right. If he doesn’t become more selective, his five-tool ability will never leave the minors.
  • Jeremie Tice: DH, Carolina: Game 1: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K/Game 2: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI: Tice homered in both games, and is clearly the most advanced hitters on the Mudcats team. He hasn’t been healthy at all in his career, but when he is, he can dominate games at this level. Over his past ten games, he’s 15-for-34 (.441), with ten runs, four doubles, five homers and 15 RBI. It will be interesting to see if the 25-year old can take this offense with him to the next level, since he isn’t getting any younger. Oh, by the way, he’s hitting .500 against lefties.
  • Jesus Aguilar: 1B, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 K: Aguilar has been struggling, hitting .212 over the past ten games. While that’s an issue, what’s even more disconcerting is that his approach at the plate has taken a step back. He’s struck out 12 times in the past ten games.
  • Ronny Rodriguez: 2B, Carolina: Game 2: Rodriguez has quietly picked up his game over the past month, and while he’s only hitting .240 on the season, he’s hitting .281 over the past ten games. He’s mirroring Wolters developmentally.
  • Jose Flores: Closer, Carolina: S (7), 1 IP, 1 K: Flores has been mowing down batters like they’ve been waiting for a wooden nickel.   If he can replicate his delivery and harness that velocity, he may be able to become a factor moving forward.
  • Luigi Rodriguez: CF, Lake County: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K: Rodriguez is a raw talent, but he’s electric. He’s hitting close to .200 over his past ten, but has still managed to score seven times. He has a long way to go before he moves up a level, but the prodigious talent is still there.
  • Alex Monsalve: C, Lake County: 2-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 K: Monsalve is another one of those raw player at Low A, but could provide a massive right-handed bat going forward if he ever figures it all out. He’s only hitting .234 on the year, and does have a long way to go offensively, but he’s got nothing but time with the catcher options above him.
  • Cody Anderson: SP, Lake County: W (4-1), 6 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 5 K: How good is this Lake County Captains rotation? There isn’t a starter with an ERA above 3.3, and you could make a case that all five are major league capable. Anderson hasn’t given up more than a run in a start since April 15, and that was his only one this season with 1+.

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

User Comments

May 16, 2012 - 7:40 PM EDT
Another good write IMO. I have always followed McFarland close and he has been my "Gomez" prospect replacement. I love his sinker which may be nearly as good as Gomez. However, his peripeherals, while showing improvement, are not equal to Gomez'. McFarland may well be better suited to RP in the show and could be a fine long man on a RH dominant SP staff.

You mentioned the fine staff at LC and it bears witness to the system depth when you consider that many evaluators of talent belive that the three top ceiling starting pitchers in the organization are not affilitiated with any full season team and pretty healthy from what I understand. I don't see any position prospects of note in extended but it is not often an organization has the luxury of three young pitching prospects who could well be TOR/MOR without an appearance at full season.

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