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Around the Farm: May 15, 2014

Barnes' strikeouts, Carson's hitting highlights the night on the farm

Around the Farm: May 15, 2014
Matt Carson (Photo: Brittany Chay)
May 16, 2014
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Around the Farm takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Cleveland prospects throughout the system. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game.

Note that Carolina was rained out Thursday and Akron had the day off.

Scott Barnes (RP, Columbus): 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 SO

Scott Barnes (Photo: MiLB)There was a time where Barnes was a top-10 prospect in the organization, as IBI had the left-hander ranked 10th heading into the 2012 season (and 11th heading into last season). That time has passed for two reasons. One is that Barnes is definitely a reliever now -- which hurts his big picture value -- and the other is that he struggled mightily in 2013. But there is hope yet for the 26-year-old Barnes, and while he is a bit of a forgotten man in the left-handed reliever power rankings (easily steamrolled by the Kyle Crockett train currently rolling toward Cleveland), Barnes is making his best case in Columbus this season. The left-hander has always had issues with walks and has seven in 14.0 innings this season, but Barnes' 20 strikeouts in that time put his dominance on display. He is not the sexy pick for a callup to Cleveland, but Barnes could be a decent option in the middle innings if called upon later in the year.

Matt Carson (CF, Columbus): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 SO

Matt Carson (Photo: MiLB)Though the 32-year-old Carson is no longer a prospect, he is not just filler rounding out the Clippers' lineup every night. If not for the fact that Carson is not on the 40-man roster, it would not have come as a surprise if the outfielder had gotten the call to the major leagues instead of first baseman Jesus Aguilar Thursday, especially considering it was two outfielders in Nyjer Morgan and Michael Brantley who got banged up Wednesday night. Unlike last year when he was more average at the plate, Carson is hitting very well in Columbus, putting up a .291/.380/.464 line in 34 games. While some of that is thanks to a .406 BABIP, Carson is a real option the major league team could call upon this season if it needs someone to fill in for a couple of games in the outfield.

  • Tyler Cloyd (SP, Columbus): L (1-3), 5.0 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO. Though Cloyd continued to limit his walks Thursday, his issue with allowing hits persisted. Cloyd owns a strong 2.55 BB/9 and a not-so-strong 12.8 H/9 in 42.1 innings this season.
  • Austin Adams (RP, Columbus): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO. With 16 strikeouts and only four walks in 18.2 innings, Adams looks like someone who could help in the major league bullpen this season. There have been some hiccups, but his 3.52 FIP is pretty solid, especially considering half of Adams' games are in Huntington Park.
  • Tim Fedroff (LF, Columbus): 1-for-3, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 SO. Fedroff reached base three times Thursday, pushing his on-base percentage to .378. The problem for the outfielder continues to be power, however, as a .276 slugging percentage and .028 isolated power do not inspire much confidence in the 27-year-old's major league prospects.
  • David Cooper (1B, Columbus): 1-for-4, 1 BB, 1 SO. Much like Fedroff, Cooper can reach base (his .308 on-base percentage would be higher if not for his .259 BABIP), but a .280 slugging percentage and .043 isolated power from a first baseman is less-than-ideal.
  • George Kottaras (C, Columbus): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 SO. In his first game back since his two-homer game in Cleveland, Kottaras reached twice and struck out twice. More than his ice-cold struggles in Columbus pre-callup and red-hot May 4, this is the real Kottaras.
  • Justin Sellers (SS, Columbus): 1-for-3, 1 BB. Sellers is not hitting for much power, but he does not really need to as a middle infielder. More importantly, Sellers' walk rate has rebounded back toward 10 percent after dipping in recent years.
  • Carlos Moncrief (RF, Columbus): 1-for-4, 1 SO. Another hit for Moncrief is good to see, but another strikeout is particularly bad as the outfielder needs to reign those whiffs in to get back to his 2013 form.
  • Giovanny Urshela (3B, Columbus): 0-for-5, 3 SO. It turns out everything is not going to be roses for Urshela this year. The third baseman owns a .234/.265/.532 line in his first 13 Triple-A games and will need to start adjusting to a higher level of pitching.
  • Mitch Brown (SP, Lake County): L (0-6), 4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO. This was another so-so outing from Brown, but at just over 20 years old, the right-hander is at an age-appropriate level and gaining game experience as he tries to put it all together. The results have not been pretty, but Brown is talented enough that one of these days, it just might all click.
  • Kerry Doane (RP, Lake County): 2.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1 WP, 2 E. Doane may have allowed a run, but after allowing four runs (three earned) in his last relief outing, this is an improvement. The right-hander has four strikeouts and four walks in 8.1 innings this season.
  • Luis DeJesus (RP, Lake County): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO. DeJesus' second outing of the season went better in the sense that the right-hander made it through a whole inning, though he did still allow a run Thursday.
  • Paul Hendrix (3B-SS, Lake County): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 SO. Though his OPS dropped below 1.000 (what a slacker, right?), Hendrix's fourth-inning single extended his on-base streak to 22 games.
  • Grant Fink (1B-3B, Lake County): 2-for-3, 1 BB. Lake County only managed four hits on Thursday, with Fink responsible for half of them. Reaching base three times raised Fink's on-base percentage to .366, though he will need to make some adjustments to keep up that pace given his .394 BABIP and 54 strikeouts in 36 games.
  • Eric Haase (C, Lake County): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 SO. Haase's BABIP continues to rise -- moving to .257 after Thursday's single -- but the catcher has put up stats without the hits falling in, posting a .858 OPS in 28 games. Just imagine how good Haase's line could look once that BABIP gets all the way up around the .324 mark he posted in 2013.
  • Clint Frazier (CF, Lake County): 0-for-4, 3 SO. Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, along with a few others, ruined our perceptions of prospects. The fact that Frazier is not dominating Lake County and jumping levels left and right is not a failure; it is the normal progression players take through the system. The ones who make it are the ones who learn from the failures and make the adjustments needed to succeed. Frazier will look to do that while likely spending all of the 2014 season in Low-A.
  • Claudio Bautista (2B, Lake County): 0-for-4, 2 SO. Almost anyone with a .498 OPS is due for some positive regression and Bautista is no different. Though the 32:7 SO:BB in 34 games is not ideal, the second baseman's .232 BABIP shows that while things are not good, they also are not this bad.
  • Brian Ruiz (LF, Lake County): 0-for-3, 2 SO. The situation is more dire for Ruiz, as the outfielder has a Bautista-like 34:6 SO:BB in 28 games, but also a .375 BABIP. Doing that well on balls in play while also sporting a .601 OPS is not the best combination for Ruiz going forward.
  • Ivan Castillo (SS, Lake County): 0-for-2, 1 SO. The reason for the midgame position shifts in the Lake County lineup is due to Castillo leaving the game with an injury. Hopefully the soon-to-be 19-year-old is only nicked up and will be back on the field in the coming days.

If you want to follow Jim on Twitter, he’s @JimPiascik. If you want to e-mail him, you can do so at If you want to read his Master's thesis on college athletes and Twitter, you can do so here.

User Comments

matt underwood
May 16, 2014 - 3:34 PM EDT
it amazes me how horrible the tribe has been at drafting and development the past 10-15 years. the crazy thing is that Shapiro was minor league director before being transitioned into the GM role - so he was around those minors when all the 90s talent was coming through.

now, they would be better off with a monkey and a dart board the way this team has drafted. just beyond awful. amazing that the same idiots are still in place. with no talent in the minors the team is handcuffed to supplement the talent gap by signing and overpaying for the bourn's and swishers of the world
May 16, 2014 - 3:10 PM EDT
Aguilar yesterday!!! Crockett today!!! Bauer on the horizon!!!! Lindor to AAA???
May 16, 2014 - 1:03 PM EDT
Somehow you people still find a way to moan and complain about Shapiro... Get a grip.
May 16, 2014 - 11:52 AM EDT
Shapiro is considered a class guy, an exemplary ambassador for the game, probably would make a good commissioner. Somebody who respects the game and treats people well. Unfortunately, as a GM he treats people too well. Doled out $100 million for a couple of over the hill players Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher- basically consigning the Indians to the basement in the A.L. central next couple of years. He should have fired Chris Antonetti 3 yrs ago and replaced him with somebody that could recognize and deal for talent but no he decided it was more important to be nice and patient. I'm afraid It's gonna be a long season guys...
May 16, 2014 - 11:47 AM EDT
The majority of Shapiro's trades were flops? Really?

The Lee deal has been terrible. Can argue the Coco deal was a flop and guess you can too with CC. But the majority of his trades worked out. Like with any GM there will be bad ones but he got Cabrera for Perez, Choo for Broussard, Santana for Blake, McAllister for Kearns, Kluber for Westbrook and of course the Colon deal.

Shapiro hasn't been perfect by any stretch but calling out his trades as reason to fire him is pretty out there.

The drafts were pretty bad under him though not much (if any) worse than under Hart, his predecessor. Drafting has been an organizational issue for 20+ years.

As far as Shapiro for Commissioner...don't see what his ability to develop/recognize talent would have to do with being Commish...
May 16, 2014 - 11:43 AM EDT

Yeah, probably a bit delusional but I don't think so about this. Anyone can pick a team that does well for a short period of time but it almost always comes down to money. St Louis has it and Cleveland does not. I have lived in both and can tell you only one is a baseball town with regular attendance at games. The amount of money a team has made even more difference in the years you mentioned than it does now. Put 35,000 fans in Cleveland at St Louis revenues and see if the drafting doesn't improve.
May 16, 2014 - 11:41 AM EDT
I watched Clippers games in Rochester Tuesday-Wednesday. Mostly not good news. Bauer had poor velocity and command early, settled in, and then was just crushed in the 5th inning. 4 HR's in one inninng! Rochester is a weak hitting team that does well to get 4 HR's in a week! House was ok, more velocity than I expected, 91-93. But his control wasn't great: 1.5:1 strikes/balls. Pestano looks like toast, topping out at 91 mph while taking a loss. Aguilar looked awful, way out in front on off speed stuff in both games. Not the best time for a callup IMO. Urshela is adjusting to AAA, out in front on soft stuff, but showed some good plate discipline and drove one ball. Moncrief was impressive, 2-4 in game 2, despite every at bat against LHP. But he too, was fooled by off speed pitches.
May 16, 2014 - 11:29 AM EDT
I have always liked Barnes, but thought the Indians made a mistake in converting him to a relief pitcher. I thought he had enough stuff to be a starter, with his slider and fastball, though his changeup was a bit inconsistent. I thought he could still get more consistency with the changeup if starting, but the Indians apparently preferred him to dial it up a bit and just air it out as a relief pitcher instead of pacing himself as a starter.

I disagree, but now that he is firmly in the pen I still think he can be a plus major league contributor. With the heavy way the Indians use the pen, I think he'll likely get a shot soon.

About the other discussion, player development vs scrutinizing daily performance, I can see Norm's point as having a bit of validity. After all, the learning process and fixing failures is important to developing their skills.

But on the other hand, how many "plus" major league hitters have we ever seen who weren't also outstanding minor league batters, pretty much from the outset of their development?
May 16, 2014 - 11:26 AM EDT
I'm still baffled at how Shapiro has never been fired in Cleveland? Seriously, this guy was a horrible GM, the majority of his trades were flops and he might of been the worst evaluator of draft able players in modern history. Now Shapiro is on a short list to be the next commissioner, only in America could this happen.
May 16, 2014 - 11:19 AM EDT
@ SternFan/Norm: You guys are mixing messages.. Norm is stating that from the parent club's perspective, individual development is the key requirement for these guys at LC.. IF they win.. that's good too..

No one is delusional..No one doesn't want to win.. If you look at other organizations, winning in the minors is a higher priority. The best example that I personally know of is the Trenton to Scranton to NYY connection.. That organization emphasizes winning over all else to their kids to the point where the kids are taught to are expected to win.. kind of arrogant.. but.. effective..

W/R to the Cardinals drafts.. they've been very good.. and very fortunate... takes both to get a 75 % success rate when the historical league average for success is closer to 17%..

As far as who did the draft what year.. who cares.. correction for the sake of a correction is immaterial..
May 16, 2014 - 11:10 AM EDT
LC record is 11-29. I looked at there loses and they have lost 18 games with margin of the lose is 3 runs or less. They have been in many close games. If they win 7 of those games this would not be an issue.

May 16, 2014 - 11:03 AM EDT
Another bad day on the farm. Frazier whiffed three more times and nobody had a big day. When the big offensive performance is a 1-for-4 by a 32-year-old career minor leaguer, it's bad.

However, with Aguilar moving up to the bigs it's going to be harder to find performances to spotlight.

If Barnes keeps pitching well I think he has a shot at ousting Outman, who has a WHIP of 1.82 after giving up 11 hits and walking 9 batters in 11 innings. I haven't been impressed by that guy.
Jim Piascik
May 16, 2014 - 10:59 AM EDT
With Lake County's record, the youth on that team is also hurting them. Lake County's hitters have an average age of 20.8 and the pitchers have an average age of 21.4 (after adjusting for playing time).

The team with the best record, Kane County, are older, with their hitters at an average age of 21.8 and their pitchers at 21.6 years old. Same goes for the top team in Lake County's division, the Dayton Dragons (21.9 average age for hitters, 21.5 average age for pitchers).

The Lake County hitters in particular are young, which will mess with the record. I don't think its coaching; I think it is more circumstance.
May 16, 2014 - 10:37 AM EDT
Stern has a point. The lack of development and production in LC is very disappointing. Before the season I thought they should be the best of the 4 full season squads. They are (were) filled with top 10, top 20 specs. Frazier, Paulino, Santander, NRod, Haase, Lugo, Kime, M.Brown, Plutko, Hamrick, Mathews etc

Nobody plays the game to lose and other teams' specs also work on things, so that's not much of an excuse for me and these guys are 11-29. I still think the coaching has to be suspect and should be looked into when the performance of a whole team is down this much.

As disappointing as LC has been, I still think the system is pretty strong thanks to the emergence of specs in Carolina and Akron and Aguilar, JRam and Bauer, House looking like future MLB players from Columbus
May 16, 2014 - 10:12 AM EDT

I'm not defending the drafting under Shapiro...but I don't know why you are using 1999-2009. Shapiro's first draft as GM was 2002. Jon Hart was the GM thru 2001.
May 16, 2014 - 9:28 AM EDT

Are you delusional? Yea, the St. Louis Cardinals were just as bad as Shapiro when drafting players. From 1999 through 2009, the Cardinals had 18 of their 24 1st round picks make the majors. In the same time period, the Indians had 19 1st round picks that basically produced Guthrie, Sowers and Chisenhall as the only guys that produced at the big league level. So, Lake County is just like Little League, what an analogy, the bottom line is that Lake County's roster is terrible, it's like a black hole with very little prospects outside of Frazier. When will the Indians cut the ties with these guys that are simply filler at LC, bring some kids up from extended spring, they could do no worse than what the guys at LC are doing now.
May 16, 2014 - 9:16 AM EDT
It's not to late for Barnes to return to being a starter. He definitly has that starter mentality. He gets stronger as the game goes on.
May 16, 2014 - 9:01 AM EDT
The importance of team performance at low A cannot be understated. It is equal to Little league. Development is what is being looked at and not team performance. BTW, nearly every pick is a flop for every team. Why should the Indians be any different? Second guessers are much better at it!
May 16, 2014 - 8:10 AM EDT
Lake County might be the worst minor league team in the country. Wow, so many players that were drafted high, or thought to have high expectations are littering this roster as busts. One has to question the ability of the Indians front office to draft quality players, or sign international players, the system is very weak. Almost as bad as the days under Shapiro when nearly every pick was a flop.

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