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Around the Farm: May 17, 2012

Around the Farm: May 17, 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.

Note: Akron had a scheduled off day on Thursday night.

Shawn Armstrong (RP, Carolina): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

Wow, what else can you say about Armstrong this season? He has now made 12 appearances in the pen and been near perfect as he has allowed just 1 run in 24.0 innings. He has allowed just 9 hits and opponents are only hitting .118 against him, and he has struck out 32 batters good for a 12.0 K/9.  His line at Carolina is flat out dominating as he has made 10 appearances and has a 0.44 ERA and in 20.1 innings has allowed 8 hits, 10 walks and has 28 strikeouts. The Indians are very high on his arm and he could be pushed up to Double-A Akron at any moment. The only thing that the Indians may still want him to shore up before moving him on to Akron is his fastball command as he has been susceptible to walks as he has 12 walks in 24.0 innings (4.5 BB/9). That is not a terrible number, especially for a strikeout pitcher, but is something that could catch up with him.

Felix Sterling (SP, Lake County): 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR.

Sterling has been rock solid all season and been consistent every time he has pitched. He has not yet had an overwhelmingly dominant start, but by the same token has not had a bad outing either. He has not allowed more than three runs in any start, and he allowed three runs one time in his nine starts.  He has not walked more than 3 batters in any start, which is something he struggled with from time to time last year. In addition to the low amount of walks, he has only allowed more than 4 hits one time in his nine starts. He’s just having a very good season both with his performance and with his development as his delivery continues to get better, his fastball command is improving, and he is just developing a better feel for pitching. He’s a legit pitching prospect and is living up to the lofty prospect ranking he had coming into the season.

  • Matt LaPorta (LF, Columbus): 2-for-4. With Jared Goedert supposedly on his way to Columbus, was this the last game for LaPorta at Columbus before a call to Cleveland this weekend? If so, the call would be well deserved as in 34 games he is hitting .333/.406/.651 with 11 HR and 25 RBI.
  • Beau Mills (DH, Columbus): 0-for-3. Mills has absolutely cratered the last few weeks as in his last 13 games he is hitting just .159/.204/.273 with 1 HR and 10 RBI. Maybe it is not LaPorta who is moving up to make room for Goedert as maybe it is Mills moving down to Akron.
  • Russ Canzler (1B, Columbus): 2-for-3, 2B, RBI, K. A good two game stretch for Canzler as he is 5-for-7 his last two games. Even with the mini hot streak he is still a far cry from the player he was last season as he is hitting just .268 with 3 HR, 12 RBI and .701 OPS in 38 games.
  • Paolo Espino (SP, Columbus): 4.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. Another underwhelming performance from Espino in his second spot start filling in for the dinged up David Huff. In his two outings he has thrown a combined 6.2 innings and allowed 10 hits, 8 runs (5 earned), 4 walks and has 5 strikeouts.
  • Scott Barnes (RP, Columbus): 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K. Barnes is settling in well to his new temporary bullpen role and looks to be a 100%. In 5 appearances out of the pen he has a 3.24 ERA, batters are hitting .107 off of him, and he has a nice 4:10 walk to strikeout ratio in 8.1 innings.
  • Carlos Moncrief (RF, Carolina): 2-for-4, K. Moncrief has had a very solid season to date where in 35 games he is hitting .252/.345/.463 with 4 HR and 18 RBI. The strikeouts are still a big concern (44 K, 123 AB), but he continues to have success even in light of those problems.
  • Jeremie Tice (DH, Carolina): 0-for-2, K. Tice has had an awesome season to date for Carolina hitting .297/.393/.626 with 7 HR and 28 RBI in 27 games. With Jared Goedert moving up to Triple-A Columbus, I can’t help but wonder if Tice is the one that will move up to Double-A Akron this weekend.
  • Ronny Rodriguez (SS, Carolina): 0-for-3, 2 K. R-Rod is a highly valued prospect, but he has not developed one bit this season with his plate discipline (128 AB, 5 BB, 26 K). With Lindor tearing up the Midwest League with Lake County, if R-Rod doesn’t pick it up he could swap places with Lindor at the All Star break.
  • Delvi Cid (LF, Carolina): 1-for-2, BB, K, SB, CS. Cid reached base in two of his three plate appearances, and he threw out a runner at second base. He’s played better of late, but he still has just 5 extra base hits and only 7 walks (28 strikeouts) in 28 games.
  • Danny Salazar (SP, Carolina): 2.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. An encouraging outing for Salazar as he returned to the mound for the first time since being sidelined a few weeks ago with some arm soreness. The Indians believe he has the stuff, but right now they need to find a way to keep him healthy so his workload will probably be carefully monitored his next few outings.
  • Michael Goodnight (RP, Carolina): 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K. Goodnight had a starting pitcher’s line though did not enter the game until the third inning so Salazar could be ensured of some work. This is a very encouraging outing as it was his longest outing of the season, and was just the second time in his last 6 outings that he went more than 4.0 innings.
  • Francisco Lindor (SS, Lake County): 2-for-4, R, K. Talk about a guy that is locked in. Lindor has now has 2 hits in 6 straight games and in 7 of his last 8 games. During that stretch of 8 games he is hitting .400/.417/.600 with 1 HR and 9 RBI. It really looks like the Indians are going to have no choice but to move him up at the All Star break in four weeks.
  • Luigi Rodriguez (CF, Lake County): 0-for-4, K. Rodriguez is in some kind of funk as he is hitting just .179/.270/.214 over his last 14 games, which is a far cry from the .349/.402/.542 he hit in 20 games before that.
  • Leonardo Castillo (1B, Lake County): 0-for-3, 2 K. Castillo is hitting .178/.223/.264 in 36 games this season and hit .146/.182/.171 in 22 April games and is currently hitting .234/.294/.426 in 14 May games. Any way you slice it, he looks overwhelmed and may be in line for a correction back to short-season Single-A Mahoning Valley when their season starts in mid-June.
  • Grant Sides (RP, Lake County): 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. Sides made his season debut on April 14th and allowed 2 runs (both earned) in 2.1 innings pitched. Since then he has made 9 appearances and thrown 14.2 shutout innings and allowed just 5 hits and has walked 6 while striking out 14.

Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.

User Comments

May 18, 2012 - 12:32 PM EDT
Six straight two hit games...SIX STRAIGHT TWO HIT GAMES!!!!


Okay...sorry...this is what happens on my ATF off days...too much time on my hands.

At the end of the day, that's what you want...a guy to force you to promote, and Lindor is doing just that.
May 18, 2012 - 9:52 AM EDT

Maybe I've set the ceiling too high for Barnes. But, I didn't think that Hagadone could improve his command to the extent he has. So, maybe in his new relief role, Barnes might be able to do the same thing.
May 18, 2012 - 9:28 AM EDT
Yeah, I agree that Barnes definitely needs more polish and that the fastball command is the biggest thing for him to finish himself off. I think getting him into the 2s for a BB/9 rate is a tall order, he just does not have that kind of ability to command the ball like that. I think getting him consistently around 3.5 or lower is just fine, especially since he is a strikeout pitcher and has swing and miss stuff.
May 18, 2012 - 9:05 AM EDT
Ideally, Barnes should improve his control/command before being promoted. If he can reduce his BB-rate to about 2/9 innings and improve his command of the strike zone, he will be major league ready. Hopefully, he'll be ready for that transition by the All-Star break. Then Acta will have real depth, as well as quality, in the bullpen.

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