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Around the Farm: May 18, 2012

Around the Farm: May 18, 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.

Jeremie Tice (DH, Carolina): 3-for-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, K.

Matt LaPorta at Triple-A Columbus and Jared Goedert at Double-A Akron have received all of the fanfare so far this season, but one guy that is quietly having as good or even better a season is High-A Carolina designated hitter Jeremie Tice. In 28 games he is now hitting .313 with 8 HR, 32 RBI and a 1.068 OPS. The problem for him is he has been relegated to full time DH duty as he has been the DH in 22 of 28 games this season, which is never a good thing if you are a prospect. He can pay some first base and third base, and has even experimented with left field this spring, so he would may be a good fit for Double-A Akron at this point considering they just lost Goedert on a callup to Columbus. Either way, he needs to be called up pronto.

Matt LaPorta (LF, Columbus): 1-for-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K.

LaPorta has split time between first base and left field this season but has never played more than six games in a row at either position. He has now played six in a row in left field, so based on previous usage he would play first base in his next game. It bears watching to see where he plays on Saturday and Sunday as it may help show whether the Indians are seriously considering him for a callup to Cleveland to play left field. I think a callup is inevitable and may happen before the Indians square off against the Tigers on Tuesday. In any case, he is showing he is about as ready as he is going to be offensively as he has 35 games in the books and continues to show a good approach and the power is there. He now has 17 walks and 12 homers, and in his last 14 games has 7 walks to only 9 strikeouts. He is ready. Call him up now.  The Indians could definitely use his bat and it is worth seeing if anything has changed with him.

Kyle Bellows (3B, Akron): 4-for-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI.

Have yourself a game son. Bellows had his best game of the season and arguably as an Akron Aero the last two seasons. Whenever he does this it only makes you dream and say “what if” when it comes to his bat ever developing into a consistent weapon for him. He has the power to be an average power hitter, and he has the defense to be an elite Major League defender. The question is the consistency of his at bats and his ability to control his swing in the zone and making consistent, hard contact. I have been waiting for him to get going now for almost two years, so hopefully this is a sign that he will start to perform offensively. Oh how I wish you could take Jared Goedert’s offensive ability and combine it with Bellows’ defensive ability. That would be a hell of a player as each is good at the other thing the other is not.

  • Jason Donald (SS, Columbus): 3-for-5, 3B, 2 RBI. Donald is now 6-for-15 in four games with the Clippers since being demoted earlier in the week. Is he another LaPorta who can hit in Triple-A but is too inconsistent at the big league level? He also had his third error in just four games.
  • Jared Goedert (RF, Columbus): 2-for-3, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB. Welcome to Triple-A, Mr. Goedert. He reached base in 4 of 5 plate appearances and did not skip a beat from how he was performing with Akron. I’ll tell you what, if LaPorta gets a crack and struggles, and Goedert continues to rake, he has to be the next in line to get a shot in Cleveland.
  • Luke Carlin (C, Columbus): 2-for-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, K. Carlin has been the leader of the Columbus team for the last three seasons. He is a minor league lifer who has carved a niche as a good organizational guy that works well with a pitching staff and is a quality third catching option.
  • Kevin Slowey (SP, Columbus): 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 7 K. By far the best outing of the season for Slowey. He was a strike throwing machine as 74 of his 101 pitches (73.3%) were thrown for strikes. The Indians are getting thin in the rotation in Cleveland where another injury could result in Slowey’s callup to Cleveland, so getting him right is important.
  • Dan Wheeler (RP, Columbus): 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 0 BB, 1 K. I’m not one into dogging players, but Wheeler made his Columbus debut and continued to lack effectiveness, although he threw 14 of his 17 pitches for strikes.
  • Adam Abraham (DH, Akron): 2-for-3, 3 R, 2B, 2 BB. Abraham continues to show a very good approach at the plate this season. He reached base in 4 of 5 plate appearances and scored 3 runs, and on the season has 22 walks to 17 strikeouts. Anytime you are walking more than you are striking out, that is pretty darn good.
  • Chun Chen (1B, Akron): 4-for-5, R, 2 2B, 5 RBI. Chen entered the game with 8 RBI, so with his 5 RBI he had 64% of the RBI total in one game as he had coming into the game. Gotta love this game.
  • Thomas Neal (RF, Akron): 3-for-5, 2 R. Neal keeps showing flashes of goodness, but the problem is he has lacked any consistency whatsoever all season as he has gone hitless in 14 of his 30 games played.
  • T.J. House (SP, Akron): 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 4 BB, 5 K. Another fantastic outing for House, who looks to be back and on a roll as a prospect. The 4 walks in 6.0 innings are bothersome, but he has done a nice job so far in his transition to Double-A with only 9 walks in 23.0 innings.
  • Toru Murata (RP, Akron): 2.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K. Murata had an interesting late season run with High-A Kinston last season, but he turns 27 years old tomorrow and just looks like an organizational guy at this point. If you have followed his usage pattern this season, it is what the Indians view him as.
  • Tony Wolters (2B, Carolina): 2-for-5, 3 R, 3B, 2 RBI, BB. Ever so slowly, Wolters is showing improvement. After striking out 17 times in his first 12 games, he has struck out 15 times in his last 21 games.
  • Carlos Moncrief (RF, Carolina): 2-for-5, R, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K. Almost the typical game for Moncrief as he got his customer walk and strikeouts. The only thing missing was his customary extra base hit.
  • Jake Lowery (C, Carolina): 2-for-5, R, RBI, 2 K. A rare good night for Lowery on Friday night as he has struggled in May. In 14 games this month he is hitting just .196/.226/.294 with 1 HR and 4 RBI, and has just 2 walks to 16 strikeouts.
  • Anthony Gallas (LF, Carolina): 3-for-5, R, 2 RBI, K. Gallas continues to play well in a starting opportunity he has earned and run with. In 25 games he is hitting a solid .280 with 1 HR, 12 RBI and .790 OPS.
  • Kyle Blair (SP, Carolina): 3.0 IP, 4 H, 5 R/ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 HR. Blair had been showing some improvement of late, so hopefully this was a minor hiccup. His new Luis Tiant-like delivery where he over-rotated and shows his back to the batter is definitely interesting.
  • Jordan Cooper (RP, Carolina): 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K. This was about as good as Cooper has ever thrown and may have been his best outing in his three year career with the Indians. He has been locked in over his last four outings as he has thrown 11.2 innings and now allowed an earned run.
  • Todd Hankins (LF, Lake County): 1-for-4, R, 3B, 3 RBI. Hankins is a super-sub and continues to fill in well where needed. His bases clearing triple in the 5th inning was all the offense his team needed to get another win.
  • Luigi Rodriguez (CF, Lake County): 0-for-3, BB, 3 K. Rodriguez was moved down to the third spot in the order, but his slump continues as he is now hitting just .169/.269/.203 with 3 walks and 17 strikeouts in 15 games this month.
  • Francisco Lindor (SS, Lake County): 1-for-4, 2B, K. Lindor only got one hit and broke his 6-game streak of having 2 hits in every game. What a bum. What a bust this guy is. (note the sarcasm)
  • Robel Garcia (2B, Lake County): 1-for-2, R, 2B, 2 BB. This was one of Garcia’s better games this season as he had a double and reached base in 3 of 4 plate appearances. He is still only hitting .190/.277/.345 in 16 games this month.
  • Elvis Araujo (SP, Lake County): 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 6 K. Araujo must have really been pounding the zone as he recorded 8 groundball outs and no flyball outs.This was tied for the longest outing of the season, and from a numbers standpoint was no doubt his best outing of the season.
  • Jeff Johnson (RP, Lake County): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K. Johnson has really been feeling it of late. In his last 11 outings he has thrown 13.1 innings and allowed 5 hits, 3 earned runs, 5 BB, and 21 strikeouts.

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

Jim
May 20, 2012 - 11:45 AM EDT
Good signs from Slowey as well. Depth in that rotation can only help, especially when it comes down to the trade deadline. We need some offense, and having options to start may give us a player or two to play with in getting some offense for later in the year...
Jim
May 20, 2012 - 10:45 AM EDT
There's so much that's going to be at play this coming offseason though...and it could be interesting. If the Indians find themselves in play for someone, it could leave hafner on the back-burner...or not in their thoughts at all.

If LaPorta sticks finally, that could be in play as well, especially if they can manage to pick up a left fielder...who knows...

I do think Hafner is an option though, for sure....just because of the money involved. If they can find a guy to hit .300 with 20 homers at less than 5 million..wouldn't they have done that already? Well...maybe not...
Tony
May 19, 2012 - 10:25 PM EDT
Yeah, I am with Jim....Araujo and Sterling had no bearing or consideration when the Indians made the Jimenez deal. Pomeranz and White were near sure things and close to ML ready, a far cry from too long porjection guys that at this point are still mostly projection and have a long way to go.

I think there is more to it than just what Hafner makes....there will be some PR at play and ultimately they may bring him back on a restructured deal like Sizemore. In fact, almost the same way.
League Park
May 19, 2012 - 12:25 PM EDT
Couldn't the Indians find someone to be the DH who could hit .250 w/ 15 HR's (Hafner's projected numbers) for a lot less money than Hafner? Even if they re-work his contract, won't he be making $5M/yr plus? Besides he's yet another left handed bat.
Jim
May 19, 2012 - 11:44 AM EDT
Yo Evan...loved going to see games in Buffalo (I lived in Erie for a bit), and was sad to see them move...glad there are still fans...

I definitely could see the Tribe handle Sterling and Araujo much as they did Goodnight and Rayl...bringing them both up late in the season after solid years at Lake County. Of course, both are higher rated, so I'm sure pitch count will be a big piece of it all...especially for Araujo...
Jim
May 19, 2012 - 11:40 AM EDT
I doubt very much that they thought about Felix and Elvis at all when they made that deal with regards to White and Pomeranz. While both are projectable as front end starters, at the earliest, we're talking 2014...if not 2015....and that's if everything works out in their next three levels.

When that deal was made, those two guys were nothing but question marks with a ton of upside...

Now...yeah...you can point to those two...plus arms...solid makeup...and say, "there's potential depth in the system..."

But can't see those two being the, "hey, we have Araujo and Sterling, let's deal White and Pomeranz" type of guys...
Evan
May 19, 2012 - 11:39 AM EDT
Thanks for the thorough response Tony! Now if we could only get the TV blackout lifted in Buffalo, I'm tired of gamecast. Dear MLB...A four hour drive and flicking on the tube aren't really competing with each other :)
.ROGER4ygky2
May 19, 2012 - 9:59 AM EDT
i am not so sure that the growth and projected growth of elvis and felix did have a curcery role' ' 'in the trade of white and pomeranz both big guys one right one southpaw projectaable as number 1 staRTERS
Tony
May 19, 2012 - 9:22 AM EDT
Starting 1B, LF, DH for who, the Indians? Hafner at DH (they re-work his contract)....LaPorta in LF or 1B....and a trade/FA for LF or 1B.
Tony
May 19, 2012 - 9:20 AM EDT
Yeah, Goedert is on another planet. He's shown in the past he can hit....just have to find him a position. I think he has the chance to be no worse than Shelley Duncan on this team, and could actually be a better hitter. In fact, I would rather have him or LaPorta on the team right now over Duncan.

Evan, yes, in total the 6 baserunners is nice. But from a future gains standpoint the walks are typically which can help determine future success. So, yes, you'd rather have the guy give up more hits and less walks if you had to choose between the two. Hits have a tendency to even out.....but walks are mostly on the pitcher and a sign of command issues. Thankfully this was the only high walk game for House and why it was just a footnote. As for Aruajo and Sterling, yeah, I think they could be in Lake County for most of the season, though if they continue to pitch well it would not surprise me to see one or both go to Carolina in July. Maybe Sterling first as he had a half season in Lake County last year. Yeah, always sad to see an affiliation end....Kinston and Buffalo were great towns with great people....glad we are able to keep you connected and thanks for the kind words!
anonymous
May 19, 2012 - 9:17 AM EDT
Looking into 2013, who are the starting 1B, LF and DH?
Evan
May 19, 2012 - 9:00 AM EDT
Curious about the commentary on House's start. Are 4 walks in 6 innings really bothersome when he only allowed 2 hits? Wouldn't we prefer his line to one with 4 hits (maybe some XBs) and 2 walks? I guess his control has never been fantastic so we'd like to see walk numbers lower over time, but it seems like have one baserunner per inning overrides the negative.

On Araujo, will he and Sterling be tethered to one another all season long? If he keeps pitching like this, is there a chance at a handful of Carolina starts later in the season? What are the reports on his build and athleticism at 6'6? He really seems to be breaking out before our eyes (Sterling not too shabby himself obviously).

Thanks and keep up the great work. We miss our Indians affiliation dearly here in Buffalo, we had some great years with Sizemore, BPhil, Lee, etc. Your site keeps us connected.
Jim
May 19, 2012 - 3:32 AM EDT
This may just be me, but it may be time to cut this Lindor kid...ONE HIT!?!?!?

Love Abraham. The Indians should have him make an organizational video on how to get the best of your abilities.

Is Goedert even for real at this point?...and playing right, no less. LaPorta has to get the first look, but Goedert is so locked in right now, u almost wish he'd get the quick call to ride out the streak, while LaPorta is forced to continue to show consistency. Goedert will even out, but boy, u do get the impression that he's automatic right now...

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