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Around the Farm: May 2, 2012

Around the Farm: May 2, 2012
May 3, 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.
Giovanni Soto: SP, Akron Aeros: W (3-0), 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 9 K:
Every year that goes by, it seems that folks become more enamored with guys that can throw at the speed of sound, and the wily pitchers with big-time make-up get lost in the shuffle. Then, guys like Giovanni Soto come around. Listen, and listen carefully: Giovanni Sota is a special, special pitcher. When the Indians acquired him for one Jhonny Peralta, it went mostly unnoticed. Soto was a kid with intangibles, but had a weird delivery, and could barely touch 88 on the gun. Nothing has changed, except for one thing: you really need to take this kid seriously. Soto is 20-years-old, and just gets it. When he walks out to the mound, it looks like he owns it. To say that he has the mentality to be a top-of-the-line starter is an understatement. He owns the mound when he pitches. He has a strange delivery, but he can replicate it, so it’s not an issue, and makes his pitches exceedingly deceptive. While he rarely pops the gun at 90+, it looks like the ball comes out of a cave at his release, and while major league hitters will figure it out, he absolutely commands the strike zone, and can make hitters look utterly idiotic. In his last two starts, he’s gone 12 2/3, giving up nine hits and a run, while walking two and striking out 13. He’s struck out 30 so far on the year in 27 innings, while walking only five. Remember folks, this guy’s fastball is Cody Allen’s changeup. Mark it down: Giovanni Soto will be pushing for a spot in the Indians’ rotation by 2013, and will get it. He’s going to be a good one folks, so enjoy the minor league ride while you can. I don’t think it’s going to be a long one.
Matt LaPorta: LF, Columbus Clippers: Game 1: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI/Game 2: 1-for-3, 2 RBI:
I’m not a Matt LaPorta fan. I hated the deal that Shapiro made to acquire him with regards to CC Sabathia back in 2008, and I’m sick of the LaPorta watches that have taken place since the deal. LaPorta has proven time-and-time again that he’s not a major league player. That said, I’m on board for a LaPorta call-up, whenever it takes place. Why? It’s time this guy actually puts up, or gets outta dodge. He's taken over the top end of my ATF’s, and while he's earned it, it really makes me ill. I can just picture the guy waking up every morning, flipping on the computer, heading over to Indians Prospect Insider, clicking on the latest version of ATF, and cackling in his evil laughter as he plots his next version of ATF demolition (I know you are attempting to hit for the cycle LaPorta, I freakin’ know it). Okay folks I realize that LaPorta has officially made me lose my mind, so I’ll be leaving you all now for a short stay in the local psych ward. Yeah, he has a three-game hit streak, and has hit in what, 20-of-22 games so far this year in Columbus. He hit his ninth home run (all at home in the band box), and had his what, 220th hit so far this year? He’s 18-for-36 in his last ten, and has seven multi-hit games in that time frame. He scored 12 runs, drove in 12, and belted five dingers. You won’t lull me onto the bandwagon LaPorta. Oh no, you won’t lull me one last time…
Jesus Aguilar: 1B, Carolina Mudcats: 4-for-4, 2 R, 12B, 1 RBI:
Aguilar is coming off his worst seven-game stretch of the season, in which he did hit two homers, but batted under.200, with 9 K’s. After making an appearance in the “Fishing for Mudcats’” bad and ugly this week, he clearly began making amends with Wednesday's superb performance. His four hits are one more than he had the entire seven-games previous. He’s now on a four-game hit streak, scored six runs in the last four games, with a double, two homers and three RBI. It’s funny how quick you can turn things around. He’s hitting .333 against lefties, and .324 against righties, and hitting .326 at home, and .324 on the road. Yeah, he’s got 12 K’s in his last ten games…but c’mon, you know you want this guy to get promoted. It’s okay to admit it (no folks, I don’t want LaPorta to get promoted…I really…really don’t, so get that outta your head…). In all seriousness folks, Matt LaPorta…er…Jesus Aguilar has to be making Tribe management take notice.
  • Russ Canzler: 1B, Columbus: Game 1: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K: Canzler continues to battle LaPorta and Beau Mills in this strange lumbering first baseman/DH/LF battle for player most likely to either get called up to Cleveland, or garner the title of Andy Marte-wannabe. Canzler is “only” hitting .361 over his last ten, and has the overall average up to .297.
  • Beau Mills: DH, Columbus: Game 1: 1-for-4, 1 2B, 1 K: Yeah, Mills only had one hit in the multi-hit battle, but had a five game hit streak after the first game of the de facto doubleheader.
  • Andy LaRoche: 3B, Columbus: Game 1: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K: LaRoche has done nothing so far this year, he had gone 2-for-24 in his past eight games, and is hitting .161 on the season.
  • Ezequiel Carrera: CF, Columbus: Game 2: 2-for-2, 1 R, 1 BB: Carrera has done nothing but struggle this year, which is disappointing after such a solid 2011 campaign. While I don’t think that anyone is fooled at this point by his ceiling. Carrera is hitting .190 over his last ten games.
  • Cord Phelps: 2B, Columbus: Game 2: 1-for-3, 2 R: Phelps started off the season like a house of fire, then just dropped off the table. Over his past ten games, his line is a horrendous .154/.209/.282. You aren’t going anywhere with a .491 OPS.
  • Zach McAllister: SP, Columbus: Game 2: W (3-1): 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR: McAllister blazed through the 2011 season, and was one of the must see in Cleveland starters. He struggled making the move to the bigs, but he’s continued to excel in Columbus. He has been lights out over his last three starts. He’s gone 17 innings, giving up ten hits, three earned runs, five walks and 17 K’s. He’s won all three games.
  • Cody Allen: RP, Columbus: Game 2: H (1): 1 1/3, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 2 K: Cody Allen is apparently human. He gave up his second run of the season in 15 innings through three leagues. I think he’ll be okay…
  • Jeremy Accardo:  RP, Columbus: Game 2: S (4), 2/3 IP, 1 BB: Accardo is what he is…a former major leaguer that likely won’t ever pitch anywhere in the majors, after the sixth inning. Okay…maybe the seventh.
  • Jared Goedert: LF, Akron: 1-for-3, 1 BB, 1 K: Goedert has a four-game hit streak, and has hits in eight of his last ten, with a .412/.533/.588 line. Of course, he only had one hit Wednesday, and dropped his average under .400. For shame Jared, for shame.
  • Adam Abraham: DH, Akron: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B: Abraham had been in a mini-slump over the past three games, going 0-for-9, but bounced out of it with a solid two-hit game. He’s got the average at a respectable .265, is hitting .290 over the last ten, and I firmly expect to be hitting near .290 by July.
  • Kyle Landis: RP, Akron: S (1), 2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K: Landis made a brief appearance in Columbus, but was sent back down to Akron, and he’s resumed domination. Since the demotion, he’s gone 5 1/3 IP, giving up two hits and a walk, while striking out six batters. Overall, Landis has a 0.61 ERA in Akron, with 13 K’s and 4 walks.
  • Tyler Holt: CF, Carolina: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB: Holt is locked in at High A Carolina, hitting .361 over his last ten games, with a ridiculous .489 OBP, and a .444 slugging percentage. He has three bases in his last nine games without getting caught. Most impressive are his nine walks against only six K’s. His new approach is his calling card to advance…well…that and Tribe management remembering that he’s somewhere in their organization, ready to advance…
  • TONY WOLTERS!!!: SS, Carolina: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K: Wolters hadn’t played in a week, and returned with his best offensive game as a Mudcat. He’s only hitting .151 on the year with a sub-par .253 OBP, but has all the tools to be successful. Perhaps this is the fresh start he needed. I like him back at shortstop for the time being, as he gets his bearings straight in High A baseball.
  • Tyler Cannon: 3B, Carolina: 2-for-2, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB: Okay, so let’s see if you can guess the player I’m thinking of: In 2011, he hit a mammoth .366 at Lake County, and while he struggled in the Carolina League, which is a notorious pitcher’s league, he had a nice little stretch at Akron. He's gone 5-for-9 in his last three games, and may be starting to return to form, and yeah, in that crazy Carolina League again. You're right, it's Tyler Cannon.
  • Kyle Petter: RP, Carolina: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K: Petter’s ERA is 7.71 right now, even after this shutout performance. Give me a couple more Kyle, before I believe that you got it back.
  • Jose Flores: Closer, Carolina: S (5), 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K: Flores isn’t Mr. Upside or anything, but boy has he been good since stepping into the back-end role for the Muddies. He had a nice rebound after a rough appearance on Tuesday.
  • Francisco Lindor: SS, Lake County: 3-for-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 SB (9): How good is this kid? He’s had five multi-hit games in his last six games, going 14-for-26, with five runs, two doubles, a homer and two RBI, and has stolen three bases.
  • Bryson Myles: LF, Lake County: 3-for-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: Bryson Myles long-term demise has been greatly exaggerated. He’s back after a week off, and immediately regained his multi-hit prowess. He now has a three-game multi-hit streak in which he’s gone 8-for-12, with two runs, three doubles and three RBI. He has a six-game hit streak overall, and has a .417/.436/.694 line. Myles is the real deal, and looking forward to Holt moving to Akron, and Myles moving to Carolina.
  • Felix Sterling: SP, Lake County: W (1-0), 5 1/3 IP, 7 H, 3 R/2 ER, 5 K, 1 HR: Sterling has the potential to be something special, and has had a nice start to the season. He’s 1-0 with a 3.56 ERA in six appearances and 30 1/3 IP. He’s struck out 25 batters and walked 14 hitters, which is perhaps an issue going forward…but fixable.
  • Alex Lavisky: DH, Lake County: 0-for-5, 4 K: There’s nothing that I want more than for Lavisky to tear it up, as he did coming out of the gate at the beginning of the season, but it appears as though the homegrown talent is starting to struggle again. He’s 0-for-9 with six K’s in the past two games, and has 14 K’s in his last ten games. Overall, the average is back down to .229.
  • Jerrud Sabourin: 1B, Lake County: 2-for-4: Sabourin is about as plain a first baseman as you can get, but he’s hitting the ball (Dr. Casey Kotchman, do you understand that getting hits is important now and then, like Mr. Sabourin?). He’s alternating Oh-fers with multi-hit games, and is 11-for-35 over his past ten, and hitting .305 overall. He has no power to speak of, but has a nice .363 OBP (YO, KOTCHMAN, PAY ATTENTION!).

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 3, 2012 - 10:39 PM EDT
Thanks Ken...

...the trick about LaPorta is that he is one of the few righties in MLB that actually hits righties better than lefties...just crazy...
May 3, 2012 - 10:02 PM EDT
Dennis...great flick...and since the Indians give me a labotomy on a nightly basis, I suppose that I'm a McMurphy guy...without having been snuffed out by a pillow yet, although I do like juicyfruit. I'd probably be most like Taber though...bitter as hell.

As per Phelps, we'll see...for as hot as he was...he's certainly cooling off now...
May 3, 2012 - 10:16 AM EDT
If Soto continues to pan out he may make the loss of Pomeranz sting a little less, a left handed starter is much needed.
Ken B
May 3, 2012 - 9:43 AM EDT
Nice recap Jim...keep it up.

Lets see...what do the Indians have a crying need for??? Oh, a righty hitter with power ... call up LaPorta and lets find out one way or the other!
May 3, 2012 - 8:44 AM EDT
Yep, absolutely no way you call up LaPorta right now. 22 games has not cured all of his ills. He needs AT LEAST a good 40 games before you start considering him and seeing if his new approach is sticking. Plus, there is nowhere they can play him at the moment as they just invested in Damon, they invested $3M in Kotchman and he needs probably another 20-30 games before you dump him, and Choo has to play. If one of those three get hurt and go on the DL, then I could see it....but no way before that. I'd be fine with LaPorta crushing the ball and staying at Columbus through June or July even. Make sure. He's still important to this team as with the dearth of OF options, he really needs to become the starting LF for next season (I just can't wrap my head around the idea of him playing 1B everyday....just not a good option there).
May 3, 2012 - 8:17 AM EDT
No to a LaPorta callup. Unnecessary. He isn't crushing it outside of Huntington Park. He wouldn't play everyday in Cleveland. Even though he appears to be hotter than a whore on nickel night right now let's at least see how he handles any adversity that comes his way.

May 3, 2012 - 8:06 AM EDT
J-Pete.. Regarding your comments on Matt LaPorta.. who do you identify with more? The Chief "ahhhhh juicyfruit", JP McMurphy or are you Billy "the club" Bibbette?..

Interesting note about Cord Phelps not going anywhere (as in being promoted or earning a spot in the Major Leagues) with a 0.491 OPS.. Indian fans yearn for the days when Casey "I can't hit" Kotchman had such a lofty OPS earlier this season..

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