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Around the Farm: May 20, 2012

Around the Farm: May 20, 2012
May 21, 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. IPI takes pride in the thorough nature of our coverage, but the opinions generated here are just that, opinions. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday's game. 
Scott Barnes: SP, Columbus: H (3), 2 IP, 2 K:
It’s always good to have depth in the bullpen, especially when you are talking about a plus arm like Barnes. The Indians moved Barnes to the bullpen this year coming off of last season’s ACL injury in his right knee. Don’t get me wrong, he’s healthy, but they had noted stamina issues both with regards to multiple innings as well as an extended inning. To combat that, the Indians felt that moving him to the pen would take stamina off the table for this season, but would also make him a viable candidate for the Indians in 2012. He’s got incredibly good stuff, and should be a factor with the Tribe at some point in the next couple of months. In his past five outings since May 8th, Barnes has gone 7 2/3 innings, giving up only one hit and one run, while walking only one, and striking out ten. Look over those stats again, and ask yourself if there is anyone with numbers that good at any level in the Indians organization. The answer is a flat no. Barnes just may be the next big thing in the pen for this year, but look for him to return to the rotation in 2013.
T.J. McFarland: SP, Akron Aeros: W (8-1), 7 IP, 12 H, 1 R/ER, 6 K:
McFarland has been exceptional this season in nearly every start. In April, McFarland went 4-1 with a stellar 2.22 ERA. He has upped his game in May, going 4-0 with a 1.33 ERA. McFarland will be an interesting watch this season, as he’s now spent an entire year in Akron, and has gotten steadily better since his first appearance. McFarland was awesome in 2010 through much of the season, but started to struggle in late July. He was still called up because his stats were that good, but he got absolutely shelled in his only Akron start. He started the year in Kinston in 2011, but was very good in two starts there, and was called up before the month of April was over. Things weren’t easy in Akron, but by the end of the season, he was a respectable 9-9, with a 3.87 ERA. Enter 2012, and McFarland looks like the pitcher that went 11-5 with a 3.13 ERA in Kinston in 2010, and not the solid starter since then. It’s clear that his floor is higher than many starters ceilings in the Indians organization, and as a southpaw, he could really be an interesting watch going forward.
David Huff: SP, Columbus: W (2-1), 5 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 4K:
David Huff made his first start in Columbus since May 8th, and it was a good one. It was his second fantastic start in a row, and he’s really starting to look like the major league starter that he was for over a year from 2009-2011. In his last two starts, Huff has gone 12 innings, giving up four hits and two walks, while striking out nine batters. In the month of May, Huff is 2-0 with a 1.10 ERA. He’s gone 16 1/3 innings, having given up 13 hits and two earned runs, with two total walks and 14 K’s. I’m not sure what Huff’s future is with regards to the Indians, but he certainly is giving the Indians cause to feel good about their depth. Slowey, Kluber and Huff look like viable starters going forward, should the Indians need to help out the big league club, or should they need depth as the trade deadline starts approaching.
  • Andy LaRoche: 3B, Columbus: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RI, 1 BB, 1 K: LaRoche has been playing a bit better of late. Don’t get me wrong, I sure don’t think he’s going to be stealing time in the bigs or anything, but he is showing a bit of what made him a major leaguer. He’s scored a run in seven straight games, and is now batting in the two-hole.
  • Beau Mills: 1B, Columbus: 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI: Mills had a huge day today in the midst of a slump that has seen his average drop from close to .300, to .230. He hadn’t hit a home run since April, so perhaps today’s two-jack affair will break him out of his slump, especially if LaPorta is getting a call-up tomorrow, which is widely believed. Mills should see an uptick in his playing time. 
  • Russ Canzler: LF, Columbus: 2-for-3, 1 2B, 1 BB: Canzler has caught fire, and has four multi-hit games in his last five, and has gone 10-for-18 since then, scoring five runs, with three doubles, a triple, a homer and three RBI. Over his past ten, Canzler has a line of .378/.425/.784. Canzler isn’t getting a call up over LaPorta…is he?
  • Ben Copeland: LF, Akron: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B: Copeland is really taking to this demotion. While he went 0-for-5 in his first game back with Akron after swapping spots with Jared Goedert, he’s gone a healthy 5-for-8, with six runs scored and three doubles since. By the way, that’s in two games. Maybe it was less Goedert, and more Akron.
  • Adam Abraham: 1B, Akron: 1-for-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K: Abraham continued his solid play with another double today, and has gone 6-for-12 in his past three games, scoring six runs, with two doubles. Richmond must be the Eastern League’s version of techmo-bowl.
  • Chin-Hsiu Chen: DH, Akron: 1-for-3, 1 BB: Chen followed his three-hit night, and his visit at the top of ATF with another hit. He’s gone 8-for-11, with three runs, two doubles and seven RBI in his past three games.
  • Thomas Neal: RF, Akron: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K, SB (1): Neal has been another guy that’s been hotter than a firecracker in the series with Richmond, and is currently on a four-game hit streak. He’s gone 8-for-17, with four runs, a triple and six RBI during the mini-streak.
  • Tyler Holt: CF, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 BB, 1 K, SB (10): Holt now has a six-game hit streak, and continues to be the most consistent player for the Mudcats. He’s doing everything that’s been asked of him, and if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 1,000 times, Tyler Holt should be in Akron. Not sure what the thinking is there. I know there are some other guys that are above him, but there aren’t many with his upside. I’m not saying Holt is a projectable superstar, but you have to think that he’s at least as good as a guy like Fedroff, if not better because of the speed.
  • Ronny Rodriguez: SS, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K: Rodriguez hit his third homer of the season, and has hits in nine of his last ten games. His ten game line is a more than respectable .306/.324/.472, with six runs, three doubles and Sunday’s homer. He’s only walked once though, with eight K’s, and for the season, has five walks and 28 K’s.
  • Jesus Aguilar: 1B, Carolina: 1-for-3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K: Aguilar is hitting .323 in May, but only .243 over his last ten games, with 12 K’s and two walks. He has 11 doubles on the year, which is tied for first on the team, and tied for fifth in the league, but has only hit two in his past ten games. He’s in a lull right now, but still has his average over .300 (.302), and has an impressive .375 OBP.
  • Mike Rayl: SP, Carolina: 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 HR: Rayl was grooving along this season until his last two starts, and things have gone south quickly. In his last two starts, Rayl is 0-2 over 8 2/3 innings, haven given up 12 hits (three homers), 10 earned runs and four walks. With a fleet of promising, younger arms ready to overtake Carolina, Rayl needs to find the consistency to not get swallowed in the wave.
  • Shawn Armstrong: RP, Carolina: 2 IP, 1 BB, 2 K: Armstrong really should have found himself at the top of ATF once again with today’s performance, as he’s really been one of the best relievers appearance to appearance in the entire system. Armstrong has given up one run since making his first appearance with the Muddies, and has gone 22 1/3 total, giving up only eight hits and 11 walks, while striking out 30. He’s a new start in the system, and will find himself knocking on the door of Triple A by the end of the season. Of course, he is an ECU grad, so maybe he’s just happy to be home.
  • Francisco Lindor: SS, Lake County: 0-for-4: Ah, the life of an 18-year-old. After having six straight two-hit games, Lindor now finds himself in a 1-for-13 mini-slump over his past three games. Looking forward to watching how he bounces out of this one.
  • Leonardo Castillo: 3B, Lake County: 1-for-3, 1 2B, 1 K: Castillo had the only extra base hit on Sunday for the Captains, as they only managed three hits and a walk against two of the top starting pitchers in the Blue Jays organization (piggy-backing).
  • Cody Anderson: SP, Lake County: L (4-2), 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R/ER, 8 K, 2 HR: Anderson was wicked for the most part. Any time you roll out eight strikeouts in six inning of work, you are making folks look stupid, but he clearly left a couple of balls up, as two solo homers did him in. Still, he didn’t allow any fly outs vs. 7 ground outs, and was aided by a couple of double plays. This kid is for real, so keep an eye on him.
  • Francisco Valera: RP, Lake County: 2 IP, 1 BB: Valero has had two pretty good appearances in his last two outings, having give up three hits and a walk over four innings pitched, while striking out three batters. He had UCL reconstruction in 2010, so it should take him the season to settle in. Look for the real Valera in 2013.

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 21, 2012 - 11:18 AM EDT
If you all haven't subscribed yet, you should...there's a ton of subtle information in Tony's minor league happenings that you just can't find anywhere else. You'll see it seep through other pieces in ATF and others, like the info on Barnes...but Tony's MLH pieces really are the best part of this site (IMO)...
May 21, 2012 - 9:55 AM EDT
I have some stuff from Atkins which elaborates more on the Barnes situation. Will post in tomorrow's MH. As for the missing bats, they are all in Cleveland. Santana and Kipnis came up the last two years.....very rarely do teams get 4-5 impact bats at once. Indians got two there. Also still have Chisenhall at Columbus.....and who knows, LaPorta is still lingering. But, there are no "impact" quality bats beyond them right now in the upper levels.
League Park
May 21, 2012 - 9:22 AM EDT
Where are the bats in this farm system? We don't have any.
May 21, 2012 - 8:40 AM EDT
I'm not comfortable with either Kluber or Slowey as depth starters right now. So, Huff's last 2 outings are encouraging. I just hope he can stay healthy.

Wasn't aware that Barnes has stamina issues, although it helps explain his so-so start of the season. I thought he had an elbow issue as well.

Barnes' performance out of the BP is encouraging. If the front of the Indians' BP doesn't perform better than it has, I'd expect Barnes to be promoted. My guess is that it'll happen in the next 4-6 weeks. In the meantime, he needs to show Antonetti that his control/command is major league ready.

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