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Around the Farm: May 21, 2012 - Beaning LaPorta

Around the Farm: May 21, 2012 - Beaning LaPorta
May 22, 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.

Ah, the 40-day mark has come and passed, and in it's wake was a certain day off for your friendly neighborhood Cleveland Indians. You know what off days mean, and especially the ones that connect with imaginary lines. Speculation my friends, and it's a bitter pill, that speculation. When Indians Prospect Insider's head honcho, Tony Lastoria, broke the news that Jared Goedert was leaving the Aeros for the Clippers, the speculation began. If Goedert, who was playing left field at the time of his departure from Akron, was heading to Columbus, then it was only a matter of time that LaPorta would move up to make some space, right? If you made that leap of faith, you weren't alone. While most here at IPI believe it a bit too early to move up Matt LaPorta, it's not a stretch to see the Indians make that move to replace one of their flat tires in Shelley Duncan or Johnny Damon with the former top prospect. Will it come to pass? It's hard to tell at this point, but you do haveto love the theater. The dreaded Tigers are coming to town to face off with the Tribe for the first time this season. In the meantime, LaPorta, who was drilled twice on Monday night with pitches, potentially could get the call up prior to game one of the series. Of course, nothing could happen. Maybe the Indians front office is content on day 40 with a solid, if unspectacular team. Maybe they are content to wait it out until July. Either way, the summer trade winds are beginning to glow!!!
 
Kyle Bellows: 3B, Akron Aeros: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI:
 
I don’t know that there’s been a bigger critique of Kyle Bellows bat than me over the years, as this kid has failed to do anything offensively since joining  the Indians in the fourth round of the 2009 draft. Well, I don’t know that you can ever look at a week’s games and say that’s anything close to a sample size, but Bellows is certainly starting to make a good case for himself. He’s had multi-hit games in three of his past four games, and four of his past six. In his last seven games, Bellows has hit four of his five homers, with three coming in his last four ballgames. The right-handed hitter is shredding lefties, with a .350 average, but he only has one homer against the lefthanders. Bellows has a plus glove and good make-up, but really needs to take steps to continue his offensive production.
 
Tony Wolters: SS, Carolina Mudcats: 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 RBI, SB (3):
 
Wolters has his average up to .199, and while that may seem like a horrendous number, well, it’s a whole hell of a lot better than it was in mid-April. He’s got a three-game hit streak, and has hits in eight of his last ten games. During that stretch, he’s scored nine runs and hit five doubles and a triple, with eight RBI, four walks and three stolen bases. Wolters continues to take baby steps in his development. He’s certainly not as flashy as other middle infielders in the system, but he may very well prove to be fastest learner. Seriously, he’s doubled his average from April (.130) to May (.269).
  • Jason Donald: 2B, Columbus: 1-for-3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 BB: Donald has been making mince-meat of International League pitching since being demoting from Cleveland, with hits in five of six games, and is 8-for-23 total, with four runs, two doubles, a triple and three RBI. He’s walked four times, struck out only once, and even stole a base. Donald is proving either that he’s a pro’s pro, or just another in a long line of Indians’ players that dominate Triple A pitching, and not so much in the bigs.
  • Matt LaPorta: 1B, Columbus: 0-for-0, HBP 2: The LaPorta watch was full on Monday Night, as the first baseman was plunked twice, and pulled from the game because manager Mike Sarbaugh noted that he got hit in the ribs and was “a little sore.” I’d hate to speculate and all, because it would be horrible to ever do such a thing, but all eyes will be on LaPorta tomorrow. Will the Indians call him up or not, a legit question for most. It may not be LaPorta’s time, but it most certainly could be.
  • Lonnie Chisenhall: 3B, Columbus: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI: Chiz has played in two games since returning from the DL, and has two hits in each game. He’s gone 4-for-8, with a run, two doubles and three RBI. Welcome back Chiz. Perhaps you can now quiet the folks that have jumped off the bandwagon over the past year.
  • Jared Goedert: RF, Columbus: 1-for-4, 3 RBI, 1 K: Goedert has hits in all three games since his promotion. On Monday night, he had a sac fly and a two-run single to drive in three of the Clippers six runs. While Goedert is certainly behind LaPorta on the totem pole, a small part of me thinks that he might be the better option.
  • Corey Kluber: SP, Columbus: L (3-4), 1 2/3 IP, 7 H, 7 R/ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 1 HR: Kluber got absolutely jacked for the second game in a row, and has given up 12 runs in those two games. After starting off the season as the hottest starter in Columbus, it appears as though Kluber has re-entered the land of nowhere with these starts. There’s a belief in the Tribe system that this kid’s stuff is some of the best, but he just can’t seem to put it all together for any period of time.
  • Matt Langwell: RP, Columbus: 1 1/3 IP, 1 H: Langwell continues to be rock solid since his call-up to the Clippers. He gave up an earned run in that first game, but hasn’t given up jack since. He’s not spectacular with a cannon arm, but he knows how to get guys out, and could be a factor for one of the slots in the front end of the pen as the season progresses.
  • Frank Herrmann: RP, Columbus: 3 IP, 2 H, 3 K: Herrmann hasn’t been able to string a series of solid appearances in a row without giving up big runs as bookends. On Monday, Herrmann had his best appearance of the season with three innings of work.  Could Herrmann work his way back to the mafia this season? Stranger things have happened.
  • Dan Wheeler: RP, Columbus: 3 IP, 3 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 HR: Ahhh, Mr. Wheeler, how we miss thee. Seriously, this guy is terrible…and I won’t miss any more space.
  • Chun-Hsiu Chen: C, Akron: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB: Chen found himself catching today, which is something he hasn’t done much at all this season. Chen has been hotter than a firecracker at the plate, and is currently on a four-game hit streak in which he’s gone 10-for-15, with four runs, two doubles and seven RBI. He’s walked three times without a strikeout during that stretch. Chen continues to move up the charts as a potential call-up to Columbus by July 1, if you’ll forgive my speculation.
  • Nick Weglarz: LF, Akron: 1-for-3, 1 K: Weglarz made his return from DFA’ed exile, and had a single. Yeah, not exactly earth shattering, is it.
  • Ben Copeland: CF, Akron: 2-for-4, 1 R, 2 RBI: Copeland has three multi-hit games in a row, in which he’s gone 7-for-12, with seven runs, three doubles and two RBI. Maybe they should call this kid up to Columbus again, and move LaPorta down.
  • Brett Brach: SP, Akron: W (1-1), 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 5 K: Brach made his second straight solid start in a row in Akron, and appears to have righted the ship that was sailing into the moon light. In those two games, he’s gone nine total innings, with one earned run and six K’s. Brach is a solid minor league option.
  • Rob Bryson: RP, Akron: 2 IP, 1 BB, 3 K:  Bryson has been alternating good with the bad, and finally put two good games together. While this is no statement game for Bryson, hopefully it’s the start of more solid outings going forward.
  • Loek Van Mil: RP, Akron: 2 IP, 1 K: Van Mil has been lights out in Akron since the Indians traded for him, and gave up a rather small box of Cash and a six pack. Van Mil is 20 foot tall, and can shake your hand if you’re at the plate, and the Van Mil is pitching.
  • Tyler Holt: CF, Carolina: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 3B: Holt’s stat lines are almost boring at this point. The guy just keeps hitting, and doing everything that the Indians want him to do. He’s got a seven-game hit streak, and four of those games are of the multi-hit variety. He has a ten-game line of .300/.404/.450, and a season line of .312/.411/.416.
  • Jesus Aguilar: 1B, Carolina: 1-for-2, 2 R, 2 BB: I’m a little concerned that Aguilar’s power has seemingly disappeared over the past week or two, but a game like this is promising. He’s been striking out way too much, so when you walk twice without a strike out, it’s a big deal.
  • Jeremie Tice: DH, Carolina: 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K: Tice extended his home run lead with the Muddies with his fifth blast in the past ten games. Tice is limited defensively, which has limited his movement potential, but his offense doesn’t hurt.
  • Justin Toole: PH/3B, Carolina: 2-for-2, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI: While Toole appears to own Columbus when he heads there for his little DL stints, he hasn’t done the same in Carolina. On Monday night, he took over for Giovanny Urshela, who returned from the DL. He does have a five game hit streak to rest his laurels on though, and his multi-dimensional glove will always make him an asset to the upper levels of the minors.
  • Ronny Rodriguez: 2B, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 K: Rodriguez has a four-game hit streak and hits in nine of his last ten games. Rodriguez is hitting .241 on the season, but he’s hitting .306 in his past ten games. He still strikes out way too much, 9 in his past ten games.
  • Anthony Gallas: LF, Carolina: 1-for-4,  1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI: The home town boy launched his second home run on the season, and broke out of a mini 0-for-7 slump.
  • Jordan Casas: CF, Lake County: 1-for-3, 1 2B, 1 BB: Casas is having a solid, if unspectacular season. He’s hitting .268 with Lake County, and .270 over his last ten games, with a .300 OBP and a .297. Casas isn’t a major league talent in the system, but he can hit.
  • Francisco Lindor: SS, Lake County: 0-for-3, 1 BB: Lindor is 0-for-12 in his last three games, and he’s 1-for-16 in his last four. You’ll have that with young kids in the system, even if they are as advanced as this Lindor kid.
  • Jerrud Sabourin: 1B, Lake County: 1-for-3, 1 2B, 1 K: Sabourin had one of only two extra base hits during the game, and one of only five hits in the game.
  • Shawn Morimando: SP, Lake County: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K: Morimando is one of the big five for this Lake County staff. He had another good one on Monday night, but the Lake County offense let him down a bit. In Morimando’s last two starts, he’s gone ten innings, giving up six hits and an earned run, while walking three and striking out nine. Boy, the lower levels are really stacked right now.
  • Grant Sides: RP, Lake County: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K: Sides may be the best reliever in the Captains bullpen. Since giving up two runs in his first appearance, he hasn’t given up squat since. In those ten games, he’s gone 16 2/3 IP, giving up only six hits and seven walks, while striking out 17, with a save to go with it. I’m not ready to put the former 12th rounder in with the elite just yet, but he’s close, and getting closer.
  • Jeff Johnson: Closer, Lake County: W (3-1), 1 2/3 IP, 2 K: Johnson hasn’t been great all season, but has been very good over his past ten. He’s 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA during that stretch, with six saves, four hits and three earned runs, with five walks and 18 RBI.

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 jpete@indiansprospectinsider.com.

User Comments

Kenneth
May 22, 2012 - 8:45 AM EDT
"Bean" refers to the head, no? From your write-up, it sounds as if he was hit somewhere else, at least once in the ribs.
Discollama
May 22, 2012 - 8:16 AM EDT
I think I'll hold off on my optimism on Chisenhall until he brings up his BB% closer to the 9% mark. Otherwise, I fear that he'll continue his hack-tastic ways in the majors and suffer for it like he did last season.

That's not to say that his .576 SLG% isn't impressive, or that the Indians wouldn't have use for him, but patience is key at the MLB level and he'll most likely flounder again vs big league stuff and craftiness.

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