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Around the Farm: May 26, 2012

Around the Farm: May 26, 2012
May 27, 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.

Alex Lavisky: C, Lake County Captains: 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI:

For those of you that follow ATF here at Indians Prospect Insider, you immediately see the difference in Lavisky’s play. Sure, he has the average up to .257, and sure, you see his name a bit more often than the last two, but what has to impress you is his resolve this season. Lavisky spent much of the first two weeks hitting above .300, but after a hot start, his bat immediately cooled off, and he began his journey back to the land of Mendoza. The something funny happened after the first week of May. Lavisky started to hit again. He’s hitting .276 for the month, and .281 over his last ten games. Saturday’s outing may prove to be Lavisky’s best of the season thus-far. In the first inning, Lavisky hit a broken-bat, two-out single with the bases loaded, scoring two runs, but Lavisky saved his best act for the eighth. He drilled a two-run, two-out homer to give the Captains their 4-3 lead, which would prove to be their final tally. Yes, Lavisky drove in all four runs, and yes, Lavisky did it all with two-outs. At 21, this kid still has plenty of life left in him as a top prospect, as he has tantalizing tools that are just now starting to develop.

Jeremie Tice: DH, Carolina Mudcats: 3-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K:

While Tice’s average is a lofty .311 right now, he’d been struggling a bit of late at the plate stringing together anything of consequence after a torrid April and start of May. On Saturday Night, Tice channeled the hitting beast that he showcased from the early part of the season, and completely carried Carolina throughout the game. The Mudcats eventually lost, but not for lack of effort from Tice, who’s clearly the focal point of this team’s power. He’s eighth in the league in average, fifth in doubles, first in homers (last night’s home run was his tenth), first in RBI by eight, sixth in OBP, and first in slugging and OPS. His hit last night did continue a five-game hit streak, but this was his first multi-hit game during that stretch.

Tony Wolters: 2B, Carolina Mudcats: 3-for-5:

As silly as this is to say, you could start making the case right now that Tony Wolters is playing the best baseball in Carolina right now. Wolters has a seven-game hit streak, in which he’s gone 12-for-30, with six runs scored, two doubles, a triple and three RBI. Over his past ten games, his hitting a solid .317, and in May, he’s now hitting .301. To put that in perspective, Wolters was hitting .130 on the first day of May, and has the average up almost 100 points, to .224. There’s still a long way to go, but Wolters may just end up the most talked about prospect in the system come September, especially if he keeps clawing the way that he has been.

Jared Goedert: RF, Columbus Clippers: 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI:

I can’t help but wonder if Goedert hasn’t moved ahead of LaPorta in the grand scheme of things. I clearly think that the Indians feel that LaPorta is the better of the two prospects, but you do have to wonder if Goedert’s current approach at the plate hasn’t moved him a bit ahead in the race to Cleveland. With all of that said, it’s distinctly possible that BOTH could end up with the Indians, and soon. Goedert has continued to rake in Columbus, after his massive start of the year in Akron. He’d gone 9-for-27, with seven runs, four homers, 15 RBI, two walks and only three K’s in his seven-game stint in Columbus. 10 of those 15 RBI have come on the road, for those wondering.

  • Matt LaPorta: 1B, Columbus: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 BB: LaPorta’s hot season in Columbus continues, as he’s even started hitting a bit on the road. In his last three road starts, LaPorta is hitting 4-for-7, with three runs, a double, and RBI and two walks. He still has a 90-point discrepancy, so something to watch going forward. Depth has certainly become an issue at the big league level, but unfortunately for LaPorta, not at any of the positions that he plays. While Santana plays some first base, Duncan is the likely fill for now. Of course, with Duncan and Damon playing like garbage offensively, you do have to wonder how long it will take for the Indians to make a move there. While LaPorta’s numbers haven’t been earth-shattering over the past few weeks, he’s still playing well. His ten game line is .286/.419/.571. You have to wonder if some changed into his approach are starting to take shape. LaPorta has walked six time in his last ten, while only striking out five times, and h e’s even hitting lefties better than righties this season, which he hasn’t always done in his career.
  • Jason Donald: SS, Columbus: 0-for-4, 1 BB, 2 K: I don’t know what’s going through Donald’s mind after the recent call-up of Juan Diaz from Double A, but it can’t be good. Diaz is a marginal prospect at best, but who knows the realities of why the Indians made that move to call-up a lower-rated player. Either way Donald can’t be all that happy about it. Donald’s been hitting the ball well, so don’t look too much into the 0-fer night.
  • Russ Canzler: LF, Columbus: 3-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI: Canzler may be the forgotten man in the promotion-to-Cleveland discussion, but he’s been one of the most consistent performers in Columbus all season. I still don’t feel that he’s anything more than Triple A fill and potential spot support, but he continues to have solid games, and at least stay in the equation. Over the past ten games, Canzler has been sizzling, hitting .421, with six doubles, a triple, a homer and four RBI.
  • Corey Kluber: SP, Columbus: W (4-4), 6 2/3 IP, 6 H, 5 R/2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K: Heading into the seventh inning last night, Kluber was sailing along, having retired six in a row. To start the seventh, he gave up a single, a walk, and then a two-run, one-out double. After another single, and another out, Ezequiel Carrera allowed the inning to continue with an error that allowed two runs to score, and ended Kluber’s outing. Overall, a nice return to form for Kluber, who was absolutely shelled in his previous two outing.
  • Tim Fedroff: CF, Akron: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB: Fedroff hit his second homer of the season, and was the only Aeros player with more than one hit. He’s currently on a four-game hit streak, in which he’s had multi-hit games in three of the four, and gone on a typical Fedroff tear (8-for-17, three runs, a triple, a homer and three RBI).
  • Adam Abraham: DH, Akron: 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K: Abraham continues to plug along with timely hits. As I’ve stated many times, this kid is the hardest working member of the Tribe organization. He’s not the most talented by any stretch, but he definitely is where he is because of work ethic. It wash Abraham’s fourth homer on the season.
  • Nick Weglarz: LF, Akron: 1-for-3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K: Weglarz has a modest three-game hit streak since he returned from his ten day vacation after the Indians designated him for assignment. He’s still not hitting for much power, and I still doubt he’ll ever have an impact in this organization. Of course, as long as he dresses in a uniform in the organization, he’ll generate interest.
  • Thomas Neal: RF, Akron: 0-for-4, 3 K: Neal had been on a three game, two-hit each barrage, in which he’d gone six-for-11, scoring three runs and hitting two doubles. That was snapped last night, but it seems like it’s okay to feel a bit better about Neal. Of course, we need power-hitting outfielders, and at this point, Neal isn’t that. He’s yet to hit a homer this season, after hitting only two in 70 games last season.
  • Bryce Stowell: RP, Akron: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 2 K: Stowell made just his second appearance since coming off the DL, and it wasn’t near his best. While he represents one of the best arms in the system (if not the best), there is still a question of healthy and consistency. Because of that, he’s behind several arms that don’t have as much life in them as his. Of course, not many match this kid’s upside. Now, he just needs to show he can take the next step, and most importantly, stay 100%.
  • Bryan Price: RP, Akron: 1 IP, 1 BB: Price has a lot of support among Indians fans as the third pitcher in that Victor Martinez deal. He’s had another nice year, which seems to be his theme. His ERA’s since joining the Tribe have been the model of consistency. In 2009, it was 3.25. In 2011, it was 2.79, and in 2012, it’s 2.84. He’s not spectacular, but lining himself up as one of those early-inning guys down the road.
  • Jesus Aguilar: 1B, Carolina: 1-for-4, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K: Aguilar’s average is down below .300, but his consistency isn’t going anywhere. He’s hitting .299 for the season, after hitting .286 in April and .312 in May. He’s hitting .294 over his past ten games as well, and has shown a nice ability to hit for average since his promotion last year. Unfortunately, his power has been anything but special of late, but perhaps that’s because the Indians are working more on his approach, than his power.
  • Ronny Rodriguez: SS, Carolina: 2-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 K: Rodriguez continues to follow a similar trend to Tony Wolters. While he hit a bit better than Wolters in April (.203-.130), he hasn’t hit quite as well in May (.301 to .282). Still, Rodriguez and Wolters have both proved that cream rises to the top if you just give it time. Now that their struggles appear to be in the rearview mirror, it will be interesting to see what foundation they lay for Double A Akron next year.
  • Shawn Armstrong: RP, Carolina: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 1 K: Well, it appears as though Armstrong is human afterall. He saw his ERA nearly double after yesterday’s game. Of course, when your ERA is only .42 to start with, it’s not exactly skyrocketing. Armstrong gave up his second run of the season in Saturday Night’s ballgame.
  • Jose Flores: Closer, Carolina: L (0-2), 1 IP, 3 H, 2 R/ER, 1 BB, 1 K: It looks like it struck midnight for Flores, as the Mudcats’ closer gave up two more runs, continuing a streak of bad performance to three. He’s given up four earned runs in his last three games, and seems to have lost his mojo.
  • Luigi Rodriguez: CF, Lake County: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 K: Rodriguez has found his stroke, and his single in Saturday’s game continued his six-game hit streak, but broke his three game multi-hit streak. Rodriguez is an extremely streaky player, so seeing him level off a bit, and cut out the strikeouts, are key to his development.
  • Jerrud Sabourin: 1B, Lake County: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB: Sabourin continues to do things to get him in ATF on a fairly regular basis. No, he’s not a player to watch as of yet, but he is plugging away quite nicely, hidden amidst a mass of talent for the Captains. He now has three straight multi-hit games, and five straight games with a hit. Over his past ten, he’s hitting .286.
  • Cody Anderson: SP, Lake County: 4 2/3 IP, 8 H, 3 R/ER/ 1 BB, 2 K: Anderson just couldn’t get it going on Saturday, and while it wasn’t a horrid start, it didn’t mesh with most of his earlier starts this season. As it stands, Anderson is 4-2, with a 2.40 ERA.
  • Francisco Valera: RP, Lake County: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB: Valera has had a solid last four outings, going 6 2/3 IP, with five hits and two walks, while striking out five.
  • Jeff Johnson: Closer, Lake County: S (9), 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K: Johnson has been outstanding in May after getting shelled for much of the month of April. Eight of his nine saves have come in May, and his ERA is 2.38, in 11 1/3 innings. How bad was it for him in April? Well, his overall ERA is still at 5.95, so that should give you a clue of just how bad it was.
  • Cole Cook: RP, Lake County: 1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 K: Cook rebounded from a rough outing on Thursday when he returned after a short stint in Columbus. Like Jeff Johnson, April wasn’t kind to Cook, but he’s been outstanding in May garnering two saves, while giving up only two earned runs, ten hits and one walk, while striking out eight for the month.

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

Jim
May 27, 2012 - 10:38 AM EDT
I have a feeling that it's one step at a time for wolters! But keep in mind that he has 7 doubles in Carolina in May, and 9 overall in 39 total games. Last year he had 10 doubles overall in 70 games. It's not always an indicator of gap power, but since May 1, it is for wolters. He's showcased that gap power in more than 1 game I've seen this season...he just wasn't making good contact.

All three could be with Cleveland next year if healthy...Stowell is an unknown though...health wise...
detdawg
May 27, 2012 - 9:20 AM EDT
Even when Shawn Armstrong is scored on, it isn't because he's being hit hard, but rather due to the inability to throw strikes. That's obviously an issue that has to be addressed in his development, but he certainly has a quality arm.

The best Indian BP arms, Stowell, Allen and Armstrong, were all scored upon yesterday.

Looking for Wolters' gap power to start showing.

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