Around the Farm: May 29, 2012
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.
Jesus Aguilar: 1B, Carolina Mudcats: 3-for-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBI:
I could get critical if I wanted to. Aguilar should be a power hitter. He should hit massive home runs that tower into the Carolina sky night-after-night. Well, he hasn’t been doing that at all, so like I said, I could get critical. But tonight, Aguilar had two extra base hits that drove in two runs, and while neither were home runs, he did come a homer away from the cycle, and had his second triple in three games. He had two triples for the entire 2011 season, which was his career high. Aguilar still has to produce more power to become a factor in the big league discussion down the road, but if he continues to knock in runs with extra base hits of the “other” variety, well, I can’t very well complain, can I?
Tony Wolters: SS, Carolina Mudcats: 3-for-5, 3 R, 3 RBI, 1 K:
I love it when a minor league player makes me eat my own words, and Wolters may have done just that with his statement game on Tuesday night. Wolters was the Tribe’s minor league player of the week this week, and he celebrated with his biggest night as a professional. Wolters hit a two-run single in the sixth inning of the Muddies game, then followed with a two-out, run scoring single in the eighth inning. Wolters is just killing the baseball right now, and has hit safely in nine of his last ten ballgames. He’s 16-for-41 over his last ten ballgames (.390), with a .417 OBP, and a .488 slugging. He’s hitting .326 during the month of May, which is nearly 100 points higher than his April average of .130. His overall average is up to .233…and climbing. Keep proving me wrong Tony….
Jeremie Tice: LF: Carolina Mudats: 3-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI:
What is this? Jeremie Tice is playing left field now? Might the Indians be getting intrigued in his power potential from the right side of the plate enough to put him in the outfield? Might there be some moves coming up from some leftfielders ahead of him (Matty LaPorta, are you getting called up soon, hmm), which would open up a slot for Tice in Akron? I don’t know, and I don’t know if the lumbering DH is any good out in the field, other than to tell you that he hasn’t made an error out there…in his two whole games. Tice’s double scored the first two runs of the ball game, and helped end the Mudcats six-game losing streak.
T.J. House: SP, Akron Aeros: W (4-1): 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 4 BB, 1 K:
This wasn’t House’s best start, but it was nowhere near his worst either. House showcased the difference between his last two years, with this season tonight, as he struggled to locate his pitches throughout. Even so, House was borderline dominant, not giving up a run for the second time out of six starts in Akron. He’s given up one run or less in four of his six Double A starts as well. He did walk four batters for the second time in three starts, which is a bit concerning, since this was his main issue over the past two seasons, but this is the first year in which he’s learned to overcome his “wildness” a bit. Overall in 2012, House is an impressive 6-1, with a 2.24 ERA. In 35 1/3 IP, he’s giving up only 25 hits and 14 walks, while striking out 28 batters. The six wins tie his career high win total in each of his previous three seasons. Folks, it’s not even June yet. House has to be an early candidate for the Indians’ top pitching prospect of 2012.
- Ezequiel Carrera: CF, Columbus: 2-for-5, 1 R, SB (7): Carrera was brought over from the Mariners in a deal for Russell Branyan in June of 2010. Carrera made it to the majors and had some impact in 2011. He now seems stuck in Triple A, and for good reason. He really isn’t an everyday guy at the big league level, but, isn’t he better than Aaron Cunningham? By the way, Juan Diaz was a secondary player in that trade as well, and if you would have told me Diaz would be up before Carrera this season, or ever, I’d have laughed for a week. Guess I better start laughing. Carrera is having his worst season as a professional since 2005, when he hit .227.
- Jason Donald: 2B, Columbus: 2-for-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB: Asdrubal Cabrera and Jack Hannahan both went down to injury, and Jason Donald is still in Triple A, while Juan Diaz and Lonnie Chisenhall are with the Tribe. Is there something else going on here? Donald has played well since his demotion, and will continue to play well…that’s the professional that he is. Donald and Carrera had four hits combined, and the Clippers had five hits total.
- Eric Berger: SP, Columbus: 5 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 3 BB, 6 K: Berger had a no decision on Tuesday night, but it was a bit of a hard luck start against the former Tribe affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons. His stats were better than Bisons’ starter Matt Harvey, but the Clip-show couldn’t generate any run support. Berger got lit up for ten runs in his last start, so this was a nice change hi pace.
- Dan Wheeler: RP, Columbus: 1 1/3 IP, 1 K: Wheeler was lights out again for the Clippers, and has pitched well in back-to-back games. It appears as though he’s about to get called up to the big league club to take the place of Jairo Asencio. He’s just that good.
- Chris Ray: RP, Columbus: L (0-4), 1 IP, 2 R/1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K: Okay, I was kidding about Wheeler, but just wanted to see if you all were paying attention…;). As per Ray, he actually could be the guy that gets the shot for Asencio’s slot in the pen when it becomes available, but it’s outings like this that reassure most folks that Ray is just the same as Wheeler and/or Asencio: NOT…VERY…GOOD. The only way he gets the call is if you are using him as a sacrificial lamb in games that are out of reach.
- Kyle Bellows: 3B, Akron: 1-for-4, 2 K: Bellows has hit safely in five of his last six games in which he’s gone 8-for-22, with four runs and a double. Bellows may be the best defensive third baseman in the system not named Hannahan, and like his major league counterpart, can’t hit a lick. This last stretch has been a dream, and could present the Indians with a nice problem if he continues to hit the baseball with any regularity.
- Nick Weglarz: DH, Akron: 1-for-2, 1 R, 12B, 1 BB: Weglarz has hit safely in every game since he was removed from the 40-man roster, placed on waivers, and reassigned back to the Aeros. So, he’s only had one hit in each game, and only two extra base hits, but IT’S SOMETHING, DARN IT! Weglarz is 6-for-15 during the stretch. With three runs, two doubles and one whopping RBI. He’s walked four times, and struck out four times as well. His average is “up” to .234, and he’s hitting .276 over his last ten games.
- Thomas Neal: LF, Akron: 1-for-2, 1 R: While I only represent one writer of ATF, I do hold fort here for five of the seven days, and I’m making a statement with Neal’s presence here today. I WILL NOT put Neal in ATF again until he hits a home run. I don’t care if he hits four, three-run triples in one game, I WILL NOT PLACE THE NAME THOMAS NEAL IN HERE. Alright, I will, just sayin’ the cat needs to hit some jack…
- Bryce Stowell: RP, Akron: H (2): 1 IP, 1 K: Stowell was light’s out after giving up a run on May 26th, his first of the season. Stowell may be getting ready for a call up soon, if the Indians start shuffling their major-league bullpen. No, Stowell won’t be going up to the Indians, but Columbus wouldn’t be a stretch, although he may have to show some health first.
- Preston Guilmet: Closer, Akron: S (6), 1 IP: Guilmet is starting to look like the closer of last year, with his fourth straight dominant appearance, and second save out of his last three.
- Tyler Holt: CF, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, SB (12): Ho-hum, Holt gets on base, yet again. Tonight’s game marked the 13th game in a row in which he reached safely, and is his 32nd game out of his last 33rd. Call him up…
- Danny Salazar: SP, Carolina: 3 IP, 1 H, 2 K: Salazar should be back up at the top of ATF, but it’s already chalk full of stars right now. Salazar should be up there though. He made his third start since coming off the DL, and has been light’s out in all three. He’s gone eight total innings, giving up four hits and a walk, while striking out seven. He won’t be piggy-backed forever, and it will be interesting to see him open up that pitch count a bit.
- Kyle Blair: RP/SP, Carolina: W (2-1), 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R/2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K: It wasn’t a perfect outing for Blair, but he managed to get the win, and he also managed not to give up seven or five runs, as he did in his previous two appearances.
- Shawn Armstrong: RP, Carolina: 1 IP, 2 K: Talk about efficient. Armstrong threw ten pitchings in the ninth, and seven were strikes. Armstrong rebounded after giving up his first run since May 10th, and second run in 14 games with Carolina
- Jordan Smith: RF, Lake County: 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K: Smith has struggled offensively this season, but managed to knock out his third homer of the season, after not hitting one last year at Mahoning Valley. He now has a four-game hit streak.
- Alex Lavisky: C, Lake County: 1-for-3, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, SB (1): Lavisky hit in his fifth straight game, and has a ten game line of .355/.459/.516. Seriously, those numbers are incredible for a kid that hit just .203 last season, and .200 the year before. It’s a long season, but Lavisky has shown the ability to learn, which is half the battle. The kid’s got a ton of talent, and he’s just now tapping into it.
- Leonardo Castillo: 1B, Lake County: 3-for-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI: With Jerrod Sabourin getting the night off after about 20 multi-hit games in a row, Castillo takes his place, and has a multi-hit game. Castillo is 5-for-9 in his last two games himself.
- Elvis Araujo: SP, Lake County: 3 IP, 7 H, 5 R/4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K: Araujo seems to be following suit with the rest of his starter-counterparts in struggling. He’s given up 3+ runs in two straight starts, and his ERA has gone up a full run. Maybe this staff has been reading the press, and believed the hype (as did I). Well, do some re-reads, because the last week hasn’t been pretty.
- Jeff Johnson: Closer, Lake County: 1 IP, 3 K: It doesn’t get much better than this for a closer, even though it wasn’t a close situation.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.