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Around the Farm: May 8, 2012

Around the Farm: May 8, 2012
May 9, 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.
T.J. House: SP, Akron Aeros: Game 1: W (1-0), 2 H, 2 BB, 7 K:
House continues to pitch well, as his new make-up has made this former project into a growing prospect.  House dominated the Carolina League at the start of the season, going 2-0 with a 1.44 ERA in his first four games. In his two starts at Akron, he’s gone 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA, giving up six hits, three earned runs and three walks over 12 innings, while striking out 11 batters. It will be interesting to see if the left-hander is able to continue his progression at Double A over a long stretch of games, as he could be a candidate to move up to Columbus after spending two full seasons in High A. While there appears to be a log jam at the top level, should things begin to clear out, House could be a candidate to move up at some point during the mid-to-late summer. He’s a rising star in the system.
David Huff: SP, Columbus Clippers: Game 1, W (1-1), 7 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 5 K:
Huff is the forgotten man, well, everywhere in the system. It’s almost impossible to believe that it’s been three seasons since Huff went 11-8 with the Tribe. He’s had a hard time sticking with the big league club thanks to inconsistency and injury issues since them, as he’s gone 4-17 since then. This season, Huff has made three starts in Columbus since coming off the DL. He’s made a nice progression in all three starts, as he gave up four earned runs in four innings in his first, two runs in 4 1/3 innings in his second, while on Tuesday night, he didn’t give up a run in his seven inning complete game (thanks to a doubleheader). Huff is the forgotten man in both the Indians rotation, as well as the Clippers, as pitchers such as Zach McAllister and perhaps even Corey Kluber have passed him up while he’s been returning from injury. With that said, Huff is a bottom-of-the-rotation level starter, and really ads nice depth to the Triple A staff. It’s hard to foresee how he fits into the Indians future, but there’s always a place for a quality, left-handed starter.
  • Cord Phelps: 2B, Columbus: Game 1: 1-for-3, 2 K: Phelps absolutely tore up International League pitching in the beginning of April, but has come back down to earth over the past 15 games, and is only hitting .258 on the season. Over the past ten, the middle infielder is hitting a paltry .132, with a horrendous .175 OBP.
  • Matt LaPorta: 1B, Columbus: 1-for-3, 1 K: Game 1: The LaPorta experiment continues, as the right-handed first baseman continues to hit the baseball. He has a current three-game hit streak in which he’s gone 4-for-12, and has a ten game line of .324/.425/.647.
  • Beau Mills: DH, Columbus: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 K: Game 1: Mills scored the only run during game one of the Clippers’ doubleheader on Tuesday night. He’s on a three game hit streak over the past three games, and is hitting .296 overall.
  • Andy LaRoche: SS, Columbus: Game 1: 1-for-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI: LaRoche drove in the only run of the game, but is still only hitting .196. It’s hard to believe that this guy had as many at bats in the majors as he did.
  • Cord Phelps: 2B, Columbus: Game 2: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI: Phelps had a nice doubleheader today, but still has a long ways to go to return to the form that made him the talk of the organization at the beginning of the season. While I believe that Phelps can be a productive major leaguer, he really needs to start showing the type of consistency throughout the season that will force the organization’s hand.
  • Jose Lopez: 3B, Columbus: Game 2: 3-for-4: Well, this guy didn’t do a thing for the Indians when he was up with the big league club. In Columbus, he’s pounding the ball, having gone 8-for-12 in his three games, with at least one hit in all three.
  • Matt LaPorta: DH, Columbus: Game 2: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K: I can’t stop putting LaPorta in ATF! Why? C’mon folks, you all know that the Matt LaPorta watch has begun. I’m not really sure what we are watching, but we certainly are doing just that.
  • Andy LaRoche: SS, Columbus: Game 2: 3-for-3, 1 R: LaRoche had his best two-game stretch since coming to the Indians this season. He’s just Triple A fill, as I mentioned before, but does have the major league experience that Columbus really likes.
  • Ben Copeland: CF, Columbus: Game 2: 2-for-3: Copeland played his third game with the Clippers, and got his first two hits.
  • Kevin Slowey: SP, Columbus: L (2-3), Game 2: 5 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 3 K, 1 HR: Slowey is roster clutter at this point. He’s done nothing to show that he can even make a spot fill in the rotation.
  • Scott Barnes: RP, Columbus: Game 2: 1 IP, 3 K.Barnes made his second appearance in the bullepen, and was outstanding.
  • Adam Abraham: 1B, Akron: Game 1: 1-for-2, 1 R, 1 BB: Abraham scored the only run of the Aeros’ game 1 win, and has a five-game hit streak prior to game 2. His average is creeping towards .300 with every game.
  • Matt Langwell: RP, Akron: Game 1: S (3), 1 IP, 2 K: Langwell doesn’t have an electric arm, but he does have electric numbers this year. In ten games with the Aeros, he’s got a 0.63 ERA in 14 1/3 innings, having given up ten hits and an earned run, to go along with five walks and 18 K’s.
  • Kelvin De La Cruz: SP, Erie: Game 1: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 4 K: This former tantalizing Tribe farmhand is now Double A fodder for the Seawolves. He had a six inning complete game tonight, but is clearly struggling with control. Still, good to see De La Cruz healthy.
  • Tim Fedroff: CF, Akron: Game 2: 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, SB (4): I don’t even blink when the Aeros’ outfielder pulls off one of these games. He’s gone 7-for-14 in his last three games, with two runs and two doubles during that stretch.
  • Jared Goedert: RF, Akron: Game 2: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB: Goedert is back on a three-game hit streak, and has a ten-game line of .368/.432/.474. He keeps racking up positions in his uber-utility role for the Aeros.
  • Kyle Landis: RP, Akron: Game 2: S (2), 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K: Landis has given up all of one run in his current stint at Double A Akron, while appearing in nine games and 17 2/3 innings. He’s had four walks and 15 K’s during that stretch.
  • Carlos Moncrief: RF, Carolina: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 K: Moncrief has found some consistency at the plate over the past four games, having gone 6-for-16, with six runs, a double, two triples, a homer and two RBI.
  • Jesus Aguilar: 1B, Carolina: 1-for-3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K: Aguilar’s double stretched his hit streak to nine games, as he stretched his team lead by another game. He’s hitting .330 for the season, and gaining consistency with his newfound approach. He still needs to do his time, but it’s fairly clear that he should spend another twenty or thirty games in High A, before making the permanent move to Double A. If he HAS figured it out, there’s no reason not to see it through to the June 21st break.
  • Jeremie Tice: DH, Carolina: 2-for-3, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB: Tice played in his first game since April 26th, and picked up right where he left off, with two hits. In his last four games, he’s gone an insane 11-for-17, with eight runs, four doubles, three homers, nine homers and three walks, while striking out only three times.
  • Francisco Jimenez: SP, Carolina: W (3-1), 6 IP, 3 H, 6 K: Jimenez has started in his last three appearances, and over his last two, has been insanely good. During those two starts, he’s gone 11 innings, giving up eight hits, two runs, one earned run, four walks and nine K’s.
  • Trey Haley: RP, Columbus: 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K: Haley has gone seven innings, giving up his first hit since joining the Mudcats on April 26th. He’s walked one, and struck out five.
  • Francisco Lindor: SS, Lake County: 2-for-5, 1 3B, 1 RBI: What is this guy going to do next? So far this year, he has five doubles, three triples and three homers, showcasing nice gap power and speed, to go along with growing power. Looking forward to his call-up to High A so that I can see him play.
  • Jordan Smith: RF, Lake County: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB: Smith has an unassuming six-game hit streak, with five of the other six games being only six games.
  • Robel Garcia: 2B, Lake County: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB: Garcia is the low man on the middle infield totem pole in the lower levels, but he’s been playing his butt off for Lake County over the past week. In his last ten, he’s raised his average up to .232, with two homers and ten RBI.
  • Elvis Araujo: SP, Lake County: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 K: I’m sure Araujo was on pitch-count tonight, as he only went four innings, and with seemingly good health. He hasn’t given up more than three runs in any start this season, and overall, is a misleading 0-4 in seven starts totaling 35 innings. During that time, he’s given up 36 hits and ten earned runs, while striking out thirty two batters. Like Sterling, this kid is proving to be another one of those future starts that we projected tomorrow.

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 9, 2012 - 4:22 PM EDT
Thanks Norm...always look forward to your comments and insight...
May 9, 2012 - 4:22 PM EDT
Yeah's more wishful thinking on my part with regards to House...watching him struggle for the better part of two years has me hoping that he can be successful, and move quickly...
May 9, 2012 - 10:49 AM EDT
Good stuff Jim! Liked the writeup on House and the surprising, for me at least, look at Huff. Liked your insight into Haley. HE was my unforeseen organizational success forecast this year if he is healthy. I think he might join House at some point this year.

I both agree and disagree with Tony, which is not unusual. Certainly, the Indians have little left in healthy bullpen arms that could be considered impact but I believe there are replacement arms who will not embarrass the team and successfully contribute in the 6th/7th slots. Have not heard that Perez is out long term but that might be cause for concern. Personally, I do not consider it likely Barnes will contribute materially in Cleveland this year. Maybe later in long relief but I would welcome a surprise.
May 9, 2012 - 8:43 AM EDT
Yeah, Indians need bullpen options now that Lee, Sturdevant, an Adams are all shelved and not expected back anytime soon. Those are three impact bullpen arms. So Barnes, even though he's a lefty, could help right now in Cleveland (and Cody Allen potentially later in the year). After that there are few arms considered Major League caliber or impact quality. Lots of depth for sure, but few Major League options, at least for this season.

What House is doing is very encouraging. I'm glad to see his progression this season and him back to his old self. I will disagree with Jim and his thinking he could be a mid-summer callup to Columbus. He's not going to move that fast, and I rather believe he is in Akron the rest of the year no matter what. With McFarland and Wright ahead of him and slotted for Columbus, it is near impossible for him to go up another level. Also, he needs a good full season at Double-A regardless of how he pitches.
May 9, 2012 - 8:35 AM EDT
Barnes as a relief pitcher is a whole new aspect of BP depth.

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