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Around The Farm: May 8, 2013

LaPorta hits another home run while Packer gets back on track

Around The Farm: May 8, 2013
Matt Packer (Photo: Lianna Holub)
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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.

Matt LaPorta (1B, Columbus): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SO.

It is starting to feel a little bit like The X-Files up in here: I want to believe in LaPorta. I really do. How could any Cleveland fan not want to see the 28-year-old finally break out and fulfill his rightful role on the major league club. Of course, the phrases "28-year-old" and "finally establish himself" are two extremely massive red flags, but there is still plenty of me pulling for LaPorta. He has made tearing up Triple-A pitching fairly routine at this point, but finally healthy after offseason hip surgery, maybe LaPorta can make it different this time and be a useful major league piece. It is highly unlikely, but that is what I am telling myself.

Matt Packer (SP, Akron): W (1-4), 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 2 SO.

Small sample sizes and overreaction to April can make us all look like fools, but I really was concerned about Packer in the early going. I got a bad look at one of his early starts and the follow-up results seemed to confirm the worst. The left-hander's velocity was around 84-86 MPH when I saw him and he was entirely hittable, raising the question if Packer was going to put it back together again. Luckily, Packer scattered five hits through seven innings Wednesday and got his velocity back up in the 88-90 MPH range (where he normally sits) after some mechanical adjustments. I still feel like his outing could have gone worse if not for some good defense and lucky bounces, but Packer looks like a man back on track and figuring things out.

  • Michael Bourn (CF, Columbus): 0-for-4, 1 SO. It is all about getting work in for Bourn. Results do not really matter.
  • Matt Carson (RF, Columbus): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 SO. Columbus scored three runs Wednesday -- all on solo home runs -- with Carson jacking one of them. The outfielder is still trying to get back on track, though his .211/.293/.330 line shows he has a ways to go.
  • Omir Santos (C, Columbus): 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI. Santos is just supposed to be emergency depth for the organization, though he has been much needed depth to date. The catcher is getting playing time withYan Gomes in Cleveland and is making good use of it.
  • T.J. House (SP, Columbus): L (0-2), 6.0 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR. The good news is that House managed to make it through six innings. The bad news, of course, is the five runs. House should adjust to the Triple-A level in time, but his last two starts have been rough.
  • Justin Toole (2B, Akron): 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 HBP. Toole was called up because Akron sorely needed another middle infielder with Jose Ramirez on the disabled list, and he has filled in brilliantly. The versatile Toole is 5-for-12 in his first three games.
  • Tyler Holt (CF, Akron): 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 BB. After enduring a brutal slump to start the season, Holt found himself heating up with the weather. The center fielder's season line is up to .280/.366/.408, and that is including his 7-for-45 start.
  • Carlos Moncrief (RF, Akron): 1-for-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO. Moncrief hit a ball high off the wall in right-center today that would have been a home run in most stadiums not named Canal Park. Hopefully this is another sign that the power is starting to come around for the right fielder.
  • Jose Flores (RP, Akron): S (3), 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO. Flores does not have the greatest raw stuff, but he is getting the job done in 2013. The right-hander currently owns a 1.15 ERA and has the trust of his coaching staff.
  • Logan Vick (RF, Lake County): 2-for-4, 2 SO, 1 E. Lake County only managed five hits and Vick had two of them. The right fielder is off to a pretty good start (.322/.439/.471 line, 20:18 SO:BB) and could move up in the system fairly quickly as a recently-drafted college player.
  • Nick Pasquale (SP, Lake County): ND, 4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO. As a spot starter getting his first start of the year, Pasquale filled in really well. The right-hander made it through four scoreless and gave his team a chance to win. Now, they did not seize it, but that is on them.
  • Michael Peoples (RP, Lake County): L (1-2), 3.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 SO. Unfortunately, Peoples did not fill in as well as Pasquale. Still, the right-hander is currently sporting a 1.96 ERA, so all is not lost.
  • LeVon Washington (CF, Lake County): 0-for-4. Even #WashTime has his off-nights. The outfielder is still riding high with a .382/.500/.559 line and 6:8 SO:BB in 10 games, though.
  • Dorssys Paulino (SS, Lake County): 0-for-3, 1 BB, 1 SO. Paulino drew Lake County's only walk of the game, which is a good thing for him (and a bad one for the team). Of course, Paulino also went hitless and is now hitting .206 on the year. I have faith that he will turn things around, but hopefully he will do that sooner rather than later.

If you want to follow Jim on Twitter, he’s @JimPiascik. If you want to e-mail him, you can do so at jpiasci1@gmail.com. If you want to read his Master's thesis on college athletes and Twitter, you can do so here.

User Comments

Tony
May 9, 2013 - 11:55 AM EDT
It is important to note no one has ever comped Paulino to Manny Ramirez. He might be the best true young hitting prospect "since" Manny Ramirez, but that in no way is a designation that he has Ramirez potential. I've said it before, it shows the lack of good young upside bats the Indians have had over the years in the lower levels. Also, it was not based on two months....it was based on a year's worth of scouting data from the games he played from September 2011 to October 2012 which includes the extended spring training and instructional periods.
Canadian Synthetic Light
May 9, 2013 - 11:22 AM EDT
Nobody is jumping off the Paulino bandwagon, nor am I suggesting he's a bad prospect. I am suggesting that the was overhyped this off-season. The guy had less than two months of good hitting and people begin to use his name in the same sentence as Manny Ramirez.

Luckily, I can think for myself and never bought it b/c what I saw from Paulino didn't suggest he's *that* good. He's going to hit a lot better than he's showing now, but the guy was always tabbed as an 'advanced' hitter for his age and his performance last year showed it. Advanced doesn't mean upside MLB talent, however.

Bat speed is very nice, his swing is very nice, but it's a swing that does't project for significant power down the road (more like 15 HR). He's got infield skills, he runs fine, he's got bat speed -- good prospect, but he's no future All-Star. Solid MLB regular upside.
Tony
May 9, 2013 - 10:20 AM EDT
Nice to see Common Cents posting under different names.:)

In any case, it is way too early to jump off the Paulino bandwagon. I am a little concerned about his early struggles, but he is 18 years old and there is a maturity factor involved. He looked good in the spring but I think there is an adjustment/correction he will need to make and has obviously not made it yet. This is an example not to judge on results, but what you see. The swing is there and the tools are all there, and he still has the most exciting hitting tools for a young hitter seen in the organization in almost two decades.....the question now is whether or not he makes the necessary adjustments. A long way to go here with him. Lindor had his struggles last year as an 18-year in Low-A, but did not crater because of his unbelievable maturity.
Daingean
May 9, 2013 - 10:06 AM EDT
WRT Paulino, last year we only saw what he did from June on as he was in ExST until the short seasons started. He could be a slow starter or it could be the jump to full season although from MV to LC shouldn't be a big jump. Atkins once said (quoted in an MH a couple of years ago) that he though Short Season A was a bit more advanced than Low A ball because of recently drafted college players. There is a lot of time for Paulino to get back on the right track and it's too soon to panic on guys in A ball (Mitch Brown included).
Tapis Light
May 9, 2013 - 9:56 AM EDT
Paulino was oversold after last year. He's a good prospect but his upside was seriously oversold. A GOOD outcome on him would be a .280, 15 HR infielder.
Homer
May 9, 2013 - 9:15 AM EDT
Way too early to start dissing Paulino...kids 18 at A- level is saying a lot about his talent. He needs the reps right now. His performance says less about his tools than it may about his maturation process and I'm not calling him immature. I honestly thought he needed to start in Mahoning Valley then hit Lake County after a mth or two. That would have meant sending him to extended Spring for a while. It could tell a lot about Paulino -how he responds to the struggles. I'm not concerned at this point.
Jim Piascik
May 9, 2013 - 8:24 AM EDT
High walls at Canal Park too. 12 feet all the way around at least if I remember correctly.
Rich
May 9, 2013 - 8:16 AM EDT
We needed LaPorta last year. This year with the arrival of Reynolds and Swisher we have all the right-handed power we need at first base and DH.
Tony
May 9, 2013 - 7:55 AM EDT
I have not had a chance to see LaPorta, so can't really compare his pay now to say last year. It is important to note he got off to a great start last year too. I'm not sure he is much of a major league option this year unless disaster strikes in Cleveland where 2-3 first base options get hurt.

Akron traditionally has been considered a pitcher's park. Lots of space in the outfield.

As for Paulino, he's struggling for sure, but there is a long, long way to go this season and he may need a correction with a reassignment to Mahoning Valley in June to get him going. The tools are there and the swing is impressive, but he's struggling right now some because he is just plain playing bad and some because he is so young for the league.

Suez Blend
May 9, 2013 - 7:24 AM EDT
I thought Paulino was the best hitting prospect since Manny Ramirez?
brianm
May 9, 2013 - 7:00 AM EDT
I know the park our Carolina team plays in is a pitchers park, but you mentioned Moncrief's 2B would have been a homer in many other parks. Is that stadium a pitchers park also? should we always expect our High A and AA players' home run totals to be hindered by park factor?
Seth
May 9, 2013 - 12:58 AM EDT
anyone seen Laporta swing the bat since he came back? Wonder if he looks any different after the second hip surgery. I always thought the original hip injury was the biggest reason for his struggles, the Laporta of 2009 looked like a different guy from the one 2010-2012 who would barely use his legs on a lot of swings. It wouldn't be that crazy for him to resurrect his career if he's finally healthy. But then, he's done this before in Columbus the past 3 years, so tough to make much of anything from his performance there.

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