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Around the Farm: November 12, 2014

Urshela’s near-cycle highlights the night on the farm

Around the Farm: November 12, 2014
Giovanny Urshela (Photo:
November 13, 2014
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Around the Farm (ATF) takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Indians prospects throughout the system. This is a special fall and winter ball version of ATF that recaps all the offseason action by Indians players in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) and the Caribbean Leagues. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game.

Here is the rundown of what Cleveland players in fall and winter ball did yesterday:

Venezuelan Winter League

Giovanny Urshela (Photo: MiLB)Giovanny Urshela (3B, Aguilas del Zulia): 3-for-5, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI. You cannot stop Urshela; you can only hope to contain him. After a few down games and days off about a week ago, Urshela has come out firing on all cylinders again and finished a double shy of the cycle.

Carlos Moncrief (DH, Aguilas del Zulia): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB. Though he was not as good as Urshela, this was another solid night for Moncrief, who owns a strong .818 OPS in 20 VWL games.

Elvis Araujo (RP, Aguilas del Zulia): H (2), 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO. Whether it is with Cleveland or another organization, performances like this (and the rest of Araujo’s time in Venezuela) are why the left-hander is going to get a real shot at making a major league roster.

Ramon Rodriguez (RP, Caribes de Anzoategui): 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO. Rodriguez was brought in for some mop-up duty Wednesday, but the struggled a bit. The 20-year-old’s 1.98 ERA looks nice, but his 4:7 SO:BB in 13.2 innings is cause for concern.

Arizona Fall League

Tony Wolters (2B, Peoria Javelinas): 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SO, 1 CS. The power may still be developing for Wolters -- this double is only his third extra base hit in 15 AFL games -- but the 22-year-old is controlling the strike zone (7:7 SO:BB) and continues to grow on defense.

Nick Maronde (RP, Peoria Javelinas): BS (1), 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO, 1 HR. Maronde’s rough time out in Arizona continues, with the left-hander now up to 13 runs on 20 hits in 14.0 innings despite a solid 11:5 SO:BB.

Louis Head (RP, Peoria Javelinas): 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO. Head, on the other hand, is still pitching well and is now down to a 2.45 ERA and 12:3 SO:BB in 11.0 AFL innings.

Puerto Rican Winter League

Roberto Perez (C, Indios de Mayaguez): 0-for-1, 1 R, 1 RBI, 4 BB. The power Perez showed in 2014 may be new (and might not stick around), but this kind of willingness to take a free base has always been a part of the 25-year-old’s game.

Giovanni Soto (RP, Gigantes de Carolina): 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 SO. Cleveland may have three major-league caliber left-handed relievers already on the roster, but Soto’s bounce back 2014 and time in Puerto Rico could have him in the majors at some point next year.

Dominican Winter League

Jose Ramirez (SS, Toros del Este): 2-for-4, 1 R. Ramirez’s wretched luck on balls in play appears to be turning of late, with the 22-year-old posting seven hits in his last five games.

Japan Series

Carlos Santana (DH, MLB All-Stars): 0-for-3. Another hitless outing for Santana, but given this trip is more about cultural exchange and fun than on-the-field results, the 28-year-old seems to be doing just fine.

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

User Comments

November 14, 2014 - 1:38 AM EST
I seriously think Moncrief would strike out about 40% of the time in the majors next year. Not saying he doesn't have potential but until his AAA numbers look less like his A ball numbers and more like his AA numbers, I'll pass. His moderate in-game power just doesn't justify his amount of strikeouts. I hope they give Urshela a real shot in May or June if Lonny is struggling with the bat or the glove, the amount of runs he saves will hopefully offset his growing pains with the bat.
November 13, 2014 - 10:34 PM EST

Araujo was able to show some minor stretches of potential that were few and far between. He never realized or exploited his opportunities.. and was injured and hurt a lot.. Good person.. good work ethic.. not entirely his fault..

Giovanni Soto.. the miserable return for Jhonny P.. not ready to lose this guy yet.. He has a major league arm.. He should be given at least this season to show what he can become.. A solid bet would see him plying his wares as the third lefty out of the pen by the 2015 ASB.. Yeah.. I know.. it's optimistic..

Scotty Barnes.. good arm.. good deception.. not good enough everything else.. If he was rostered..he'd be one of the first guys to lose their 40 man roster spot when a slot was needed.. Keeping him would be worse than letting him go.. Perhaps the SF Giants will reacquire..

Carlos Moncrief.. if a reasonable deal cannot be made to bring a RH bat.. Moncrief and Urshela are two guys (along with a heaping helping of Tyler Holt) who need to be given an opportunity to make a good showing.. Spring training for both these guys is going to be HUGE, especially if they can really impress Tito and Co....

Third in the MVP for Michael Brantley..good for him and the Tribe.. This post season has been pretty good for the Indians, so far..
November 13, 2014 - 8:38 PM EST
Anyone interested in a dynasty league here?
Two open spots available (One is the Indians) for a second year league.
Contact me at if interested
November 13, 2014 - 7:46 PM EST
Indians could have rostered Araujo to keep him....which shows that they did not feel he was worth a roster spot even with his potential. Might be a sign that they instead prefer Soto on the roster....though that to me still looks iffy.
November 13, 2014 - 7:17 PM EST
I really don't get how/why the Tribe has handle Barnes the way they have. He can start, why not stretch him back out at least as a depth SP. If he's not gonna be on the club as a reliever, why not DFA him?

As for Arajuo, I didnt want see them lose him, but I'm not convinced he'd be much different than KDLC. I could see an argument made to roster him, and DFA Maronde or Barnes.
November 13, 2014 - 5:01 PM EST
I would have liked to have kept Arajuo, but he ran out of time...injuries slowed his progress.
November 13, 2014 - 4:50 PM EST
Sorry Walt, posted from my phone, didn't see you already hit the Elvis Araujo news
November 13, 2014 - 4:49 PM EST
Sounds like Elvis Araujo signed with the Phillies.
November 13, 2014 - 4:35 PM EST
Araujo signed a mlb contract today with the Phillies.
November 13, 2014 - 3:58 PM EST
I am lower on Barnes than Maronde. I would definitely keep be willing to move Barnes to keep Soto if necessary.
November 13, 2014 - 3:21 PM EST
If Billy Butler "is as good as it gets" for the Indians on free agency then the Indians need to stay the hell off the FA market as many have been saying all along.

I think some people need to accept the fact that there just aren't that many "big right handed power bats" out there, that are out there that are available, and are out there that are fits on this roster.

You want right handed power? Go get Mark Reynolds again. Ok, let's not do that.

I'd actually be ok with Drew Stubbs returning for another season for his defense but he had some rediculously bad splits away from Coors Field.

I know it's not fun or even ideal, but seriously the Indians need Swisher & Raburn (not to mention Kipnis) to rebound.

Larry M
November 13, 2014 - 1:53 PM EST
As Tondo noted, Butler would probably not be an albatross at the his proposed numbers, but he is still not a very good fit for our present roster. If he is left without a job when Spring training arrives, maybe he is motivated to sign a dirt cheap deal for a year...might be worth dealing with the roster awkwardness at that point. It might not be a pretty move, but perhaps a productive one if the price drops enough.
November 13, 2014 - 1:27 PM EST
I'd protect Soto over Barnes and even Maronde right now. Soto will be picked by some rebuilding team with his great LOOGY splits if left unprotected.

Signing Billy Butler is an interesting idea that I had the past week too, but thought it was too crazy to consider. But when I saw how low the money and years will be I thought he was a good gamble to take on a RHB. He's in his prime and still crushes lefties, so at worst he helps the Indians lineup vs LHP. 2-3year contract for under 10mil per? That looks like a bargain for a career .800 OPS bat.
Of course, he's a butcher in the field, so he's only a DH/part time 1B and it would probably mean the end for Aguilar without getting a real chance, although there are scenarios where both could be in future lineups (2016+).

People want that RH power bat, but Butler might be as good as it gets for the Indians. He lost his power, but is still very good vs LHP and is an experienced middle of the order bat. Checking 2 out of 3 of what we want within the budget is as good as it gets in this market. I'd rather gamble 9-10mil on him than the same amount on Murphy/Raburn. The more I think about it, the Indians should be players for Butler. His career line in 250 ABs at PField reads .272/.348/.400/.748.
I think the chances that his bat+contract becomes a valuable trade chip at some point are much better than becoming an albatross

Larry M
November 13, 2014 - 11:43 AM EST
Yes, to another bullpen arm that Francona feels good about using. Perhaps not as easy to acquire as some might think, but it is absolutely needed for our playoff contending team!
November 13, 2014 - 11:09 AM EST
Signing a DH would be a big mistake. No roster flexibility and they don't know what to expect out of Swisher, Plus they want to get Aguilar into the mix potentially as well. If they sign a bat or trade for one, it has to be someone who can play the outfield - preferably right field.
November 13, 2014 - 10:57 AM EST

Why not sign Butler to DH, move Swisher to RF and pray that he can play the position.with the hope that someone from Moncrief, Zimmer, Ramsey, and Naquin would be ready if he couldn't.
November 13, 2014 - 10:44 AM EST
Completely agree Clay. The Indians are in a unique situation where they conceivably could bring back the entire pitching staff and be a very good one. All five starters are inexpensive, good and under control for several more years. The entire bullpen is inexpensive and under control in its entirety at least for two more years. What they need to be doing is finding depth for the rotation (not guaranteed ML arms, but rehab options, waiver claims, minor league deals, etc) and the same with the bullpen except they could use a legit guaranteed deal to add to the mix and strengthen an area of weakness (late inning setup).

They have a lot of left-handed and right-handed pen depth in the minors which is great. So if you ask me, go out and get one legit arm for the pen and go get the needed depth for the rotation.....and then concentrate any and all efforts into finding a bat for right field that fits their need and payroll structure.
November 13, 2014 - 10:19 AM EST
No way should the Indians deal Rzepczynski. Like hell if I'm trusting this bullpen with Crockett & Hagadone as the main lefties.

Cleveland needs to be adding to its pen not the opposite. Not with how quickly injury creeps up with both the main arms and even in the depth ranks.
November 13, 2014 - 9:21 AM EST
Not sure it makes sense to trade Rzepczyski. He's a very valuable member of the pen and relatively inexpensive. No reason to trade him if you ask me. Crockett and Hagadone are nice options but are not as established or have Francona's trust like Rzepczynski does. I'd go with all three in the pen to start next year with Hagadone more middle relief who can face and handle both LH and RH hitters.
November 13, 2014 - 9:15 AM EST
If the Indians are considering to protect Soto and maybe add to the 40 man roster, it could be a good time to trade Rzepczynski to teams that are looking for a left hand reliever.

I believe Wolters has a break out year this season and becomes more of a legit catching prospect.

November 13, 2014 - 8:46 AM EST
Yep, Urshela along with Chisenhall are a big reason the Indians are likely not going to do anything this offseason at 3B. They can keep Chisenhall at 3B and see how he performs both with the bat and defense and if any consistency develops, and at the same time manage Urshela's service clock and have him start at AAA to fine tune a few things and start preparing for a transition to Cleveland anytime after May. Remember to be careful with expectations though.....Aguilar was tearing it up last season in winter ball, was promoted to Cleveland in May and - even though the at bats were limited - really struggled in the few opportunities he got. It's a tough transition and why teams don't like to rely on a rookie as the first option.....and always like them as fallback options or to come up later in the year.

Soto is one of the options the Indians are considering for roster protection. The deadline is next week and I will have a piece on who they are expected to add. I'm still uncertain if Soto will be added or not.....and even if not added he's no lock to be picked up in Rule 5 - though is a candidate for sure.
November 13, 2014 - 8:30 AM EST
I get the excitement but the Indians don't have to do anything with Urshela. Not any difference than Lindor, when it's time to bring him up they'll bring him up and when they do, it's not a given that he'll hit at the clip he puts up in the minors.

First time he struggles and the same people proclaiming him the future will be calling him another bust.
November 13, 2014 - 8:25 AM EST
Lonnie who?

Tony - what is the Tribe going to do about Soto? No way this kid makes it thru Rule 5.
November 13, 2014 - 8:23 AM EST
If Urshela keeps this up the Indians will have no choice to promote and play him everyday at 3B. Right handed stick, big time defense. Yeah, he's starting to get me excited
November 13, 2014 - 8:21 AM EST
While I may agree to disagree about starting Urshela at AAA at the beginning of next season, this kid IS the future at third base. He is continuously evolving as a hitter with his already top level defense. I can not wait to see this kid in Cleveland.

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