Around the Farm: September 15, 2012
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.
Adam Abraham: LF, Akron Aeros: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 K:
Adam Abraham can flat-out play baseball. No, he’s never going to top a list of major league prospects. No, his numbers are never going to scream out to anyone as being an elite sort of player. But here’s the thing about Abraham that sets him apart: he will do whatever it takes to succeed, and do whatever it takes to win. Abraham finished his 2012 playoffs with a .300/.323/.700 slash line, and included four runs, three triples, two homers and eight RBI. Read that back again…he hit three triples. Just to put that number in perspective, he has four triples altogether in his five seasons and 1,707 at bats in the Indians’ organization. That’s the type of player that Abraham is, and will always be. A case in point is that Abraham found himself playing left field in the playoffs. Again, to put it in perspective, he’d played a grand total of two games in his 459-game minor league career in left field. On Saturday, Abraham led off the scoring with a triple, then scored what ultimately turned into the game-winner on a sac fly. He never complains, he just does, and it really paid off for him in a big way, as he won the MVP.
Toru Murata: SP, Akron Aeros: W (1-0), 6 1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 7 K, 1 HR:
The Aeros didn’t win the Eastern League title because of big-time prospects. As a matter of fact, their “big-time” prospects didn’t do a thing in the final game of the Eastern League season. No, they won the Eastern League title because of starting pitching, and none was better than the 27-year-old Toru Murata. Murata went 1-0 in two starts covering 12 1/3 innings. He gave up seven hits and two earned runs, while walking three and striking out 11. On Saturday night, Murata saved his best for last. Murata gave up a one-out homer in the second inning to give the Thunder their first run of the game, making the score 2-1. He would hit the next batter, and then slam the door. Murata retired the next 15 batters in a row, and would come out of the game in the seventh inning when that streak ended with a single. It was a dominating performance, which mirrored the end of his regular season. Murata was moved to the rotation full-time on August 3rd after working out of the pen all season. He responded by going 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA in 30 2/3 innings. He gave up only 21 hits and four walks, while striking out 26 batters during that stretch. Dominating stuff.
Ryan Rohlinger: 3B, Akron Aeros: 2-for-2, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB:
Rohlinger saved his best for last. The 29-year-old infielder wasn’t the most spectacular player to ever don the Aeros jersey. He was brought into the system as a former major league player who could provide some depth to the big league club, should they need it. He had played 46 major league games over the span of four years prior to this. His best game may have been his last one in the organization, as he scored two of the Aeros six runs, and drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the second inning. He scored the Aeros third run of the game in the fifth, then came around to score on Jordan Henry’s ninth-inning single. If it was his last game in the system, he sure went out in style, and at the top of ATF’s last regular season piece.
- Jordan Henry: RF, Akron: 1-for-3, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 CS: With the score 3-1 in the top of the ninth, and with the Thunder’s 3-4-and-5 hitters due up in the bottom of the frame, Henry singled with the bases loaded. The hit was booted, and a 3-1 lead turned into a 6-1 lead.
- Tyler Holt: CF: Akron: 1-for-5, 1 K: Holt led the Aeros in hitting throughout the playoffs, going 11-for-33, scoring six runs, with a triple, two doubles and three RBI. He finished a middling season strong, and showcased the type of player he can be when everything is clicking.
- Jesus Aguilar and Chun Chen: 0-for-8, 2 BB, 7 K: When your #3 and #4 hitters perform as Aguilar and Chen did on Saturday night, you are generally looking at a loss. That wasn’t the case, as the 6-9 hitters went a combines 6-for-12 to carry the team to victory.
- Matt Lawson: 2B, Akron: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 BB: Lawson brought a veteran presence to the team in 2012. He’s chances of playing in the big leagues aren’t very good, but he’s a solid minor league ballplayer. It will be interesting to see if the Indians can find a home for him next season, which will depend a lot on what they do with Jason Donald and Cord Phelps in Columbus.
- Davis Stoneburner: SS, Akron: 1-for-3, 1 R: Stoneburner tied for second on the team with a .300 average, and while the utility-player will find his road in the organization a tough one with guys like Wolters, Rodriguez, Urshela and Lindor moving on up, he certainly proved his value in the playoffs. The problem is that there are a lot of players like him in the organization, and not a lot of levels left to put them all.
- Roberto Perez: C, Akron: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: Next to Adam Abraham, Roberto Perez may be the most unheralded player in the system. With that said, anyone that’s ever seen him play knows not only the type of defensive player that he is, but the type of “big-game” player that he can be. While prospect-watchers like big-time prospects, it’s guys like Perez that often can make a name for themselves in the big leagues because of that big league ability, and knack to come up big when it counts.
- Shawn Armstrong: RP, Akron: 1 1/3 IP, 1 BB, 3 K: Armstrong made four appearances in the playoffs, going a total of 3 2/3 innings. He gave up two unearned runs and a walk, while striking out five batters. Armstrong really appears to be the next in the Indians line of elite relievers. His struggle this season were the walks, but as he proved during the playoffs, when it’s all clicking, there aren’t many better.
- Preston Guilmet: Closer, Akron: S (5), 1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 2 BB: Guilmet came out in the ninth, and meant business. He got the first two outs in four pitches, and was on the verge of a dominating close out for the Eastern League title. He then gave up a single, and back-to-back walks to load up the bases, but I don’t call Preston Guilmet the “ice-man” for nothing. Guilmet makes a fantastic closer…not because of his electric arm, but because he has the perfect mentality. Nothing bothers him, and again, the bases loaded scenario did nothing to rattle him. He forced a ground out to Matt Lawson to end the game. He saved all but one of the Aeros playoff victories.
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.