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Around the Farm: September 4, 2014

Rodriguez's power, Roberts' and Cloyd's dominant starts highlight the night on the farm

Around the Farm: September 4, 2014
Nellie Rodriguez (Photo: IBI)
September 5, 2014
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Around the Farm takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Cleveland prospects throughout the system. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game. 

Nellie Rodriguez (1B, Lake County): 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SO, 1 E

Nellie Rodriguez (Photo: MiLB)Who else would be at the center of Lake County's 7-2 win and 2-0 series sweep than Rodriguez, the player with 57 extra base hits and an .832 OPS in 130 games this season. The 20-year-old continued to flourish with the Captains on Thursday, hitting a home run in the top of the fourth inning to start Lake County on the road to victory. Rodriguez will need to keep hitting to make it up through the minor league ladder -- first basemen who cannot hit and hit for power do not make it in the long run all that often -- but 2014 certainly is a great start to that ascent for the 20-year-old. Lake County now moves on to the semifinals and will await the winner of the Fort Wayne-West Michigan series.

Will Roberts (SP, Akron): W (1-0), 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 SO, 1 E

Will Roberts (Photo: MiLB)If there is any time to have the most strikeouts of your professional career, the playoffs are a good time to do it. Roberts turned in a gem of a start Thursday, dominating the Richmond Flying Squirrels in a 5-1 win and evening the RubberDucks' playoff series at 1-1. Though Roberts was not typically this dominant during the season, the right-hander did routinely pitch deep into games and give his team a chance to win. The 24-year-old may look like a back-of-the-rotation starter in the big leagues, but #4/#5 starters who can eat innings and occasionally flash outings like this are nice to have in your system. Roberts may not force his way to Cleveland in 2015, but just doing what he did this season again will cement him as an option should the big league club need to call on him.

Tyler Cloyd (SP, Columbus): ND, 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO

Tyler Cloyd (Photo: MiLB)Much like Duke von Schamann in Akron on Wednesday, if you are looking for someone to blame for the Clippers' 4-3 loss in 10 innings on Thursday, it is not Cloyd. The 27-year-old continued to pitch well in this outing, coming close to matching Roberts' dominant outing and certainly giving the Clippers a chance to win. Sometimes the rest of the team cannot match the starting pitcher, however, which was just the case in Columbus. The Clippers are still very alive in this best-of-five series and will head to Durham tied 1-1, though there is a chance they will regret not getting a win out of Cloyd's strong start on Thursday.

  • J.C. Ramirez (RP, Columbus): BS (1), 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO. Ramirez struggled to show swing-and-miss stuff in Triple-A this season (4.3 SO/9 in 31.1 innings), a flaw that was exposed in this outing.
  • Tyler Sturdevant (RP, Columbus): L (0-1), 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 1 SO. The run may be unearned, but if not for allowing a leadoff triple in the top of the 10th, the error would not have hurt nearly as much.
  • Audy Ciriaco (1B, Columbus): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI. The Clippers' only extra base hit of the game was Ciriaco's home run, and while that is a less-than-ideal offensive performance (and a slightly strange occurrence in Huntington Park), it was nearly enough to get a win.
  • Giovanny Urshela (3B, Columbus): 3-for-4, 2 RBI. Three singles will do for Urshela, who was constantly making contact and creating runs for the Clippers on a quiet night for the Columbus offense.
  • Francisco Lindor (SS, Columbus): 2-for-5, 1 R. That makes five hits in two playoff games for Lindor this season, who has remained a force at the top of the Columbus lineup.
  • David Murphy (RF, Columbus): 0-for-3, 1 BB, 1 SO. Murphy hit a first-inning home run on Wednesday, but there was nothing like that in this rehab outing. More importantly in the big picture, however, the 32-year-old got more work in and is another step closer to returning to Cleveland.
  • Trey Haley (RP, Akron): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO. Haley was efficient in his only inning, sitting around 97 miles per hour and showing off the talent that makes him stand out despite his issues.
  • Josh Martin (RP, Akron): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO. Martin's second outing at the Double-A level closed the door on the RubberDucks' big victory.
  • Jordan Smith (RF, Akron): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 SO. Power is not typically a part of Smith's game, but the outfielder picked a nice time to pull one over Canal Park's right-field fence.
  • Ollie Linton (CF, Akron): 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 BB, 1 SO. Linton's fourth-inning triple keyed the RubberDucks' answer to the only Flying Squirrels run of the day and helped ensure Akron did not relinquish the lead.
  • Anthony Gallas (DH, Akron): 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB. Gallas struggled a bit in Wednesday's loss, but the 26-year-old was on Thursday and a big part of the RubberDucks' offense.
  • Joe Wendle (2B, Akron): 2-for-2, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB, 1 HBP. Wendle missed a big chunk of the season with a broken hamate bone, but the second baseman is rounding into form in time for the playoffs.
  • Anderson Polanco (SP, Lake County): W (1-0), 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO, 1 WP, 1 BK. This was not an elite outing on par with Polanco's form of late, but it was enough to get the Captains their series-clinching win.
  • Justin Brantley (RP, Lake County): 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 1 HBP. There were some hiccups recently for Brantley, but the right-hander was back Thursday and dominating like he typically did throughout the season.
  • Mike Papi (DH, Lake County): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 SO. A home run is not a part of Papi's inevitable positive BABIP regression, but it is the best possible outcome for a plate appearance and great to see from the 21-year-old.
  • Dorssys Paulino (LF, Lake County): 2-for-3, 1 BB. Paulino was a little better after moving to left field this season, posting a roughly league-average .258/.318/.365 line in 88 games, and showed that form on Thursday.
  • Richard Stock (C, Lake County): 2-for-3, 1 SO, 1 E, 1 SAC. Filling in as the backup catcher here, Stock turned in a strong performance despite the error and did what was needed of him.
  • Clint Frazier (CF, Lake County): 1-for-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 SO. Another playoff extra base hit for Frazier, who now has three doubles, one home run, and no singles in Lake County's two postseason games.
  • Paul Hendrix (3B, Lake County): 1-for-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 SO. Hendrix is in a similar boat as Frazier, with a double in each playoff game for the Captains, though the 22-year-old did single Wednesday night as well.
  • Bradley Zimmer (RF, Lake County): 1-for-5, 1 R, 3 SO. This was a bit of a rough night for Zimmer, though the 2014 first round pick was better Wednesday and figures to be a big part of Lake County's ultimate success or failure in the next round.

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

September 7, 2014 - 3:05 AM EDT
JC Ramirez has not inspires confidence in his abilities all season but he is still in the organization and it is biting Columbus in the butt. Lost another game today. Columbus eliminated.
September 5, 2014 - 10:48 PM EDT
The deadwood Murphy won the game tonight. The real dead wood might be Kipnis. How sad the main veterans on this team having had such bad years. Current and the traded. Dont understand why Kipnis pitch hit for Walters. walter could have had the same result an out.

September 5, 2014 - 10:20 PM EDT
September 5, 2014 - 8:14 AM EDT
Murphy is more dead wood that I hope is not back next season

You are an idiot!
September 5, 2014 - 5:01 PM EDT
I'd rather see Chisenhall or Kipnis out in RF next yr.

Btw, the Tribe claimed JB Shuck off waivers from the Angels. He's a 4th OF type.
September 5, 2014 - 4:36 PM EDT
Amazingly, Murphy just may be the best we've got for RF! Ugh.
September 5, 2014 - 3:58 PM EDT
With the Tribes bullpen depth I would expect Haley to bolt. He will enter next season as a 24 yo, so I think he still has time on his side. However, I think he lost priority status long ago.

As for Roberts, I get that teams look for power arms or lefties in the rule 5. I'm suggesting he might be a target if a team thought his FB would play up in shorter stints. I think he could be a decent long man even with his lack of plus pitches. Btw, I'm not suggesting the Tribe develop him as a BP arm, as I think he could be a nice BOR arm that occasionally flashes more. Anyways, they'll have a nice problem this offseason...
..who to protect?
September 5, 2014 - 12:11 PM EDT
"Murphy is more dead wood that I hope is not back next season"

One I believe could make the case that his injury has been the most damaging. Since he has been gone RF has seen one flame out experiment after another - culminated by Francona's attempt to plug the hole with Aviles.
September 5, 2014 - 11:53 AM EDT
Nellie is an interesting bat. He obviously has power and is patient at the plate. Defensively he has a long way to go and he obviously is a below average runner. The key for him is going to continue to be more consistent with the bat and more disciplined at not chasing but to be more aggressive early in the count on pitches he can drive. That's the key for him. He has the makings of a possible Jesus Aguilar type of bat, so we will see.

Homer, I don't see the Indians rostering Will Roberts this offseason nor losing him in the Rule 5 Draft. For one, few teams take #5 starters in the Rule 5 and he's not a guy that a team would look to stash in the bullpen. Just doesn't have the two plus pitches to potentially dominate. Not saying he is not a good pitcher at all, but he's not someone I expect to gain much interest in Rule 5 simply because teams always look for a certain kind of pitcher/hitter/fielder in it. He's no doubt a guy who is starting depth for the Indians maybe be mid-to-end of next season and he is one of their better pitching prospects, though is more of a backend of the rotation type of arm.

Haley is a free agent after this season. I'm not so sure a change of scenery does him much good and maybe being with a team that knows him is best for him. With the injuries and inconsistencies with his delivery/command no team knows him better. Of course, a new voice sometimes helps. Will be interesting to see if he bolts for another organization this offseason. I'd think he does.....but also could see him returning because after a year of injuries and so much inconsistency the last year-plus there may not be much interest from other teams.
September 5, 2014 - 10:40 AM EDT
Carolina fans are probably hoping to see all 4 players of Zimmer, Frazier, Papi , Rodriquez next year on there club. Carolina definitely will have a very interesting team in 15. Lake County should also have interesting team with F. Mejia, Chang, and Bradley leading the way. I wonder if Gabriel Mejia from the DSL might start in 15 at LC?

September 5, 2014 - 10:19 AM EDT
Rondon was much more of a finished product then Haley is and before his devastating injury was on the cusp of being our top SP prospect. Sure Haley has talent but has never come close to putting it together like Rondon in the minors. Haley will continue to get attention (rightfully so) due to that velocity and movement of his fast ball. However given his control issues and what seems to be an overall inability to improve he isn't ML ready. I hope he ends up with a different team for his sake, A new system/coaches could be what it takes for him to realize his ML dreams.

Nellie sure is a confounding prospect.. Will be interesting to see what he can do at Carolina next year. Personally think he has a decent shot of really breaking out but there are enough ?"s there to remain skeptical for now.
September 5, 2014 - 9:55 AM EDT
Random thoughts...

Early for this but oh well, I think the Tribe could lose Will Roberts in the rule 5 draft if he's left unprotected. He's been a career SP, but someone one might pick him up and slide him into the bullpen. I think his FB would play up in shorter stints in the bullpen.

Curious about Trey Haley, he's been in the system for six yrs. Will he be a minor league FA at the end of the yr? He's another arm I think someone could gamble on (see: Hector Rondon). Plus Haley seems to be getting healthy at the right time of the yr.

Papi is a bum, the Tribe should just cut him NOW! I can't believe I ever thought he might be the first bat to make it to the bigs from this (the Tribes) draft class.
September 5, 2014 - 9:27 AM EDT
Hey troll, Papi just hit a HR in a playoff game for the Captains, the same team you labled the worst ever and wanted to cut pretty much every player from just some months ago, remember? You probably would have cut Kluber, Urshela, Perez and Holt in the minors with your high baseball IQ.

And "has become" a whiff machine? Really? He didn't even have a Minors training camp with the org yet. And "whiff machine"?, here are some facts for you: 19.4 K%, which is better than league AVG and among LC hitters, second to only Castillo (17.7%). He also had the best BB% on the team with 15.8%, not bad for a guy who was thrown into a full season league from College.
September 5, 2014 - 9:22 AM EDT

Is an idiot
September 5, 2014 - 8:56 AM EDT
Papi is a bust, way over-drafted, suppose to be an advanced bat but has become a whiff machine
September 5, 2014 - 8:42 AM EDT
I am growing more curious of Nellie Rodriguez's overall game. He has the power bat, but also strikes out a lot. In reading this year's IBI Top 100 Prospects, I read that he is a converted catcher and that he is still learning 1st Base. How has his overall defense progressed this year? Also, will his hit tool remain below average? Is this yet another version of a Russell Branyan type player?
September 5, 2014 - 8:23 AM EDT
All of a sudden that LC team looks pretty good. They've been the biggest disappointment in the first half, but the biggest surprise in the 2nd half and now in the POs. Frazier, Zimmer, Papi and NRod all in one lineup. We probably won't see all 4 again on one team nutil they are in Cleveland. Two top 5 bats plus two top 20.

I expect Will Roberts to be in the Columbus rotation along with Colon and both be SP depth options for next season. Almost all relevant prospect have flashed in those two PO games so far, nice to see.
September 5, 2014 - 8:14 AM EDT
Murphy is more dead wood that I hope is not back next season

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