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Around the Farm: September 7, 2014

Around the Farm: September 7, 2014
Nellie Rodriguez (Photo: Brittany Chay)
September 8, 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, 3 RBI, K. Rodriguez has carried the Captains offensively in the second half of the season. After a tough first half where he hit .221 with 8 HR, 25 RBI and .694 OPS in 65 games he has stormed to hit .321 with 14 HR, 63 RBI and .962 OPS in 65 second half games. That success has carried over to the postseason where in four games he is hitting .429 (6-for-14) with 2 HR, 6 RBI and 2 walks. He’s definitely in the running for league MVP (Clint Coulter is probably the favorite), though without a doubt has been the team MVP this season and a big reason this team turned things around in the second half.

  • Ivan Castillo (SS, Lake County): 0-for-4, SB. Castillo has had a rough go of it in the playoffs hitting just .158 (3-for-19) with no walks and 3 strikeouts in his four games of play. As the Captains leadoff hitter, he is a big key in the Championship Series to set the table for a team that has a very potent middle of the order.
  • Clint Frazier (CF, Lake County): 1-for-3, R, BB, K. Frazier has carried his strong second half play (.282 AVG, .815 OPS) into the playoffs as he is hitting .438 (7-for-16) with 1 HR, 3 RBI and a walk in his four games. I have said it a few times the past month, but he really had a solid to good first full season. Sure, there are things that are concerning, but he is improving and the sky is the limit for him.
  • Bradley Zimmer (RF, Lake County): 2-for-4, 2 R. Boy, talk about bring on the reinforcements for the playoffs. Zimmer joined the team the final weekend of the season, hit two homers in three games, and has been on fire in the playoffs hitting .375 (6-for-16) with two extra base hits and 3 RBI. He’s pretty much proven this season that he belong at High-A Carolina to start 2015 – and might even open at Double-A Akron.
  • Paul Hendrix (2B, Lake County): 0-for-3, BB, K. Hendrix is one of the few guys who has been with Lake County all season since day one. He’s emerged as a leader on the team and been a solid contributor both in the lineup and with his versatility in the field. He has continued that in the playoffs so far hitting .357 (5-for-14) with 2 doubles and 2 RBI in four games.
  • Dorssys Paulino (LF, Lake County): 0-for-2, RBI, K. Paulino had a very mediocre season and made a position change from shortstop to left field, so his prospect status has fallen considerably. In three postseason games he is hitting .250 (3-for-12) with a .583 OPS.
  • Richard Stock (C, Lake County): 1-for-3, BB, K. Stock only managed to play in 52 games this season and repeated at Lake County for the second season in a row. He has made the most of his opportunities this postseason going 3-for-6 with a walk in two games played.
  • Grant Fink (3B, Lake County): 0-for-4, K. Fink may have been 0-for-4 on the night, but he had the biggest at bat of the night in the eighth inning. With the game tied 4-4 and with two outs and runners on first and second, he sent a routine groundball to shortstop, the shortstop threw the ball on target, but the first baseman missed the catch and allowed the winning run to score from second.
  • Brian Ruiz (DH, Lake County): 1-for-3, BB, K. Ruiz has gotten some additional playing time with the thumb injury to Mike Papi. In two games he is 1-for-6 with a walk, so this clearly was his best of his two playoff appearances.
  • Dace Kime (SP, Lake County): 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 6 K. Kime may have saved his best outing of the season for the playoffs. He has had a few outings that were better this season in the run prevention department, but none of those previous outings matched the importance and intensity of this game. He was up to the task on the biggest of minor league stages, which is great to see. This is an outing he can build off and he may have one last outing next Monday if there is a Game 5.
  • Justin Brantley (RP, Lake County): 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K. Just another dominant outing for Brantley. He moved hitters down in the regular season appearing in 25 games with the Captains and going 4-1 with a 1.31 ERA, and in 41.1 innings allowed 31 hits, 3 homers, 15 walks and had 47 strikeouts. He’s been a big piece in the bullpen in the playoffs appearing in three of the four games and has thrown 3.2 shutout and hitless innings and allowed 2 walks and has 5 strikeouts.
  • Carlos Melo (RP, Lake County): BS (1), W (1-0), 1.1 IP, 1 H, 3 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 1 K. This just puzzles me. I’m not one to snipe a minor league player as I try to be as objective and constructive as possible on any player I maybe write something that can be perceived to be a negative take on a guy, but I still don’t understand why this guy is pitching with Lake County. He’s struggled all year with his command and been very inconsistent on the mound, yet he was pitching in the 7th and 8th inning of a meaningful playoff game? And he almost singlehandedly blew it as he walked two guys and fielded a ball with two outs and airmailed a ball to first that allowed the tying runs to score.
  • Trevor Frank (RP, Lake County): S (1), 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K. Frank did what he does best: finish games. He led the Midwest League in games finished this season and once again was the final pitcher on the mound for the Captains closing out a win. He and his teammates got to celebrate on the field when he recorded the final out…..let’s hope for a future occurrence next Saturday, Sunday or Monday night in Lake County.

Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.

User Comments

September 9, 2014 - 4:25 PM EDT
The Rangers already have Profar who will probably replace Beltre. They need outfielders and pitchers. I would rather take a shot at Holland than Beltre. I would also be very interested in Miley from Arizona
September 9, 2014 - 4:06 PM EDT
Well if the Rangers remember his historic night last time we were in Texas, they will be salivating to get Chisenhall. Getting Beltre would be huge and may be doable, the Rangers seem to be in mini-rebuild mode but they are set in the MIF with Andrus and Odor. Without knowing anything about their farm system, they have a hole at catcher so Perez could be desired and they need OF help, Rios has a 13.5 million team option next year and has the same OPS as the much maligned David Murphy this year. Ramsey might do the trick, someone who is near ML-ready, yet young and controllable.
Chisenhall-Perez-Ramsey-CC Lee (young relief prospect to possibly close in future?) for Beltre, who says no?
September 9, 2014 - 8:20 AM EDT
Josh Harrison is one who came to mind for me as well. Maybe Mark Trumbo from the Dbax, not sure how he'd fit, and he really had an off yr coming back from injury.
September 8, 2014 - 7:34 PM EDT
Boy, the best thing about the shorter ATF is the fact that Stern's keen insights are shorter. Personally, I think Nellie is doing quite well for his age and is whar he is which is not Vic Power. He is strong but reminds a bit of Weglarz, hopefully without the injuries.

Frazier and Branyan have nothing in common that I see, even strikeouts. Frazier is 19 and is a true 5 tool plater. Branyan was not even close to 5 tool and still spent 10 years in the majors. Does not appear to be a big problem or even worth writing about.

Not sure I agree with Kime assessment but may well be right wihich is not the worse problem in the organization. There are 2-4 starting pitchers in LC which appear to have higher ceilings than Kime at this time and will fill any open slots in Carolina. Actually not too bad for the worst team in the history of baseball. -)
September 8, 2014 - 7:34 PM EDT
Another idea: Beltre for Chis+Aguilar+McAllister
September 8, 2014 - 7:03 PM EDT
Homer, maybe try a trade for Josh Harrison? He's blocked at 3B by Alvarez and RF by Polanco. Can also play 2B and even some SS. He's had a career season, so maybe they try to sell high. Seems like a good fit, since the Indians don't know if they need help at 3B, RF, or 2B. He can be plugged in where ever it's not working next season.

Pirates surely want SP and/or a SS. I'm sure they'd ask for at least JRam.

Maybe the Phillies put Byrd on the block

FAs are risky and need to be overpayed probably: Cuddyer, Morse, Cruz....Aoki should be cheaper and is the type of bounce back flyer the Indians like to sign. Might be best served with a Murphy/Holt platoon to start the season

September 8, 2014 - 5:43 PM EDT
If the Tribe can't / won't get Stanton who is another potential upgrade?

Teams are going to want a SP from the Indians the way the rotation has developed. I'd hesitate to move any of rotation, but Zach McAllister might be a guy that gets some interest as a chip-in. He's probably bound for a spot as a long man if he can't beat out House in ST. McAllister is out of options so it seems his probable home is the BP.
September 8, 2014 - 5:35 PM EDT
Since August 1st... 34 games, 22 games scoring 3 runs or less. They have to improve the offense this offseason. Status quo is not going to cut it. It is an absolute must...there has to be some sort of lineup change. It's that simple.

The way this pitching staff has produced recently is encouraging, what looked like a weakness now looks like a force for the next several yrs.
September 8, 2014 - 2:55 PM EDT
Thanks for the information
September 8, 2014 - 12:35 PM EDT
Gregg, Gonzalez is a pretty good prospect. He is without a doubt one of the Indians top 10 prospects. He's not to the level of Lindor because his approach and discipline is a little more raw, but he's pretty darn close to Lindor everywhere else. I have mentioned a few times that the emergence of Jose Ramirez and now Erik Gonzalez as a legitimate ML shortstop option may allow the Indians to consider a deal of Lindor in the offseason in the event they want to get a top flight bat (like Stanton). I doubt it happens, but it is something to think about.
September 8, 2014 - 12:29 PM EDT
Sternfan is a one-trick pony. Hope there are no bridges near his home.
September 8, 2014 - 12:18 PM EDT
Tony, how good of a prospect ins Gonzalez at Akron
September 8, 2014 - 11:53 AM EDT
I haven't seen the list yet. Usually it is out by now, but I know two years ago it wasn't even released until like Sept 10th. And the year that on Sept 11th. I planned to check in later today on it.
September 8, 2014 - 11:51 AM EDT
Tony, have the Indians released the names of players who will participate in the fall instructional league? If so, can you please share the list with us.

September 8, 2014 - 11:41 AM EDT
This is what i like to see in the minors. Some players if not all players on the roster figured it out. This team started out badly in April and look at them now. Was it good coaching or what?
September 8, 2014 - 11:29 AM EDT
Will be interesting to see what the Indians do with Frazier-Zimmer next season. The front office themselves have not outlined the plans for them. That will happen in the offseason as they get more information from Instructional League where Zimmer (and possibly Frazier) will get some time. And there is a chance that Zimmer could go to the AFL - something I would strongly encourage if possible. If he does play in the AFL, and holds his own or does well, it would - at least to me - solidify him as opening in Akron next year.

If I were a betting man, and I am not, but in this case if I were, I would say that both Frazier and Zimmer open in Carolina with the two splitting time at CF/DH and some RF with the idea that Zimmer could move quickly to Akron after 40-60 games so both then finish the season as full time center fielders.
September 8, 2014 - 10:48 AM EDT
Tony, do you see the FO splitting up Frazier and Zimmer next year? Would that mean Frazier repeats at LC or do you think they'd be fine splitting CF at bats wherever they end up?
September 8, 2014 - 10:23 AM EDT
I'm assuming Zimmer will be at Instructional season. I hope the Indians add him to AFL to see if he might be ready to handle Akron next year. If not , I do see him reaching Akron by mid season next year.

Good Luck Captains in the Championship series against a tough opponent in Kane County.
September 8, 2014 - 10:10 AM EDT
Heck of a second half of the season for NRod. He really stepped it up after Memorial Day weekend. He was awful for the first couple of months in 2013 too, so apparently he has to work on getting his season started better. Once he has a couple of months under his belt...but most teams won't give you that long to get going.
September 8, 2014 - 9:47 AM EDT
Nellie is obese, will struggle unless he improves his conditioning as he moves up the ladder.

Kime is probably a pen arm, very disappointing season as a starter

Frazier appears t obe another Branyan, loads of power but is a human windmill at the plate
September 8, 2014 - 9:05 AM EDT
Excellent job guys, now MWL Championship !!!

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