Fishing for Mudcats at the All-Star break
From the Bait Shop:
It’s been a short week here in Carolina, thanks to the much needed All-Star break. The Muddies were locked and loaded with interesting prospects from the outset in April, but they were never able to make any sort of run with regards to wins.
Their longest win streak on the year was a three games, and ironically enough, they were the first three games of the season. The did manage to lose at least five games in a row three times, and six games in a row twice, to go along with two more four game losing streaks.
That doesn’t add up to much of a first half.
The flip side to all of that were the abundance of interesting prospects, solid offensive players, a couple of really interesting starters, and two former #1 picks.
The Mudcats ended the first half with three of the six total players hitting .300 or better in the Carolina League. Tyler Nquin paced the team with a .311 record, while Jerrud Sabourin continued his hot play from 2012 by hitting .306.
Francisco Lindor really stole the show though with his .300 average. While everyone raves about his major league ready defense, it’s his offense that will ultimately make him a special major leaguer.
Many baseball enthusiasts were curious about the 200 and 250 at bat threshold, as Lindor dropped off dramatically at that point last season in the Midwest League. Lindor did drop off a bit at the 200 at bat threshold, but quickly rebounded. He ended the half with exactly 250 at bats. Still, he ended the first half hitting an even-keeled .300, with 14 doubles, four triples, a homer, 23 RBI, and had a team leading 18 stolen bases. He walked and struck out 29 times each.
Jordan Smith is another guy to watch, who started off the season in a slump, but played much better after the third week of April.
Anderson was a bit more consistent of the two, but not by much. He does, clearly, have both more upside than his lefty counterpart, and he has the ability to strike people out. Anderson ended the first half with a 6-3 record and a 2.63 ERA, while Morimando went 4-6, with a 2.73 ERA. Anderson ended with 69 K’s in 75 1/3 innings, while Morimando only had 48 in 69 1/3. Anderson also walked less (19) than the lefty.
Anderson has 1-3 starter potential, while I believe Morimando’s ceiling is likely as a #3. Both have promise though.
Past those two though, there really aren’t any other arms in Carolina that have the type of upside that will carry them too much further in the system, unless you count some guys on the DL, but that’s for another day.
Alright, there are a couple of second half games to get into, so let’s stop wasting time with the past…
Let’s get fishing….and all regular stats will be back next week...
Where we stand after Week #11:
Week #11 Games:
This Week’s Transactions:
Offensive Player of the Week: NA:
A two game sample size just isn’t enough. We’ll be presenting the Week #11 award next week.
Hitter of the First Half: Tyler Naquin
The best of the rest:
The second half started off the same way that the first half ended. With the “Big Three” offensive players carrying the team. At this point, Jerrud Sabourin, Francisco Lindor and Tyler Naquin really do represent the entirety of the offense. Jordan Smith and Joey Wendle are also a big part of the equation, but have struggled with the consistency and the health that the others have provided, minus a DL stint for Sabourin.
The Muddies first baseman continues to hit the ball with regularity. Sabourin is doing everything that he can to make a name for himself, and while he doesn’t have the power to carry him into the big leagues easily, he definitively continues to do the things that need to be done to get from level-to-level. The rubber is close to hitting the road though, as Akron is really the gatekeeper to prospects. I love Sabourin’s tenacity, but I can’t shake the Jordan Brown comparisons. Remember, Brown was a first base/DH product, as well as a corner outfielder, and he didn’t showcase any power. He won two league MVP awards, but was never taken seriously with regards to the Indians as far as a prospect goes. He’s now long gone, and much forgotten. I hope Sabourin can overcome the odds.
Naquin continues to show solid offensive skills. I firmly believe that if he stays in Carolina, he’ll ultimately lead the league in hitting. There’s the question though. Is he going to stay in Carolina? I say no way. He, like Lindor, has an outfield glove and arm that’s major league ready. He just strikes out way too much at this point to be a legit headliner prospect. He’s better than most thought though.
Where the rubber meets the road with regards to Indians’ prospects though is one Francisco Lindor. He rolled out four hits, with two of them of the extra base variety. If he continues to hit the baseball, there’s no reason to doubt that Lindor can be a big league ballplayer, and sooner, rather than later. Let me put it this way: if the Indians wanted, they could bump him up now. They won’t, and they shouldn’t, but he does have that kind of skill set.
There’s no way he’s NOT in the big leagues by the end of 2014.
In the Mud:
C’mon, there were only two ballgames, so I’m not going here. But…Luigi Rodriguez and Bryson Myles have a shot to do some damage in the second half. They better not waste it. Hell, throw Jordan Smith in there as well.
Pitcher of the Week: NA
Like I said…next week…
Pitcher of the First Half: Cody Anderson
The best of the rest/In the Mud:
There isn’t much to talk about here. Shawn Morimando got a start, and wasn’t very good, as did Michael Peoples…but the real meat of the second half hasn’t started. Keep your eyes on Morimando though, as well as Cody Anderson. I think Anderson could move up, and I just don’t see Morimando ultimately being a legit starter as the Indians move on. I could see him move to the pen in a heartbeat, if the Indians so desire.
In the Mud:
Next Week’s Fishing Expedition:
The View Astern:
The Muddies were well represented in the All-Star game. Lindor walked in the first inning then stole second and moved to third on a sac fly. He was stranded there. He struck out in the third inning, then laced a two-run, two-out double in the fourth inning. He would come out in the fifth inning.
Jerrud Sabourin hit the sac fly in the first that moved Lindor to third and scored Billy Burns. He grounded out in the fourth, and the sixth, but hit a lead-off single in the fifth, and eventually scored on a throwing error by first baseman Max Muncy. He would strike out in the ninth.
Tyler Naquin struck out in the second, the hit a two-out single in the fourth inning. He would come around to score on a single on the throw and eventual error. He would ground out in the fifth with runners on second and third, struck out in the seventh, then singled in the ninth with two outs.
Cody Anderson struggled a bit, giving up two hits, one of them a solo shot in his inning of work, earning him a hold.
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 email@example.com.