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Fishing for Mudcats: "Seems like old times..."

Fishing for Mudcats: "Seems like old times..."
May 16, 2012
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From the Bait Shop:

The rain kept flowing here in the Carolinas, but the Mudcats didn’t allow it to stop them from playing well. While they had their moments of regression this week, overall, the team ended up winning more than they lost as they continued to build their identity. Ironically enough, their identity that’s beginning to take shape is starting to resemble the Indians’ High A teams of recent memory from Cleveland.
Offensively, the Mudcats scuffled a bit. Only two players hit over .300 on the week, and only one of them was a regular. The team scored 33 runs on the week, which is impressive considering they started off the week scoring only two runs in their first two games against Myrtle Beach. They hit 13 doubles and six homers, while driving in 31. They walked 17 times, and struck out 54 times. Their overall average was .244.
The strength of this team is clearly their pitching. Their starters continued to pitch well overall, and while they had some outings of struggle, overall, the starters have been very good. Overall, they went 2-2 with a 3.95 ERA. They gave up 30 hits in 30 innings, with ten walks and 22 K’s. The relievers continued to excel, going 2-1, giving up 10 hits in 21 innings, as well as 14 walks, while striking out 17.
While I don’t think the offense will turn out to be a detriment, the pitching is clearly the strength of the team. This isn’t a staff built around the studs of the system, but there are a bunch of pitchers, both in the rotation and the bullpen, that are more than serviceable players. This team is shaping up to be just that…more than serviceable. The only question left is, how good is that?
Let’s go fishing…

Where We Stand After Week #6:

Overall Record: 20-17 (4-3 this week), 3rd Place in the Southern Division, 2 games behind Winston-Salem.

Week #6 Games:

9 @ Myrtle Beach, Postponed: Rain 
10 @ Myrtle Beach, L 1-2 (WP: R. Henry; LP: S. Armstrong)
10 @ Myrtle Beach, L 1-10 (WP: F. Mendoza; LP: W. Roberts)
11 vs. Potomac, W 9-2 (WP: D. Dickerson; LP: K. Winters)   
12 vs. Potomac, W 9-1 (WP: K. Blair; LP: M. Grace; SV: T. Haley)
13 vs. Potomac, W 3-2 (WP: F. Jimenez; LP: P. Applebee; SV: J. Flores)   
14 vs. Salem, Postponed: Rain 
15 vs. Salem, L 6-8 (WP: M. Duarte; LP: M. Rayl; SV: M. Olmsted)
15 vs. Salem, W 4-1 (WP: J. Reichenbach; LP: B. Workman; SV: J. Flores)

The Offense

The Good…

There was a time at the beginning of the season when I thought that Ronny Rodriguez was going to be overmatched. I absolutely love it when a player starts to figure things out, and Rodriguez is doing just that. Rodriguez had a hit in six out of seven ballgames, and tied for the team lead with five runs. He hit two doubles and hit a home run to go along with it. This kid is a top ten talent, he just needs to prove himself at this level. If this is going to be his learning curve, this is going to be an outstanding season.
There’s a lot of talk about players that may be more talented, but at the end of the day, the Mudcats best player right now is Tyler Holt. The one thing he wasn’t last year is consistent. His overaggressive nature really hurt his overall game. He’s managed to curb that style of play into the lead-off role this season, and has been solid every week. He tied Rodriguez for the lead in runs, and also managed to walk four times, while striking out three. It’s amazing how far he’s come with regards to that professional attitude at the plate.
Carlos Moncrief is one of the most intriguing players on this roster. He may actually have more talent than anyone else, but there are pieces to his offensive game that just aren’t very good right now. He was playing well this week overall, scoring four runs on two doubles and a homer. He drove in five, while walking four times, but he still strikes out way too much, with ten on the week. This kid is a raw, five-tool player though, and if it ever clicks, he’ll move up the rankings quickly.
Jake Lowery had been struggling, but had an under-the-radar type of solid week. He hit a home run, and drove in three, with a double and three runs scored. He doesn’t walk enough, however, and he struck out five times. He nearly hit .300 for the first time in a couple of weeks, so it’s good to see his bat warming up with the summer. Still, he has to walk more, and cut down on strikeouts.
Jeremie Tice wasn’t perfect this week, but he did lead the team with three homers and eight RBI. He actually had more home runs than singles on the week, which won’t be something abnormal, from week-to-week. He does have an advanced bat, but he still has to maintain his health and consistency to prove that he is something more than minor league fill.

…The Bad and the Ugly…

Jesus Aguilar really hasn’t been playing well from an offensive standpoint in awhile.  This week, he only managed three hits and two runs, with a double and three RBI. He only walked once, while striking out an unimpressive eight times. It’s just so painful to watch him struggle at times as he continues his development. He has weeks where it looks like he’s figured it all out, and weeks where he looks like it’s his first week in High A. He won’t move up until he finds any sort of consistency. He is a rare commodity in the system right now, and he just has to be developed right.
While I’ve been raving about Tony Wolters play, overall he’s still struggling. The good is that he scored four runs, drove in five, and hit four doubles this week. The bad is that he only had five total hits. I’ll just leave it at that, and say I’m happy that most of his hits were important ones. He’s still playing better, but needs to hit more.
Tyler Cannon just hasn’t played well this season, and his offense has yet to find the groove that it did last season. He really didn’t do much of anything this week in six games, scoring twice with one double, three singles, two RBI and two walks. He’s had his chance with Urshela out, but hasn’t done much with it.

The Pitchers:

The Good…

Francisco Jimenez has proven to be something a bit more than meets the eye. Jimenez went 5 2/3 innings this week as a starter, giving up two hits and two unearned runs, while walking three and striking out five. Jimenez isn’t a burner, and he isn’t really close to having the most talent. But boy has he started to figure out how to pitch. He’s 4-1 this season as a starter, and if you would have asked me last season if he’d ever be a legit 4-1 as a starter, I’d have laughed at you for a long, long time. Jimenez is the one laughing now.
Jose Flores continues to figure things out in the closer role. He saved two games in three appearances, and was perfect in all three, with two K’s. Flores hits the mid-90’s with his fastball, but his knock was always his delivery. He’s clearly starting to show repetition, and with it has come production. I’m not sure that he’s going to be able to continue that from level-to-level, but right now, he’s looking very good at the back end of the pen. He’s not Cory Burns or Preston Guilmet, but he does provide something they didn’t, and that’s velocity.
Dale Dickerson had an interesting week. He went three appearances with three very different looks.He gave up a run in each of his three, but only one was earned. He had a start, a two-inning relief appearance, and a one-out appearance as well. He wasn’t perfect, but these are the types of games and numbers that should be expected.
J.D. Reichenbach was a guy last year that looked like one of those guys that could become important in this system. No, I don’t think that he’s a plus arm or anything like that, but he can start or relieve, and has a rubber arm. This week, he went four innings and had two appearances, giving up four hits and two walks, while striking out three.
Jordan Cooper has had outings in which he’s flat out struggled, but this week he righted the ship in his two appearances, including one that went 4 1/3 innings. He didn’t give up an earned run, while walking three and striking out four.
Kyle Blair has been right since the Indians moved him to the back-end of the pen in Lake County. He’s back in the starting role and pitching well. This week, he went five innings, giving up a solo home run as his only hit. He did walk one, but struck out five. He was a fourth rounder, and he has really turned the tide quickly. You have to like the make-up of a guy like that.
Trey Haley only made one appearance, but it was a good one. He walked two and struck out two, but didn’t give up a hit or a run. Still, I worry when he only shows up once in seven games. He’s had injury issues, and I wonder if there’s something going on that’s kept him out of ballgames.

…The Bad and the Ugly…

Kyle Petter has been really bad so far this season for the Muddies. He made one appearance, going 1 2/3 innings, giving up two hits, four walks and five runs, while striking out one. That’s just not getting the job done.
Will Roberts got roughed up bigtime as well, giving up ten hits in only four innings. He gave up three earned runs, and struck out four, but didn’t walk anyone. He isn’t an elite arm, but I do think there’s something more to Roberts going forward. He can pitch, but it’ll take time to figure out.
Mike Rayl had his ups, and his downs this past week. His first start was a seven inning, five hit, one run outing, and was dominant. His second start was a 2 2/3 inning, six hit, six earned run appearance. Rayl has been very, very good this year, so one start and one bad week won’t be the end of this story.

Week #6 Awards:

Hitter of Week 6: Ronny Rodriguez
Pitcher of Week 6: Francisco Jimenez
Player of Week 6: Francisco Jimenez

The Archives:

Hitter of Week 1: Tyler Holt
Hitter of Week 2: Jesus Aguilar
Hitter of Week 3: Jake Lowery
Hitter of Week 4: Giovanny Urshela
Hitter of Week 5: Jesus Aguilar
Hitter of Week 6: Ronny Rodriguez
Pitcher of Week 1: Cody Allen
Pitcher of Week 2: T.J. House
Pitcher of Week 3: Mike Rayl
Pitcher of Week 4: Shawn Armstrong
Pitcher of Week 5: Dale Dickerson
Pitcher of Week 6: Francisco Jimenez
Player of Week 1: Cody Allen
Player of Week 2: T.J. House
Player of Week 3: Jake Lowery
Player of Week 4: Shawn Armstrong
Player of Week 5: Jesus Aguilar
Player of Week 6: Francisco Jimenez

Here Comes Week #7:

May 2012
16 vs. Salem, 7:15 PM 
17 vs. Salem, 7:15 PM 
18 @ Potomac, 7:05 PM 
19 @ Potomac, 6:35 PM 
20 @ Potomac, 1:05 PM 
21 @ Frederick, 7:00 PM 
22 @ Frederick, 7:00 PM

Looking Astern:

The Indians DFA’d former top prospect Nick Weglarz this past week, and while there’s a possibility that the big outfielder/DH will return to the system if he clears waivers after the ten days, the days of Weglarz being a part of the future are officially over. While it’s been abundantly clear that Weglarz best days were over awhile ago, anyone who has followed the system couldn’t help but hope that he would somehow figure things out. Weglarz was drafted out of high school in the third round of the 2005 draft, and quickly became something of tall tale in Indians prospect lore. The burly outfielder brought a professional patience to the plate that had many thinking of another Jim Thome. Weglarz played 108 games in High A Kinston, hitting .270, with 11 homers and 42 RBI. He walked 72 times, and struck out 80, showing off that advanced approach. He played most of his games in left and as a DH, and while he didn’t show off the power that he had in Lake County the previous season, he did appear on the precipice of being a big leaguer. Unfortunately, Weglarz has spend an amazing amount of time healing injuries. He missed sizable chunks of the 2006 season, the 2009 season, the 2010 season and the 2011 season. This has killed his development, and while he did have a two-homer game just this past week, the dream appears over. Weglarz is a tantalizing reminder that prospects are just that. Injuries and time can derail the best of futures. With that said, Weglarz is only 24-years old. I’d love to see him clear waivers, return to the Indians, rake for the rest of the year, and find himself back on the 40-man. Reality dictates that his time as anything meaningful, at least with the Indians, is over. Good luck Nick, it’s been awhile since you’ve been with the Indians organization at High A, but you are still talked about plenty. Hopefully, we’ll be able to talk about you in the future, with whomever you’re playing for.

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

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