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Fishing for Mudcats: "The end of the road..."

Fishing for Mudcats: "The end of the road..."
September 6, 2012
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From the Bait Shop:

Here’s the final ‘Fishing With Mudcats,’ focusing on games from Tuesday August 28 through Monday September 3

It's the close of another Carolina League season, and the Mudcats failed to make a push of any kind towards the playoffs. This team was loaded on offense this year, as many of the top ten players in the system found their way here. The issues wasn't talent, but more likely, pitching.

In past seasons, the Kinston Indians has some of the top stars, like Nick Hagadone, Alex White and Drew Pomeranz rolling through their system. The closes they had to that in 2012 was Danny Salazar, who was on limited innings as he came back from surgery. He pitched incredibly well, but in the end, never had the bubble wrap taken off...until he was bumped to Akron.

Past that, this team struggled on the hill, while excelling at the plate. It just goes to show you that good pitching wins championships. Hopefully there's an improvement there in 2013.

Of course, their last week, that pitching staff did some fantastic things...and the team only won two games out of their seven...so what do I know. Maybe I oughta just stick to fishing...

Where We Stand After Week #22:

Second Half Record: 31-39 (2-5 the past week, 63-77 Overall), 3rd Place in the Southern Division second half

Week #22 Games:

August 2012

28 vs. Potomac, L 1-4 (WP: M. Grace; LP: J. Martin; SV: R. Wort)
29 vs. Potomac, W 6-2 (WP: W. Roberts; LP: T. Hill; SV: R. Nixon)
30 vs. Potomac, W 3-1 (WP: J. Cooper; LP: R. Gilliam; SV: G. Sides)
31 vs. Potomac, L 0-3 (WP: M. Swynenberg; LP: B. Suarez; SV: R. Wort)

September 2012

1 @ Frederick, L 2-5 (WP: J. Hammel; LP: M. Rayl)
2 @ Frederick, L 1-2 (WP: D. Walters; LP: J. Johnson)
3 @ Frederick, L 2-5 (WP: T. Howard; LP: W. Roberts; SV: E. Beaulac)

Week #22 Transaction:

09/05/2012 Todd Hankins assigned to Lake County Captains from Carolina Mudcats.
09/05/2012 Jose Flores assigned to Carolina Mudcats from Akron Aeros.
09/05/2012 OF Delvi Cid assigned to Akron Aeros from Carolina Mudcats.
09/05/2012 SS Ronny Rodriguez assigned to Akron Aeros from Carolina Mudcats.
08/28/2012 Mike Rayl assigned to Carolina Mudcats from Akron Aeros.
08/28/2012 Josh Martin assigned to Carolina Mudcats from Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
08/27/2012 LHP Mike Rayl assigned to Akron Aeros from Carolina Mudcats.

The Offense:

Week #22

Player

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG

Alex Monsalve

23

1

5

2

0

0

1

1

4

0.217

Delvi Cid

17

2

4

0

1

1

3

1

7

0.235

Dwight Childs

14

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

5

0.000

Fabio Martinez

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.000

Giovanny Urshela

23

2

7

2

0

2

3

0

3

0.304

Justin Toole

28

1

8

1

1

0

1

1

4

0.286

LeVon Washington

11

1

1

0

0

0

1

0

2

0.091

Marcus Bradley

20

0

5

0

0

0

1

2

5

0.250

Ronny Rodriguez

24

1

5

2

0

1

1

0

5

0.208

Todd Hankins

23

3

5

1

0

0

2

5

8

0.217

Tony Wolters

22

2

4

1

0

2

2

0

5

0.182

Tyler Cannon

24

2

8

1

0

0

0

4

6

0.333

Totals

229

15

52

10

2

6

15

14

54

0.227

The Good…

Tyler Cannon rebounded with a nice final week offensively, after struggling last week. I don’t think this kid is a massive prospect by any stretch, but I think if he’d be given a position, you’d see some offense from this kid. As it stands, I don’t think he makes much advancement with a position, if that makes sense. With that said, Cannon is now one of those utility guys every organization needs. He can play everywhere, and has better offense than most with his defensive skill set.

Justin Toole closed out the season with a nice week. Toole will always be a utility player, and he’s not ever going to be anything more. If he makes the bigs ever, it would be shock, but it will definitely be as a defensive replacement. Any offense he gets you is gravy.

Gio Urshela ended his season on a positive note, and really had a nice season all around. The kid improved his swing, improved his game, and made himself a top 20 prospect in this league. You could make a case that he was a top two or three offensive player on this entire team in 2012, and that’s really saying something. I don’t know if this kid is going to be special, but there are tools there that certainly are worth taking notice.

…the Bad and the Ugly…

I probably should leave LeVon Washington out of this, but rusty or not, his first foray into the Carolina wasn’t all that good. Washington started off the season like a guy possessed, but he got hurt, and the season turned into a wasted one. This year, you have to believe he’s heading here to Carolina for a full time gig. Will he take off?

Tony Wolters ended the season the way he began it…struggling with the bat. Thank goodness that one week doesn’t a season make. Wolters is a top prospect…it’s that simple, and he had a special season. Welcome to Akron kid.

Ronny Rodriguez is heading to Akron for the playoffs, but he’s not heading there on a high note. Again, a week doesn’t a season make, as Rodriguez really burst on the scene this season with a 19-homer ballgame. Let’s hope he continues the offense in Akron.

The Pitching:

Week #22

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA

Benny Suarez (L, 0-1)

3

4

3

3

1

1

0

9.00

Fabio Martinez

2

1

0

0

2

3

0

0.00

Grant Sides (S, 5)

3

1

0

0

1

6

0

0.00

J.D. Reichenbach (H, 6)

3

2

0

0

1

3

0

0.00

Jeff Johnson (L, 0-2)

3.334

3

3

3

1

3

0

8.10

Jordan Cooper (W, 9-7)

7

4

1

0

1

7

0

0.00

Josh Martin (L, 0-1)

9.333

11

5

5

2

8

3

4.82

Kyle Blair

4

3

0

0

0

5

0

0.00

Michael Goodnight

10

7

2

2

4

6

1

1.80

Mike Rayl (L, 10-9)

5

7

5

4

3

3

0

7.20

Rob Nixon (S, 1)

3.667

2

0

0

1

4

0

0.00

Will Roberts (W, 5-9)

12.333

15

5

5

1

9

1

3.65

Starters

37.333

37

16

14

10

26

2

3.38

Relievers

28.334

23

8

8

8

32

3

2.54

Totals

65.667

60

24

22

18

58

5

3.02

The Good…

Jordan Cooper had an outstanding start this week, throwing out a quality start in getting his ninth win. No, the Carolina staff wasn’t really all that special, but there is talent there with guys like Cooper and Roberts and Rayl and Goodnight. These aren’t guys that are going to mow down a starting rotation, but if they’re on, they certainly can log innings, and give quality performances like Coopers.

Rob Nixon is currently my favorite guy on this staff. He keeps throwing up goose-eggs and really finished the season on a high note. I’m sure he’s clamoring for more games this season, to keep this run going. With that said, it will be interesting to see where he starts the 2013 season next year. My guess is right back here in Carolina, but if he shows more big league level stuff, don’t be surprised if he gets a quick bump to Akron, if he doesn’t start there anyways.

Kyle Blair hasn’t had a very good career with the Indians. There’s been some injury issues, but there’s no way you can lean his struggles 100% in that direction. With that said, Blair has put together a strong finish to his season, with three straight ballgames of shutout baseball, going 7 2/3 innings. During that stretch, he’s only given up four hits and a walk, while striking out nine. I’m not sure if he’s turned a corner, but it’s good to see him pitching well. To say that 2013 is a big season for him, likely back in Carolina, would be an understatement. At 24 next season, it will be imperative for him to make a push to move up to Akron, if not Columbus next year.

Grant Sides is another arm that should be really intriguing heading into the 2013 season. He dominated in Lake County, and started off the same way in Carolina, before a stretch of some struggle in late July and August hindered his progress through the system. He rebounded to close out the year with three straight shutout appearances, going five innings and giving up only one hit and a walk, while striking out eight.

Michael Goodnight has a slew of issues right now that has his career in a holding pattern. His solid starts were few and far between, but you could make a case that his best two starts were his last two, in which he went ten innings, giving up only seven hits, two runs and two walks, while striking out six. If this is the guy heading into 2013, then there’s hope that he can be a low-to-mid-level starter for the organization going forward. That’s a BIG question though, if he struggles again in 2013.

J. D. Reichenbach is a guy that has a fairly low ceiling. I’m not saying anything about the guy’s character, but it appeared as though the Indians were setting him up for a career in this system similar to a guy like Eric Berger…where he could make some starts here and there, and return to a bullpen role when he wasn’t needed to fill spots. This season, they kept him strictly in the pen, where he struggled, having only one month where the ERA was below four. He did make a couple of nice closing appearances, but he’s now 25 years old, and his chances of making any significant moves are likely gone.

…the Bad and the Ugly…

There wasn’t a lot of bad in this rotation or bullpen this week, as the starters came through with a 3.38 ERA, while the relievers did them nearly a run better. Mike Rayl has been one of the better pitchers on this team this season, but he closed his year out with a stinker of a start, which perhaps had more to do with a spot start in Akron, than anything else. Jeff Johnson could never really find his groove, and ended will likely start the season up here in Carolina in 2013, hoping for a better jump start. Benny Suarez got a peek at High A baseball, and while he pitched well, not in his last spot start.

Week #21 Awards:

Hitter of Week #22: Giovanny Urshela
Pitcher of Week #21: Jordan Cooper
Player of Week #21: Giovanny Urshela

The Archives:

The Hitters

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
Hitter of Week 7: Tyler Holt
Hitter of Week 8: Tony Wolters
Hitter of Week 9: Jesus Aguilar
Hitter of Week 10: Tyler Cannon
Hitter of the First Half: Jesus Aguilar
Hitter of Week 12: Jesus Aguilar
Hitter of Week 13: Jesus Aguilar
Hitter of Week 14: Tony Wolters
Hitter of Week 15: Bo Greenwell
Hitter of Week 16: Carlos Moncrief
Hitter of Week 17: Delvi Cid
Hitter of Week #18: Tony Wolters
Hitter of Week #19: Giovanny Urshela
Hitter of Week #20: Tyler Cannon
Hitter of Week #21: Giovanny Urshela

The Pitchers

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
Pitcher of Week 7: Shawn Armstrong
Pitcher of Week 8: Kyle Petter
Pitcher of Week 9: Kyle Blair
Pitcher of Week 10: Tyler Sturdevant
Pitcher of the First Half: Shawn Armstrong
Pitcher of Week 12: Grant Sides
Pitcher of Week 13: Michael Goodnight
Pitcher of Week 14: Mike Rayl
Pitcher of Week 15: Matt Packer
Pitcher of Week 16: Danny Salazar
Pitcher of Week 17: Michael Goodnight
Pitcher of Week #18: Mike Rayl
Pitcher of Week #18: Mike Rayl
Pitcher of Week #20: Rob Nixon
Pitcher of Week #21: Rob Nixon

The Players of the Week

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
Player of Week 7: Tyler Holt
Player of Week 8: Tony Wolters
Player of Week 9: Jesus Aguilar
Player of Week 10: Tyler Cannon
MVP of the First Half: Jesus Aguilar
Player of Week 12: Jesus Aguilar
Player of Week 13: Jesus Aguilar
Player of Week 14: Mike Rayl
Player of Week 15: Mike Greenwell
Player of Week 16: Carlos Moncrief
Player of Week 17: Delvi Cid
Player of Week 18: Mike Rayl
Player of Week #19: Giovanny Urshela
Player of Week 20: Rob Nixon
Player of Week #21: Jordan Cooper

Here Comes 2012:

April 5, 2013

The View Astern:

Every year, it’s always a bit hard to see a season end. Here in Carolina, the quality players leave for good, unless they find their way into a major slump, or get injured. Guys like Ronny Rodriguez, Tony Wolters, Jesus Aguilar, Carlos Moncrief and Giovanny Urshela make their splash, and head upwards, back to Ohio, heading to the bigs. The Mudcats of 2012 weren’t as good as the Kinston Indians of 2012 and 2011 as a team, but they had some scintillating players this season, and thanks to some really good coaching, really made some progress heading towards High A. Scooter Tucker needs some deserved credit as a guy who really turned some corners for some of these kids that struggled with parts of their swings. It was an interesting staff this year, with a former major league manager, a former all-star pitcher, and a former Indian in Tucker, who may have been the best of the three.

Don’t forget to tune in next week…for my last ‘Fishing for Mudcats,’ as we look at the top ten players here in Carolina this season, find out the players of the year, and take a quick glimpse into the crystal ball at 2013. You thought 2012 was good? Wait until you see what 2013 has in the cards…

Have a beautiful day everybody…

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 jpete@indiansprospectinsider.com.

User Comments

Jim
September 6, 2012 - 11:06 PM EDT
It will be interesting to see what happens with the staff...

Will it be the same as this year? If it were me, I'd keep Scooter Tucker right where he is...then start to move him up with this group coming up from Lake County...if he can take the group coming to him further...talk about scary...

I know one fan that's really...REALLY looking forward to covering this team next season...
Norm
September 6, 2012 - 7:43 PM EDT
The Carolina staff deserves a big vote of thanks, IMO. They took a very young IF, which had potential, and made the group ready for the big step to AA. They took modest starting pitching and did the best they could with little discernable help from LC in the way of replacements. They had lots of excellent relief help go thru the club but little spent the time. Catching and the OF were inconsistent at best but there was not a lot of potential ML talent to work with.

These guys deserve all the talent that I suspect is coming their way with position players after this year. Maybe the starting pitching will get some ML prospect worthy talent throughout the year as well but they should be fun to watch.

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