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Fishing for Mudcats: Tyler Naquin takes over...

Fishing for Mudcats: Tyler Naquin takes over...
June 2, 2013
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From the Bait Shop:

The Carolina Mudcats are clearly an enigma.

No, I wouldn’t say that I can’t figure out why Carolina doesn’t win ballgames. It’s fairly simple: when you score less runs than the team you’re playing, you just don’t win.

The big question is why. This team can hit. The Muddies are currently leading the league with a .269 average, which is 13 points above second place Lynchburg.  They are also tied for first with a .336 OBP, and lead the league with 115 doubles. Lynchburg is a half-game out of first, has won ten more games than Carolina, and has scored 35 more runs than the Mudcats in one less game.

They just can’t get the runners home. They’re last in home runs and RBI, and strand runners at a curious rate. Last night, they stranded 12 out of 13 runners, which is a microcosm of their issues.

Their pitching is a bit misleading. They are second to last with a 4.24 ERA, but it’s a bit bloated thanks to implosions by two or three guys every week. Their starters have been solid for the past two weeks, and the top relievers on the staff seem to be pitching well. There always just seems to be that one player that gives up multiple runs in an inning or two that destroys the ERA overall.

This week, the starters went a solid 1-1 with a 3.31 ERA, while the relievers went 1-4 with a 6.04 ERA. Again, that relief ERA was bloated thanks to two relievers giving up nine runs in three total innings. While there were some struggling appearances past them, nothing to that extent.

The team really struggles to get key hits, and on top of that, don’t have the consistent arms in the bullpen to hold close games. That’s not a good combination. There’s irony here as well, as most of the big arms sail right through Carolina.

Let’s hope that someone can root down a bit to help this club out in the second half.

Let’s get fishing.

Where we stand after Week #8:

2013 Carolina League Current Standings
Carolina League Northern
Club W L PCT GB Streak
Potomac Nationals (WSH) 30 24 0.556 - W4
Lynchburg Hillcats (ATL) 29 24 0.547 0.5 L2
Frederick Keys (BAL) 29 25 0.537 1 L1
Wilmington Blue Rocks (KC) 28 27 0.509 2.5 W1
Carolina League Southern
Club W L PCT GB Streak
Myrtle Beach Pelicans (TEX) 30 24 0.556 - W1
Winston-Salem Dash (CWS) 28 26 0.519 2 W2
Salem Red Sox (BOS) 22 30 0.423 7 L1
Carolina Mudcats (CLE) 19 35 0.352 11 L3

Week #8 Games:

May 2013 (all times local unless noted)
26 vs. Winston-Salem, L 4-11 (WP: M. Peterson; LP: F. Martinez)
27 vs. Wilmington, W 13-8 (WP: J. Reichenbach; LP: M. Culver)
28 vs. Wilmington, L 0-6 (WP: J. Lamb; LP: F. Valera)
29 vs. Wilmington, W 3-0 (WP: S. Morimando; LP: T. Sample; SV: J. Johnson)
30 vs. Wilmington, L 3-4 (WP: K. Smith; LP: M. Peoples; SV: A. Cruz)
31 @ Winston-Salem, L 3-8 (WP: M. Jaye; LP: F. Jimenez; SV: C. Winiarski)
June 2013 (all times local unless noted)
1 @ Winston-Salem, L 2-3 (WP: B. Hardin; LP: F. Valera; SV: M. Peterson)

This Week’s Transactions:

Date  Description
5/31/2013 Rob Nixon assigned to Carolina Mudcats from Akron Aeros.
5/30/2013 Carolina Mudcats activated 1B Jerrud Sabourin from the 7-day disabled list.
5/30/2013 Carolina Mudcats placed RHP Owen Dew on the 7-day disabled list. right shoulder strain
5/30/2013 2B Joseph Sever assigned to Lake County Captains from Carolina Mudcats.
5/30/2013 2B Justin Toole assigned to Carolina Mudcats from Akron Aeros.
5/29/2013 SS Yhoxian Medina assigned to Lake County Captains from Carolina Mudcats.
5/27/2013 RHP Robert Whitenack assigned to Akron Aeros from Carolina Mudcats.
5/27/2013 RHP Michael Peoples assigned to Carolina Mudcats from Lake County Captains.
5/27/2013 RHP Rob Nixon assigned to Akron Aeros from Carolina Mudcats.
5/27/2013 RHP Francisco Valera assigned to Carolina Mudcats from Columbus Clippers.
5/24/2013 RHP Enosil Tejeda assigned to Akron Aeros from Carolina Mudcats.
5/24/2013 RHP Fabio Martinez assigned to Carolina Mudcats from Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
5/21/2013 Carolina Mudcats activated 2B Joe Wendle from the 7-day disabled list.
5/19/2013 Carolina Mudcats placed 1B Jerrud Sabourin on the 7-day disabled list.
5/19/2013 OF Bo Greenwell assigned to Carolina Mudcats from Akron Aeros.
5/19/2013 Tony Wolters assigned to Carolina Mudcats from Mahoning Valley Scrappers.

The Offense:

Batters AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS
Joseph Sever
0.600 4 15 3 9 1 0 0 3 0 3 0 0 0.600 0.667 1.267
Yhoxian Medina
0.500 1 4 0 2 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0.500 0.750 1.250
Luigi Rodriguez 0.400 5 15 4 6 3 0 0 4 3 4 0 0 0.500 0.600 1.100
Charlie Valerio
0.364 3 11 2 4 0 0 0 1 1 3 0 0 0.417 0.364 0.780
Bo Greenwell
0.348 6 23 6 8 2 1 1 5 1 4 0 0 0.375 0.652 1.027
Zach MacPhee
0.333 4 9 1 3 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0.400 0.333 0.733
Tyler Naquin
0.313 7 32 2 10 4 0 0 0 1 7 0 0 0.333 0.438 0.771
Ryah Battaglia
0.278 6 18 0 5 2 0 0 2 1 6 0 0 0.316 0.389 0.705
Jordan Smith
0.240 7 25 2 6 1 0 0 2 2 4 2 0 0.296 0.280 0.576
Joseph Wendle
0.200 6 25 4 5 2 0 2 3 0 3 0 0 0.200 0.520 0.720
Justin Toole
0.182 3 11 0 2 0 0 0 1 1 3 1 0 0.250 0.182 0.432
Jerrud Sabourin
0.167 2 6 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0.143 0.167 0.310
Tony Wolters
0.143 6 21 2 3 1 0 0 0 4 6 0 1 0.280 0.190 0.470
Francisco Lindor
0.107 7 28 2 3 2 0 0 2 2 8 1 1 0.161 0.179 0.340

Offensive Player of the Week: Bo Greenwell:

Once again, this award could have gone to three or four different guys, but I have to give the nod to Bo Greenwell. If you don’t know Greenwell’s backstory, he’s the son of former Major Leaguer Mike Greenwell, who toiled for the Red Sox from 1985-1996. Greenwell’s been with the Indians since he was drafted in 2007.

While he’s never been a top prospect, he’s always been a bit a solid player, sometimes flashing a plus bat, good speed, and solid defense. He reached Kinston in 2010, and appeared to be a short-timer, hitting .292. He led the team in batting, and led the league in hitting for much of the first half of the season. Injuries really hurt him though.

He started the year off in Kinston again in 2011, but figured to find his way to Akron by mid-season, once a spot opened up.  He was hit in the hand by a pitch in early June, and crushed his finger. He had to have surgery to reshape and reconstruct the finger. He returned in the rookie league for a bit, then headed back to Kinston for a week, and for the playoffs.

When the season was over, he went right to the Instructs and the Parallel League, and promptly tore his ACL. He would return to Carolina for a third season in High A for 46 games in 2012, and after 10 games at Akron in 2013 after an injury delayed his season, he’s back at Carolina for a fourth year in a row.

This week, Green led the team with six runs, had the team’s only triple, was one of only two players to hit a home run, and led the team with five RBI.

It’ll be hard to see Greenwell becoming a major leaguer at this point, but what a great week for one of the most persevering players in the system.

Hitter of the Week 1: Bryson Myles
Hitter of the Week 2: Joseph Wendle
Hitter of the Week 3: Charlie Valerio
Hitter of the Week4: Francisco Lindor
Hitter of the Week5: Jordan Smith
Hitter of the Week6: Tyler Naquin
Hitter of the Week7: Francisco Lindor

The best of the rest:

I really wanted to put Joe Sever in the top spot, but I had a hard time doing it because the Indians demoted him mid-week. I’m less worried about that, and more concerned with the fact that he only played in four of the seven ballgames. Still, Sever nearly led the team with nine hits, coming one short of Tyler Naquin, who had 10 hits in three more games. His thanks was a bump to Lake County. The joys of minor league baseball.

Luigi Rodriguez has really been one of the better offensive players on the team for the past two weeks. Since May 16th, his slash over that 11 game stretch is .361/.477/.500, with five doubles, five RBI, eight walks and 11 K. His speed has been down a bit, but he continues to showcase the type of skill that could ultimately make him a top five prospect. He has to be more selective…more consistently.

Tyler Naquin has now become the most consistent hitter on the team. By the end of next week, I suspect he’ll be leading the team in hitting, and I firmly believe that he’ll lead the Carolina League in hitting if he sticks around. I just don’t think he’ll be stiking around. His one area of struggle is that bat. He strikes out way too much. He led the team with ten hits, but also led the team with seven strikeouts, against only one walk.

Charlie Valerio hit .364 in the three games that he played, but no extra base hits, which is his calling card with this team. Zach MacPhee hit .333 in his three games, but only scored a run without an extra base hit or RBI.

In the Mud:

Last week I talked about my worry as Lindor heads towards 200 at bats, and ultimately 250 at bats. He just crossed the 200 at bat threshold, and he clearly had his worst offensive week of the year. He went 3-for-28, with two doubles, two RBI and two walks, and led the team with eight K’s. That’s not typical Francisco Lindor material. He rarely strikes out a lot. Not too much to worry about, but something to note as we continue through June.

Tony Wolters offense took a dip in week two, hitting only .143. Jerrud Sabourin returned, but only hit .167, disappointing the Sabour-tooth Tigers everywhere. Justin Toole returned to Carolina after shredding in Akron, and got shredded, only hitting .182 on the week. Welcome back Tooley, you deserve better.

The Pitching:

Pitchers W L ERA G GS SV SVO IP H R ER HR HB BB IBB SO WHIP AVG
J.D. Reichenbach
1 0 0.00 3 0 0 0 4 3 3 0 0 0 2 0 2 1.25 0.200
Jeff Johnson
0 0 0.00 2 0 1 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 2.00 0.167
Grant Sides
0 0 0.00 2 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 3 1 9 0.75 0.000
Shawn Morimando
1 0 0.00 1 1 0 0 6 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 8 0.83 0.150
Michael Goodnight
0 0 1.93 3 0 0 0 4.667 1 1 1 0 2 6 0 4 1.50 0.077
Cody Anderson
0 0 3.27 2 2 0 0 11 10 4 4 1 0 4 0 13 1.27 0.244
Jacob Lee
0 0 3.60 1 1 0 0 5 5 4 2 0 0 3 0 1 1.60 0.238
Nick Pasquale
0 0 3.86 1 1 0 0 4.666 5 3 2 0 0 3 0 1 1.71 0.294
Michael Peoples
0 1 6.00 1 1 0 0 6 7 4 4 1 0 2 0 7 1.50 0.304
Francisco Valera 0 2 7.50 2 1 0 0 6 7 5 5 1 0 4 0 7 1.83 0.280
Francisco Jimenez 0 1 7.71 3 0 0 0 4.667 6 7 4 0 1 2 0 3 1.71 0.300
Fabio Martinez 0 1 19.29 2 0 0 1 2.333 2 5 5 0 1 6 0 1 3.43 0.286
Owen Dew 0 0 54.00 1 0 0 1 0.667 2 4 4 2 0 2 0 0 6.00 0.500

Pitcher of the Week: Shawn Morimando

I certainly could have given this award to Cody Anderson again, but his second start was below-par for him, and Morimando was outstanding in his one outing. Morimando came into the year as a co-ace of sorts with Cody Anderson. While many in the organization felt that Anderson had a bit more upside, there was enough question about both to make their seasons interesting as they pitched side-by-side at Five County Stadium.

Anderson has claimed the ace-role, but while that sounds like a knock on Morimando, it’s not. He’s been outstanding in his own right…just not as consistently outstanding.

Morimando has had  a couple of starts this year in which he’s given up five earned runs out of his ten total starts, which has dropped his ERA down to 3.18. He’s also struggled striking hitters out, and that out pitch is the one thing that has separated Morimando from Anderson.

Then came this week.

Anderson dropped the hammer on Wilmington, going six total innings, while striking out a season-best eight hitters, and only walking two. He didn’t give up a run either.

The other concern is how he pitches away from Five County Stadium and that massive wall that surrounds the outfield. While Anderson sees a bit of a rise in his ERA (1.55 at home, to 3.41 on the road), Morimando’s is a bit more pronounced (2.31 to 5.06). Is the stadium helping Morimando out?

Not if he’s striking out eight. You can do that anywhere.

Pitcher of the Week 1: Cody Anderson
Pitcher of the Week 2: Shawn Morimando
Pitcher of the Week 3: Cody Anderson
Pitcher of the Week4: Owen Dew
Pitcher of the Week5: Cody Anderson
Pitcher of the Week6: Cody Anderson

The best of the rest:

J.D. Reichenbach rebounded with three solid outings. He didn’t give up a run in four innings pitched overall, which is exactly what you want from him. Jeff Johnson also came back from a bad week.  He made it into two games without giving up a run. He did walk three though, without striking a batter out. Who is this Grant Sides guy? He’s been terrible for the most part this year, but this week went four innings over two games, without giving up a hit or a run. He did give up three walks in the four innings, but struck out 9. That’s out of 12, by the way. I won’t give up on Michael Goodnight. I really think if he figures things out, he could be a tremendous reliever. He made three appearances, and only gave up one hit in 4 2/3 innings. Yeah, he walked six…shhhhh. Cody Anderson is more than an afterthought this week. He “struggled” in a start, but only gave up two runs in five innings. Overall, he gave up four runs in 11 innings, and struck out 13. This kid can pitch, and will travel.

In the Mud:

Owen Dew got crushed, then went on the DL. I worry about that, as Dew missed the entire 2012 season. Fabio Martinez got absolutely smoked again this week. Can we please…PLEASE move on from Fabio? Please?

Next Week’s Fishing Expedition:

The View Astern:

Three different Mudcats have led the league in hits at different points of the season. Joe Wendle, Francisco Lindor, and now, Tyler Naquin have all been at the top of the league. Naquin is really taking off. He’s had back-to-back three-hit games, has had three three-hit games in his last eight, and five multi-hit games in his last nine. Overall, Naquin has nine three-hit games, and 17 multi-hit games. I’m frankly tired of listening to the garbage about him being a fourth outfielder. There’s more to this kid, and I absolutely could see him roll into right field in the next year or two in place of Drew Stubbs. They are the same type of player, IF Naquin can develop a bit of power.

The Muddies have lost 16 games by one run. Now imagine if they had better relievers and could drive in runs.

Bryson Myles…where are you?

#WASHTIME

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
June 2, 2013 - 10:59 PM EDT
I'm not bullish on any starter with the Captains, if you want to know the truth. The most intriguing guys may be Joe Colon and Elvis Araujo, and their on the shelf in Carolina...

This organization has not starting pitching to speak of, and think that some overrate the lower minors. Past Anderson and maybe Morimondo, I don't see much.

As per the SS situation...I could honestly see a situation where the Indians move someone down in Akron, or even move someone up. The writing is on the wall for Juan Diaz. Perhaps he moves down...

Of course, Justin Toole could easily be a stopgap...and they have other similar guys...
Norm
June 2, 2013 - 8:42 PM EDT
Nice write Jim. I think it is pretty clear that Naquin and Lindor are destined for Akron pretty soon, especially since both are over 200 plate attempts and are strong defensively. With Myles coming back and #Washtime looking good to promote from LC, I am not worried about the OF. SS is different. Paulino is just getting untracked at LC( I hope)and really is not ready and I would hate to demote either of the MI from Akron so I don't like the options.

Muddies look like a team where the parts are better than the sum which isn't bad organizationally. It looks to me like the RP is a disaster and starting depth is inconsistent. but there is some value to the parent club talent wise.

Do you see any pitching help from LC?

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