Launching off with the Aeros: 7/9/13 – 7/15/13
Lindor's promotion a silver lining to rough week
The Akron Aeros stumbled a little bit coming out of the Eastern League All-Star break, dropping three of their five games over the past week. The team got a shot in the arm, however, with the news that top prospect Francisco Lindor is joining the team starting tonight.
A hoard of media awaiting Lindor pregame, which is something manager Edwin Rodriguez thinks Lindor will need to get used to.
"I think it is normal," Rodriguez said about the gathered media. "I think he needs to get used to this and the way that people talk about him, he's got to be able to handle all of this. When we talk about development, we're talking on-the-field and off-the-field, and this is the part he needs to handle, and he's been doing it well."
"I think it's a great situation, for us and for the organization," Rodriguez said. "Having three players that eventually are going to be playing in the big leagues, you can't ask for anything better than that. We will find a way to fit all of those guys into a situation that they can have success. That's our job. Their job is just to go out there and play the game."
Fitting those three into the lineup will not include third base, however.
"They've been talking about third base. None of them are third baseman," Rodriguez said. "Just because it's a position on the field doesn't make it the same position... It will be, I think, more second, short, and DHing."
When Carolina manager Dave Wallace told Lindor about his callup, the shortstop originally thought he was being called into the manager's office to talk about the game his team just lost.
"I was kind of mad because we lost," Lindor said. "I went into the clubhouse, I was ready to shower, and Wally [Carolina manager Dave Wallace] said 'put some shorts on and come talk to me.'
"He started talking to me about the Futures Game, what was my schedule like for the game. I told him what I was going to do, and then he said 'well, what if I don't see you until Spring Training?' and I said 'well, that would be great.' He said 'yeah, I'll see you in Spring Training,' and that's when I was like 'oh my God.'"
Wallace was like a father to Lindor during his first two years in the organization -- Wallace coached him both in Lake County and Carolina -- but he is excited to be joining Rodriguez in Akron, a fellow Puerto Rican.
"I got to know him last year," Lindor said. "Everyone in Puerto Rico loves him. They say he's the best at what he does. I strongly believe that and I'm happy to be with him and I'm excited for the year."
Lindor will play in his first game tonight as the Aeros finish out their homestand against the Erie SeaWolves tonight and Wednesday afternoon. After that, the Aeros will go on a seven-game road trip to Harrisburg and Bowie.
Carlos Moncrief, RF
.533/.611/.800 line, .594 wOBA, 8-for-18, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 2:3 SO:BB, 0 SB in 18 PA
I am running out of things to say about Moncrief. I mean, that statline above is certainly a product of the small sample size; no one expects Moncrief to be that good. The way those 18 plate appearances move Moncrief's season line to .309/.383/.494 with a 19.9 K%, however, is huge.
Now that Moncrief is at 377 plate appearances, we cannot call what he has accomplished this season a small sample size. Sure, players can fool us in samples that big, but Moncrief just looks like a big leaguer out there. Plus, considering that he has pulled this off in his first exposure to Double-A, 2013 seems to be proving that Moncrief is a big-time prospect.
I keep saying I would promote Moncrief to Triple-A, so I will say it again; let's see what he can do in Columbus.
Tyler Holt, CF
.429/.455/.476 line, .416 wOBA, 9-for-22, 3 R, 1 2B, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 3:1 SO:BB, 2 SB in 22 PA
Speaking of players who need to be called up to Columbus. Holt struggled early in the season, but now his season line sits at .285/.361/.390 with 21 steals and, after 143 games in Akron, I really think he is ready for Triple-A.
Beyond his hitting stats -- which are solid at worst -- what Holt brings on the basepaths and in the field is his true value. Holt covers a ton of ground in center field and can handle all three outfield positions, making him a fourth-outfielder at worst. When you look at the current outfielders in Columbus -- Tim Fedroff, Ezequiel Carrera, Jeremy Hermida, and Matt Carson -- all of them have some questions on defense.
Holt's bat may not be ready for a call to Cleveland, but if the big league club needed a defensive sub in the outfield, Holt would be their guy. As such, he should be in Columbus getting his bat ready for that eventual call.
Will Roberts, RHP
1 GS, 0-1 W-L, 2.57 ERA, 1.49 FIP, 7.71 SO/9, 0.00 BB/9, 1.00 WHIP 7 H, 2 ER, 6:0 SO:BB in 7.0 IP
Roberts' outing Friday night started off terribly -- a single followed by back-to-back doubles -- but after allowing two runs to the first three batters, the right-hander calmed down. Those were the only two runs Roberts allowed on the night, something helped by the right-handed not allowing any free passes.
That seems to be Roberts' strategy, as he has a meager 5.95 SO/9 in 81.2 innings that he makes up for with a 1.65 BB/9. The results could be better (4.30 ERA, 4.18 FIP), but overall, the right-hander is making things work in his first time at the Double-A level. This is only Roberts' second full season of professional baseball, so maybe the right-hander is starting to put things together after a disappointing 2012.
(Honorable Mentions: Jesus Aguilar, Jordan Cooper, Paolo Espino, Cedric Hunter, Jeff Johnson, Zach McAllister, Matt Packer, Jose Ramirez, Enosil Tejeda)
(Previous Winners: Austin Adams (5/14), Jesus Aguilar (6/18), Rob Bryson (5/21), Chun-Hsiu Chen (4/16, 4/30, 5/14), Cole Cook (5/21), Jordan Cooper (7/9), Jose Flores (5/14, 5/21), Trey Haley (5/14), Tyler Holt (4/23, 5/21), T.J. House (4/9, 4/23), Cedric Hunter (5/28, 7/2), Quincy Latimore (4/16), Jake Lowery (7/9), Carlos Moncrief (4/16, 5/7, 6/11, 6/18, 7/2), Toru Murata (4/9), Brett Myers (5/21), Matt Packer (5/28, 7/2, 7/9), Roberto Perez (6/4), Bryan Price (5/14, 5/21), Jose Ramirez (4/9, 4/30, 6/4, 7/9), Will Roberts (6/11, 7/9), Ronny Rodriguez (5/28, 6/4, 6/18), Danny Salazar (4/23, 4/30, 5/7), Bryce Stowell (5/14), Justin Toole (5/14), Giovanny Urshela (5/7, 6/11), Blake Wood (5/21))
Toru Murata, RHP
1 GS, 0-1 W-L, 5.79 ERA, 6.20 FIP, 1.93 SO/9, 1.93 BB/9, 2.57 WHIP, 11 H, 5 R (3 ER), 1:1 SO:BB, 1 HR in 4.2 IP
My favorite part about Murata's pitching is that he combines an extremely low amount of walks (1.29 BB/9 in 77.0 innings) with a solid number of strikeouts (7.01 SO/9). This is what happens, however, when the strikeouts go away.
The knock on Murata is that he does not have great stuff and that hitters can get to him. This is what happened Sunday, as the Altoona Curve roughed him up for 11 hits in 4.2 innings.
Murata's ERA and FIP have always been great, making his current 4.21 ERA and 3.93 FIP worrisome. At 28 years old, Murata needs a strong finish to the season as his stats in 2013 just are not that good.
Shawn Armstrong & Jose Flores, RHPs & J.D. Reichenbach, LHP
4 G, 0-0 W-L, 18.00 ERA, 6.20 FIP, 6.75 SO/9, 13.50 BB/9, 3.50 WHIP, 8 H, 9 R (8 ER), 3:6 SO:BB, 1 HBP in 4.0 IP
We are going to go ahead and let Reichenbach's poor showing in Akron go (25.20 ERA, 7.80 FIP in 5.0 innings) as, according to Akron Aeros radio play-by-play man Dave Wilson, the left-hander is in the midst of changing his arm slot to a more sidearm position.
We are also going to let Flores go because he had one bad outing and still has great season stats despite a .384 BABIP (3.38 ERA, 2.15 FIP in 42.2 innings).
Armstrong, however, needs to turn his season around. The right-hander has a ton of talent, but after missing 66 games with a right hand contusion, Armstrong needs to make up for lost time and not walk so many batters (6.00 BB/9). I thought Armstrong was following Cody Allen's path to the majors, but clearly the right-hander still has plenty of work to do in Akron.
Ronny Rodriguez, 2B/SS
.227/.227/.318 line, .235 wOBA, 5-for-22, 4 R, 2 2B, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 3:0 SO:BB, 0 SB in 22 PA
Everyone has down weeks and Rodriguez's results on the season (.287/.306/.423 in 334 plate appearances) and since May 14 (.341/.359/.511 in 185 plate appearances) outweigh the middle infielder's past five games.
What is interesting to think about is what happens now that Lindor is joining the Aeros. While one of Rodriguez and Jose Ramirez could be traded, I could see pushing Rodriguez to Columbus. Sure, it would be highly aggressive, but Rodriguez can hit and has shown an ability to rebound from adversity earlier this season.
Rodriguez is still raw, but he has the kind of confidence that could survive being pushed to Triple-A. As long as everyone involved understands that any struggles are to be expected, that could be a way to avoid a logjam in Akron.
(Dishonorable Mentions: Kyle Bellows, Brett Brach, Quincy Latimore, Matt Lawson, Giovanny Urshela, Chris Wallace)
(Previous Losers: Adam Abraham (6/4), Austin Adams (4/23, 5/28), Jesus Aguilar (5/7, 5/14), Shawn Armstrong (4/23), Brett Brach (4/23, 5/28, 7/2, 7/9), Rob Bryson (5/28, 6/18, 7/2), Cole Cook (4/23, 5/14, 5/28, 7/2, 7/9), Jordan Cooper (5/21, 5/28), Paolo Espino (4/16, 5/28), Jose Flores (5/28, 7/2), Trey Haley (5/21, 6/18), Tyler Holt (4/9, 6/11), T.J. House (4/16), Kyle Landis (4/23, 7/2), Quincy Latimore (4/23, 5/21, 5/28, 7/2), Chen-Chang Lee (7/2), Fabio Martinez (4/16), Carlos Moncrief (4/9, 4/30), Toru Murata (4/16, 5/28, 7/9), Brett Myers (5/28), Rob Nixon (5/28), Matt Packer (4/9, 4/16, 4/30), Edward Paredes (4/16, 4/23), Chris Perez (7/2), Bryan Price (5/28), Jose Ramirez (4/16, 5/7, 6/11, 6/18), J.D. Reichenbach (7/2, 7/9), Will Roberts (7/2), Ronny Rodriguez (4/9, 4/23, 5/7, 5/14), Danny Salazar (4/16), Nate Spears (6/4), Enosil Tejeda (7/2), Justin Toole (6/11), Giovanny Urshela (4/9, 4/30, 7/9), Robert Whitenack (4/23, 6/4), Blake Wood (7/2))
See full weekly and yearly Aeros stats here.
I have spent plenty of time writing about first baseman Jesus Aguilar's issues with power, but things may be turning for Aguilar. Since June 1, the first baseman owns a .301/.390/.483 line with a .182 ISO, a much better figure than his .148 season mark.
For this week's Minor Happenings (yes, that is a self-plug; sorry about that), Aeros manager Edwin Rodriguez said that Aguilar changed his swing at the beginning of June and it looks more like a major league swing. While we will need to see how these results hold up, the first 36 games with the new swing have treated Aguilar quite well.
Continuing the theme of this week's Launching off with the Aeros, left-hander Matt Packer and his 3.07 FIP need to be in Columbus. Pairing that FIP with an even stronger 2.58 ERA paints the picture of a pitcher who has conquered the Eastern League. After missing some time due to injuries, Packer is 25 years old and not getting any younger. He does not have overpowering stuff, but what Packer does have is working for him in 2013. It is not like Cleveland is set with left-handed pitching in Triple-A and the majors; call up Packer and see what he can do.
After taking out the relievers mentioned in Temporarily Grounded, the rest of the Akron bullpen dominated over the past week, posting a 1.17 ERA and 1.44 FIP. Right-handers Austin Adams (3.86 ERA, 2.34 FIP in 2.1 innings), Jordan Cooper (0.00 ERA, 2.77 FIP in 2.1 innings), Paolo Espino (0.00 ERA, 1.20 FIP in 4.0 innings), Trey Haley (4.50 ERA, 1.20 FIP in 2.0 innings), newcomer Jeff Johnson (0.00 ERA, 0.20 FIP in 2.0 innings), and Enosil Tejeda (0.00 ERA, 0.95 FIP in 2.2 innings) all looked good and did their jobs. While the big league bullpen is always an adventure, whenever the Aeros go to the bullpen, they are likely to be calling upon a reliever that is fun to watch and will get the job done.
Odds & Ends
Major league right-hander Zach McAllister had a successful rehab outing Saturday, going 3.1 innings with five strikeouts, one walk, and four hits. McAllister did allow two runs, but the bigger takeaway is that McAllister missed bats and showed control. This is a major step in the right direction as McAllister works his way back to the big league club.
Third baseman Giovanny Urshela posted decent numbers on the week (.300/.333/.350 line in 22 plate appearances) and did not strike out, though the lack of power leaves something to be desired. Urshela is a good prospect, but he needs to continue his work on making solid contact more frequently.
Right-hander Brett Brach managed to limit the damage during his start Thursday, but his overall start leaves something to be desired (3.60 ERA, 6.80 FIP in 5.0 innings). Like Murata, Brach's value lies in the way he typically just performs well and that simply is not happening so far in 2013 (4.99 ERA, 4.28 FIP in 70.1 innings).
Second baseman/shortstop Jose Ramirez was pulled from Sunday's game after colliding with Matt Lawson on a popup. Ramirez's right ankle injury is not believed to be serious, but until we see him on the field and healthy, it will be hard to put any nervousness about it to rest.
Outfielder Cedric Hunter made it back to the team after missing about two weeks with a left calf strain. The outfielder has hit while in the lineup (.295/.362/.621 in 105 plate appearances), so hopefully he can stay healthy and on the field going forward.
Infielder/outfielder Adam Abraham (left hamstring strain), right-handers Rob Bryson (right hip strain) and Bryce Stowell (right shoulder strain) and left-hander Mike Rayl (left forearm strain) all remain on the disabled list.
Moves (Like Orbit)
July 9 - RHP Paolo Espino received from Triple-A Columbus
July 12 - LHP J.D. Reichenbach transferred to High-A Carolina
July 12 - RHP Cole Cook transferred to High-A Carolina
July 12 - RHP Jeff Johnson received from High-A Carolina
July 13 - RHP Zach McAllister received from Cleveland on MLB rehab assignment (single game)
If you want to follow Jim on Twitter, he’s @JimPiascik. If you want to e-mail him, you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to read his Master's thesis on college athletes and Twitter, you can do so here.