Minor Happenings: Haley Starting To Put It Together
Sometimes things are better late than never, and that’s the theme for Minor Happenings this week. The piece is extremely short this week and also very late mostly because I have battled a bad stomach virus as well as made the trek this past Thursday to Myrtle Beach where I will be seeing High-A Kinston in action for a few games starting tonight.
A regular and much more thorough version of Minor Happenings, perhaps even two parts, will post at the end of the week.
Onto the Happenings…
Indians Minor League Player of the Week
(for games from April 29 to May 5)
Trey Haley (Right-handed Pitcher – Lake County)
2-0, 0.64 ERA, 2 Games, 14.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 HR, 4 BB, 12 K
What a week Low-A Lake County right-handed pitcher Trey Haley had last week, and he is the epitome of how fun it is to watch a talented 19-year old develop and grow into a pitcher right before your eyes. Unlike last year he is now using his entire four-pitch arsenal, throwing both his two-seamer and four-seamer at will and mixing in an excellent curveball and a much improved changeup.
The biggest key for Haley though has been much improved command of his pitches where he is throwing consistent strikes and hitting his spots. Last year in 77.2 innings he walked 65 batters (7.5 BB/9), but this year in 36.2 innings he has more than cut the walk rate in half as he has only walked 16 batters (3.9 BB/9). He has also shown a lot more maturity on the mound this year. He’s a big competitor, but often times last year his youth and inexperience often showed through as when he struggled things seemed to snowball on him. This year, however, he looks better prepared to handle adversity and keep the damage to a minimum when things are not going right.
“He has been close the whole year as he has not been very lucky when he was out there his first few starts,” said Lake County Pitching Coach Mickey Callaway the day after Haley’s sensational seven shutout, nine strikeout performance last Tuesday May 4th. “He kind of figured some of it out his previous outing as he had three walks and three strikeouts. He was really using his pitches well. He elevated it in his last outing and used his pitches better as he had very good command of the zone and actually pitched. He is a lot more mature than last year from what I hear. He has a lot of confidence, and that’s going to make him successful. He matures daily; it’s unbelievable really.”
Kelvin De la Cruz (LHP – KIN): 1-0, 1.35 ERA, 2 G, 13.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 HR, 3 BB, 14 K
Shelley Duncan (OF – COL): .350 (7-20), 3 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K
Jared Goedert (INF – AKR): .364 (8-22), 5 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K
Beau Mills (1B – AKR): .417 (10-24), 6 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 2 BB, 0 K
Cord Phelps (2B – AKR): .455 (10-22), 3 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 7 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K
Nick Weglarz (OF – AKR): .391 (9-23), 6 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 4 K
04/22 to 04/28: Jason Donald (INF – Columbus)
04/15 to 04/21: Bo Greenwell (OF – Lake County)
04/08 to 04/14: Carlos Santana (C – Columbus)
Coach’s Corner: Phil Clark
Low-A Lake County hitting coach Phil Clark is in his first season with the Captains and his fourth season overall as a coach in the Indians minor league system. After retiring from baseball as a player in 2000, back in 2007 a formed Indians player that he is good friends with connected him to the team and he ultimately landed a job with the Indians. Last week I had a chance to sit down and talk to him about some of the hitters he has been working with so far this year:
On Bo Greenwell: “I had him for his first year of pro ball back in 2007. He has made tremendous adjustments in his swing ability and setup, and I think it has all come together this year. He feels good about himself, which what I like about him as well is his confidence level. What I am seeing is he is learning to excel. Right now what I think it pushing him is his inner self. He is a competitor and learning from his mistakes, which is important for hitters as if they have a bad at bat to come back and regroup and figure out what is going wrong. He is starting to notice what pitchers are throwing, and our conversations are really starting to get advanced, so I like what he is doing right now.”
On Jeremie Tice: “Coming in we spent a lot of time talking just about him and what he has done in the past and what he went through last year (injuries). One of the things we did with Tice is we got his bottom hand and elbow strengthened and coordinated. I feel like now mechanically he is in a good place and his swing path is good, just right now we are working on the mental part of baseball as he is still getting himself out at times. With him it is just kind of balancing him out and we are starting to see some good stuff. Right now he is trying to focus on driving balls through the middle of the field. Pretty soon we should start seeing some power from him once he gets to know his swing better. It’s him getting comfortable with his swing and ability, and I think he is going to hit some homers this year. I don’t have any doubt about that.”
On Casey Frawley: “That bat to ball ability [is something we like]. I had him last year, and he is probably one of the few players I have spent hardly any time working on mechanics. I am very careful with him as he seems to have a good feel for his swing. Basically I let Casey come to me with questions, and our conversations are usually about approach. He’s a pretty solid player I think.”
On Greg Folgia: “He’s a guy who is just inconsistent. He’ll go up and put some good swings and at bats together, and there is just an inconsistency situation there that we are trying to balance with him. I don’t expect for him to be 100% like a major league hitter, but one of our challenges this year is on a daily basis let’s try to do the same thing. He may not get the same results everyday, but still just try to stay consistent in thoughts and approach and he’ll get pretty close to it. He’s a guy for me who no doubt has some pretty good bat to ball ability, there are just some grey areas where he just needs to be consistent.”
On Delvi Cid: “We had a heavy load to start out and threw some things at him. He is young still and has some raw ability. With him it’s a case where his left-handed side when he came into the season his swing path, balance and body was a little off. So one of the things we have done with him is we have taken him back to some of the things he has done a couple years ago, and he has responded very well to that. He is a visual kid, as if he sees things and likes it he can imitate that. That’s kind of what we are doing with him right now. So he is starting to pick it up a little bit and get it going again.”
On Argenis Martinez: “He has a tendency to have a rotational swing where he is allowing his body to swing the bat. He is having to separate his hands for a nice fluid, quick swing from his body swing. He is getting better and progressing all the time. I look at his numbers right now, and I am pretty sure by the end of the season he will be doing pretty good with them.”
Indians Minor League Player of the Month
Bo Greenwell (Outfielder – Lake County)
.405 (32-79), 22 R, 7 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 23 RBI, 11 BB, 9 K, 7 SB, 1.142 OPS
Low-A Lake County outfielder Bo Greenwell was a guy marked on a lot of lists coming into this season as an Indians prospect on the rise who could break into the Top 20-30 prospect rankings this coming offseason. So far he has lived up to that hype as we are quickly running out of superlatives to identify his spectacular play to date. When you go out and beat out the likes of Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis for Player of the Month honors, you know it was a pretty special month.
Greenwell has started to cool off of late as in his last eight games he is hitting just 5-for-26 (.192 AVG), showing that he is not superman and is mortal. He is still hitting .352 with 4 HR, 27 RBI, and a 1.020 OPS in 29 games this year, and even with the small cold spell he is still 2nd in the organization in batting average (Cord Phelps, .370), 2nd in RBI (Shelley Duncan, 31), and 2nd in stolen bases (Delvi Cid, 13).
To make note of a few other players, Triple-A Columbus catcher Carlos Santana used a monster opening week of the season to propel him to a very good month, and his teammate outfielder Jose Constanza is off to a blazing start in Columbus as well. Double-A Akron infielder Jared Goedert showed flashes of his sensational April/May 2007 performance which put him on the prospect map, and High-A Kinston outfielder Jason Kipnis and left-handed pitcher Nick Hagadone are off to great starts at the High-A level.
Jose Constanza (OF – COL): .365 (19-52), 15 R, 4 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 6 BB, 3 K, 4 SB, 1.008 OPS
Carlos Santana (C – COL): .303 (20-66), 13 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 16 BB, 9 K, 3 SB, 1.043 OPS
Frank Herrmann (RHP – COL): 1-0-2, 0.90 ERA, 8 games, 10.0 IP, 7 H, 0 HR, 5 BB, 6 K, .200 BAA
Jared Goedert (INF – AKR): .351 (20-57), 6 R, 4 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 16 RBI, 5 BB, 15 K, 0 SB, .858 OPS
Cord Phelps (2B – AKR): .382 (26-68), 12 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 7 BB, 9 K, 1 SB, .940 OPS
Jason Kipnis (2B – KIN): .380 (27-71), 16 R, 4 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 7 BB, 14 K, 1 SB, 1.050 OPS
Nick Hagadone (LHP – KIN): 0-1, 0.56 ERA, 4 games, 16.0 IP, 13 H, 0 HR, 8 BB, 20 K, .220 BAA
Bryce Stowell (RHP – KIN): 1-0, 0.63 ERA, 7 games, 14.1 IP, 15 H, 0 HR, 6 BB, 12 K, .259 BAA
Casey Frawley (2B – LC): .361 (22-61), 10 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 7 BB, 8 K, 3 SB, .885 OPS
Chris Jones (LHP – LC): 2-1, 1.69 ERA, 5 games, 16.0 IP, 9 H, 1 HR, 1 BB, 17 K, .161 BAA
Francisco Jimenez (LHP – LC): 4-0, 1.84 ERA, 6 games, 14.2 IP, 10 H, 1 HR, 1 BB, 11 K, .200 BAA
Here are a few players in the system who performed well below expected levels in April. Obviously none of these guys are “fools” per se, but they put up poor performances which were not at all expected going in, so we can only think (hope) that it was just a bad month for most of them.
Rondon and Barnes were about as bad as they could be from a performance perspective in April, though each time out both are surely working on their development and improving in other areas not shown in the line score. Mills appeared to suffer from a Double-A hangover the first month and appears to finally be snapping out of it. Rivero is a tough one to figure out and get behind as he is so often hyped and talked about, but often delivers so little. Abreu got off to another one of his patented slow April starts, and with May here we will see if he gets hot or if he truly is struggling with High-A pitching (I believe it is the latter). Webb and Cid are two center field prospects who performed well last year who were thought capable of making a jump this year, and still might. Last, Toregas has not done much at all at Akron, though would still be in line for a major league job in Cleveland if Mike Redmond or Lou Marson were to get hurt and miss any significant length of time.
Hector Rondon (RHP – COL): 0-3, 9.13 ERA, 5 G, 22.2 IP, 35 H, 23 ER, 8 HR, 9 BB, 22 K, .347 BAA
Beau Mills (1B – AKR): .169 (12-71), 9 R, 5 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 4 BB, 9 K, .505 OPS
Carlos Rivero (SS – AKR): .211 (15-71), 8 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 8 BB, 17 K, .525 OPS
Wyatt Toregas (C – AKR): .204 (10-49), 3 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 5 BB, 7 K, .592 OPS
Scott Barnes (LHP – AKR): 0-2, 8.80 ERA, 4 G, 15.1 IP, 19 H, 11 BB, 15 K, .297 BAA
Abner Abreu (OF- KIN): .230 (17-74), 12 R, 5 2b, 1 3B, 0 HR, 9 RBI, 5 BB, 28 K, .603 OPS
Donnie Webb (OF – KIN): .213 (10-47), 6 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 15 K, 1 SB, .515 OPS
Delvi Cid (OF – LC): .195 (15-77), 11 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 21 K, 9 SB, .452 OPS
There has been a flurry of activity of late, so I will catch everyone up with all of the official transactions in a listing below. Please note, some moves on Saturday were made which are not listed below since they are not official (though have happened): left-handed Kelvin De La Cruz has been promoted to Double-A Akron, left-hander Ryan Edell was released, right-hander Brian Grening was sent to High-A Kinston, and right-handed starter Joe Gardner has been promoted to Kinston.
Columbus Clippers - LF Jordan Brown activated from 7-day DL
Columbus Clippers - C Damaso Espino assigned to Mahoning Valley Scrappers
Kinston Indians - RHP Alexander Perez activated from 7-day DL
Kinston Indians - LHP T.J. House assigned to Lake County Captains
Columbus Clippers - RHP Hector Ambriz recalled from Major League Rehab Assignment
Columbus Clippers - IF Niuman Romero traded to Boston Red Sox for cash
Kinston Indians - LHP T.J. House assigned from Lake County Captains
Kinston Indians - RHP Brett Brach assigned to Extended Spring Training
Miscellaneous - RHP Rafael Vera (Extended Spring Training) traded to Chicago White Sox for cash
Columbus Clippers - RHP Joe Smith optioned from Cleveland Indians
Columbus Clippers - RHP Steven Wright optioned to Akron Aeros
Akron Aeros - C Miguel Perez assigned from Mahoning Valley Scrappers
Akron Aeros - C Alex Castillo assigned to Mahoning Valley Scrappers
Akron Aeros - RHP Steven Wright received from Columbus Clippers
Akron Aeros - RHP Erik Stiller placed on 7-day DL
Akron Aeros - RHP Kerry Wood received on Major League Rehab assignment
Lake County Captains - OF Jason Smit activated from 7-day DL
Lake County Captains - OF Chris Kersten assigned to Mahoning Valley Scrappers
Columbus Clippers - SS Brian Bixler placed on 7-day DL
Columbus Clippers - OF Jerad Head assigned from Akron Aeros disabled list
Akron Aeros - C Damaso Espino assigned from Mahoning Valley Scrappers
Akron Aeros - C Miguel Perez assigned to Mahoning Valley Scrappers
Columbus Clippers - RHP Jensen Lewis assigned from Cleveland Indians
Akron Aeros - RHP Kerry Wood recalled from Major League Rehab assignment
Akron Aeros - RHP Bryan Price activated from 7-day DL
Follow Tony and the Indians Prospect Insider on Twitter @tlastoria. His new book the 2010 Cleveland Indians Top 100 Prospects & More is also available for purchase on Amazon.com or his site.