Minor Happenings: Scott Lewis Returns To Akron
"Minor Happenings" covers the important developments and news in the Indians farm system. While most of the information in this report is from my own research and through interviews I have conducted with organizational personnel, some information in this report is collected and summarized from the various news outlets that cover each team.
I'll be in Lake County tonight to see the Captains again and get a look at left-handed starter Ryan Morris for a feature piece that is coming soon. If you missed them, be sure to check out feature pieces on Lake County outfielder Roman Pena and Buffalo first baseman Jordan Brown which posted earlier this week. Also, I talked to a major league scout for another team last week and got some good insight on how their organization views some of the Indians prospects.
Indians Minor League Player Of The Week
(for week of June 5th through June 11th)
Jim Deters (Right-handed Pitcher - Kinston)
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 games, 10 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K
Kinston right-hander Jim Deters had a heck of a return to the starting rotation last Thursday. Making his third sport start of the season, Deters went on to throw a complete game nine-inning shutout allowing just three hits, no walks, and struck out five in 87 pitches. Deters must have been in a celebratory mood as his great game came just a day after his 25th birthday and on the same night as his wife's 24th birthday. Deters was back in the bullpen on Tuesday and pitched a scoreless inning of relief. On the season Deters is 3-2 with a 3.13 ERA in 18 appearances (3 starts).
Deters' gem last Thursday was the first complete game shutout thrown by a Kinston pitcher since left-hander Aaron Laffey threw a seven inning complete game shutout on May 16th, 2006. The last nine-inning complete game shutout came when left-hander Keith Ramsey threw a perfect game for Kinston on the last day of the regular season at Myrtle Beach in 2004. For his efforts, Deters was named the Carolina League Pitcher of the Week.
Honorable Mentions: Ryan Goleski, OF, Akron (.480 AVG, 2 HR, 7 RBI); Roman Pena, OF, Lake County (.361 AVG, 2 HR, 8 RBI); Niuman Romero, SS, Kinston (.348 AVG, 2 HR, 6 RBI); Chris Gimenez, C, Akron (.474 AVG, .722 OBP, 0 HR, 1 RBI)
5/29 to 6/4: Steven Wright (RHP - Kinston)
5/22 to 5/28: Chris Archer (RHP - Lake County)
5/15 to 5/21: David Huff (LHP - Akron)
5/8 to 5/14: Steven Wright (RHP - Kinston)
5/1 to 5/7: Jeremy Sowers (LHP - Buffalo)
4/24 to 4/30: Jose Constanza (OF - Akron)
4/17 to 4/23: Hector Rondon (RHP - Kinston)
4/10 to 4/16: Wes Hodges (3B - Akron)
4/3 to 4/9: Kelvin De La Cruz (LHP - Lake County)
Indians Farm Director Ross Atkins provided a smorgasbord of comments on several players in the system as well as on some of the new talent coming into the system after last week's draft:
On Asdrubal Cabrera: "It has been an unbelievable whirlwind for him. He came into the system and went right to Triple-A. Then last year we asked him to start at Double-A and he handled that very well and was basically the best player in the league and took that right into the playoffs and was hitting home runs and making gold glove type plays. I think this year with him struggling and getting off to a slow start, what we want to do is get him back to the success he enjoyed in the minor leagues. It is easier to do when the talent level is lower, and he is such a gifted player. If I were to summarize what he has to do to get back to the major leagues, is to trust his hands as a hitter. That is what Derek Shelton has asked him to do, and there are some specific drills that are in place."
On Lake County: They are having some fun. With pitching and defense they have put together a lot of good games and are two games up in first place. It is a good team that is a lot of fun to watch. There are a lot of upside arms as Kelvin De La Cruz has gotten up to 95 MPH, you got at least two guys in the starting rotation with sub-two ERAs and there is some dominance in that pitching staff. They have really done an exceptional job as a team and they are a lot of fun to go and watch.
On Luis Perdomo: Luis has been great. He has an above average fastball, and flashes a plus slider. Unfortunately, he uses the slider too much because in the Carolina League you can. He really has an impressive arm for a guy who is only 5'10". He can run it up there to 94 MPH, and has an 86 MPH slider with depth. His fastball use needs to increase before we get him up to the upper levels, but we should see him above the Kinston level shortly.
On Lonnie Chisenhall: First and foremost, in player development we love youth and tools. He has both of those things. He is 19-years old, he has hit ability, he has power, and he has a plus arm. We are very excited about his athleticism and his ability to play short. The thing we love about being 19 is we have some time to develop him. Most likely it will be a traditional path where he plays at Lake County and Kinston, and then at some point his performance will start to dictate where he belongs. If he is dominating a level we will get him out of there. John Mirabelli and Brad Grant delivered those two attributes of youth and tools to us, and if we can hopefully see that in his performance that is what excites us.
On Trevor Crowe: You know, it is interesting. It has been such a tough run for Trevor. The injuries, and this year another one to his back that he tried to play through a little bit too long potentially thinking he might be an option for the major league team in spring training. That set him back a little bit and he is just starting to get settled in. I don't think the .200 batting average is what we will see here in the next few weeks. His hard hit percentage and his on-base percentage are both creeping up. He is such a good athlete and hard worker that eventually the numbers will start to pan out and match his tools.
On Chris Gimenez: He is on-base almost 50% of the time. When he comes to the plate you think he is going to get to first or hit a double. He is walking about 25% of the time which is unheard of. The thing about Chris that is so intriguing is he is one of those guys that everybody in our system is pulling for. From player to coach to front office, he has got to be one of the best makeup guys in our system. He is tough, he is smart, he is durable, and any crack that is there he breaks wide open. Those are the guys we love to talk about.
On Josh Rodriguez: We have challenged him to get on-base, be it hit ability or [walks]. If you are a middle of the diamond player, on-base ability has significant value. He drives the ball out of the park to all fields, and actually most of his power comes to right and right-center. He stole 20 bags last year and is a very good base-runner. Defensively we would like to work hard to keep him at shortstop as we know he can play second base.
On Josh Tomlin: He is a converted shortstop, and has a lot of athleticism. When a pitcher is extremely athletic the ability to make adjustments is quicker. We have seen the depth of his slider improve much faster than most of our pitchers. We have seen his command improve much faster than most of our pitchers. I think that is a tribute to his athleticism and fortitude obviously. He has been up to 92 MPH this year, and we did not expect that. So he went up to Triple-A and made a spot start and it did not phase him in the least, so that is a good sign.
On David Huff: He has really been impressive this year. Every time we expect that maybe there will be a hiccup there just isn't one. He answers every challenge and is an extremely tough individual. Our expectations and standards of him have been very high because of his talent and ability. We are comparing him to the likes of Laffey and Sowers as opposed to the likes of a Ryan Edell on his own team in Akron. We are comparing him to the guys who are competing against teams like the Detroit Tigers. Because of that we are asking a lot of him and he has answered the challenge. He has a very good feel to pitch, and his fastball command is unbelievable. He mixes in a curveball, but mostly mixes in a slider and changeup. He pounds the zone with his fastball and he reminds me a lot of Tom Glavine. Now they are different in subtle ways and obviously Glavine had an incredible career, but just the way they pitch and command the baseball is very similar.
On the draft assignments: I think a majority of this draft will go in to fill out the Mahoning Valley roster because it was predominantly college players. We'll have some high school power arms in the Gulf Cost League.
On Jeremie Tice: He drove the ball out of park at the College of Charleston at a great clip. We can't believe he got to the 6th round and we are excited to have him. He is very athletic where we know he can play third, and down the road he may catch as well.
Mirabelli On The Draft
Indians Director of Scouting John Mirabelli may not be as involved with the First-Year-Player Draft as much as he used to be since Director of Amateur Scouting Brad Grant has assumed most of that role. But, Mirabelli still has heavy input into what selections the Indians make and offered up some comments on their first round pick as well as some of their scouting methods:
On Lonnie Chisenhall: "Well, we saw him as a high school junior and then he went to the University of South Carolina his freshman year. So we had a pretty good track record with him. The funny thing about picking 29th is you never know what is going to come your way. He was a guy we targeted early because we thought we might have a chance to get him. So we scouted him pretty heavily since February this year. We think eventually he is going to be a third baseman. He is 6'2 and plays shortstop now, and we think it is good for his development to stay there for the short term, but I think after he gets through his first season his future is at third base. He is a line drive gap-to-gap hitter. Right now it is a very patient, polished approach to hitting. We feel like he has a chance to develop power in the future and that his hitting approach and his ability right now should lead to power in the future. Signability is very good."
On signability: "Part of the process with all the players we selected is