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The K-Tribe Chronicle: Bullpen Brilliance

The K-Tribe Chronicle: Bullpen Brilliance
May 9, 2011
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(Photo: Kinston Indians)
From the Reservation:

The Kinston Indians did something this week with regularity that they have failed to do all season long, and that's win games regularly.  Prior to this week, the Kinston offense wielded paper bats, and the starting pitching was erratic, to say the least.  The only consistent part of this team was the bullpen.

Over the past week, the K-Tribe saw an uptick in offense.  While they weren't exactly the most productive bunch, they did improve their timing, scoring when they needed to in support of their starters and bullpen.

The starters, on the other hand, were much more productive.  Their #1 and #2 starters, Drew Pomeranz and new-to-the-rotation Brett Brach are as good a 1-2 punch as the baby Tribe has had this year, and can be mentioned in the same breath as Alex White/Nick Hagadone and T.J. McFarland/Joe Gardner.

The K-Tribe's bullpen may be the best in the league, led by closer Preston Guillmet, who has yet to give up a run this season.  Tyler Sturdevant and Travis Turek round out the top end of the bullpen, and have really been the foundation of a team that is already 7 1/2 games out of first place.

With the Indians finally looking like a baseball team...let's get driving...

Where We Stand after Week 4:

Overall Record: 13-16 (5-2 the past week, third place in the Carolina League Southern, -games back)

Week 4 Games:

2 @ Salem, L 2-3 (WP: T. Ebert; LP: J. Flores; SV: C. Cabral)
3 @ Salem, W 5-1 (WP: T. House; LP: P. Ruiz) (Completion on 5/4/11 at 11:00 AM)
4 @ Salem, W 5-1 (WP: T. House; LP: P. Ruiz) (Completion of game suspended on 5/3/11)
4 @ Salem, Postponed
5 vs. Potomac, W 3-1 (WP: B. Brach; LP: P. Demny; SV: P. Guilmet)
7 vs. Potomac, W 3-0 (WP: D. Pomeranz; LP: C. Selik; SV: P. Guilmet)
7 vs. Potomac, W 5-0 (WP: C. Cook; LP: E. Bronson)
8 vs. Potomac, L 2-1 (WP: M. Frias; LP: J. Flores; SV: P. Lehman)

This Week's Transactions:

05/06/2011 placed CF Delvi Cid on the 7-Day disabled list. back injury
05/06/2011 OF Jason Smit assigned to Kinston Indians from Lake County Captains.

The Offense:

Three UP...

1. Bo Greenwell is often overlooked because he's either too consistent, or he's not flamboyant enough.  Greenwell isn't going to ever be the guy to hit towering homeruns, although he can possess some pop from time-to-time.  He's not the best base-runner on the team, although he can steal bases, and rarely makes mistakes.  He isn't the best outfielder on the team, but he has been the foundation since his call-up last season.  What Greenwell is, is consistent, and he proved that again this week.  Greenwell is the only K-Triber hitting over .300, at .313.  This week, he hit .313, which included a big Saturday.  Greenwell would hit for the cycle in the Saturday doubleheader.  This team doesn't hit the ball much, but when it does, Greenwell is usually right in the middle.

2. Justin Toole hit in three of the four games that he played in this past week, and is currently batting .295.  While he has scuffled a bit of late, he did manage to hit .307 for the week, with two runs and a double.  He needs to really up his presence in the line-up if Kinston is going to start making noise.

3. Dan DeGeorge is far from consistent thus far in his Kinston Indians career, but he may finally be starting to turn the corner.  Degeorge had two multi-hit games in his four played this wee, and batted .333 overall.  While he's never wielded a big stick in his three seasons with the Indians, he certainly can bring something to the table if he keeps hitting this way in the future.

and Three Down...

3. I really do have issues with Abner Abreau.  It really is time for the general masses to get Abreu out of our heads as a player that can be a top prospect.  He's too out of control at the plate to every amount to anything with regards to consistency.  Last week, it looked like he was heading for .300.  This week, he's gone 3-for-17, with one run scored, one double, two RBI, 1 BB and 6 K's.  He may never leave Kinston at this rate, unless he's demoted or cut.

2. Chase Burnette continues to struggle, with no end in sight.  This week, he went 2-for-17, with one run scored, one homer and one rbi.  He walked twice, and struck out seven times, including all four times up to the plate on Sunday.  He's clearly overmatched at this point.

1. Casey Frawley went 2-for-20 this week, and is dropping off the radar after hitting the 3-up last week.  He had one run, one rbi, one walk and one K.  Boy, talk about a boring line.  He may just bore management into cutting him if he keeps it up.

The Pitching:

Six Up...

Again, I can't find fault in a single pitcher on the staff.  It's a good one, and they are all pitching exceedingly well.

1. Drew Pomeranz is really that good, and I expect the big lefty to be leaving for Akron sometime real soon.  This week, Pomeranz got his first win, going five innings, while giving up three hits and three walks, while striking out eight.  He's dropped his ERA to a miniscule 1.27 ERA (third in the league), and is leading the Carolina league with 42 K's.  He very well could be wearing a Cleveland Indians jersey a year from now, and I'd be surprised if he wasn't.

2. Clayton Cook likely isn't on anyone's radar, but he should be after this week's performance.  He started two games without giving up an earned run.  He went 1-0, with three walks and 9 K's.  His 4.18 ERA is inflated because of one poor outing in which he gave up nine earned runs in one inning.  Cook is a top prospect, and he's proving it with every start.

3. Brett Brach continues to move up the charts with every good start.  This week, he made one start, going 6 1/3 innings, giving up two hits and an earned run.  He walked three, and struck out five, and got his third win of the season.  Brach's ERA is a ridiculous 0.98 ERA.

4. Tyler Sturdevant isn't the K-Tribe's closer, but he may be the best reliever on the club.  This week, he pitched in two games to the tune of 3 2/3 of an inning.  He gave up two hits and a walk, while striking out five.  In his nine appearances this year, he's only given up two runs, and currently sports a 1.00 ERA.

5. Preston Guilmet has been as close to perfect as a closer as you could be.  Guilmet was perfect this week in two appearances, and two innings pitched.  The only thing to register on his stat line was two saves, and four K's, two in each game.  He has four straight appearances with a save, and five out of six.  With Burns struggling in Akron, Guilmet could overtake him in the thoughts and minds of Tribe brass if he remains perfect.

6. Giovanni Soto continues to be an intriguing prospect.  While he made two appearances this week, one was only worth an out before the game was suspended.  He finally made his first start with substance on Sunday, going six innings, while giving up four hits and one earned run, while striking out five.  He's a mystery in this rotation, but has been an outstanding starter so far with Kinston.

Week 4 Awards:

Offensive player of the week: Bo Greenwell

Pitcher of the week: Clayton Cook
Player of the week: Clayton Cook
Here comes week 5:

May 2011

10 @ Myrtle Beach, 7:05 PM
11 @ Myrtle Beach, 7:05 PM
12 @ Myrtle Beach, 7:05 PM
13 vs. Frederick, 6:30 PM
14 vs. Frederick, 6:30 PM
15 vs. Frederick, 1:30 PM
16 vs. Lynchburg, 6:30 PM

The Rearviewmirror: I feel like I need to do some sort of "rain dance" this week to help along this offense.  We've received a boost of sorts from Lake County in Jason Smit, who may have been the hottest hitter in the organization for the Captains in early April.  Unfortunately, the outfielder has been struggling of late in low A, so it's hard to figure he'll start off High A with a bang. Hopefully, the rain will stop, and the hitting will start.

Follow Tony and the Indians Prospect Insider on Twitter @TonyIPI. Also, his latest book the 2011 Cleveland Indians Top 100 Prospects & More is available for purchase for $20.95 to customers in the US (shipping and handling extra).

Jim covers the Tribe at Bringing Back Boudreau. You can follow him on twitter @JTPojo.

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