Around the Farm: April 21, 2014
Around the Farm takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Cleveland prospects throughout the system. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game.
Jose Ramirez (2B, Columbus): 4-for-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, SB. Ramirez is on fire right now as he is hitting .400 over his last 10 games, and more surprising, he has three home runs in his last five games. The two homers is a career best as he had never hit more an one homer in a game prior to Monday night. He has also never hit more than three homers in a season, so his next homer will be a new personal best from him. That said, homers are not his game; his speed, athleticism and ability to make consistent contact is what makes him so intriguing. He has now struck out just 6 times in 63 at bats and has 5 stolen bases, and is hitting .333 overall with a .879 OPS. He is really putting some pressure on the Indians to consider calling him up to Cleveland sooner rather than later.
Jesus Aguilar (1B, Columbus): 2-for-3, R, HR, RBI, BB. Aguilar cranked his fifth home run of the season and just continues to rake at Huntington Park where he is hitting a blistering .471 with 5 HR, 11 RBI and 1.556 OPS in 10 games. On the flip side, he’s been rather ordinary in his six road games hitting .261 with 0 HR, 2 RBI and .651 OPS. His home and away splits are something I have already brought up once before this season, and are numbers worth continuing to monitor this season.
Ryan Merritt (SP, Carolina): 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 4 K. Merritt is in midseason form and is just pitching with a ton of confidence right now. This was his fourth outing of the season and his best yet, but his three previous outings were pretty darn good as well. So far this season he is 3-0 with a microscopic 0.37 ERA, and in 24.1 innings has allowed 14 hits (.165 BAA), 0 homers, 6 walks and has 18 strikeouts. He’s been the best pitcher in the Carolina League and is quickly establishing himself as one of the Indians better lower level starting pitching prospects.
- Justin Sellers (SS, Columbus): 0-for-4, BB, 3 K, E. Sellers with his fourth error of the season and he is now down to .175 with the average in 12 games. With his versatility and limited bat, he’s kind of like a younger version of Elliot Johnson stuffed away at Triple-A.
- Nyjer Morgan (CF, Columbus): 0-for-4. Morgan has not been the same since reporting to Columbus as he is just 1-for-14 at the plate (.071). It will be interesting to see how Morgan performs with Columbus as he is obviously disappointed to be there.
- Carlos Moncrief (RF, Columbus): 2-for-3, R, 2B, K. Moncrief has his best game so far this season with his first multi-hit game of the year. This is a bat that the Indians need to get going because when he is on he’s as good an impact player as anyone in the system.
- Travis Banwart (SP, Columbus): 6.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R/ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 2 HR. Banwart needed just 85 pitches to throw his 6.1 innings and put forth a solid effort that was much better than his previous outing on April 13th when he went 3.2 innings and allowed 5 runs.
- Mark Lowe (RP, Columbus): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. A nice clean outing for Lowe who might be on the verge of turning things around. He has had two straight scoreless and dominant outings, and now has four saves on the season.
- Tyler Naquin (CF, Akron): 0-for-4, 2 K. Naquin has really struggled in the early going, and most of those struggles stem from his approach as he is striking out way too much. He now has 22 strikeouts in 60 at bats which puts him at more than a strikeout in every three at bats.
- Francisco Lindor (SS, Akron): 0-for-4, K. Lindor has had a tough go of it in the early going, though he continues to find other ways beyond the bat to help his team win. This is a prime example why the Indians were right to have him open the season at Double-A Akron as he needs time at what many consider the top minor league level.
- Bryson Myles (LF, Akron): 1-for-4, R, K. Myles had one of three Akron hits on the night. He is 1-for-8 with 4 strikeouts in his last two games, so hopefully it is not a sign that his hot start is coming to a rather quick end.
- Cody Anderson (SP, Akron): 5.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R/ER, 1 BB, 1 K. Anderson has not had the crisp outings this season like he had last season, and he looks like he will stay at Double-A Akron for the duration of the season. As the organization’s top pitching prospect, the Indians will continue to be ultra conservative with him and hope he finds his way.
- Tyler Sturdevant (RP, Columbus): 1.0 IP, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K. This is Sturdevant’s third straight scoreless outing, which is a positive sign for a guy coming back from injury. He’s an older guy now at 27-years old, but still an interesting pen prospect for the Indians.
- Erik Gonzalez (SS, Carolina): 2-for-6, 2 R, 2B, 3B, RBI, 2 K. Surprise, surprise. Gonzalez with another solid showing on the night and two more extra base hits added to his resume. After racking up 54 extra base hits last season, he’s on his pace for 62 this season.
- James Roberts (3B, Carolina): 2-for-5, R. Roberts continues to find holes with two more singles on the night. He has 18 hits on the season – 17 of them singles – so it will be interesting to see how he does once his .421 BABIP drops down to a normal level.
- Torsten Boss (RF, Carolina): 1-for-3, R, SB. Boss has been held hitless in seven of his last 10 games, but in this game he reached base and was able to manufacture a run with a stolen base.
- Michael Peoples (SP, Carolina): 3.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K. Peoples started the first game of the doubleheader and only lasted 67 pitches (41 strikes) before he was removed from the game. He allowed 7 baserunners in his 3.0 innings, which is way too much traffic and he is fortunate he only gave up the two earned runs.
- Carlos Melo (RP, Carolina): 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. Melo has not allowed an earned run over his last four outings, though he has allowed four unearned runs over that time period. He is still allowing way too many baserunners as he has allowed 8 hits and 8 walks in 6.2 innings this season.
- Grant Sides (RP, Carolina): 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K. Sides made just his third appearance of the season and put up two scoreless innings. He has now thrown 5.2 scoreless innings this season and allowed 3 hits, 2 walks and has 5 strikeouts.
- Clint Frazier (CF, Lake County): 0-for-2, R, 3 BB. Frazier showed his other side of his offensive game as he had the patience to draw three walks. He has reached base in all four games with the Captains so far, though is still searching for his first homer.
- Eric Haase (C, Lake County): 1-for-4, 3 R, HR, RBI, BB, K. Haase ripped his fourth homer of the season and has really made the most of his 12 hits as 8 of them have gone for extra bases this season.
- Claudio Bautista (2B, Lake County): 3-for-5. Bautista needed this one. He was really in a funk offensively, so hopefully this is the kick start that he needed to get the bat going.
- Anthony Santander (DH, Lake County): 1-for-5, 3B, RBI, 2 K. Another game at DH for Santander who is still limited with a sore shoulder. The hit was his first in almost two weeks! He had gone hitless in his last nine games (0-for-33) and had not recorded a hit since April 8th.
- Dace Kime (SP, Lake County): 4.0 IP, 9 H, 5 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K. Kime is really struggling at the outset of the season as he has now made four starts and is 0-3 with a 11.30 ERA, and in 14.1 innings has allowed 29 hits, 22 runs (18 ER), 2 homers, 6 walks and has 9 strikeouts. He is throwing strikes and limiting walks, but is just not fooling anyone at the plate right now as the league is hitting .408 off him.
- Kenny Matthews (RP, Lake County): 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R/ER, 0 BB, 5 K. Mathews actually pitched much better than his line suggests. This was his first time out in nine days so he was a little rusty, but the 5 strikeouts and no walks is nice to see.
- Ben Heller (RP, Lake County): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K. Heller has now strung together three good outings in a row where he has thrown 3.2 shutout innings and allowed 1 hit, 2 walks and has 5 strikeouts.
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Jhonny Peralta split time between 3B and SS at AAA, Tribe wasn't grooming him for a utility role, simply getting him time at multiple spots. Same with Brandon Phillips (2B and SS). Asdrubal also played 2B and SS in the minors. Getting time at multiple positions in the minors doesn't necessarily mean you are being groomed as a utility guy...
Do you think G would be the first (or close to the first after the fans) to go to Tito and tell him.. let's see what the kid can do?...
The Yankees need both a 2B and a SS.. or will very soon. Solarte can't do everything.. What would you like to receive in return from the Bombers for Droobs/Jose?
Midwest is a tough league that takes time for these pitchers to adjust. The batters are free swingers trying to make a name and the defense isn't always that solid, as proven both this year and last year. I don't think Kime, Lugo, or Brown's performances are excusable, but it's only week 3. Let's talk promotion/demotion at the All-Star Break or start of short-season.
Really hoping each of these guys can figure it out and perform like Milbrath and Plutko have so far.
Just because there isn't a starting spot available, doesn't mean you need to retard the development of one of your better prospects by making him a utility infielder who maybe plays once or twice a week.
Disagree that Ramirez is being groomed to be a utility infielder (Donald wasn't being groomed for that either, Tribe wanted him to be a starter....just never happened).
Yes, Ramirez may be an upgrade over Johnson right now...but how much can he really do if he doesn't play? Johnson hardly plays....Ramirez would hardly play. Therefore the benefit of having him up is almost negligible currently.
Let's not forget that Johnson is essentially the backup to the backup....Mike Aviles is still the utility infielder and he's actually doing well in the role. If we didnt' have Aviles you could make a case for Ramirez on the big league club...but right now, his place is AAA. Best for him and best for the Tribe.
Big difference between Chiz and Ramirez...Chiz is a platoon starter. Ramirez really wouldn't have such a spot. "maybe" you could argue he should platoon with Chiz...but you could still make the case that Aviles is fine in that role.
IMO Ramirez is still being groomed to be a starter in the big leagues. Now will that be with Cleveland or another team...we shall see. His trade value won't go up by sitting him on the bench in the bigs....
The Tribe IMO likes Ramirez too much to waste him as a utility guy when he's this young. He needs to be starting and he can't do that in the bigs right now, so why promote him? Sure could be a defensive replacement or pinch run....but we've already seen that Francona doesn't do that often.
Tribe also has a history of rushing prospects andnot having the best results...I'd rather give guys like Ramirez and Lindor the time they need (though the fan in me does at times want to see Lindor up now). I'd rather go the Kipnis route with Ramirez and wait til well into the summer to call him up than go the Phillips/Donald route and call him up too soon...
Barring an injury or other unforeseen circumstance, it's not like Ramirez is going to have any near-term opportunity to play full-time in Cleveland, so one way or another he's going to need to perform without being in the lineup every day. They could use his speed and they could use a utility guy who isn't a total black hole on offense. Johnson isn't getting at bats because he doesn't bring much to the table other than being a body you throw into the field, if Ramirez were the other utility guy, they should be able to get him into games with greater frequency.
Ramirez just wouldn't get enough playing time, and IMO would only hurt him. I'd be pretty surprised if we saw him before June (barring an injury). Could move Cabrera or Kip to DH...but with Chiz hitting so well, just doesn't make sense. And for all Santana's struggles, still walking enough that you can't keep his presence out of the lineup.
About time to replace Johnson, the invisible 25th man, with Ramirez, who could hopefully be more visible. Wouldn't be a bad thing to rotate Kipnis and Asdrubal into the DH spot every now and then. Especially with Santana looking like he could use a good week off.
Didn't have much hope for M.Brown and Hamrick, but Lugo was one of my candidates to break out into the top5-10, so he's easily the biggest disappointment for me so far. BUT, it's still early, for all of them.
It's obvious that the focus in the upcoming draft should be SP, SP, SP. With 5 top100 picks, I expect 3 of them to be legit SP specs.
RH hitters are batting .446! against the righty; lefties a more mundane .294.
With the bases empty he retires almost no one: 27 situations with no one, he's retired 11, allowed 13 hits and walked 3
This guy was a third-rounder signed for an underslot $525,000. That makes him one heck of a better bargain than the recently retired 20-year-old Dillon Howard who received a bonus of $1.85M.
Or in need of a 2B.... ;)
Tonight is interesting pitching outings for Cleveland and Columbus. Salazar and Bauer scheduled to pitch tonight.
On the other hand, Lake County is filled with disappointing higher ranked specs: Kime, Lugo, M.Brown, Hamrick, Paulino.
Jose Ramirez is incredible. He is crushing LHP and could start 2-3 times a week for the Indians at 2B and SS without losing any defense, but as long as ACab and Aviles are both healthy and on the Indians roster, keeping him in Columbus is the smart thing to do. It'll be Lindor/JRam for ACab/Aviles from 2015 on in Cleveland, maybe even late this season, if they can't contend.
If Aguilar continues to rake into and through May and Giambi keeps producing outs, then I expect a swap at DH.
Can't say enough good things about Roberto Perez. He had a hit in every game this season. He is the perfect ML backup C and the kind of overachiever you root for to make it.