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Around the Farm: April 6, 2014

Around the Farm: April 6, 2014
Jesus Aguilar (Photo: Fox Sports)
April 7, 2014
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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.

Jesus Aguilar (1B, Columbus): 2-for-3, 2 R, 2B, HR, RBI, BB, E.
Get used to lines like this from Aguilar this summer at Huntington Park. That bandbox of a park is ideal for him and he could put up some impressive power numbers this season, sort of what he did in the Venezuela Winter League in the smaller ballpark he played in there (.610 slugging% and .280 ISO). He has gotten off to a hot start racking up three straight multi-hit games and has hit safely in all four games, plus he has even walked three times. It will be interesting to see what happens come June if he is having a career season in Columbus and whether he is in the mix for a spot in Cleveland.

Cole Sulser (SP, Carolina): 5.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 7 K.
Sulser was impressive in his season debut limiting the opposition to one hit and an unearned run over five innings. Last season he went 3-2 with a 1.83 ERA at short season Single-A Mahoning Valley, and at least at the outset of the season he is proving that was no fluke and that he can actually be better. Time will tell, and the beauty of a baseball season is that the course of the season will truly flesh out the good and bad performers. Even so, Sulser is getting more and more interesting, especially since I saw him up to 94 MPH with his fastball on Sunday.

  • Justin Sellers (SS, Columbus): 0-for-5. Sellers is only holding the shortstop position warm in Columbus for the eventual arrival of Francisco Lindor. The Indians like his defense and versatility, but he simply does not hit enough. He’s a DFA candidate when/if the Indians need another 40-man spot.
  • Matt Carson (LF, Columbus): 2-for-3, R, 2B, BB. Carson just continues to produce and do his thing in Columbus. He knows his role and understands that his Major League options are limited as strictly a depth option. That said, if the Indians have a very short need for an outfielder, he could be first in line for a call to Cleveland.
  • Tyler Cloyd (SP, Columbus): 3.2 IP, 11 H, 7 R (6 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. Not a good Indians debut for Cloyd. He threw strikes as 61 of his 90 pitches were in the zone or swung at, but he clearly fooled no one on this day. He’s a marginal depth starting arm, so the good news is that you can live with such a performance from him. The same kind of outing from Bauer might have had some jumping off a few ledges already.
  • Austin Adams (RP, Columbus): 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. This is exactly what we want to see out of Adams in the early going is a guy who is pounding the zone with strikes. He has now made two appearances and thrown 3.0 shutout innings and more importantly allowed no walks.
  • Tyler Naquin (CF, Akron): 0-for-5, 3 K. Already Naquin’s second multi-strikeout game in four games and he now has 6 strikeouts in 16 at bats. The plate discipline is something he is really honing in on and needs, and at least in the early going he is still struggling with it.
  • Joe Wendle (2B, Akron): 3-for-4, R, BB, K. Wendle got untracked on Sunday and is now 4-for-13 (.308) at the plate on the young season. He also has a 4:4 walk to strikeout ratio.
  • Giovanny Urshela (3B, Akron): 0-for-4, 3 K. After a hot start on Thursday night, Urshela has gone ice cold in the three games since going 0-for-9 at the plate with 4 strikeouts. His 3 strikeouts on the day were part of a rough day for Akron hitters as they totaled 15 strikeouts as a group.
  • Will Roberts (SP, Akron): 5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 2 K. A Yeoman’s effort from Roberts as he threw 55 of his 86 pitches for strikes and came within one batter of a quality start. Even with the good amount of traffic on the bases he managed to limit the damage, competed and kept his team in the game.
  • Todd Hankins (2B, Carolina): 1-for-4, 2B, RBI. Hankins is one of my favorite player because of the way he plays the game so hard, has versatility, and can impact a game on the bases. He’s off to a solid start at Carolina, and hopefully this time he can stay healthy and see where his season takes him.
  • Logan Vick (CF, Carolina): 0-for-2, 3 BB. Vick is just 1-for-12 at the plate and hitting .083 on the young season, but he now has 4 walks and a nice .353 on-base percentage. He is a walk machine, so the trifecta on Sunday is of no surprise. If he stays in the Carolina League all season he could end up with around 90-100 walks.
  • Charlie Valerio (1B, Carolina): 2-for-4, R, K. Valerio is the third catcher at Carolina though will see a lot of time at first base – especially right now since Carolina is a little banged up in the infield.
  • Carlos Melo (RP, Carolina): 1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R/ER, 0 BB, 0 K. Melo can throw a ball very hard. But even though he gets his fastball into the upper 90s, he lacks a true feel for it and the command needed to be much more effective with it. He is part of a unique bullpen at Carolina that is loaded with a lot of guys who may not survive the season in the Indians organization.
  • Dorssys Paulino (SS, Lake County): 0-for-4, 2 K. After a nice season opener when he went 2-for-4, Paulino has since followed that up with an 0-for-12 showing in his last three games. Awakening that bat and developing his approach are the main areas of focus for him this season.
  • Brian Ruiz (LF, Lake County): 2-for-3, BB, K. Ruiz is a local kid the Indians selected out of high school in Cleveland and is getting his first crack on a team at the full season level. He is 3-for-11 in the early going and has had limited playing time, but his start is encouraging.
  • Adam Plutko (SP, Lake County): 4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K. While Plutko did not allow a run, his peripherals in this game were up and down. He did a nice job limiting hits and had a few strikeouts, but the three walks are a surprise. If he puts it together for another 3-4 starts he could be pushed to High-A Carolina with ease.
  • Ben Heller (RP, Lake County): 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 4 K. Heller had a very good showing at short season Single-A Mahoning Valley last season, but the hitters will be much tougher at the Low-A level. He’s a lower level depth bullpen arm and one who will need a ton of results to get a shot in the upper levels.

Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.

User Comments

Jerald
April 8, 2014 - 7:09 PM EDT
"Tony
April 7, 2014 - 10:26 PM EDT
They retired."

Wow, my wife won't let me retire until Medicare and Social Security completely kick in!
Joey
April 8, 2014 - 12:47 PM EDT
Also, was Howard's suspension last year due to legitimate amphetamines or was it a case of taking an Adderal/Ritalin script that wasn't prescribed for him or was it like a pre-workout supplement that had a hidden amphetamine relative ?
Tony
April 8, 2014 - 12:06 PM EDT
Radeke is still recovering from TJ surgery last August. He was just starting bullpens when I left Arizona two weeks ago.
Tondo
April 8, 2014 - 11:20 AM EDT
Thanks for the informations Tony. Happy to hear they still value Whitehouse. He had similar production as as former teammate and now Astros' Andrew Thurman, who was picked 40th overall, so I really liked his selection.
I think Whitehouse, Sulser and now von Schamann should be on anyone's "Tomlin-watchlist", as the next late round College spec with a real shot to become an innings eater.
I'm also very curious to see how Arias does in Akron. He was a smart Minors depth signing with some upside left.

Speaking of, I had hopes that Radeke could have a similar minors career. What happened to him? Been injured for a long time now
Tony
April 8, 2014 - 10:37 AM EDT
With all due respect for Nixon and Sides and the other relievers on that Carolina staff, really any of them aside from one or two could be swapped out for Sides. Most of them are just placeholders for the season or until a few guys prove they need to be moved up from Lake County. As for Whitehouse, the Indians are still using him as a starter as he is piggybacking in Lake County so more value there than in the pen at Carolina. Unless you are a top flight relief prospect you do not want to be in the bullpen in the minors. Worst place to be as few are viewed as prospects.Plus you don't do lefty-righty matchups in games, so doesn't matter if you have an all right-handed or even all left-handed pen.
Tondo
April 8, 2014 - 10:23 AM EDT
That's tough for Sides, but why is he getting pushed out and Nixon is still on the roster? Is he the Giambi of the Minors?
Would like to see Whitehouse on that Mudcats roster since their BP does not have a lefty
Tony
April 8, 2014 - 8:40 AM EDT
Sides is in roster limbo as the MV roster at this time of year is used to stuff extra guys who are still with a respective team. But yeah, his future is in doubt. Same with a good amount of guys on that Carolina roster.
Walter
April 8, 2014 - 8:35 AM EDT
In league transactions for Carolina yesterday saw that Grant Sides was assigned to MHV. Is this the beginning of the end for Sides?
Tony
April 8, 2014 - 8:06 AM EDT
Ohio, Joey simply asked how much it hurts the grade of the 2011 Draft that Sisco and Howard retired. I said not much, which is true. Before both retired, they were no longer considered big prospect pieces....so it doesn't hurt it much at all. Yes, from a draft and money cost perspective you are right, but that was already a sunk cost. As far as looking at that draft now with Howard/Sisco retired or still pitching with the Indians, there is minimal if any change in value. And considering Allen is in the bigs, Lindor is close, Smith will play, and so many other possibilities, yes, this is the *potential* to be a memorable draft for the Indians.
OhioBaseball
April 8, 2014 - 7:24 AM EDT
Oh come on, Tony. Losing Howard and Sisco doesn't hurt much? That's over $2.1 million in signing bonus money burned after only a couple of years. True their value may have been written down already but get out of down...this has potential to be an "exceptional" draft? Sounds like Dorssys Paulino is the best hitting prospect since Manny Ramirez to me.
Tony
April 7, 2014 - 10:26 PM EDT
They retired.
Jerald
April 7, 2014 - 10:11 PM EDT
Tony:

Sorry to ask, but what happened to Howard and Sisco?

Thanks!
Joey
April 7, 2014 - 9:32 PM EDT
Thats true, now looking at that draft even losing them it still looks good. It's too bad we lost them but everyone else does seem legit like you said. Forgot about Allen when I asked that too
Willie
April 7, 2014 - 4:13 PM EDT
Wow, that's an impressive haul even if only a few of them make it to the bigs. For the Tribe that one draft class could really make some noise. I hate Howard flamed out and Sisco struggled, but a least he put forth an honest effort, can't say much for Howard though. I guess it shows just how risky HS picks can be...then again considering Lindor was only 17 when drafted, it really comes back to the player, their path, and the situation they place themselves in.
Tony
April 7, 2014 - 3:59 PM EDT
Joey, not sure it hurts much. Lindor looks like a franchise player. Jordan Smith is going to play in the big leagues. Then you also have Cody Anderson, Shawn Morimando and Ryan Merritt, three of the top starters in the org....and some upside guys with Eric Haase and Bryson Myles. Even others that are interesting like Jake Lowery, Shawn Armstrong and Will Roberts. Oh, and some guy named Cody Allen already made it to the bigs. This has the potential to turn into an exceptional draft if Allen continues his thing, Lindor is the real deal, and Anderson is at worst a good MOR starter....and then several others are pieces-parts in the bigs. It will be very interesting to look back on that draft 2-3 years from now.....and even though the loss of Howard and Sisco is tough (infuriating), it could be a game changer for them.
Joey
April 7, 2014 - 3:39 PM EDT
Tony, how much does it hurt the grade of the 2011 Draft by losing Howard and Sisco ?
troy
April 7, 2014 - 2:42 PM EDT
I was reffering to the numbers Paulino posted last year:.246- .297-349-.646.
nubballguy
April 7, 2014 - 1:57 PM EDT
Sweetness, great call on that! Always bugged me when I saw that as it seemed to make NO sense to me when a player who had a good day would get "untracked." No, getting "untracked" would be like going "off the rails" a bad thing. Getting "on track" would mean back on the beam as it were, tracking towards success. Glad I'm not the only one whose noticed this. Look forward to the article, thanks for including!
Troy, 40 years? 3 games in? Seriously? Yeah, a little much I think you'll agree on reflection.
He may very well flame out, but lets give it a little time to find out, what's the harm? Hopefully he'll win you over.
Walter
April 7, 2014 - 1:36 PM EDT
Indians traded Guilmet today to the Orioles for a single A player Torsten Boss. They must have believed they were going to lose him through waivers.
Nick
April 7, 2014 - 12:46 PM EDT
Most overhyped prospect you have heard in the last 40 years? You must not follow many prospects then. Like others have said, he's extremely young. Give him another full year before you start throwing ridiculous comments like that around.
Hawk1228
April 7, 2014 - 11:26 AM EDT
Some perspective about Paulino... at Lake County we had 2 players were were younger than our first round draft choice Clint Frazier. So while Frazier was hitting against juniors and seniors in high school and attending his high school prom, Paulino and Santander were playing in Low A ball against much older professional players
Walter
April 7, 2014 - 8:54 AM EDT
When should we expect Dylan Baker at Carolina? Are the Indians planning on using Mejia and Frazier at LC or are saving them for the short season at MHV? Wiii Brady start at MHV or is he will be at LC once some of the promotions of pitchers from LC starts to happen?

Finally your thoughts on the minor trade the Indians made with the Dodgers?
Sweetness
April 7, 2014 - 8:31 AM EDT
Is it "untracked" or "on track"?

http://umpbump.com/press/2008/04/26/untracked-on-track-baseball-writers-cant-tell-the-difference/
Hiram
April 7, 2014 - 7:38 AM EDT
Some of you guys degrading Paulino need to realize that he was playing at a higher level than what he was suppose to be playing and still held his own. The guy is 19 and still looking pretty good. Please keep these facts in mind. I think he can have a monster year this year so let's not jump off the deep end because of a couple tough games... geez
DreDayWasEazy'sPayday
April 7, 2014 - 7:17 AM EDT
Yes, Paulino was overhyped after his rookie season. He's still a nice prospect, though.

Aguilar is really beginning to look promising.
Hiram
April 7, 2014 - 7:08 AM EDT
If Aguilar does what he did in the Fall and carries it to AAA then the Indians aren't going to have a choice but to promote him to the Majors because his impact on the team and lineup could be devastating
troy
April 7, 2014 - 4:17 AM EDT
This Paulino character with all his Ă„dvanced Hitting skills", can't hit a lick thus far. Outside of the hitting friendly Arizona rookie league he hasn't shown any hitting skills. He could go down as the most overhyped prospect i have heard of in the last 40 yrs.

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