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Around the Farm: April 9, 2014

Washington's power, Aviles' strikeouts highlight the night on the farm

Around the Farm: April 9, 2014
LeVon Washington (Photo: Indians Baseball Insider)
April 10, 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. 

LeVon Washington (LF, Carolina): 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO

LeVon  Washington (Photo: MiLB)Do I even need to say it anymore? When Washington is on the field, good things tend to happen. It can be Wednesday night when he had two extra base hits -- including a home run -- and reached base three times. It can be the 2014 season so far, as Washington currently owns a .318/.400/.500 line six games into the season. Or it can be #WashTime's 2013 season when the outfielder posted a .321/.425/.477 line in 51 games with Lake County. It all still comes down to health -- especially now that the 22-year-old is a little behind on the development curve after only playing in 153 games over the past three season -- but that talent is still there and tantalizing.

Robbie Aviles (RP, Lake County): 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO

The knock on Aviles is that he does not have swing and miss stuff or the ability to put hitters away; clearly the right-hander did not get that memo on Wednesday. Making his 2014 debut, Aviles struck out five of the 10 batters he faced (all swinging strikeouts), a fact made all the more bizarre considering the right-hander only struck out 30 of 303 batters in 2013. Aviles underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2010 immediately after signing with Cleveland, something that could still be skewing perceptions of him. The right-hander has only thrown 120.1 professional innings and could finally be taking a step forward. Aviles is 22 years old and still in Low-A -- not a good thing -- but the right-hander is on the right path with this debut.

  • T.J. House (SP, Columbus): L (0-1), 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1 HBP. House made it through six innings unscathed, but the left-hander was left out for an ill-fated start to the seventh (he let the first three batters reach before being relieved). Still, House's debut is a quality start and a strong beginning to the season for the left-hander.
  • Scott Barnes (RP, Columbus): (BS, 1) 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR. After House loaded the bases to start the seventh inning, Barnes came in and promptly allowed a grand slam. Barnes looked good the rest of the way, but the leadoff grand slam was the difference in the game.
  • Jesus Aguilar (1B, Columbus): 1-for-4, 1 2B, 1 SO. No multi-home run game for Aguilar like Tuesday night, but the first baseman still found himself an extra base hit. Through his first six games, Aguilar has three doubles, three home runs, and a 1.665 OPS.
  • Carlos Moncrief (RF, Columbus): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B. Moncrief got off to a slow start in 2014 (.474 OPS through six games), but Wednesday saw the right fielder get his first extra base hit. The right fielder's .235 BABIP so far is pretty low, so Moncrief's offense could bounce back in the near future.
  • Gabriel Arias (SP, Akron): W (1-0), 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 3 SO. Following a solid 2013 in High-A with the Phillies (2.47 ERA, 3.13 FIP in 54.2 innings), Arias' organizational debut was similarly strong. Arias is already 24 years old, but with only 385.1 minor league innings under his belt, there could still be some late development coming.
  • Duke von Schamann (RP, Akron): H (1), 3.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO, 1 HR. Also making his organizational debut, von Schamann mowed down opposing hitters but fell prey to the long ball. von Schamann has not struck out many in the past as a starter, so coming out of the bullpen might help the right-hander's stuff play up a little.
  • Kyle Crockett (RP, Akron): S (1), 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO. It was not a clean inning, but Crockett still struck out the side and stretched his Double-A scoreless streak to 13.1 innings (going back to his callup last year). The left-hander just continues to impress since being drafted last June.
  • Tony Wolters (C, Akron): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB. Wolters' hit streak is now up to five games as the catcher's bat continues to impress in the early going. It is still way too early to draw conclusions, but it is so far, so good for Wolters at the Double-A level.
  • Tyler Naquin (CF, Akron): 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 SO. Another strikeout for Naquin is troublesome (seven in five games), as is Naquin's inconsistency so far (.238/.304/.333 line). But Wednesday night was solid and something Naquin could use to snap out of his early-season funk.
  • Giovanny Urshela (3B, Akron): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B. Following a three-hit opening night, Urshela was hitless until Wednesday. Though Urshela has been up-and-down, his overall line is pretty solid thanks to some power (.238/.304/.476 line in six games).
  • Shawn Morimando (SP, Carolina): W (1-0), 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 6 SO, 1 WP. After walking too many and striking out too few in 2013, Morimando is off to a much better start in 2014 (9:3 SO:BB in 11.0 innings). The 21-year-old is repeating High-A, but with more starts like this, the left-hander will find his way to Akron before too long.
  • Alex Monsalve (C, Carolina): 3-for-5, 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 SO. In an ideal world Monsalve would be in Double-A, but the catching depth in the system pushed him down to Carolina. Monsalve does have limited time in High-A (only 34 games in 2012 before missing much of 2013 with an elbow injury), so the catcher could use the development time in Carolina.
  • Jeremy Lucas (1B, Carolina): 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 BB. Lucas is living up to his offensive-oriented reputation so far in 2014 (.935 OPS), though he is starting to see some more time at first base (two of his five games), which may end up his ultimate home.
  • Erik Gonzalez (SS, Carolina): 2-for-5, 1 R, 2 SO, 1 CS. This was a little bit of a mixed bag for Gonzalez. The two hits were good (obviously), but the shortstop is continuing to struggle with plate discipline (6:0 SO:BB in six games), a key shortcoming he needs to overcome to find long-term success.
  • James Roberts (3B, Carolina): 2-for-5, 2 RBI, 1 SO, 1 E. Following a lukewarm 52 games to start his professional career in Mahoning Valley (.589 OPS), Roberts is off to a fast start here. It is only four games, but it is a good way for the 22-year-old to start the year nonetheless.
  • Luis Lugo (SP, Lake County): L (0-1), 3.2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR. Lugo walked 16 batters in 64.2 innings last season; he is already a fourth of the way to that total after one start in 2014. Bad starts happen -- even to the best of prospects -- and Lugo will look to turn it around in his next outing.
  • Dorssys Paulino (SS, Lake County): 1-for-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI. Things have gone downhill for Paulino since opening day, but it is important not to read too much into six-game sample sizes -- good or bad. Paulino still has talent and remains quite young, only in his age-19 season.
  • Grant Fink (3B, Lake County): 2-for-4, 2 SO, 1 E. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both, and there you have the facts of life. Two hits, two strikeouts, one error; on a night like this in Lake County, that is enough to make Fink stand out.

If you want to follow Jim on Twitter, he’s @JimPiascik. If you want to e-mail him, you can do so at jpiasci1@gmail.com

User Comments

Jim Piascik
April 11, 2014 - 9:10 AM EDT
Pathofkindness, the moment I stop doing that, people will start accusing me over overreacting to small samples. :)
Joey
April 11, 2014 - 12:57 AM EDT
Something about Wendle seems like he'll be better than Phelps, and the 11-13 drafts and elements from the '10 draft seem more promising than recent years drafts. Considering that I am usually skeptical when it comes to Indians drafting ability, I believe they have improved.
Tony
April 10, 2014 - 9:55 PM EDT
Wendle may be another Phelps, but Smith and Moncrief are nowhere close to a Jordan Brown. They can not only hit, they are plus defenders.....something Brown never was as he was a below average defender and it limited him.
James
April 10, 2014 - 9:47 PM EDT
I guess I just don't share your enthusiasm for anyone on that list past Aguilar (maybe). Seems like a lot of Jordan Brown's and Cord Phelps....
Tony
April 10, 2014 - 9:20 PM EDT
James, the Indians strength at the moment is the upper level bats. With guys like Lindor, Aguilar, Ramirez, Smith, Moncrief, Wendle, Naquin, Wolters and others all at Double-A or higher, that is pretty good position player depth. Obviously all will impact in different ways, but Lindor, Aguilar, Moncrief, Wendle and Smith have the potential to really impact the lineup.
James
April 10, 2014 - 7:48 PM EDT
I don't know Tony. I agree that the upper level bats are better than the lower level bats. And better than the SP at all levels, although you could argue Bauer/Tomlin is better than Lindor/???. But to call them a "strength" is pushing it.
Hiram
April 10, 2014 - 6:58 PM EDT
Walter,

You are correct that this draft has to replenish the lower part of the system with impact players if possible. It's refreshing to see that the Indians are FINALLY starting to get mass movement on their farm system instead of having to trade proven players for them. They will be able to sustain themselves for a long time if they keep up this productivity.
Pathofkindness
April 10, 2014 - 5:50 PM EDT
Hey Jim, thanks for the highlights, but you can celebrate a good day without mentioning in almost every post that it's only been 5-6 games, we all know that.
Walter
April 10, 2014 - 2:23 PM EDT
It wont be a major hit if Plutko, Lugo, Kime, Baker, Hambrick, have breakout out years become legit prospects. There is a chance they will be at Akron or Carolina in 15. I believe this draft will replenish the lower part system for 15.
BrianM
April 10, 2014 - 2:01 PM EDT
It's nice to be reminded that Washington is only 22. There is still some hope with him.

Our prospects at Columbus/Akron are not as bad as the original poster claims, but even if they were, we really won't need any of those guys for a while. Our pitching is questionable, but our lineup is pretty much set for the next few years with most guys under contract till '17 and Lindor set to take over for ACab. Moncrief and Aguilar may be nothing more than solid platoon options, but that is exactly where we would need them if they do get a shot.

Also, Hiram is right. This draft will be massive. Once Bauer, Lindor, and Anderson graduate, are farm system will take a major hit.
Hiram
April 10, 2014 - 9:54 AM EDT
Thanks Tony
Tony
April 10, 2014 - 9:28 AM EDT
Finishing the book this week. Hope to send to press this week end or even Friday. All written but spending the week putting it together. New trade guys won't be in it as I don't have enough info nor have seen them. I actually plan to post a teaser cover in a day or two.
Tony
April 10, 2014 - 9:27 AM EDT
Washington is staying in Carolina for a while and Myles is not moving that fast to Triple-A. Remember, Carlos Moncrief spend ALL last season at Double-A. Now, I could see someone like Naquin or even Smith moving up at some point, but all of those guys are going to at least get a half season at Akron and then reassess near the All Star break. Then you may see some movement with Washington. I'd say mid-June at the earliest for a Washington promotion.
Hiram
April 10, 2014 - 9:27 AM EDT
Out of the top five picks I would like to see the Indians get three big time starters and two legit bats. Taking the BPA supercedes this but this would be ideal in a perfect world. With the Indians on the brink of promoting a lot of guys from the farm system it will be important to have a strong draft to fill that vacuum left behind when pushing other guys up.
richard
April 10, 2014 - 9:26 AM EDT
Tony, Any update on 2014 book. Will new traded minor leaguers be in it.
Hiram
April 10, 2014 - 9:24 AM EDT
Tony,

If WashTime stays healthy and tears it up in Carolina will the Indians hesitate to promote him to AA if Myles continues and gets to AAA??
Walter
April 10, 2014 - 9:10 AM EDT
I like how people can predict where a team will finish based on 9 games. I thought the rule of thumb is after 40 games is where you can get a sense of how a team will play the rest of the season.

I like what I'm seeing from Washington. Can he stay healthy for the season? If yes, he could reestablish himself as a legit prospect.
Tony
April 10, 2014 - 8:57 AM EDT
Greatly disagree. There are numerous starting quality guys in the lineup at Columbus and Akron. The strength of the system right now is clearly upper level bats and relief pitching. The lower level bats are a concern and starting pitching as a whole of course.
Sternfan10
April 10, 2014 - 8:33 AM EDT
Looks like 2014 is shaping up to be a 3rd or 4th place finish for the Indians. My question is why is the Indians minor league system still one of the worst in baseball? There is virtually no one in the CBus lineup that is an everyday player in the bigs, Ramirez might be a journeyman utility type and Aguillar decent have the eye to get a large amout of at bats in the bigs. Outside of Lindor at Akron, there is no one in their lineup that is going to be an impact player, Naquin will be a weak 4th OF'er type and Wendle might make it as a utility type. The lineups of Carolina and Lake County have no impact players that project to start in the show.

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