Around The Farm: August 14, 2013
Lowery, Lavisky's strong performances highlight night on the farm
By Jim Piascik
August 15, 2013
Around the Farm takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Indians prospects throughout the system. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game.
Note that the AZL Indians were off last night.
Jake Lowery (C, Akron): 2-for-3, 1 BB
It has been a while since Cleveland has developed a catcher, as Carlos Santana, Yan Gomes, and Lou Marson all came to the organization in trades. This year has been a revelation in that department, as Lowery has rebounded after a disappointing 2012. With a .281/.340/.474 line in 58 games, Lowery is impressing and reestablishing himself as a prospect. The talent was always there for the 23-year-old -- Lowery did win the Johnny Bench Award in college -- and it looks like the catcher has put things together in his second full professional season. He will need to sustain this level of performance, but after last year, the future is bright again for Lowery.
Alex Lavisky (C, Carolina): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Speaking of developing catchers in the system. It is easy to look at Lavisky's .225/.278/.371 line in 24 games this year and call him a disappointment, but there is a little more to the situation than meets the eye. Lavisky missed most of the season with a fractured toe and, now that he is healthy, is not playing every day due to the presence of Tony Wolters. Most players have difficulty hitting while playing sporadically, plus Lavisky has the added burden of having to call the game and run the pitching staff. At 21 years old, it is not like Lavisky is aging out as a prospect. Even if he starts next year back in Carolina, Lavisky can still make a name for himself in the organization.
- Daisuke Matsuzaka (SP, Columbus): L (5-7), 9 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO. Matsuzaka continued his recent string of successful starts and, considering Carlos Carrasco's struggles Wednesday, could potentially see some time in Cleveland.
- Blake Wood (RP, Columbus): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO. Now that Wood is done with his rehab, the right-hander is pitching well in Columbus (19:5 SO:BB in 11.2 innings) and could be an option for the bullpen in September.
- Ryan Rohlinger (2B, Columbus): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI. Rohlinger is still trucking along, as the 29-year-old is playing every day in Columbus and owns a respectable .268/.358/.357 line.
- Matt LaPorta (1B, Columbus): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 SO. In nine games since being activated off of the disabled list, LaPorta owns a .804 OPS with two doubles and two home runs. His 11 strikeouts are not so impressive, though.
- Will Roberts (SP, Akron): ND, 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO. Since the calendar turned to July, Roberts owns a 2.68 ERA and 38:13 SO:BB in 57.0 innings. Roberts did not come into the year as a high-priority guy, but the right-hander's rank will improve after this year.
- Austin Adams (RP, Akron): BS (4), L (1-2), 1.0 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR. Up to Wednesday, Adams' 2013 season had gone quite well. The right-hander still owns an impressive 64:27 SO:BB in 46.0 innings, though his ERA jumped from 2.40 to 3.13.
- Jose Ramirez (3B, Akron): 1-for-4, 1 2B, 1 SAC. The double is good to see as Ramirez only has 23 extra-base hits in 97 games, though the bigger story here is Ramirez playing third base for the second consecutive night.
- Francisco Lindor (SS, Akron): 0-for-2. After missing a week with a sore back, Lindor was pulled in the fifth inning after experiencing more discomfort.
- Tyler Naquin (CF, Akron): 0-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO. Not the best debut for Naquin, but there is no use overreacting to one not-so-good game.
- Cole Cook (SP, Carolina): W (2-1), 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO. Cook has seen more downs than ups in 2013 but he had his game going Wednesday. The right-hander needs more outings like this over the final month to salvage this year.
- Francisco Valera (RP, Carolina): 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 1 HBP. Valera's 4.00 ERA in Carolina does not look so good, but with a 42:19 SO:BB and 3.16 FIP in 47.1 innings, things are not all that bad for the right-hander.
- Bryson Myles (LF, Carolina): 1-for-3, 2 R, 1 BB. Myles' 23-game hitting streak may have ended, but he has just started another one over the past two nights.
- Logan Vick (CF, Carolina): 0-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO. Like Naquin, Vick's High-A debut could have gone better, but once again, there is no use putting too much stock in one game.
- Felix Sterling (SP, Lake County): ND, 2.2 IP, 4 H, 7 R (3 ER), 7 BB, 4 SO, 2 WP, 1 E. After Sterling allowed seven runs on seven walks while only recording eight outs, Wednesday looked like a lost cause. Sterling's teammates bailed him out for a win, however.
- Lake County Bullpen: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 9 SO. Luis DeJesus, Anderson Polanco, and Grant Sides salvaged this one, answering the bell for over seven innings of strong pitching. DeJesus hauled 3.1 innings immediately after Sterling while Polanco and Sides each posted two effective innings after that.
- Joe Sever (1B, Lake County): 3-for-6, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI. South Bend managed one run in the top of the 10th, but Sever's two-run double in the bottom half of the inning brought Lake County back for the win. The first baseman now owns a .289/.349/.440 line in 84 games with the Captains this year.
- LeVon Washington (CF, Lake County): 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 SAC, 1 SB. #WashTime had been slumping heading into Wednesday night, but no one really thought that Washington would stay down for long, right?
- Jeremy Lucas (C, Lake County): 3-for-4, 3 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SO. Lucas may not have the pedigree of the catchers featured above, but the 22-year-old owns a .300/.409/.460 line in 62 games this year.
- Kent Mathews (SP, Mahoning Valley): ND, 4.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 2 SO. Mathews did not have the most accurate night, but the left-hander did manage to avoid any real damage.
- Ben Heller (RP, Mahoning Valley): 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1 E. With another three scoreless innings, Heller's ERA drops to 0.94 and his FIP to 2.61 in 29.0 innings. Not a bad start from the 2013 22nd round pick.
- Breily Puerta (RP, Mahoning Valley): L (2-3), 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO. Puerta is still having a good season despite Wednesday night's poor showing (2.03 ERA, 2.19 FIP in 26.2 innings). The real culprit for the Scrappers' loss was the utter lack of offense.
- Nellie Rodriguez (1B, Mahoning Valley): 1-for-2, 2 BB, 1 PO. On a night where there was not much offense for the Scrappers, Rodriguez still managed to reach base three times. Being able to draw those walks will be important going forward for the first baseman.
- Martin Cervenka (C, Mahoning Valley): 1-for-2, 1 BB, 1 PB. With a .211/.280/.284 line in 28 games, Cervenka's demotion to Mahoning Valley is not helping the catcher that much in 2013. The newly-21-year-old looked good Wednesday, however, getting on base during a down night for the offense.
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Numerical oddities for Chiz so far in 2013 - well below his 2011/2012 BABIP (.256 vs .300) yet well above his IFH% (10.0% vs 4.2%) with 7 IFH out of 49 total H. He'd be hitting an even .200 without that spike in IFH%. Add in a whopping 6 GIDP in 235 PAs (5 combined in 374 PAs in 2011/2012) and the eye test is confirmed - Chiz looks lost at the plate. And that's without facing most LH pitchers.
Chisenhall's struggles wouldn't be standing out nearly as much if other parts of the lineup were doing what they were expected to do and what they should be doing. Is Chisenhall the likely long-term answer at 3B? The answer is leaning more toward "no," which is why you hold onto a Giovanny Urshela, who's shown solid plate discipline and GG-caliber defense at 3B in AA at age 21. And while he hasn't shown much power, he's still only 21, and power is often the last thing to come (provided it comes, of course). By the same token, though, Chisenhall hasn't had enough exposure yet- 2014 is where he really needs to break out- he's not in LaPorta-Marte territory yet.
Still, Chisenhall's struggles at adapting to the MLs wouldn't be as much of an issue if other guys that were supposed to be carrying the majority of the offensive load were doing their parts, and they largely have not. That is something to keep in mind before we write off Chisenhall, who only turns 25 in October (I think), and might have 700 ML PAs by the end of this season.
Side note: On Instagram tonight, David Huff was showing his ride into NYC, arriving at Yankee Stadium, and putting on pinstripes for the first time.
It's the responsibility of the guys making the decisions to project what a player will do 3,4, 5 years down the road. That's what they get paid to do.
If we weren't trying to contend these next few years, you would run him out there every day and tell him to sink or swim. If you want to actually WIN, you can't have a gaping hole in the lineup every night.
Just because draft picks before him were also failures, does not mean that the Chisenhall pick is not a failure as well. Career .23 BB/K ratio at the big league level, .11 against lefties. Now hitting .086 against lefties on the year. Sorry, just making it to the big leagues because there's nobody ahead of you on the depth chart just isn't quite good enough for a first round pick.
Yeah, that's a big problem. Allen and Kipnis are really the only drafted players of consequence to this point. Salazar is of course of consequence but I don't like lumping him in with players taken in the draft as it's a completely different department and different process.
Chisenhall is looking like an utter failure of a draft pick at this point.
On a side note--is there a reason Wood is still in Columbus while Matt Albers still has a job in Cleveland?
Players drafted/amateur international free agents on the team this year: Kipnis, Salazar, Chisenhall, Allen, Guilmet, Langwell, CC Lee, Pestano, Phelps, Huff.
So two starting position players, one starting pitcher, one bullpen guy who has been up all year, four bullpen arms who have bounced betwen Triple-A and the majors, Phelps, and Huff. Aka not all that much.
Anyway Interesting that Ramirez is getting a look at 3rd.
Not sure of their future roles with this organization, but really becoming fans of Jeremy Lucas and Logan Vick. Seem to have really good eyes at the plate.