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Around the Farm: August 20, 2014

McClure's first homer of the year, Kime's one-hit outing highlight the night on the farm

Around the Farm: August 20, 2014
Dace Kime (Photo: Emily Jones/MiLB)
August 21, 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. 

D'vone McClure (LF-RF, Mahoning Valley): 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SO

D'vone McClure (Photo: MiLB)The struggles of McClure in his first couple professional seasons are yet another reminder that when it comes to prospects, it is all about the long game. When McClure was drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 draft, it was readily acknowledged that the outfielder's game was quite raw and he was very far from the majors. After two seasons in the Arizona League -- where he posted a .586 OPS in 50 games -- it is easy to give up on McClure as a toolsy prospect who could not put it together in the actual games. But while McClure's .652 OPS in 40 Mahoning Valley games this season is still pretty low, the outfielder is still just 20 years old and has plenty of time to grow. A promotion a year would still get McClure to Cleveland at 25 years old, and while that is an aggressive projection for the outfielder, it just shows that even with his struggles, he is not that far behind the developmental curve. McClure is not going to blaze up through the system, but there is still plenty of time for the 20-year-old to become a major league player.

Dace Kime (SP, Lake County): W (7-13), 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1 WP, 1 HBP

Dace Kime (Photo: MiLB)Speaking of being patient with prospects, Kime's first full professional season started off terribly, with the right-hander really scuffling out of the gate in April. Over the months since, Kime has either gotten strikeouts, limited his walks, or lowered his ERA, but never all at the same time:

April: 9.95 ERA, 6.6 SO/9, 3.8 BB/9 in 19.0 innings

May: 4.39 ERA, 5.1 SO/9, 2.7 BB/9 in 26.2 innings

June: 2.65 ERA, 9.5 SO/9, 5.3 BB/9 in 34.0 innings

July: 5.26 ERA, 7.4 SO/9, 4.2 BB/9 in 25.2 innings

August: 3.97 ERA, 6.3 SO/9, 2.4 BB/9 in 22.2 innings

But the bigger picture is that Kime is able to do all three things. Making the transition from a college reliever to a professional starter is not normal and the 2013 third round pick still has plenty of time. All the pieces are there for Kime, which is more than you can say about plenty of prospects.

  • Tyler Cloyd (SP, Columbus): L (10-8), 7.0 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO, 2 HR. As has been his MO this season (outside of a certain no-hitter), Cloyd was very hittable in this outing. But the right-hander managed to limit the damage and get a lot of strikeouts Wednesday.
  • Austin Adams (RP, Columbus): 1.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO. Walks have not been a problem for Adams in 2014 (48:14 SO:BB in 49.2 Triple-A innings), but he was a little wild in this outing.
  • Luke Carlin (C, Columbus): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI. Carlin has been a great veteran to have in the system this season and is also someone who has stepped up and taken on a bigger role for the Clippers now that Roberto Perez is with the major league club. His hitting streak now sits at eight games and his on-base streak at 13.
  • Carlos Moncrief (RF, Columbus): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 SO. The plate discipline is still not there for Moncrief, but with another solid month in August (.766 OPS in 18 games), his early season struggles are starting to look more like an outlier.
  • Jesus Aguilar (1B, Columbus): 0-for-4. This 0-for-4 night snapped Aguilar's hitting streak at 11 games, his longest of the season (he had two others snapped at 10 games earlier in the year).
  • Cody Anderson (SP, Akron): ND, 5.0 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO, 2 HR, 1 WP. Anderson did a good job of throwing the ball over the plate in this outing, but the Altoona hitters were able to square him up too often to make this an effective outing for the right-hander.
  • Jordan Smith (RF, Akron): 3-for-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI. With a three-hit night and the go-ahead single in the bottom of the eighth, Smith extended his hitting streak to six games as he continues to try to salvage his down 2014 season.
  • Anthony Gallas (DH, Akron): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 SO. In addition to extending his hitting streak to five games, Gallas also went deep for the 15th time in Akron, giving him 23 home runs total on the season.
  • Jake Lowery (C, Akron): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB. A pitch to the eye in mid-April derailed Lowery's season -- and likely has lingered in his results since returning -- but the 24-year-old has put together a powerful month of August (.886 OPS, .355 isolated power in 10 games).
  • Joe Wendle (2B, Akron): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB. Wendle's second-inning single was his first hit since returning from the broken hamate he suffered in late-June.
  • Dylan Baker (SP, Carolina): ND, 5.1 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR. Baker is still working on his regaining his control since his return from the disabled list, as the right-hander has walked 12 batters in 26.2 innings while striking out 21.
  • Grant Sides (RP, Carolina): BS (3), W (4-1), 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO. Sides allowed two inherited runners to score, but overall he came in and pitched well. The right-hander now owns a 2.32 ERA and 45:23 SO:BB in 50.1 innings.
  • Eric Haase (DH, Carolina): 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI. Haase's offense has not skipped a beat since his promotion to Carolina, with the 21-year-old posting an .899 OPS in his first six games.
  • Logan Vick (CF, Carolina): 3-for-4, 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. Vick's BABIP is still correcting itself, as the 23-year-old has seen more balls fall in for hits lately. The outfielder owns a solid .341 on-base percentage in 70 High-A games despite a below-average (and positively regressing) .269 BABIP.
  • Yhoxian Medina (SS, Carolina): 2-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 HBP, 1 SAC, 1 E. The bat has come around nicely for Medina this season, as the 24-year-old is set to top last year's .686 OPS with this season's .727 mark through 87 games.
  • Justin Brantley (RP, Lake County): H (2), 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO. Since allowing three runs on August 14, Brantley has been on point in his last two outings, putting up 3.2 scoreless outings with five strikeouts and one walk.
  • Trevor Frank (RP, Lake County): S (16), 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO. The 2013 eighth round pick continued his dominant season Wednesday night, lowering his ERA to 2.65 to go with a 55:8 SO:BB in 51.0 innings.
  • Dorssys Paulino (LF, Lake County): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB. In addition to having the only extra base hit of this game, Paulino scored the only run of a 1-0 Captains win by smartly scoring from second on a sacrifice bunt when no one covered home. Paulino now owns an above-average .259/.329/.372 line in 76 games since his mid-May transition to the outfield.
  • Juan Santana (SP, Mahoning Valley): W (1-7), 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR, 1 WP, 1 HBP. Strikeouts have not been Santana's forte this season, but the right-hander had some swing-and-miss going Wednesday as he put up a solid rebound outing.
  • Bradley Zimmer (CF, Mahoning Valley): 0-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 SO, 1 HBP. When looking for why Zimmer came out of the game early, the eye immediately jumps to the hit by pitch in his line. Not so, however, as he apparently rolled his ankle running out a grounder his next time up.
  • Steven Patterson (2B, Mahoning Valley): 3-for-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SO. Though Patterson's .251/.332/.386 line in 43 games does not jump out at you, it does show how the 2014 10th round pick has played a well-rounded game since beginning his professional career.
  • Greg Allen (RF-CF, Mahoning Valley): 2-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 SF. The same goes for Allen, because while the power is missing (.058 isolated power), this year's sixth round pick is getting on-base at a .368 clip and has 22 steals in 47 games.
  • Leo Castillo (1B, Mahoning Valley): 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI. Castillo only had one hit, but he made it count, launching his sixth home run of the season and pushing his isolated power to .180 in 52 games.
  • Shao-Ching Chiang (SP, AZL Indians): W (4-2), 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1 WP, 1 E. Chiang's ERA remains pretty high at 4.97, but given his 30:3 SO:BB in 41.2 innings this season to go with one home run allowed, the right-hander has pitched much better than his ERA would indicate.
  • Sam Hentges (RP, AZL Indians): H (3), 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO. The 2014 fourth round pick's workload is still being limited, as he has only thrown 12.0 innings. Hentges has looked good in that time, however, only allowing one earned run and posting a 10:5 SO:BB.
  • Yoiber Marquina (RP, AZL Indians): S (6), 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO. Heading into Wednesday, Marquina's control had not been great (12 walks in 18.0 innings). But the strikeouts have always been there and the right-hander now owns a 2.70 ERA and 26:12 SO:BB through 26.0 innings.
  • Bobby Bradley (1B, AZL Indians): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 SO. What more is there to say about Bradley? At this point, we are all just waiting to see what happens to his out-of-this-world .374/.444/.676 line through 35 games when he is pushed up a level.
  • Li-Jen Chu (C, AZL Indians): 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB. He is not quite hitting at Bradley's level, but Chu is also putting together an impressive showing in the Arizona League, posting a .346/.433/.628 line with a 16:10 SO:BB in 26 games.

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. If you want to read his Master's thesis on college athletes and Twitter, you can do so here.

User Comments

Tony
August 22, 2014 - 8:11 AM EDT
It should be noted that not every player the Indians draft and sign or sign in the International market comes in as a prospect. Close to half of all players signed are just guys to fill in. Now, they still work with everyone and try to make a non-prospect into a prospect.....but this is also why some guys are not pushed as aggressively or that they bounce around all over the system.
Ryan
August 22, 2014 - 2:01 AM EDT
Not saying Paulino has the same makeup as Brantley but he is only 19, power comes later and Brantley was not known for power coming up.
I personally hope Chu is moved up aggresively, the last C/DH in the organization from Taiwan seemed to be consistently held back in spite of awesome numbers until AAA. Is there some sort of bias against them? I mean to just outright say he is not a "prospect" seems dismissive as it is his first year stateside and questions why they bothered signing him.
Ross
August 21, 2014 - 4:22 PM EDT
Are T Wolters and Erik Gonzalez finished for the 2014 season due to injuries? What are their injuries?
Tony
August 21, 2014 - 4:21 PM EDT
Shane Rowland has been moved up to fill that 25th spot at Lake County.
Bill
August 21, 2014 - 4:04 PM EDT
Why won't the Indians assign a 25th man to Lake County to fill out the roster?
Jim Piascik
August 21, 2014 - 2:00 PM EDT
The current major league average SO/9 is 7.7.

Overall, a pitcher with a SO/9 over 7, a BB/9 under 3, and a groundball rate over 50% is very much in a sweet spot of performance. Those are not very common, but it's a great thing to strive for.

The list of major league starters with significant time who have pulled that off this season:

Felix Hernandez
Garrett Richards
Jeff Samardzija
Wade Miley
Brandon McCarthy
Homer Bailey
Clayton Kershaw
Alex Cobb
Marcus Stroman
Carlos Carrasco (including his time in the bullpen)

So if you're looking for players who are pitching better than their ERA, Miley, McCarthy, and Bailey are good bets. Or if you're looking for some young pitchers to buy into, like Cobb, Stroman, and even Carrasco.
Walter
August 21, 2014 - 12:35 PM EDT
Thanks for the information regarding the k/9 ratio. Learned something today.

What is considered a good k/9 for a pitcher? Is it averaging a strike out per inning? I see that Anderson ratio last year in Carolina was 8.2. I am assuming that would be about 6 K's when pitching 5 or 6 innings.

With his strikeouts down this year is not the only problem, his hr/9 ratio is also pretty bad. Giving up already 15 hrs.



Tony
August 21, 2014 - 11:57 AM EDT
Yes, a very disappointing season for Anderson. And Walter, a 5.8 K/9 is not good. Remember, he's not going nine innings....he's going 5-6 innings which means he is getting 3-4 Ks max on average.

I asked someone of importance about Li-Jen Chu a week or two into the season and was told he was not a prospect. I'm curious if that is still the case.....and will look to find out. I admittedly have not seen him, but will see him in Instructs.

I think Frazier has had a solid season. Not the great season many were expecting/hoping for, but I think it is still a successful season and hardly a disappointment. The strikeouts are certainly a concern, but he's shown the patience to take a walk, shown flashes of his power, and played good defense and ran the bases well. Most importantly, he's really come along with his game preparation and handling playing everyday. I think he could be set for a much better season next year.
Jim Piascik
August 21, 2014 - 11:14 AM EDT
I'd go with a combination of Fangraphs, Baseball Prospectus, and Baseball Reference. Each offers their own thing. Personally Fangraphs is my go-to, but for the minors, Baseball Reference often offers better organization of the stats. But any of the three will be good.

And luckily, Fangraphs is working on integrating the scouting side of things to their player pages. Because Walter is right; stats only doesn't do it. Stats can tell you very interesting things, but not the whole story. Especially at the lower levels where a player's projection is important as well. It's great to see 18- and 19-year-olds performing in the Arizona League, with the Scrappers, in Lake County, etc., but those players are not yet physically mature or who they are going to be when they should be making it to the majors.

So it's all a balancing act. Thus why McClure and Kime, for example, are still interesting prospects even though the stats are not there. They've fallen a bit because of the struggles, but their ERA, OPS, etc. are not the only thing determining if they make the majors right now. Still plenty of room for projection and growth.
Nick
August 21, 2014 - 10:56 AM EDT
For those who are stat junkies, what's the best site for advanced stats? Baseball Reference or something else?
Walter
August 21, 2014 - 10:16 AM EDT
Only 5.8 K per 9 innings. Since when is having 5 KO's per game a bad thing. Anderson problems is not the KO's it his command which has led to the high ERA this year. The reason everybody is disappointed at his numbers is everyone thought he would be the next Salazar who would help the thin starting rotation this year. I expect him to have bounce back year in 2015 in Akron and will become an option for the Indians for 15 and beyond.

Not worried about Frazier K's since it is his first full year in a league where most pitchers lack command and hitters who lack plate discipline.

Stats are fine to follow a players progress, but there are some that are obsessed with them and only judge a player on stats only.
Tondo
August 21, 2014 - 9:23 AM EDT
Li-Jen Chu now leads the AZL in doubles with 13 which is amazing considering he had 60-90 less ABs than everyone else following him. I know it's only SSS, but what's the plan for him? He's somewhat older at 20yo and was a low cost signing/priority. Hopefully, he gets a shot at LC next season, even though Mejia and Loopstok ar projected there.

2 more Ks for Frazier 147 in 109 games now, that's ugly. What looked like a positive development, now can be seen as one hot month mixed with luck (July). The rest of the year he has struggled hitting .250.
Rich
August 21, 2014 - 9:04 AM EDT
What a disappointing season for Cody Anderson - a 4.76 ERA with only 5.8 K's per 9 innings. Same for Jordan Smith. And Paulino is not going to make it as a left fielder with a .259 BA and no power.

Jake Lowery is coming on strong with an .886 OPS in August, but we're set at catcher for another five years at least with Gomes and Perez. Maybe we can eventually use him in another Eddie Taubensee for Kenny Lofton type deal.

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