Around The Farm: August 21, 2013
Wendle's power, Baker's bounce back highlight night on the farm
By Jim Piascik
August 22, 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 Columbus was off last night.
Joe Wendle (2B, Carolina): Games 1 & 2: 2-for-7, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 SO, 1 SB
Wendle has been regressing from his four-digit OPS in mid-July, but he is still having a great year (.294/.371/.511 line in 95 games). There was never any chance that Wendle would sustain that performance -- there just are not many true-talent 1.000 OPS players out there -- but the second baseman has established himself as a name to follow. One can find plenty of reasons to think that Wendle's 2013 does not mean much: he is 23 years old and in High-A; he is not someone with a ton of prospect history; he is not someone getting national attention and respect. But why bother with that? Wendle is having a great year and will get a chance to handle Double-A next year when the prospects there clear out. Why get obsessed with what is wrong with Wendle's season and miss the greatness he has going on? I know I'm just going to enjoy the ride.
Dylan Baker (SP, Lake County): 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO, 1 WP, 1 E
Baker had a bit of a rough spell in July -- posting a 6.05 ERA, 5.17 FIP, and 19:21 SO:BB -- but he is back on his game in August. The right-hander has a 4.07 BB/9 in his first full professional season, though he has limited it to a 2.48 BB/9 this month. Monthly splits are dangerous to play with -- they often are just measuring the ups and downs of the season -- but every aspect of Baker's game looks improved. His strikeouts are looking good, he is cutting down on walks, and he is generating a ton of ground balls. The 21-year-old from Juneau, Alaska is a little older, but as a pitcher from a cold-weather state, he likely has not faced as much upper-echelon competition. Baker is on the right path and could make some waves in 2014.
- Cedric Hunter (DH, Akron): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI. Hunter continues to hit during his time in Akron, though his relative demotion to designated hitter shows how the organization really values him.
- Carlos Moncrief (RF, Akron): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 E. August has been a down month for Moncrief -- he currently has his lowest monthly OPS of the season -- but the outfielder has looked much better of late.
- Tyler Holt (LF, Akron): 3-for-4, 2 R, 1 RBI. Holt also has been down lately, though the outfielder is playing left field for the first time all year. He can handle it, but the change could be weighing on him.
- Matt Packer (SP, Akron): W (11-8), 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 SO, 2 WP. This was not a perfect outing, but Packer got back on top of things after allowing 19 earned runs in his last 14.1 innings.
- Shawn Morimando (SP, Carolina, Game 1): L (8-12), 2.2 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO. Oh the irony. After 13 walks in his last two starts coming back to bite him, Morimando gets lit up with a great strikeout-to-walk ratio. Hopefully he will put it all together soon.
- Jordan Smith (CF, Carolina, Game 1): 3-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB. It may just be one month, but Smith's .397/.523/.574 line with five steals (and more importantly his .177 ISO) is a glimpse into the projection we have always put on the outfielder.
- Tony Wolters (C, Carolina, Game 1): 3-for-3. He may be repeating the level, but combined with the position change, Wolters' .282/.372/.361 line is particularly impressive.
- Ryan Merritt (SP, Carolina, Game 2): ND, 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, 1 E. After receiving a callup to High-A, Merritt took advantage of his opportunity and pitched effectively. Interestingly, his three-inning limit was lifted for this outing.
- Carolina Bullpen (Game 2): 2.0 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR. Merritt left the Mudcats in a strong position, though Rob Nixon and Benny Suarez could not hold the lead. Bad games happen though; Nixon and Suarez will get a chance to erase this soon enough.
- Logan Vick (RF, Carolina, Game 2): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI. Since being called up to Carolina, Vick has played a strong all-around game (.229/.341/.400 line in nine games). It is good to see Vick doing well at a more advanced level.
- LeVon Washington (CF, Lake County): 2-for-3, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 CS. #WashTime continues to do work in Lake County. As long as he stays healthy (which, well…), this year will be a great stepping stone into 2014.
- Jeremy Lucas (C, Lake County): 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI. A 1-for-5 night will not help Lucas maintain his shiny .404 on-base percentage, but there is nothing wrong with adding a little power here and there.
- Grant Sides (RP, Lake County): 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO. This makes back-to-back starts where Sides allowed a run, though his ERA is still a quite good 1.59 with a 1.98 FIP to back it up.
- Robel Garcia (DH, Mahoning Valley): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 SO. Garcia's fifth home run is obviously nice. Running his strikeout total to 56 in 41 games with a .668 OPS? Not so much.
- Paul Hendrix (2B, Mahoning Valley): 2-for-4, 2 SO, 1 E. The 18th round pick has 43 strikeouts in 39 games, though the 22-year-old is just getting his feet wet in 2013.
- Luis Gomez (SP, Mahoning Valley): L (0-1), 4.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R (1 ER), 4 BB, 4 SO, 1 WP, 1 HBP. This was an uneven debut for Gomez, as Wednesday was his first appearance above the Arizona League. It is good to see his 37 strikeouts in 25.0 innings in Arizona translating.
- Ben Heller (RP, Mahoning Valley): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO. This makes 33 strikeouts in 32.0 innings for the 22nd round pick. Heller has a 0.84 ERA and 2.54 FIP in his first taste of pro ball.
- Francisco Mejia (C, AZL Indians): 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 SO, 1 PB. Mejia continues to hit well in Arizona (.298/.347/.543 line in 27 games) and his triple started a ninth-inning comeback for the Arizona League team.
- Gerald Bautista (3B, AZL Indians): 1-for-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB. Bautista only had the one hit, but his double drove in Mejia. This is par for the course for the 19-year-old Bautista, who is having a decent first state-side season.
- Clint Frazier (CF, AZL Indians): 0-for-3, 1 BB, 2 SO. Frazier is now up to 54 strikeouts in 39 games as he adjusts to pro ball. He is still hitting quite well, but no one should forget how raw high school prospects like Frazier typically are.
- Mitch Brown (SP, AZL Indians): ND, 5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO, 2 HBP. This year has been rough for Brown, but the right-hander does have plenty of talent and is still quite young.
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Mejia also gunned down 2 runners at 2nd base. I've read he has a very strong arm, so if he keeps this up with the bat, then he's a legit top 20 guy with serious upside. Compare his stats to Frazier, very similar and Mejia is a year younger. He was a rather expensive INT signing (350K, equivalent to 5th round draft slot value), so it's not like he came out of nowhere .