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Around the Farm: August 21, 2014

Frazier, Moncrief's power highlight the night on the farm

Around the Farm: August 21, 2014
Clint Frazier (Photo: Brittany Chay)
August 22, 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.

Note that the Arizona League game was postponed due to rain.

Clint Frazier (CF, Lake County): 3-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 1 SO, 1 SF

Clint Frazier (Photo: MiLB)If Frazier's on-the-field performance was all that mattered in 2014, then there would be plenty of issues for the 19-year-old. One would be his 148 strikeouts in 110 games; even though power hitters tend to have more strikeouts, that high level of swing-and-miss makes it harder for a player's power to come through in games. Plus, with a .147 isolated power that is more decent than above-average, Frazier's power is not consistently showing up in 2014. Finally, though Frazier owns a solid .346 on-base percentage, it is being propped up a bit by his elevated .373 BABIP. But luckily, it is all about the big picture for Frazier. In his first full professional season, he has more than kept his head above water right out of high school in a full season league. Frazier will need to make adjustments based off of this season in the years ahead, and while those stats will ultimately matter, the ones from his 2014 Low-A season probably will not.

Carlos Moncrief (RF, Columbus): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO

Carlos Moncrief (Photo: MiLB)One place where performance does matter quite a bit is in Triple-A, where players have pretty much are who they are. So what can we glean from the 25-year-old Moncrief's first Triple-A season? Most importantly, he had a rough time in the immediate adjustment period at the beginning of the season, but over the last three months, has resembled the guy who shot up to IBI's #10 prospect this offseason:

April-May: .638 OPS, .115 isolated power, 27.8 K%, 6.1 BB% in 51 games

June-August: .869 OPS, .202 isolated power, 21.6 K%, 7.2 BB% in 72 games

It does not quite matchup with Moncrief's breakout 2013 season in Akron from a plate discipline perspective, but the 25-year-old has been better with his strikeouts and walks since the calendar turned to June. If Moncrief turns out to be the player he has been since June long term, that is not a bad thing; that player is doing pretty well and will see the major leagues before long.

  • Zach McAllister (SP, Columbus): ND, 6.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 2 SO, 1 WP. This was a pretty nondescript outing for McAllister as he continues to work his way back to the major leagues.
  • Jesus Aguilar (1B, Columbus): 1-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB. If not for one bad month in May (.577 OPS in 18 games), we could be looking at an out-of-this-world Triple-A season for Aguilar instead of a really good one. His OPS in each non-May month: 1.107 in 24 April games; .809 in 22 June games; .865 in 29 July games; and .894 in 17 August games.
  • James Ramsey (CF, Columbus): 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 SF. Ramsey has come back to Earth a little bit recently, but the 24-year-old still owns a .838 OPS in his first 19 games with the organization.
  • Luke Carlin (DH, Columbus): 0-for-3, 1 SO. Carlin has been very good of late, but the 33-year-old saw his eight-game hit streak and his 13-game on-base streak snapped.
  • Shawn Morimando (SP, Akron): ND, 4.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 8 SO. Morimando racked up the strikeouts on Thursday, but had a ton of traffic on the basepaths, which pushed him out of the game before getting through the fifth inning.
  • Enosil Tejeda (RP, Akron): S (6), 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO. Tejeda does not have the raw stuff of the recently promoted Shawn Armstrong, but the right-hander's 2.22 ERA, 9.7 SO/9, and 2.0 BB/9 should get him the same call up to Columbus.
  • Alex Lavisky (C, Akron): 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 SO. Lavisky's solid season continued in this game as the 23-year-old now owns a .281/.318/.376 line in 59 games.
  • Joe Wendle (2B, Akron): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 E. After missing almost eight weeks with a broken hamate, Wendle has done pretty well in his first three games back in Akron, reaching base at a .333 rate with two walks and no strikeouts.
  • Adam Plutko (SP, Carolina): L (3-9), 6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR. Though Plutko's 4.20 ERA in 85.2 innings is not elite, the right-hander has been stringent with his walks (1.8 BB/9) while getting his fair share of strikeouts (7.0 SO/9).
  • Clayton Cook (RP, Carolina): 1.0 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 0 SO. Given Cook's long layoff due to shoulder surgery, it is not surprising to see some bumps along his comeback trail regarding control.
  • Alex Monsalve (DH, Carolina): 1-for-3. It was a very quiet night for the Mudcats offensively, as Monsalve had one hit for Carolina…
  • James Roberts (2B, Carolina): 1-for-3, 1 E. And Roberts collected the other in the Mudcats' 5-0 loss.
  • Luis Lugo (SP, Lake County): W (8-9), 5.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO, 2 HR, 1 WP. Hitters are making contact with Lugo's pitches a little too often this season, but the left-hander has harnessed his strikeout stuff (10.7 SO/9 in 115.1 innings), which is an encouraging sign for his development going forward.
  • Robbie Aviles (RP, Lake County): H (2), 2.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 1 SO. Even with pitching in shorter stints since returning from the disabled list, Aviles is still an extreme pitch-to-contact pitcher. Through 13.2 innings, Aviles owns a 4.60 ERA, a 3.3 SO/9, and a 1.3 BB/9.
  • Nellie Rodriguez (1B, Lake County): 2-for-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB. Rodriguez's strong 2014 season just keeps rolling along, as the first baseman owns a .813 OPS and .206 isolated power in 120 games.
  • Ivan Castillo (SS, Lake County): 3-for-4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 SO, 1 SAC, 1 E. Though Castillo's offensive surge in August looks good on the surface (.874 OPS in 18 games), the shortstop still needs to improve his plate discipline to keep this up long term (17:2 SO:BB on the month).
  • Cameron Hill (SP, Mahoning Valley): ND, 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 SO. The 17th round pick in this year's draft has been mediocre when it comes to walks and strikeouts (5.2 SO/9, 3.5 BB/9), but with only 33 hits allowed in 46.1 innings, Hill is running a rock-bottom 1.55 ERA.
  • Cortland Cox (RP, Mahoning Valley): L (0-1), 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO. After striking out 17 batters in 15.0 Arizona League innings (and four in his first 3.2 innings with Mahoning Valley), Cox hit a bit of a rough patch on Thursday.
  • D'vone McClure (RF, Mahoning Valley): 3-for-3. The Scrappers only had six hits Thursday, with McClure accounting for half of them. The 2012 fourth round pick has performed better this season, and given his raw talent, he could make a real jump if he can put all of his tools together in the next year or two.

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

Ryan
August 23, 2014 - 2:58 AM EDT
Plutko is a bullpen arm based on his ability to go 6+ with great K/9 peripherals and good WHIP numbers? Yeah makes sense.
Ken
August 22, 2014 - 2:23 PM EDT
Please relax re Clint Frazier! He is a 19 year old in first full season. He is LEARNING professional baseball. Jim Thome at the same age hit .237, 0 HR and a .296 slugging percentage for the Gulf Coast Indians. New age stats at this point are useless.
Tony
August 22, 2014 - 2:11 PM EDT
Juan De La Cruz is a bust.....that right there pretty much makes the rest of Stern's post meaningless considering Juan De La Cruz has never been any kind of prospect for the Indians.;)

Lavisky is a solid defensive catcher and good leader. He's going to have a long career in the upper levels of the minors as a solid defensive catcher who teams/players love and can bring a little offense. Someone like a Luke Carlin. His Major League future is rather uncertain because he's no longer a priority guy, but as long as he continues to get opportunities there is always a chance he could get a look in the big leagues. Teams always need catchers and depth options and guys get hurt....so anything can happen.

As for McClure, he is just so raw. He's still working on the transition to being a baseball player full time and getting stronger. The tools he has are exciting and still untapped, but he's now two full years in and the bat looks very limited. That said, you never give up on talent like his at such a young age. Next year will be a make or break year for him in his 21 year old season if you ask me.
Rich
August 22, 2014 - 1:55 PM EDT
If Frazier is such a strikeout machine, how come his BABIP is so high? Because he hits lots of line drives? So he either hits the ball on the nose or misses it completely?

That doesn't sound right. You wouldn't think a player who misses so many pitches would also hit a lot of line drives with few pop ups and weak ground balls.

I heard he has great bat speed. So maybe his ground balls are hit so hard that they shoot through the infield, and his fly balls carry over the wall. That would explain it, I suppose.

If that's the case, then maybe that high BABIP is sustainable.
Sternfan10
August 22, 2014 - 1:33 PM EDT
Saying Papi has 2nd best BABIP at Lake County is funny when you consider Lake County has miserable all season hitting the ball
Tondo
August 22, 2014 - 12:46 PM EDT
Brian,
while Papi's K rate is a little higher than I expected, it's still the 2nd best among LC regulars. Not bad for a player that was thrown into a full season team right from College. Papi is fine, he gets the walks he was expected to and his BB/K of 0.63 is the best on the team already. If it wasn't for his .222 BABIP (yeah, I'm going there), his stat line would be something like .280 BA, .380 OBP, ~.800 OPS and everybody would be excited and not be concerned. That's what I expect from him in the following seasons. He's a top 10 player in this system.

Just to throw a comp out there: James Ramsey, another advanced College player, was assigned to their A+ team right after the draft by the Cards. He had 247 PAs, hit .229, .648 OPS and a 24% K-rate, all that with a normal .309 BABIP. He turned into a pretty good prospect. Papi will be fine.

Frazier on the other hand has the 3rd most SO in the entire Midwest league and the Indians' late rounder Grant Fink has the most, btw. He's far from a bust, as his numbers are still solid for such a young player, but he's not quite meeting his draft hype yet.
markn95
August 22, 2014 - 12:21 PM EDT
I've liked Aguilar and Moncrief as prospects since their breakout years in Akron in 2013. I particularly like Aguilar's right-handed power, which, if for real, would totally change the middle of the Tribe's lefty-heavy batting order. And Moncrief just has a ton of tools and is one of those rare Indians' corner outfield prospects who hits with power. All that said, they've stayed stuck in Columbus despite the attrition of trades and injuries racked the major league club in the last 4 weeks. Obviously, the organization does not see these guys as ready or capable of contributing in a (long shot) playoff push. I'm sure we'll see them up in September but paying time may be an issue the longer the Tribe (hopefully) stays in the race. I just hope they get a fresh start beginning in Spring Training next year and a real shot to contribute in Cleveland. Or have the Walters and Ramsey acquisitions merely rendered them trade bait?
Jim Piascik
August 22, 2014 - 12:12 PM EDT
DigitalVagabond,

I know how to use BABIP. And I didn't say Frazier's BABIP was insanely high. I said it was propping his on-base percentage up "a bit."

Of course his style of hitting will lead to high BABIPs. But practically no one maintains a .373 mark. The current highest mark among qualified hitters in the major leagues is .370. Expecting it to regress down from .373 is the right call.

Everything is about the context, which is why I didn't say "Frazier is a bust only being propped up by his high BABIP." I said he is being helped by it, which is absolutely true.
oldtribefan
August 22, 2014 - 11:56 AM EDT
As the handle connotes, I am a 60+ year Tribe fan (even though I've never lived in or anywhere near Cleveland). I've been through a lot, which makes me chuckle when I see commentators on sites such as this declare 19 and 20-year old kids to be "busts" or "overdrafted." Their entire careers are a very small sample size which proves absolutely nothing. Enjoy the ride, guys, and hope that these young players prove out. It's a much healthier way to live, especially if you root for the Tribe.
DigitalVagabond
August 22, 2014 - 11:51 AM EDT
We get it, you learned what BABIP is. However, you don't seem to grasp that there are some factors that will elevate it. Line drive rate is a big one, and everything you hear about Clint Frazier points to him having a very high line drive rate, when he hits the ball he doesn't get cheated. Another thing that will impact BABIP is speed, while not being the fastest out there does posses good speed.

Not only that you can really only say a player's BABIP is inflated or unsustainable based on what they already have set as a baseline. From Fangraphs, "We know that league average BABIP is almost always right around .300, so many people look at a player’s BABIP and if it is significantly different from .300 they assume that player is either very lucky or very unlucky. This is not always the appropriate way to think about BABIP."

It's hard to have a baseline given each level is different in the minors. You also have to leverage it against a player's skill cap, (Frazier has a high one). My point here is basically stop using BABIP in a vacuum it all comes down context.
BrianM
August 22, 2014 - 11:44 AM EDT
Most of what Sternfan says is pointless nonsense, but I will agree with his comment about Papi. It is really nice to see him heat up the past couple weeks, but his K rate is alarming for someone who was supposed to be one of the most polished and disciplined college bats.

allhailshapiro
August 22, 2014 - 11:39 AM EDT
So the Tribe used the no. 5 pick in the draft on a young Brad Snyder. Awesome....

Just kidding. Although only kinda, that is alot of strikeout for A ball. I'll certainly be rooting for him.

Also, where has Sicnarf Loopstok been? Why the sporadic ABs after the promo? Is he being slowly introduced back to catching or is it a matter of him being more of a 1B/DH and LC already has two of those?

Oh, almost forgoT FREE ANTHONY GALLAS
Nikolaos
August 22, 2014 - 10:51 AM EDT
What are the main things D'vone McClure needs to improve on to continue to progress level by level?
Nick
August 22, 2014 - 10:42 AM EDT
How does Lavisky rate out defensively? We've got some pretty good talent in the system at C.
Sternfan10
August 22, 2014 - 9:08 AM EDT
Juan De La Cruz is a bust

Drake Roberts was a wasted draft pick, the guy is a windmill and cannot make contact.

Cameron Hill should be bumped up to LC, he is better than alot of the garbage there in the rotation.

Frazier had a fantastic night, but the strike outs are going to limit his impact in the future. indians probably overdrafted this guy.

Papi's strikeouts are alarming for a so-called advanced hitter

Add Paulino to the growing list of weak hitters currently manning the corner outfield spots for the Indians minor league teams. It's about time to cut the cord with this guy. Some of you folks had him as a superstar after one season in Zona.

Why is Logan Vick still getting at-bats?

Yandy Diaz is a good hitter, but the lack of power is going to hurt him in the future

Luigi Rodriguez, another guy that this forum hyped that has flamed out and is now just filler

Plutko is looking like a bullpen type of pitcher

Lavisky needs to get more at bats

Haley-Why is he still in the system?

McAllister is really looking like a 3 A type of pitcher

Lindor's bat is not ready for the big leagues
Walter
August 22, 2014 - 8:47 AM EDT
If the Indians are planning to make a run to make the playoffs they will need to add some more offense. I nominate Moncrief or Aguilar to replace Dickerson in the lineup. I believe given the chance they could provide the same spark that Zach Walters has so far.

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