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Around the Farm: August 3, 2014

Around the Farm: August 3, 2014
Zach Walters (Photo: AP)
August 4, 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, rookie level Arizona’s game was postponed due to rain.

Zach Walters (3B, Columbus): 3-for-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI. Small sample size be damned, Walters has impressed in the early going since being acquired last Thursday in the Asdrubal Cabrera trade. He has recorded a hit in all three games he has played with the Clippers, recording three hits in two of the games, and has an RBI in all three games as well. The Indians like his versatility and ability to switch hit, but what really intrigued them about him and what they love about him is the power he has in his bat and he showcased that on Sunday with two homers. The ability to drive in runs and do so with power is a significant need at the Major League level, and considering Nick Swisher left Sunday’s game with a right wrist injury it could be an opportune time to site the struggling Swisher and bring up Walters who looks to be a part of the long term future of the franchise.

Erik Gonzalez (SS, Akron): 4-for-5, R, 3B, 2 RBI. Gonzo is en fuego right now for the ‘Ducks. Since his recall to Akron on July 25th he has hit in all 10 games and is 20-for-45 (.444) over that stretch. Overall, he is riding a 15-game hitting streak at Akron and hitting a blistering .408 with 1 HR, 8 RBI and .983 OPS in 17 total games with Akron. He has recorded an amazing 10 multi-hit games out of his 17 games with Akron. This is a guy whose stock is soaring and he has legitimized his prospect status this season, and could be an interesting trade chip in the offseason.

  • James Ramsey (CF, Columbus): 1-for-5, K. Ramsey has struggled in the early days of his first real exposure to Triple-A (he played one game in Triple-A last season). So far he is just 1-for-13 with 6 strikeouts in three games at the new level (his entire time with the Indians so far).
  • Francisco Lindor (SS, Columbus): 1-for-5, R, RBI, K. Lindor’s numbers at Columbus have cooled since a good start in his first career stint at the Triple-A level. Over his last five games he is just 2-for-22 at the plate.
  • Audy Ciriaco (2B, Columbus): 1-for-4, R, HR, RBI, K. Ciriaco probably won’t see time in Cleveland this season due to all of the middle infield options at their disposal already on the 40-man roster, but he’s certainly played his way into getting a look by someone next spring for a potential big league opportunity.
  • Toru Murata (SP, Columbus): 6.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. Murata evened his record with the Clippers to 2-2 with this good outing. He continues to be a reliable, durable arm that the Indians use between Double-A and Triple-A to fill innings.
  • Tyler Sturdevant (RP, Columbus): 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R/ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR. Sturdevant had the one hiccup with the solo homer, but otherwise was his usual self throwing a lot of strikes, getting some swing and miss and limited walks and baserunners. He has a .199 BAA and 0.95 WHIP this season.
  • Ollie Linton (CF, Akron): 3-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, SB. Linton has been a solid free agent pickup to provide depth in the outfield this season. In 48 combined games between High-A Carolina and Double-A Akron he is hitting .303 with 1 HR, 16 RBI, 9 stolen bases and .794 OPS.
  • Anthony Gallas (DH, Akron): 3-for-5, R, HR, 3 RBI, K. Gallas has cooled some since his hot start with Akron hitting just .238 over his last 10 games, but he continues to show some pop in the bat with a .153 isolated power over that time and is still hitting .312 with 11 HR, 33 RBI and .925 in 49 games with Akron.
  • Bryson Myles (LF, Akron): 0-for-5, 3 K. Myles has not been the same since returning to the Akron lineup on July 24th after missing several games with a knee injury. In the 10 games since he returned he is hitting just .205 with a .680 OPS and had 14 strikeouts in 39 at bats.
  • Jake Lowery (C, Akron): 1-for-4, R, HR, RBI, K. With Tony Wolters on the disabled list for the time being, Lowery stands to get a lot more time behind the plate. He responded with a big solo blast – something that hopefully sparks his bat.
  • Jordan Cooper (SP, Akron): 4.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 4 BB, 2 K. Cooper is filling in as a starting option on a short term basis while the Indians adjust the Akron rotation to cover for the loss of Cody Anderson who went on the DL with an arm injury. He played with fire in this one, but did a nice job escaping damage.
  • Giovanni Soto (RP, Akron): 2.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R/ER, 1 BB, 5 K. These were the first two runs Soto has allowed since July 3rd, a span of nine scoreless outings. Even with the high amount of traffic, he showed an ability to get outs himself with five of the six outs recorded coming via the strikeout.
  • Shawn Armstrong (RP, Akron): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. Armstrong racked up his 12th save of the season, a stat worth noting but one that means very little in the minors. What does mean something is his incredible season as he owns a 2.36 ERA, .222 BAA and 11.6 K/9.
  • Jeremy Lucas (C, Carolina): 2-for-6, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI. Lucas provided the only play of note from the offensive side of the ledger for the Mudcats in their doubleheader on Sunday as he homered in each game. He’s really solidified himself as an interesting catching prospect in the organization.
  • Adam Plutko (SP, Carolina): 6.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R/ER, 0 BB, 5 K. 1 HR. Plutko cruised through the first three innings before getting touched up for a run in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings before losing it in the seventh with two runs. He’s had a nice showing in Carolina overall, but needs more consistency in his outings.
  • Luis DeJesus (RP, Carolina): 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K. DeJesus made his High-A debut and didn’t do Plutko any favors by allowing one of the inherited runners from Plutko to score. He’s pitched much better of late, so it will be interesting to see how he settles in at the more challenging level.
  • D.J. Brown (SP, Carolina): 1.2 IP, 7 H, 7 R/ER, 2 BB, 1 K. Brown has had an otherwise good season filling in as a starter, but in this one he just did not have it. After not allowing a run in either of his previous two outings (9.2 IP, 0 R), his numbers more than balanced out and continue a trend of some rough play of late over his last eight outings (38.1 IP, 31 R, 25 ER, 5.87 ERA).
  • Josh Martin (RP, Carolina): 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. Martin has been a steady force all season in the Mudcats bullpen. He can give multiple innings when needed, he throws strikes (2.8 BB/9) and can get some strikeouts (8.7 K/9).
  • Paul Hendrix (SS, Lake County): 3-for-4, K. It was an ugly day at the plate for the Captains as they were shut out and managed just four hits – with Hendrix collecting three of them. He has really had a solid season overall with good numbers hitting .287 with 11 HR, 37 RBI, and .841 OPS.
  • Mike Papi (RF, Lake County): 1-for-4, K. Papi collected the lone hit for the lineup that did not come from Hendrix. He has really struggled in the early going at Lake County hitting .111 (5-for-45) with a .423 OPS. It’s hardly time to be concerned, though it would be nice to start seeing his bat show the final month of the season.
  • Clint Frazier (CF, Lake County): 0-for-2, 2 BB, K. The Captains drew three walks on Sunday, and Frazier recorded two of them. Walks are always great to see from a young player, and Frazier has 45 of them this season good for a 10.8% walk rate.
  • Caleb Hamrick (SP, Lake County): 5.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R/ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR. Hamrick has just not found a rhythm on the mound this season. After some promising outings in mid-June, he has hit rock bottom over his last six outings going 28.1 innings and allowing 48 hits,13 walks and has 14 strikeouts.
  • Robbie Aviles (RP, Lake County): 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 0 BB, 1 K. Aviles has now made three appearances since returning about a week ago from an arm injury. The Indians have really limited his outings as he is throwing just an inning in each outing – except for his last time out when he went two innings.
  • Greg Allen (CF, Mahoning Valley): 3-for-4, R, 2B. On a night when the Scrappers recorded just eight hits as a team, Allen provided some on-base ability from the leadoff spot. He had an awful July hitting just .207 with a .612 OPS, but three games into August is hitting .417 with a .962 OPS.
  • Leo Castillo (1B, Mahoning Valley): 2-for-4, R, HR, RBI. Castillo’s play has really picked up of late as he is hitting .333 with 2 HR, 8 RBI and .919 OPS over his last 10 games. Overall, in 39 games with the Scrappers, he is hitting a solid .275 with 5 HR, 31 RBI and .826 OPS.
  • Jose Zapata (SP, Mahoning Valley): 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 3 BB, 3 K. Zapata gave a nice effort filling in as a starter in this one. He has been effective most of the season save for the three outings he has struggled allowing more than one run. Command appears to be his biggest roadblock he will need to hurdle.
  • Justin Garcia (RP, Mahoning Valley): 3.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R (4 ER), 3 BB, 0 K. Garcia dropped his first decision of the season and is now 2-1 on the year. Obviously, wins and losses mean little, so it is the peripherals that garner attention since a 24-9 strikeout to walk rate is intriguing and he shows an ability to pitch more than one inning.

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User Comments

alton
August 5, 2014 - 1:42 AM EDT
Lindor, Ramirez, and now Walters can all handle SS at varying levels, if we could use Gonzalez as part of a package to help bring a decent SP we should do it with no hesitation. I like Gonzalez he's athletic, strong arm, got a little pop but that's the whole reason other teams might be willing to give us something of value in return.

Don't get spoiled by the occasional fleecing trades we're able to make ie Esmil Rogers, E. Perez, Broussard, you can't always turn crap into cranberries. Plus has anyone seen his walk to strikeout ratio, he doesn't have a very good eye and the tools with the bat don't play if you don't make contact. MLB pitchers are no joke.
Homer
August 4, 2014 - 8:40 PM EDT
Tondo,

Completely agree, I ranted on the boards for mths for the Tribe to trade Chris Perez and ACab. Before this season I said the Tribe should try to resign Kazmir and trade Justin Masterson for pitching. This isn't one of those I told you so rants...I said, sign Bourn that's been a huge mistake too. The Tribe has missed opportunities to trade pieces at their highest value. The Tribe has done well buying low on some guys like Esmil Rogers and they flipped him for Gomes and Aviles selling high. Unfortunately, they've missed on bigger occasions like Masterson and ACab. However, hindsight is always 20/20. It would have been difficult to get back many big league pieces in return.
tim
August 4, 2014 - 6:56 PM EDT
I wonder how much love Lindor will still be getting if he's two years into his Indians career and hitting .240, which is very much a possibility. Defensively, all reports say he is good, but I haven't seen any comparisons of him to a Belanger, Vizquel or even John McDonald.

I'm intrigued by Lindor, and certainly not down on him, but I think the expectations might not be borne out by reality. Considering him a cornerstone of the franchise, I think, might be a tall order for him to reach.

Just MHO, fellas.
Robert
August 4, 2014 - 5:55 PM EDT
Dumping Raburn now makes no sense. Rosters expand in September. Let's see how he does in the spring. He is being paid through next year. Putting Swisher on the DL has appeal.

Imagine making a run with $30 million of payroll out to lunch.

Bob
Ross
August 4, 2014 - 3:49 PM EDT
I agree with Elrod, slow down on discussions about trading Erik Gonzalez. He is very athletic , very quick and his hitting ability is on the rise. At this point in time, with Kipnis not being a good fielding 2B and not hitting for average or power, maybe he should be included in trade discussions. At this time, I think Erik has more potential then J. Ramirez.
Walter
August 4, 2014 - 2:51 PM EDT
Let Raburn go and put Swisher on the DL, Bring both of them up. They cant do any worse than Swisher and Raburn. Actually this could be in part the preview of next years team. Let them play and help the Indians chase down the final WC spot in August, instead of calling them up in September. There doing it with the pitchers in Bauer and Salazar. Add Walters and Aguilar to the mix with Ramirez and Perez.

Tony
August 4, 2014 - 1:30 PM EDT
If Swisher hits the DL, then to me it is either Aguilar or Walters who comes up. From a matchup and versatility standpoint, plus he has more experience in the big leagues, so Walters is the better fit and to me and the more likely option.
Nikolaos
August 4, 2014 - 1:26 PM EDT
Chip brings up a great point...who should be getting the callup to the majors if Swisher is injured long term. I personally agree that Aguilar would be the guy I would call up. Knowing how Tito loves interchangeable guys, however, that points to Walters possibly being the one called up since he can play all over the diamond. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Tondo
August 4, 2014 - 12:43 PM EDT
Gonzalez is 2 years older than Lindor and he was barely an above AVG bat at age 22.5 in A+ before his crazy SSS .517 BABIP in Akron is further bloating up his value (adding to the 40 was the first step).

Gonzalez never really flashed any hitting tools with a very questionable K:BB ratio throughout his career. His career BABIP was around .300 and that's all you need to know why he finally "broke through" with a higher BA this season. In other words, I think he's having one hell of a lucky season for his style and skills. His K:BB ration, ISO and OBP are pretty much the same if you subtract even just a couple of points because of that unsustainable BABIP.
I hope for the best with any Tribe prospect, so I hope his plate contacts continue to fall...and then I'd sell as high as I can. Not saying to dump him for a bag of chips, but there's just too little to believe and hang your hat on when looking at EGonzo's stats.

A package of Gonzalez and Naquin would be the ideal package to dangle for a young MOR. Both have enough prospect hype now and the Indians have similar or better specs with probably less market value hiding (Chang at SS etc).
Indians need to buy low and sell high. They did the former by adding Maronde, Dickerson, Ramsey and Z.Walters without giving up much or anything. Part 2 will have to come in the offseason. I'd add Frazier to the list of sell high candidates. Another .740ish OPS season in A-ball next season (which is very probable and possible) and his value isn't even half of what it still is now.

Now, if you want to see prospects who's development has been for real, look no further than Urshela, J.Lucas or NRod. Those are the guys to keep and probably have less hype and value on the trade market but as good a chance to pan out
Chip
August 4, 2014 - 11:59 AM EDT
Most will probably think I'm crazy, but at this time I would not trade E Gonzalez. In my opinion, Lindor is still the top SS in the system, but Gonzalez is hot on his heals. Lindor is better defensively(always will be) but Gonzalez is above average there also. Offensively I think Gonzalez is better than Lindor with a higher upside. Call me crazy, but in my eyes their values are very similar at the moment.

With regards to Swisher's injury, I find it hard to believe that they won't give Aguilar another opportunity. I think an Aviles trade would free up some playing time for Walters. If they can solidify the last couple of spots in the rotation this team could be very dangerous next season, and no I haven't given up on this season yet. The odds just aren't in our favor.
shy
August 4, 2014 - 10:46 AM EDT
I haven't seen Erik Gonzalez play but just on the stats and talk here and within the organization he may be yet another MLB projectable middle infield prospect emerging from obscurity in the Indians system. SS at the Jake is Lindor's job to lose in 2015 barring injury and that would leave young Erik an everyday opportunity at Columbus to hone his skills and trade chip appeal. If he hits .300, plays defense and swipes bases over a full year at Triple A he'll be much more of a chip than he is now. Zach Walters, yeah he looks like a versatile young player w some true pop on the rise that may have gotten overlooked because of where came from and low draft status. I would bring him up now w Swisher going to the DL. Plug him in and see what he can do. I can pretty much guarantee he'll be an upgrade from Nick's .212 and 32% K rate. Hey everytime I look Jason Giambi is coming out of the dugout to hug somebody. Very nice...the vibe is exceptional in the dugout and that can go a long way this time of year.
GSon
August 4, 2014 - 10:05 AM EDT
@Walter.. You are entirely correct.. In the two and a half months, some on and off, Walters appeared in over 30 games and had less than 40 AB's.. Only three were starts i.e. he was used primarily as a pinch hitter. During that time, however, he was able to launch three jacks ! It seemed as if the times he was inserted were "we need a home run or the pitcher's coming up to bat" type situations. ... Not surprising that he was sent back to Syracuse to play more regularly...

W/R Erik Gonzalez.. Trading a AA/AAA SS with his promise would be a mistake.. There has been NO ONE within the Indians hierarchy who have suggested him as a trade candidate. When an excess exists. and a guy is having a good season, these are the types of "rumors" to expect.. Usually they come from the brilliant & insightful writing of journalistic stalwarts like Paul Hoynes...(yes.. this is sarcasm).. Think about it like this.. Erik Gonzalez may become a stop gap/fill in as the starting SS allowing Francisco Lindor the opportunity to further refine his plate discipline and approach at the plate. It doesn't hurt to have a continuous stream/supply of capable middle infielders at Progressive Field..

W/R to the minors providing depth to the major league club.. oh yeah....

Thoughts?..

Tony
August 4, 2014 - 9:44 AM EDT
Zimmer ran face first into the outfield wall the other day. Should be okay, but Indians have been doing some tests and giving him a break in the meantime.

I would like to see Walters up now to see what he can do. My expectations are low because of his experience, but he's an interesting power bat that switch hits and plays everywhere that can come off the bench right now. There is value there. I would love to see him get 100+ at bats the rest of the season and get a feel for him going into next season.

Lucas has really had a nice season with the bat. That has always been his best asset and the approach has always been there, but it is nice to see him maintain it at a higher level this season. He's made some nice strides defensively.....I still don't know if he can stay at catcher in the big leagues but he has no doubt made some improvements and has raised his stock this season.
elrod
August 4, 2014 - 9:36 AM EDT
Let's slow down on the trade Erik Gonzalez talk. If Lindor was not in our system I suspect Tribe fans would be doing backflips about this guy's potential. Let's not unload him for a mediocre pitcher just yet. Anyone remember those brilliant trades of Brian Giles and Sean Casey and Richie Sexson under similar circumstances.

If we trade Gonzalez it should not be a a one or two year shot at a hack 5th starter who will be out of baseball in 2017. It should be for the sort of guy we would trade Lindor for. Otherwise, hold onto him, at least for another year. No rash stupid shortsighted trades...please!
Walter
August 4, 2014 - 9:33 AM EDT
I bet Walters did not get a lot of playing time with the Nats similar to Aquilar and Ramirez here in Cleveland when they were called up.

Is Zimmer injured or are the Indians getting ready to move him to LC? Reaso I ask is he has not played in last 3 games and the Indians the other day promoted David Armendariz to MV.

Hawk1228
August 4, 2014 - 8:31 AM EDT
Little confused with Walters, Why would we play him at 3rd base or once I saw 2nd base. With Chisenhall and Kipnis in Cleveland and Urshela having a nice season in Columbus Shouldn't he be playing some outfield? Obviously the kid has power how bad was he playing in Washington to give him up for a few months of Asdrubal?
Kenneth
August 4, 2014 - 8:21 AM EDT
Actually, Zach Walters came over from the Nationals in the Asdrudal Cabrera trade.
Tondo
August 4, 2014 - 8:15 AM EDT
Lots of disappointing development down the stretch in the system, but there are some exceptions.

J.Lucas is now 3rd in OPS in the Carolina league, up there with the likes of Courtney Hawkins. His bat and approach is good. Not sure about staying at C though. Needs to hit if morphs into a 1B/DH.

Z.Walters should be in Cleveland. Really make Aviles expendable. Hoping for an August deal to free up money, playing time and a 40 spot.

I hope you're right about E.Gonzo being a trade chip this offseason. I have undervalued him, but I still think his value might never be higher than what it is now or after this season. Regardless of opinion, there's simply no room for him in the Majors with Lindor, JRam and now Walters ahead of him, so I hope he and an OF (Naquin?) get dealt for a controllable SP.

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