Around the Farm: July 15
By Jim Pete
July 16, 2011
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.
Jason Donald: 3B, Columbus: 3-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 K:
Holy cow, Donald is absolutely on fire right now, and it does directly correlate with Luis Valbuena's call-up. Donald has had multi-hit games since July 8th, the day that Valbuena was called up ahead of him. During that stretch, the middle infielder has gone 11-19, with three runs, three doubles, two homers and five home runs. While his hit streak goes back five games, if you extend his stats back seven, he's 13-26, with seven runs scored. I'm not sure where Donald fits on this team with so much talent in Columbus at the middle infield positions, but it's hard to overlook a guy that hitting over .500, who's a steady infielder at second, short and third, over any measurable stretch. While I doubt that Donald is going to continue at this torrid a pace, it's distinctly possible that something has clicked on for Donald, who may be playing for his major league life right now.
- Jerad Head: LF, Columbus: 3-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 K: Head's been an offensive constant in the Columbus lineup throughout the season, and he has always peppered his statistics with big games like this. I'm not saying that Head is a long-term answer in the Tribe's outfield, but I do feel that he could give the Indians a short term, right-handed answer. Of course, if you think Austin Kearns' .212 with a homer and five RBI is, well, then nevermind.
- Chad Huffman: RF, Columbus: 0-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB: You start to wonder what a team is thinking when you sign a journeyman outfielder to perhaps to give your team depth and he struggles mightily throughout the season. You REALLY start to wonder what another team is thinking when they intentionally walk a guy who hasn't hit a thing in a long...long...time.
- Zach Putnam: RP, Columbus: 2 IP, 1 H, 3 K: Perhaps the all-star break did some good for Putnam, who was rocked for five runs in 2 2/3 innings pitched in his two games leading to the break. He used to be the first option out of Columbus because of his talent and performance, but that's teetering on the brink. More outing like this though, and Putnam can solidify his spot as most likely to join the bullpen mafia.
- Josh Judy: Closer, Columbus: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K, W (3-2): I like seeing these two inning performances from Judy, who will likely become a set-up man for Cleveland when he eventually makes to move permanently. While he gave up a run in Cleveland, with Columbus, he hasn't given up a run in 11 games.
- Ben Copeland: RF, Akron: 2-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, SB (5): Cleveland made a bunch of free agent, minor league signings, in particular, in Akron, and all the players, including Copeland, have paid off. Copeland brings a nice blend of plate discipline and speed to the Aeros, and could be a nice fill in as a veteran presence in Columbus should they need one.
- Beau Mills: 1B, Akron: 1-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: Beau Mills, power hitting corner outfielder, likely future major leaguer. That all sounds really good for a kid that has come off the DL in 2011 and finally started to hit the ball the way a first round pick should. He's 8-16, with five runs, three doubles, two homers and six RBI in his last five games.
- Chun Chen: C, Akron: 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI: Chen rested his back during the all-star break, and it's clearly paying off, as he's gone 3-8, with a run, a double and two RBI in his last two games.
- Karexon Sanchez: 2B, Akron: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K: Sanchez has been a bucket full of struggle from the offensive side of the plate, but can play every infield position, so is a viable option in Columbus...if THEY weren't so loaded with potential major league talent.
- Drew Pomeranz: SP, Akron: 4 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR: Pomeranz went over his 90 pitch threshold in the fourth inning, so while his numbers were solid in his debut, you can see there was some struggle there. Of course, a third of his outs were K's, and his debut double A ERA is 1.93, so it only gets better for the Tribe's top pitching prospect.
- Matt Langwell: RP, Akron: 1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K, W (3-1): Langwell rebounds with a solid outing after getting lit up prior to the break. There's promis there, but he needs to get past a roller coaster ride in June and early July.
- Cory Burns: Closer, Akron: 1 1/3 IP, 2 K, S (26): Burns leads the league with 26 saves (by 9), and is the organizational saves leader. You have to like the depth at this position with Josh Judy at Triple A, Burns at Double A and Guilmet in Single A. Throw in several flame-flowers in between, and you have a bunch of potential closers should the Indians ever need them.
- Brett Brach: SP, Kinston: 6 1/3 IP, 8 H, 3 R/ER, 5 K, 1 HR, L (6-6): This wasn't Brach's best performance, but with an offense that only gave him four hits and a run of support, well, welcome to Kinston.
- Rob Bryson: RP, Kinston: 1 IP, 2 K: Bryson is liking winding down his time with the K-Tribe. He's been nothing short of dominant since his return, giving up only six hits, three walks and a run, while striking out an impressive 20 batters in 14 innings of work. He may be the most talented, strictly bullpen arm in the system, if he can stay healthy.
- Carlos Moncrief: RF, Lake County: 3-5, 1 R, 1 K, 1 SB (15): I really love the part of my job when you see a kid really start to figure things out. Moncrief is in that boat right now, as he's really started hitting the ball from the lead-off spot in Lake County's offense. He's 11-27, with three runs, two doubles, a triple and an RBI in his last six games.
- Jesus Aguilar: 1B, Lake County: 2-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB: Jump on the Aguilar bandwagon now. While his power numbers certainly impress, what has to make the Tribe brass absolutely giddy are games like this one. Why? He walked twice without a strikeout. Aguilar has struck out 87 times this year, with only 30 walks. If he starts showing this type of plate discipline, his star goes up another notch. Wow, a big, power-hitting righty in the system. Who'd have thunk it.
- Bryce Stowell: RP, Lake County: 1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 K: While I mentioned Bryson as the best pure reliever arm in the system, he may have taken that title away from Stowell. While it's true, he took a major step backwards this year, start taking notice. Stowell is starting to pitch like the guy from last year.
- Kyle Petter: RP, Lake County: 2 IP, 1 H, 4 K: Petter was the 34th round pick for the Tribe in 2010, and he's starting to show some solid stuff. His ERA at Mahoning Valley was 0.00 in six games, and he made the jump to Lake County. While he got touched up in his first two outings, he's been rock solid in his past three, going 4 2/3, with one hit and eight K's. Looks like we have another solid reliever on our hands.
- Jordan Smith: 3B, Mahoning Valley: 2-4, 2 RBI: Smith has gotten lost a bit in the shuffle in Mahoning Valley, but has ben the most consistent hitter on the team, since Bryson Myles has been out.
- Alex Lavisky: DH, Mahoning Valley: 2-4, 1 R, 1 K: What is this? Is Alex Lavisky hitting the ball? He has a modest (for him, not so much) five-game hitting streak, and is 7-17. The youngster has to be feeling good right now, and just might be turning the corner.
Follow Tony and the Indians Prospect Insider on Twitter @TonyIPI. Also, his latest book the 2011 Cleveland Indians Top 100 Prospects & More is available for purchase for $20.95 to customers in the US (shipping and handling extra).
Jim is currently the co-site editor, the ATF/Carolina Mudcats/Indians/General Site Columnist, and the co-host of IPI's weekly online radio show, Smoke Signals. You can follow Jim on Twitter @Jim_IPI, or contact him via e-mail at email@example.com.