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Around the Farm: July 21, 2014

Around the Farm: July 21, 2014
Francisco Lindor (Photo: David Monseur/Akron RubberDucks)
July 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.

Francisco Lindor (SS, Akron): 0-for-4. Rarely if ever do you see a player go 0-for-4 on the night and do nothing else of note on the field be the headliner in Around the Farm, let alone even get mentioned. But it was the news off the field which made Lindor headline worthy as after the game on Monday the Indians promoted him to Triple-A Columbus. This is a very noteworthy step for him as not only has he graduated to the top level in the minors and is just one step from the big leagues, but considering Triple-A is often a holding ground and less the finishing school that Double-A is, it means he pretty much is Major League ready in the Indians eyes. Aside from getting a handful of Triple-A games under his belt, he looks to be ready for the Indians to activate in Cleveland should they trade Asdrubal Cabrera or he suffers a long term injury. He is all but certain to get to Cleveland this year as even if he is not called up in July or August, he should be a September callup when rosters expand if even to just introduce him to the big leagues and play him sparingly (sort of like Jose Ramirez last year).

Jordan Smith (CF, Akron): 3-for-4, 2B, K, SB. Things continue to move in a positive direction for Smith as he racks up yet another multi-hit game. He really buried himself with a poor start that had him hitting .201 with a .507 OPS through his first 67 games (second worst in the league), but since then over 25 games he is hitting .366 with a .872 OPS (third best in the league). We would all love to see more power out of him (.066 isolated power), but for now the improved success with the bat is a great start to what is hopefully a strong finish for him. 

  • Jose Ramirez (2B, Columbus): 2-for-4, R, SB. In 60 games with Columbus, J-Ram is hitting .302 with 5 HR, 29 RBI and .801 OPS, and has 19 steals and a 25-30 walk to strikeout ratio to boot. He’s ready to help the big league club, and should now that Asdrubal Cabrera is likely to miss some time.
  • Jesus Aguilar (1B, Columbus): 1-for-3, RBI. It was a rather quiet night offensively for the Clippers as Aguilar drove in the only run of the game for both teams. The Clippers had just 5 hits and 2 walks on the night.
  • Gabriel Arias (SP, Columbus): 7.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. Arias put up arguably his best effort of the entire season in this one. His offense got him a run in the first inning and he made it stand up the rest of the way. He’s been a nice free agent pickup filling in where needed (11-4, 3.36 ERA).
  • Mark Lowe (RP, Columbus): 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K. Lowe came in for Arias and shut the door to get the final four outs of the ballgame and nail down his 15th save of the season. His chances of a return to Cleveland are remote, but he does provide some veteran depth at Triple-A.
  • Anthony Gallas (RF, Akron): 1-for-2, 2B, 2 BB, K. Gallas has had sexier nights of late, but this is to me one of the more notable good nights from him as he showed some discipline and reached base in three of his four plate appearances. Developing the discipline is the entire key to his future.
  • Tim Fedroff (LF, Akron): 0-for-3, BB, K. I really feel for Fedroff. One of the most likable guys in the system who has pretty much been written off as a depth guy for the organization and dumped back to Double-A. His subpar performance this season hasn’t helped matters, but his time is running out with the Indians as he will probably depart as a free agent after the season.
  • Joseph Colon (SP, Akron): 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R/ER, 3 BB, 6 K. Colon really had to work to get through five innings and threw 95 pitches (61 strikes) in the process. He has allowed one run or less in each of his last six starts, but to move up he is going to have to pitch deeper into games as he has gone less than six innings in six of his last nine starts.
  • Enosil Tejeda (RP, Akron): 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 0 BB, 4 K. Tejeda is probably overlooked the most of all the relievers in the upper levels of the system. He doesn’t throw hard; he just goes out there and competes, commands three pitches and knows how to pitch. The results speak for themselves.
  • Erik Gonzalez (SS, Carolina): 0-for-3, BB, K. With Lindor moving up to Columbus, the Indians also announced that Gonzalez has been promoted to fill the shortstop position at Akron. RubberDucks fans may be losing a special player in Lindor, but they are getting a pretty exciting player as a replacement.
  • James Roberts (DH, Carolina): 2-for-3, R, 2B, HR, RBI, BB. This was a big night from Roberts and one of his better efforts this season. He did it all with some power and discipline and drove in the only run of the game for the Mudcats.
  • Luigi Rodriguez (RF, Carolina): 0-for-3, 3 K. After a promising June when L-Rod looked to be turning things around and finally getting things going offensively, he has stumbled backwards in July and is hitting just .233 with a .574 OPS this month.
  • Dylan Baker (SP, Carolina): 3.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R/ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 1 HR. Baker cruised through the first three innings as he allowed just one base-runner, but then just hit a wall in the fourth inning. This was his first start in Carolina since he broke his ankle and he is still working his way back into game shape.  
  • D.J. Brown (RP, Carolina): 4.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. Brown came in relief of Baker and finished out the game. With Baker back in the rotation it looks like Brown will pitch more in long relief and piggyback Baker for now, though with Ryan Merritt expected to be promoted soon he could be back in the rotation soon.
  • Claudio Bautista (2B, Lake County): 2-for-5, R, K, CS. Bautista has really put forth a nice season and has established himself as a solid mid-level prospect for the Indians. There is a lot to like about him with his well-rounded tools, but improving his approach is a key sticking point going forward.
  • Mike Papi (RF, Lake County): 0-for-3, 2 BB. Papi is now just 1-for-13 in four games with Lake County, but he also has 5 walks. He needs some time to settle in and get comfortable at the plate, but it is nice to know that even when he is not hitting he is going to put up professional at bats. That puts him ahead of the game considering developing a good approach and some patience is tough for so many prospects to do.
  • Dorssys Paulino (LF, Lake County): 2-for-4, R, 2B, 2 K, E. Paulino puts forth a good night in what was otherwise a tough night all around the Indians farm system scoring a grand total of four runs among their top four affiliates.
  • Caleb Hamrick (SP, Lake County): 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R/ER, 3 BB, 6 K. This is a promising start for Hamrick in a lot of ways. First off, he compete and wiped the bad taste out of his mouth from his three previous rough starts, but most of all he got some swing and miss for really the first time all season.
  • James Stokes (RP, Lake County): 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K. Stokes has battled some injuries and inconsistency over his career and has always been a project with his big arm and exceptional size. While the walks are still a big concern, his stuff has taken a jump forward as I have heard he has been up to 98 MPH.
  • Alexis Paredes (RP, Lake County): 0.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HR. Paredes did not record an out in the 10th inning as he allowed a hit, error and three-run homer to end the game. It has been tough sledding for him his last two times out as he has failed to record an out and allowed 4 runs on 2 hits and 4 walks.
  • Yonathan Mendoza (SS, Mahoning Valley): 3-for-4, R, RBI, BB. This was Mendoza’s second straight game with three hits and third in his last five games with three hits. Over his last 10 ball games he is hitting .395 with 8 RBI, a 6-3 walk to strikeout ratio and .951 OPS.
  • Bradley Zimmer (CF, Mahoning Valley): 2-for-5, R, 3B, 3 RBI, 2 K. Just another solid night from the Indians 2014 top pick. He has had an overly solid though not spectacular showing so far at Mahoning Valley hitting .286 with 1 HR, 14 RBI, .806 OPS and 10-10 walk to strikeout ratio in 21 games.
  • Taylor Murphy (RF, Mahoning Valley): 3-for-4, R, 2B. Murphy has hit from day one with Mahoning Valley and has been one of their most consistent if not their most consistent hitter the first month of their season. In 20 games he is hitting .338 with a .906 OPS.
  • Julian Merryweather (SP, Mahoning Valley): 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K. Merryweather has been a steady performer in the rotation and really pitched well in his pro debut. He’s had only one bad outing as he blew up on July 9th allowing 7 runs (6 earned) on 10 hits in 3.2 innings.
  • David Speer (RP, Mahoning Valley): 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K. Speer is a small, crafty lefty who has had some success at the start of his pro career. He may not have the pedigree as a high round pick or big bonus guy, but he is an interesting left-handed relief prospect to keep tabs on his development.
  • Silento Sayles (CF, AZL Indians): 2-for-3, 3 R, 2 BB, SB. Sayles continues to have a strong showing in the AZL with another multi-hit game and set the table for a lot of runs. In 15 games he is hitting .320 with 8 stolen bases, a 13-10 walk to strikeout ratio and .833 OPS.
  • Bobby Bradley (1B, AZL Indians): 1-for-3, RBI, SB. The performance was solid though otherwise might have not been noted in ATF had he not been removed from the game when Emmanuel Tapia (2-for-2) replaced him in the bottom of the sixth inning. He flew out to end the fifth inning for the Indians, so it remains to be seen if he hurt himself somehow on the swing or it was a coach’s decision based on something they saw from him with his effort down the line.
  • Bryson Myles (RF, AZL Indians): 3-for-5, R, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 SB. This was an exclamation point ending which should be the finish to his rehab assignment in Arizona. He played the entire game, played in the field, and looked great at the plate and running the bases. He should be added to the Akron roster today or tomorrow.
  • Gian Paul Gonzalez (C, AZL Indians): 0-for-3, BB, 2 K. Gonzalez made a brief appearance in the game on Saturday in what was his pro debut with a walk in his only plate appearance. This was his first start of his pro career.
  • Casey Shane (SP, AZL Indians): 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R/ER, 0 BB, 8 K. Shane has really looked strong in the early going in Arizona as he is averaging five innings a start and has not allowed more than 2 runs in any appearance. The 6-31 walk to strikeout ratio in 29.1 innings is very encouraging and a clear improvement over the 16-22 walk to strikeout ratio in 29.0 innings all last season in the AZL.
  • Justus Sheffield (RP, AZL Indians): 1.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R/ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The Indians are building Sheffield back up though will probably limit his innings during the AZL season. While the performance has not been there it is important to note that the numbers from the high school level guys making their pro debuts are almost always thrown out the window – good or bad.
  • Sam Hentges (RP, AZL Indians): 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 1 K. This was Hentges’ pro debut and a solid one at that. Like with Sheffield, the Indians are going to be careful with the amount of innings he throws in the AZL season and then in Instructional League since he pitched a long season with his high school team.

Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.

User Comments

Adam
July 22, 2014 - 3:08 PM EDT
I agree with Tony and Ohio baseball that lindor should not and will not be rushed, for performance as well as contract reasons. A September call up this season when rosters expand and then probably taking over full time next June when the service time issue is usually taken care of. In the meantime you have Aviles for a reason and Ramirez should be a nice filler against righties as well.
BigTex
July 22, 2014 - 2:41 PM EDT
I have to disagree on Lindor needing another year before being sent to Cleveland. If you compare Lindor to Elvis Andrus, their age and stats are almost identical in the minor leagues. Andrus played his first full year in MLB as a 20 year old. His stats were .267/.329/.373 w/ 6 HR, and 40 RBIs and he ended the year 2nd in ROY voting. The next year his stats were almost identical with less power and he was an All-Star. How can you delay a guy that can be a perennial All-star and gold glove winner. Yeah he has a little to be desired with the bat, but he has been fairly consistent at every level. Let's see how he finishes this year in Columbus, but I believe he is your franchise SS for the next 12-15 years starting in 2015.
Tondo
July 22, 2014 - 1:02 PM EDT
After two season at the rookie level, Sayles seems ready for a full season squad heading into next year. Problem is, where to put him? The Indians up the middle philosophy of adding prospects will lead to some playing time problems. Zimmer, Frazier, Allen and Sayles are all developed as CF and there are only two squads where they can play in 2015.

David Speer owns LHB: .045 BA and a 12:0 K:BB

G.Arias is only 24yo and is quietly having a nice season between AA/AAA, his first go around at those levels too. He has some ROOGY splits (.242 BAA vs RHB, .330 vs LHB). Could he be a surprise September callup?

As for Lindor, I believe his approach and consistency translates very well to the Majors. The drop off in stats won't be as significant as with other, more streaky and less balanced specs.
nubballguy
July 22, 2014 - 11:34 AM EDT
Tony, your comments make me feel better about where he is offensively and I like your scenario a lot, hope it plays out that way.

Again, I'd like to have him on the big league club during the longest, best part of his playing career possible while understanding that if you need him when you need him, you do what you have to do.

If it plays out, this could sort of remind me of when AsCab came up late in the year to play 2nd for us as a very young player (21-22 y/o?) and truly sparked the teams success in getting into the playoffs in '07. Let's hope for a repeat of that!
Rocky55
July 22, 2014 - 11:14 AM EDT
Looks like Zimmer is as advertised. Lucky to get him when we did. Really good all around and very promising.

I don't want Lindor called up too early either. A Sept. call up & then back to Columbus next season. Jose Ramirez can fill in until they call Lindor up for good. For God's sake, we don't need him qualifying for Super 2 status.

Wonder what they're going to do with Aguilar. Santana's looking good at 1B.

Nice start for Taylor Murphy. Another big, toolsy OF to add to the pile.

Mike Papi is going to make you throw strikes so he'll probably hit better at the higher levels where the pitchers are around the zone more. Don't want him to expand his strike zone. Make them pitch to you.
Tony
July 22, 2014 - 11:09 AM EDT
I actually think Lindor is right where he needs to be with the bat. Some may look at .278 and say he is not ready, but batting average is often a poor way to represent how effective a hitter really is. I mean, a guy like Urshela hit .300 at Akron earlier in the year, but Lindor's performance from a quality of at bats and approach standpoint was much better even though he only hit .278 compared to Urshela's .300. Lindor is just so advanced for his age with his approach at the plate and the way he plays the game overall. That low age and advanced approach are two important factors when looking at his stats.

I do agree that the Indians should not rush Lindor to Cleveland, and I believe they won't. He should get a limited exposure in September just to get his feet wet and all of his Major League "firsts" out of the way....and then next season I would expect that he is in the mix to make the team out of spring training but that they will open the season with him at Columbus to finish him off and control his clock at the same time. By June next season that is when he could be in the mix if he is healthy, performing and a need is there in Cleveland.
Tony
July 22, 2014 - 11:02 AM EDT
Not sure yet who is moving up to Carolina but someone will move up to them (or down from Akron since Myles needs added there). Medina likely becomes the defacto shortstop for now. I don't see Hendrix moving up to be the shortstop....that's not his natural position or where he is going to be groomed. He really needs to stay in Lake County all year anyway. He has had a nice season but the discipline is something he is probably better served working on in the comforts of Lake County than at a new, tougher level in Carolina.
nubballguy
July 22, 2014 - 10:55 AM EDT
Spot on OhioBaseball in regards to Lindor, I've been feeling, and saying, much the same thing for a while now.

I want Lindor's time with the Indians to be the most productive as possible. .278, while I do see the growth in his game, I just don't see him being completely ready offensively at this time.

Of course, I understand the organization's thinking of being in contention and therefore willing to push to do what it can to make it, while they may be getting a quality player that can help, it may not be a finished product.

A trade off between the exigencies of now vs. future value. Hope I'm wrong but just feel like he could use more time to prove himself ready to bust the door down when the time comes.
Tondo
July 22, 2014 - 10:48 AM EDT
Just some info, as I was able to listen a couple of innings of the LC and Carolina game:

Baker had 3Ks in that 4th inning before he allowed a 3-run HR, he should have been out of that inning. Lucas apparently had all kind of problems catching anything with a break Baker threw and the announcer said some of those WP could have been PB too. Lucas also allowed a couple of uncontested SB in that inning. He probably is only a 1B/DH and emergency C going forward, which diminishes his value. Baker was much better than his stat line.

In the LC game, one of Papi's outs was a fly ball to the warning track. On defense, he misplayed a bloob fly ball between the INF and OF. He completely misjudged it and ran back to the track. Bautista bailed him out and made the catch.
Walter
July 22, 2014 - 10:11 AM EDT
With Lindor moving to Columbus, Gonzalez to Akron, who becomes the SS at Carolina.? Does Medina becomes the regular SS or does Hendrix get promoted from LC?

Will Zimmer spent the whole season at MV or will he get a taste at LC in the near future?

If Cabrera is hurt, the Indians cant afford to have a short bench. Should bring up Ramirez. If that the case hopefully he will have better the second time around.
OhioBaseball
July 22, 2014 - 10:07 AM EDT
As much as I like Lindor, I think he's a little overrated. I like how he started to show some more power this year and I think it's legit, but the guy hasn't really hit much in his pro career. He is very young for the levels he's playing at, but when you're considered one of the top prospects in the game (and he is) that's no excuse b/c everyone is young for the level they are playing at.

People get excited and pencil Lindor into SS for the Indians next year b/c Asdrubal is a free agent, but how excited can you be for a guy that is likely to do .245/.300/.325 (Lindor in MLB as a 21 year old)? I'd like to see him season more in the minors before he gets the full time gig in Cleveland, unless he signs some 8-year MLB deal or something. The sooner he gets PT in MLB, the sooner he'll become expensive and leave the team. A year of Lindor (in 2015) being an all-glove, no bat guy isn't worth it. I think he'll be a very good MLB player when he's 24-26 years old but not at age 21.

Casey Shane looking good. I know he's repeating the league but pitching well in the Arizona League is no easy task.

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