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Around the Farm: July 27, 2014

Around the Farm: July 27, 2014
Jordan Smith (Photo: David Monseur)
July 28, 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, Lake County was rained out on Sunday.

Jordan Smith (CF, Akron): 4-for-5, R, 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBI. The Milk Man continues his second half surge by hitting for the cycle. He doubled in his first at bat in the second inning, flied out to center in the fourth, homered to right in the sixth, and then singled in the seventh. It all set up a rather clutch situation in the ninth with the score tied 4-4, two runners on and two out where Smith ripped a ball to right that not only scored the two runs that were the difference in the final score, but gave him the triple he needed to finish out the cycle. There were a lot of people who gave up on him after his horrendous first two months of the season, but over the past six weeks or so there arguably has been no hotter hitter in the system and suddenly he is up to a .251 average and .632 OPS on the season – which are not great but considering where he was it is an amazing turnaround. It will be interesting to see where he ends up.

  • Tyler Holt (CF, Columbus): 4-for-5, 3 R, 2 SB. Holt was a nightmare at the top of the Clippers lineup for the Norfolk Tides. He singled four times, scored three times and stole a base two times. That is about as good a job as anyone can do in the leadoff position. He is now hitting .317 with a .424 on-base percentage in 93 games this season.
  • Francisco Lindor (SS, Columbus): 2-for-4, RBI. Lindor has been very steady since his call to Columbus last week. He has a hit in five of his six games with Columbus, three two-hit games, and has a 3-5 walk to strikeout ratio. He’s a Major League ready player stuck in a holding pattern in Triple-A.
  • Giovanny Urshela (3B, Columbus): 3-for-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI. Urshela now has five multi-hit games in his last 10 games and is hitting .417 with a 1.058 OPS during that stretch. His performance this season has been impressive, though If you want to nitpick he could be a little more consistent game to game rather than a big multi-hit game being regularly followed by one or two 0-fers and repeat.
  • Audy Ciriaco (DH, Columbus): 2-for-4, R, 3B, 3 RBI. Ciriaco has really done a nice job this year as a six year minor league free agent signing that the Indians have used to plug several holes in the Clippers lineup. In 82 games he is hitting .264 with 11 HR, 54 RBI and .807 OPS.
  • Justin Sellers (2B, Columbus): 3-for-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI. Sellers has the rare game where he shows a little pop in his bat as he records two extra base hits in the same game for just the second time all season. He’s done a solid job filling a middle infield need in Columbus this season and an emergency need as well in Cleveland.
  • Gabriel Arias (SP, Columbus): 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R/ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 HR. Another solid start from Arias who was pulled after just 76 pitches (52 strikes). His only real mistake all day was a three-run homer he allowed in the fifth.
  • Erik Gonzalez (SS, Akron): 3-for-4, R, BB, K. Gonzalez has a hit in all four games since his move up to Akron, three of those being multi-hit games. He is now hitting .378 with a .960 OPS in 10 total games at Akron this season and is showing no signs of being overwhelmed by the challenge of a higher level.
  • Bryson Myles (RF, Akron): 2-for-4, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB, CS. This was Myles’ fourth game with Akron since his return from his knee injury, and easily the best game since coming back. The home run and caught stealing are good to see because 1.) his knee appears 100% in that he can drive the ball and 2.) he is not holding back as a runner and is being aggressive on the basepaths.
  • Will Roberts (SP, Akron): 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R/ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR. Roberts was pulled after 71 pitches (44 strikes), which is odd since he has never gone less than 83 pitches all year and regular goes 90+. Perhaps the Indians are just limiting their pitchers a little down the stretch, or maybe there is more to it in that he is a trade option.
  • Giovanni Soto (RP, Akron): 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. Soto has been magnificent of late with a 0.54 ERA (16.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 12 K) over his last 10 outings. This is a stark turnaround from his performance his first two months of the season where he was very ineffective and had some struggles with his health.
  • Shawn Armstrong (RP, Akron): 2.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K. Armstrong picked up his fifth win in relief as he pitched the eighth to keep the game tied at four, the RubberDucks put up a two-spot in the ninth, and then he closed it out in the ninth. This is an example of a game that could technically be a hold, save and win all in one for a pitcher.
  • Yhoxian Medina (SS, Carolina): 3-for-5, R, RBI. Medina has done a nice job of filling in the everyday shortstop duties at Carolina since Erik Gonzalez was promoted. He’s not a priority guy at the position but can certainly handle it and is surprising a little with the bat this season (.290 AVG, .735 OPS).
  • Joe Sever (1B, Carolina): 1-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. Sever has been slumping a little of late going just 8-for-37 (.216 AVG) in his last 10 games, but he has shown a nice approach all season. He needs more games like this where he unleashes some power because a .092 ISO won’t cut it.
  • Jeremy Lucas (C, Carolina): 2-for-4, BB, K. Lucas has really had a consistently solid year at Carolina and really been the leader for that team in the lineup and behind the plate. He’s still growing as a defender, but catchers who put up good at bats, have a nice approach and a little pop are always interesting.
  • Luigi Rodriguez (RF, Carolina): 2-for-4, R, HR, RBI, K. Rodriguez has been an enigma this season and if anything has hurt his stock with his inconsistency. I can’t figure out why he continues to hit ninth in the lineup for the Mudcats, a spot typically reserved for non-prospect types – unless that is exactly what the Indians feel about him at this point.
  • Dylan Baker (SP, Carolina): 2.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 1 HR. This is turning out to be one of those examples of a player playing when they may not be 100% healthy or they are still not 100% game ready and as a result their performance suffers. Baker is a no doubt top pitcher in the organization and I’m inclined to look beyond the stats right now.
  • D.J. Brown (RP, Carolina): 5.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K. On the other hand, you have to love how Brown continues to pitch well this season and has done a nice job filling in the rotation when Baker was out and continues to do so in a piggyback role while Baker struggles.
  • Steven Patterson (2B, Mahoning Valley): 1-for-4, R, 2B, BB, K. Patterson has a solid game reaching base twice in five plate appearances. He has not been flashy but gets the job done and puts up some really nice at bats. He is hitting .270 with a .362 on-base percentage in 28 games with the Scrappers.
  • Bradley Zimmer (CF, Mahoning Valley): 0-for-4, K. In a lot of ways, Zimmer has performance almost identically to Patterson in the early going. The only thing is while a .265 average and .350 on-base percentage would be a nice showing from a college senior and 10th round pick, more is expected from your top overall pick.
  • Taylor Murphy (LF, Mahoning Valley): 2-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI, K, A. The outfielder who has really impressed in the early going at Mahoning Valley is Murphy. In 26 games he is hitting .315 with 3 HR, 14 RBI and .879 OPS, and has shown a nice approach at the plate. This is but a small sample and you hate to put too much into 28 games, but it is an encouraging showing so far nonetheless.
  • Cameron Hill (SP, Mahoning Valley): 4.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K. Hill continues to pitch well as he has not allowed more than one run in any of his eight appearances with the Scrappers this season. He has thrown 4.0 innings for seven straight starts and been something of an escape artist considering he has allowed 10 walks in his last 25 innings and only has 13 strikeouts overall this season.
  • Dominic DeMasi (RP, Mahoning Valley): 2.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR. DeMasi was tagged with the loss in this one, though probably unfairly as if not for a missed catch by Leo Castillo in the fifth he might never have allowed two runs (though while it was unearned, I always have a hard time considering a home run an unearned run no matter the circumstances that came before it).
  • Luis Gomez (RP, Mahoning Valley): 1.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R/ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR. This was an ugly outing for Gomez and he effectively pitched the Scrappers right out of the game. He gets swing and miss and has some potential, but he’s still too raw for Single-A and prone to very inconsistent results.
  • Bobby Bradley (1B, AZL Indians): 2-for-4, R, BB, SB. Bradley continues what has been a very nice pro debut in rookie ball. His consistency for his age and in such a new environment might be the most interesting thing about him at the moment. He’s shown power (.225 ISO) and some discipline as well (13-22 BB/K ratio).
  • Emmanuel Tapia (DH, AZL Indians): 2-for-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. Tapia is another big, hulking first base type the Indians have coming up in their system. He’s not as thick in the lower half as Jesus Aguilar was when he was 18 years old and in the Arizona League, but he is every bit as big and strong. Then again, Aguilar was 20 years old when he was in the AZL…
  • Casey Shane (SP, AZL Indians): 5.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, HR. Shane improves to 3-0 on the season with another good outing in the offense-dominated Arizona League. Considering how pitchers are abused in that league and the conditions are not favorable for pitchers, you have to love a 2.62 ERA, .198 BAA and 7-35 walk to strikeout ratio in 34.1 innings.
  • Sam Hentges (RP, AZL Indians): 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K. This was Hentges third appearance as a pro and yet another dominant outing. He has now totaled 4.2 innings and allowed no runs on 2 hits, 1 walk and has strikeouts in his three outings.
  • Ping-Hsueh Chen (RP, AZL Indians): 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K. Chen is an interesting pickup out of the Pacific Rim two years ago who has dealt with injuries since the day he signed. This is an encouraging outing and easily the most impressive one he has had in an Indians uniform.

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

Nikolaos
July 29, 2014 - 6:31 AM EDT
Hawk, we took Kivett in the 10th round last year and he was going to sign, but at the last minute backed out of his deal. From what I have heard, he did it in a very unprofessional manor. It basically cost the Indians 2 picks and after that they didn't want any part of him.
Ryan
July 28, 2014 - 7:23 PM EDT
Is Chen profiled as a reliever or a starter?
hawk1228
July 28, 2014 - 5:05 PM EDT
What did Kivett do that would keep him off our draft board?
Homer
July 28, 2014 - 12:11 PM EDT
Tbone,

Greg Allen was a top 100 prospect according to MLB.com. Obviously, he was higher on their board. After last yrs debacle I doubt Kivett was on the Tribes board. He not only cost them him, but potentially another player too.
Seth
July 28, 2014 - 12:07 PM EDT
Urshela and Gonzalez have been the most impressive to me this year. Urshela, goes to show how just being a little more selective can bring about a large improvement. His walk rate has been semi-acceptable this year, but his power has really spiked, probably because he's swinging at more pitches that he can handle. If he can sustain that, or make another marginal improvement, then he could replace Chisenhall at 3b.
art
July 28, 2014 - 11:45 AM EDT
I had liked Jordan Smith as a sleeper prospect a year ago, but at this point the lack of power and the modest on base percentage makes me think AAAA. At 24 years old and at AA, he pretty much is a batting average guy with modest power, even if his plate approach has improved. I wouldn't write him off yet, but seeing him as anything more than perhaps a 4th outfielder seems a bit too optimistic to me.
Tondo
July 28, 2014 - 10:57 AM EDT
Hats off to Smith for the cycle. Great accomplishment. Like Tony, I still believe he can make it to the Majors.

Wasn't Myles reportedly a good defender with a good arm? He started out as a CF and still has the speed, so how come he's not considered an all around OF anymore?

Like most, I'd like to see Moncrief, Holt and Aguilar in Cleveland instead of the 20+mil automatic out monster of Swisher, Murphy and Raburn. JRam and Perez have shown that they belong at the highest level, so give the youngsters a chance, it's not like they could do much worse than the vets they'd replace. But...since those 3 still have fat contracts running through 2015, I guess the switch will be made mid season next year, plus Urshela for Aviles. It's a shame, because it means those contracts could cost the Indians a whole season.
Tony
July 28, 2014 - 10:21 AM EDT
Indians had little interest in Kivett after what happened last year....
Tbone
July 28, 2014 - 10:20 AM EDT
Was there a reason why the Tribe took Greg Allen in the 6th round when they could have Ross Kivett again? (Picked two selections later by Detroit.) Kivett signed for $100,000 less too..
Nikolaos
July 28, 2014 - 10:07 AM EDT
Thanks Tony, appreciate your response. It is sad that Raburn is occupying a spot considering his lack of production...I am fairly confident Holt or Moncrief could produce at a higher level than Raburn. Tito Francona has always been loyal to veterans though.
Tony
July 28, 2014 - 9:54 AM EDT
A caveat with Myles, and something that hindered guys like Tim Fedroff, Jared Goedert and Jordan Brown before, is he is really limited to left field defensively and does not offer up a lot of versatility. He's a left fielder only in the big leagues for the most part.....so that hurts him from a value perspective. But, yeah, if he hits like crazy and is healthy and the Indians have a need, I could see him getting to Cleveland at some point next year. Right now they have four guys under contract for next year in Brantley, Bourn, Murphy and Raburn so unless someone is moved, there is no room for anyone except Holt as a fill in until midseason unless someone gets hurt. Plus you have guys like Moncrief and Naquin ahead of him on the totem pole.....so it will take a lot of things to fall the right way for Myles to get a shot next season in Cleveland.
Nikolaos
July 28, 2014 - 9:48 AM EDT
Tony, do you think if Myles keeps up the consistency next year at Akron while staying healthy, he will stay at the AA level all of next year? I could see him getting to Columbus with a possible 40 man call-up in September, if all goes well. Then again, it totally depends on the roster make-up for next season. Either way, he has done well when healthy. Is there any part of his game that he really needs to improve on...or is this a case of him needing consistency as well as more at bats?
Tony
July 28, 2014 - 9:43 AM EDT
Nikolas, I like Myles, but I am not convinced he has a role in Cleveland next season. He still has a ways to go whereas someone like Holt is more polished. I expect Myles to return to Akron next season.
Tony
July 28, 2014 - 9:42 AM EDT
Yes, Smith is really turning it around. And it is not just the batting average....it is the approach which has almost come all the way back. It's the separator for guys like Smith and others.....it is nice if a guy hits for average, but what is the quality of their at bats and most importantly do they have the capabilities to maintain it? When you have a good approach and play very good defense and are versatile, you are going to carry more value.
Nikolaos
July 28, 2014 - 9:40 AM EDT
Holt, Myles and Urshela have really impressed me this year. I think it is safe to say that all 3 will have a role at the major league level sometime next season. Too bad the Tribe won't designate Raburn so Holt can be the 4th outfielder!
Matthew
July 28, 2014 - 9:38 AM EDT
Jordan Smith now hitting .300 over his last 50 games. Seems like it took him a little while to get adjusted to AA, but he's coming around nicely.

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