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Around the Farm: July 3, 2014

Lovegrove's no-hit outing, Bautista's power highlight the night on the farm

Around the Farm: July 3, 2014
Claudio Bautista (Photo: Brittany Chay)
July 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. 

Kieran Lovegrove (SP, Mahoning Valley): W (1-1), 5.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1 BK

Kieran Lovegrove (Photo: MiLB)The name of the game is patience. No wait, that was last night's theme. Anyway, Lovegrove rewarded anyone who has been patient with him Thursday night, tossing five no-hit innings and showing flashes of why he was a highly regarded third round pick in 2012. Of course, Lovegrove is far from a finished product. Coming into Thursday, the right-hander only had two strikeouts to go with 10 walks and a 10.38 ERA in 8.2 innings. But most prospects have a lot of improvements and adjustments they have to go through before they can be good; Mike Trout and Bryce Harper really ruined our perceptions of prospects. Lovegrove is still quite a ways from the majors and this is only one good outing following three bad ones to begin his season. But it is a start, and if Lovegrove is going to be one of the prospects who makes it, this is not a bad stepping off point.

Claudio Bautista (2B, Lake County): 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SO

Claudio Bautista (Photo: MiLB)Obviously the ideal hitting prospect can both draw walks and hit for power; but since most hitting prospects are not ideal, they have to work on one part or the other. Bautista, for example, has really done some damage when making contact this season. The second baseman's .173 isolated power in 73 games as a 20-year-old middle infielder in his first full season at Low-A is pretty impressive and gives Bautista some upside going forward. But Bautista's .277 on-base percentage is not really being harmed by an abnormal BABIP (.299 this season), and even a little more BABIP luck would not salvage that mark. That on-base percentage is so low thanks to Bautista's 66:8 SO:BB this season, which is the type of free swinging mark that will probably not be successful long term. Clearly Bautista is capable of doing some damage with the bat; now it is all about getting him to focus his swings at the plate and set himself up to do even more damage.

  • Tyler Cloyd (SP, Columbus): L (6-5), 6.2 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO, 1 E. This pretty much wraps up Cloyd's season in one start: a decent innings eater with a solid 73:19 SO:BB in 99.1 innings who gives up too many hits (116 this year).
  • C.C. Lee (RP, Columbus): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO. With 23 strikeouts and only six walks in 19.2 Triple-A innings, I really want to see Lee get another shot in Cleveland. The right-hander has the talent and deserves the chance to establish himself.
  • Tyler Holt (CF, Columbus): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B. Holt had Columbus' only multi-hit game Thursday in addition to its only extra base hit. The center fielder's batting average is now back over .300 to go with a .852 OPS in 35 games.
  • Tim Fedroff (DH, Columbus): 0-for-3, 1 SO. Fedroff saw his 23-game on-base streak end Thursday with this 0-for-3 outing. So far in 2014, Fedroff has continued to reach base while being limited in the power department (.382 on-base percentage, .062 isolated power in 67 games).
  • Duke von Schamann (SP, Akron): L (3-3), 4.2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 1 SO. After starting the season stingy with the free passes, von Schamann's control (and results) have slipped of late. The right-hander is a pitcher who does not strikeout enough batters to afford this many walks and owns a 4.24 ERA and 41:24 SO:BB in 82.2 innings between Akron and Columbus.
  • Anthony Gallas (LF, Akron): 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 SO, 1 CS. Another two hits (extending his hitting streak to seven games), another extra base hit, and another strikeout: so far in his RubberDucks career, this is the quintessential Anthony Gallas experience.
  • Ollie Linton (CF, Akron): 1-for-3, 1 BB, 1 SB. Linton extended his hitting streak to seven games as the outfielder stole his fourth base in 20 Double-A games.
  • Ronny Rodriguez (2B, Akron): 1-for-2, 1 SO. With the injuries of the Francisco Lindor (who just returned Wednesday after missing a week), Tyler Naquin, and Joe Wendle (who are both going to need surgery) hanging over this Akron team, seeing Rodriguez leave the game in the fifth inning seemed like yet another injured RubberDuck. Everyone can breathe easier, however, as Rodriguez was simply ejected for arguing with an umpire.
  • Michael Peoples (SP, Carolina): W (5-7), 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 SO, 1 WP. Coming into Thursday, Peoples was a much better pitcher when judged by his sabermetric stats than his raw runs allowed total; yet the right-hander managed to only allow one run in this outing after walking four in five innings. Baseball can be so weird sometimes.
  • Jeremy Lucas (C, Carolina): 3-for-5, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 E. Lucas is still chugging along in Carolina, improving his line to .260/.353/.424 through 71 games following the big night on Thursday.
  • Yhoxian Medina (SS, Carolina): 3-for-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 E. Medina is continuing to embrace his time as the Mudcats' starter at shortstop, putting up his second-straight three-hit game to go with 12 total hits in his seven games as starter.
  • Alex Monsalve (DH, Carolina): 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI. It will take a while for Monsalve to bring up his .255/.308/.356 line in 57 games, but a five-game hitting streak (with four of those games coming with multiple hits) is a good way to begin.
  • Jordan Milbrath (SP, Lake County): L (2-9), 5.2 IP, 11 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR. Milbrath has slipped after coming out of the gates hot in April, posting a 4.82 ERA and 25:25 SO:BB since the calendar turned to May (11 starts, 52.3 innings). Though the right-hander still has upside, he will need to show he can sustain that April effectiveness in order to rise through the system.
  • Ivan Castillo (SS, Lake County): 3-for-4, 2 R. Offense is not usually Castillo's calling card, but the shortstop has collected hits in all three July games. With a .553 OPS on the season in 37 games, Castillo could use a few more games like Thursday to nudge his numbers up a bit.
  • Clint Frazier (DH, Lake County): 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 SO. Playing at designated hitter for the second game in a row, Frazier continued to show a solid form at the plate by reaching on two singles.
  • Eric Haase (C, Lake County): 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 SO, 1 PB. Haase has been more than solid while hitting this season -- he owns a .847 OPS and .270 isolated power in 54 games -- but the catcher still has plenty of work to do behind the plate. This was Haase's 16th passed ball of the season.
  • Jordan Carter (RP, Mahoning Valley): S (1), 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO. The start of Carter's career does not look good based on his 4.32 ERA, but the 22nd round pick in this year's draft looks much better when taking his 9:1 SO:BB in 8.1 innings into account.
  • Bradley Zimmer (CF, Mahoning Valley): 2-for-4, 1 R. The Scrappers only managed four hits Thursday with Zimmer coming through with half. Playing three games in a row for the first time, Zimmer now has a .837 OPS and two steals in his first seven games.
  • Francisco Mejia (C, Mahoning Valley): 1-for-3, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 BB, 1 SO. Mejia has not had a problem getting on base so far in 2014, posting a .372 on-base percentage in 19 games, but the 18-year-old is still waiting on his power to show. Thursday's triple was only Mejia's fourth extra base hit this year.
  • Thomas Pannone (SP, AZL Indians): W (2-0), 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO, 1 WP. Last year's ninth round pick has completely flipped the script of his 2013 season, posting a 1.93 ERA and 16:5 SO:BB in 14.0 innings this year compared to a 9.00 ERA and 20:10 SO:BB in 16.0 innings last year.
  • Erick Algarin (RP, AZL Indians): H (2), 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 SO. This makes two scoreless outings in a row for the 19-year-old Algarin, with this outing easily his best. It is not often a pitcher manages to rack up seven strikeouts in only three innings on the mound.
  • Bobby Ison (CF, AZL Indians): 3-for-4, 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 CS. After only collecting two hits and no walks in his first five games, the 2014 21st round pick broke out in a big way Thursday, reaching base four times.
  • Yu-Cheng Chang (SS, AZL Indians): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 BB. The soon-to-be 19-year-old Chang has come out of the gates hot in his stateside debut, with last night's offensive performance adding to his .368/.500/.474 line through five games.
  • Nathan Winfrey (3B, AZL Indians): 2-for-2, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SF. Winfrey is in the same boat as Chang, posting a .292/.400/.500 line in his first six games following being selected in the 28th round of this year's draft.

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
July 8, 2014 - 4:26 PM EDT
Can anyone explain how the sudden influx of Taiwanese players suddenly has happened the last few years? Are there like baseball school teams there? Are these kids "professional" players? I know baseball is popular but it is kind of intriguing to someone like me with ties there to see this happening.
David
July 5, 2014 - 12:32 AM EDT
Thanks, Homer. D'OH! Appreciate the update, just wish it was better news
Yourtribe
July 4, 2014 - 9:01 PM EDT
Bring them all up. We have one consistent starter and two hitters
art
July 4, 2014 - 8:58 PM EDT
Nice to finally see Lovegrove has a good outing. Now that Mitch Brown seems to possibly be getting his act together it would be great to see one of the other pitchers, like Lovegrove or Kime, getting on the "getting interesting" track too.
Homer
July 4, 2014 - 3:51 PM EDT
Naquin has a broken hand after being hit by a pitch. No time table I'm aware of, but I'd guess he could miss 4-8 wks.

Wendle had a broken hamate bone in his hand, similar scenario with him. I think recovery is 4-8 wks.
David
July 4, 2014 - 2:20 PM EDT
Can anyone fill me (us?) in on the injuries to Wendle and Naquin?? I have not been able to keep up like I would like, and had no idea that they were injured. What are the injuries and how did they happen? Season ending?
shy
July 4, 2014 - 12:30 PM EDT
My sense is Roberto Perez' emergence as a hitter is for real and sustainable. Bell's Palsy is a viral disease similar to HPV that causes inflammation of the cranial/facial nerve that controls normal movement of one side of the face- from the eyelid all the way to the mouth- like a stroke. I have a friend who had it . He's a tough guy, but it was VERY debilitating for almost two years and recovery was slow. My guess is Perez had it in part of 2011, all of 2012, and most of 2013. You can't hit a baseball w Bell's Palsy so no one should judge his ability during this period. The potential to develop as a hitter was always there in my opinion, but it is was retarded by the disease during this period.
Walter
July 4, 2014 - 10:54 AM EDT
Last year many on this site ruled out that Lovegrove and Brown as total busts in there first full season. Good to see Brown having breakthrough year by giving quality starts since May. His second half of season is 2-0 with era 0.52.

Good to see Lovegrove finally have a break out game. Each outing he has been better than the last start. I hope he continues to improve the remainder of his season at MV.

I think based on how Pannone and Shane have pitched at AZL, that they might be ready for bigger challenge of pitching in front crowds. Hope see them soon at MV.
Homer
July 4, 2014 - 10:09 AM EDT
Gotta agree, no need to write any of these guys off 2/3 yrs from now, we will probably be talking about trading Gomes with the number one prospect (Mejia) ready to take over in AA.

Perez looks like a defense first backup big leaguer.
Lowery might be a backup C, but he's got to get back on track...he's never become what I thought he could.
Wolters might be an everyday C, backup C or super sub. Regardless, there's room for him.
Lavisky looks like a backup C, he's performing well enough I suspect he could get a taste of the bigs.
Lucas quietly performs (see Lavisky)
Monsalve really hurt his prospect status last yr.
Haase has the bat, but has a lot of room for growth.
Mejia might be the next big thing moving the the system looks like the future at C.

Btw, the Tribe signed Juan Gomes, yes Yan's brother yesterday - lets hope he's qlty too.

Having a boat load of C depth is a good problem. No such thing as too much depth, IMO. Particularly when you consider these guys are legit prospects and not AAAA ball players blocking the path of qlty prospects, these guys for the most part are good prospects, maybe a cpl big league backups and potentially a cpl every day big league C (Mejia, Wolters). With this kind of depth the Tribe might be forced to change positions with a cpl of these guys, for example Haase has experience elsewhere.

Ultimately, if the guy performs, "who cares what position he's playing right now - because he may not end up at that position long term."
allhailshapiro
July 4, 2014 - 9:42 AM EDT
Funny you use Gomes as a reason to stop following other minor league catchers, when he was the 4th best C in Toronto's system when they started to bounce him around and eventually traded him to Cleveland. Now he is the best of them so far in the bigs. There is some kind of a cliche in there about chickens and mathematics but it is escaping me. Catchers are probably the hardest position to develop, until they actually make the show (lookin at you 26 year old Perez) and show they can handle the position both defensively and offensively no reason to discount any of them if they are progressing.
Jim Piascik
July 4, 2014 - 9:36 AM EDT
Wrist/hamate
hawk1228
July 4, 2014 - 9:34 AM EDT
What has happened to Wendle?
Jim Piascik
July 4, 2014 - 9:03 AM EDT
Well, things can always change. Gomes could fall off (or get hurt). Perez has only hit for half a season; it's a little early to buy fully into him. Plus, Mejia is really far away from the majors. Really far. Very raw defensively and with his approach at the plate based on what I've heard.

Almost every prospect's progress is slow and laborious. Monsalve, Haase, Lucas, Lavisky -- and Jake Lowery and Tony Wolters for that matter -- may seem blocked, but "blocked" prospects tend to find a way, whether through forcing their way up the ladder or through a trade. At the very least, this is an area of depth the organization could deal from at some point over the next few years.
Peter
July 4, 2014 - 8:52 AM EDT
Great point.
Rich
July 4, 2014 - 8:29 AM EDT
Regarding the catchers - with Yan Gomes set in place as the Tribe's starting catcher for several more years, and with the best defensive catcher in the system, Roberto Perez, hitting well at AAA, and with an 18-year-old bursting at the seams with talent in Francisco Mejia showing well in the low minors, is there really much point in tracking the slow and laborious progress of guys like Monsalve, Haase, Lucas, and Levisky?

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