Around the Farm: July 7
By Jim Pete
July 8, 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.
Jerad Head: LF, Columbus: 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI:
You know, there's something about clutch, game-winning home runs that really make this game exciting, right Pronk? Well, Hafner wasn't the only one hitting dramatic home runs. Last night, while not a walk off homer, Head had a little bit of magic himself. He blasted a three-run jack with the Clippers down 3-2 in the eighth inning to give the Indians the lead after being shut out the entire game. Head made a strong push earlier in the season to find a way to the big league roster, but the right-handed outfielder has been struggling of late until last night's explosion. While he's still hitting a respectable .294 on the year, his ten game split is only .211/.302/.474. While I've been pounding on the door for the demise of one Austin Kearns in the line-up, Head just hasn't provide enough recent pop to make it a reality. Of course, after last night, who knows. Hopefully head can ride his big night with another solid stretch of offense.
Matt Packer: SP, Akron: 7 IP, 7 R, 2 R/ER, 1 BB, 5 K, W (3-8):
Matt Packer's breakout season has long been forgotten, but perhaps that pitcher is still in there somewhere. Packer has been lit up like a pinball machine for most of the season, and hasn't really had a good outing since May 27th. In his six starts since then, he's given up 7, 5, 7, 3, 5 and 5 runs, and seen his ERA bloat to nearly 6. With an absence of lefties in the system's starting rotations, Packer's development was/is a key to allowing the big league club to ultimately have some balance. Hopefully this is a sign that Packer isn't long gone, but just a bit forgotten.
Travis Hafner: DH, Cleveland Indians: 3-5, 1 R, 1 HR (One really big home run) 4 RBI:
Yeah, like I wasn't going to mention this guy's performance last night, and the bonus is that I don't need to say a thing about it. I'll leave that to Tom Hamilton, courtesy of the Dugout Sports Show. Make sure that you leave it play. JOBU may be the lead-in, but they have matched up the video to Hamilton's call. If that doesn't excite you about this team and this organization, then you need to root for the worm races in your backyard. What a summer.
- Ezequiel Carrera: RF, Columbus: 2-5, 1 R, SB: Carrera continued to role this season with his second multi-hit game in three nights. He also managed to steal his 34th base in 38 opportunities. Carrera's previous high stolen base total was 28 in 2008, so he's clearly going to decimate that mark, having already eclipsed it by six with almost two months left to play. He's an injury away from a call-up.
- Jason Kipnis: 2B, Columbus: 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: Kipnis went another game without an error as we continue to watch and see if he can build up momentum for a late season call-up. With the Indians adding Valbuena to the active roster today, it's clear that the plans for Kipnis are for the defensive seasoning to continue for the rest of the season. We shall see. Today, Kipnis again filled the stat box, as he's so adept at doing.
- Luis Valbuena: SS, Columbus: 1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI: Hopefully this is the last time we'll see Valbuena in ATF for a long time. Immediately after the game, McAllister was sent down, and Luis was called up. While it should be a temporary move, it's hard to say what's going to happen when Carmona comes back. If Valbuena showed off with the stick, Phelps could be the one that returns. Either way, Valbuena deserved the call up after a monster Triple A season so far. Of course, it's actually not as monster as his past two season in Triple A, except for perhaps the power. This year, his stat line is .313/.379/.511. Last year, it was .313/.427/.604. In 2009, it was .321/.436/.538. So, this really could be his last chance at showing that he's more than just a Quad A player.
- Corey Kluber: SP, Columbus: 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R/ER, 2 BB, 7 K: Kluber actually turned in a really nice performance here after some early struggles. Kluber is the forgotten man in this Clippers rotation, but not because he hasn't earned that distinction with his 6.19 ERA on the season. Nice start for Kluber, but his days have to be numbered.
- Nick Hagadone: RP, Columbus: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K, W (3-1): Okay, Hagadone gets the win here, but two hits and a walk in his only inning? Hagadone has a 4.57 ERA, which is hampering his chance for a mid-year call-up. It's time for Hagadone to turn into something a bit more than promise.
- Josh Judy: Closer, Columbus: 1 IP, 1 K, S (13): Welcome back Josh, and another wipeout performance to get your team-leading 13th save.
- Beau Mills: DH, Akron: 2-3, 1 R, 1 BB: Well, Mills has been mired in a slump of late, which has cooled talk that he's found his first round talent again. He did send out two hits last night, but again, there's just not the power numbers that you want from a player that's likely in line for a DH role should he ever make it to the big league level.
- Juan Diaz: SS, Akron: 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, SB (4): Diaz is starting to round himself into a pretty good little ballplayer. I'm still not sure where he ends up as an offensive player yet, but he continues to have impact games.
- Raul Padron: 1B, Akron: 2-3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K: Well, the Indians sign this kid to fill in for the catching position, and he comes in and just mashes. Talk about a big night, with a double and a homer.
- Adam Miller: RP, Akron: 1 IP, 1 H: So, we're in that holding pattern now with Miller that we were in a month or so ago in Kinston. Miller's overall performance has been outstanding since his return to Akron, so it's just a matter of time before he makes another jump to Triple A. Miller's goal: to stay healthy, and to make it to the bigs in 2012. Don't put your money against him.
- Cory Burns: Closer, Akron: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K, S (23): Burns continues his three-year ride through the system with his 23rd save of the year. Do I really need to talk about the numbers, what seems like every single day? Seriously...mucho saves and a low ERA get you a call-up. Judy's got the job locked down in Columbus, but this kid is ready.
- K.C. Serna: SS, Mahoning Valley: 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 SB (7): Serna is another one of those 2011 draft picks that could become the nucleus of the Indians in four years or so. In Serna's last ten games, he's stolen seven bases, and is hitting a solid .316, with a .409 OBP. He's another one of those kids that have a knack for filling in the stats when he's on the field.
- Jordan Smith: 3B, Mahoning Valley: 1-2, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB: Smith continues to own the NY/Penn league, and just has to have the Indians' brass excited. Smith is a big kid at 6'4" tall, and his plate discipline is simply outstanding. In his 16 games this season, he's walked eight times, while striking out only seven. While he hasn't shown much power as of yet in the home run department, you'd have to think that with his size, it could develop. If it does, he becomes a major prospect...not that he isn't now.
- Todd Hankins: 2B, Mahoning Valley: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K: While Hankins struggled a bit out of the gate, he's slowly but surely adjusting to professional pitching. In his last ten games, he's hit .300, and has three multi-hit games during that stretch.
- Enosil Tejeda: RP, Mahoning Valley: Tejeda got roughed up in his last outing, but rebounded nicely with a near perfect performance tonight. Excluding his Fourth of July start, he hadn't given up a run in his previous five appearances.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.