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Around the Farm: June 30, 2014

Around the Farm: June 30, 2014
Roberto Perez (Photo: Columbus Dispatch)
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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, short season Single-A Mahoning Valley had a scheduled off day on Monday.

Roberto Perez (C, Columbus): 3-for-4, 1 R, 2 2B, 5 RBI. Perez has been out of his mind at the plate this season, which is great to see. Everyone by now knows he came down with Bell’s palsy last season and that in some way it affected his play, but the way he has rebounded and really performed with the bat might be one of the biggest surprises this season. He is a defense-first catcher, but for the first time his bat is being productive and he is putting everything together. It remains to be seen if he can maintain this for an entire season and can be a steady performer for the next few years, or if this is just one of those magical seasons a player has over their career where a lot just happens to go right.

Danny Salazar (SP, Columbus): 7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 9 K. This is an impressive outing from Salazar and we are starting to see signs that the Salazar of old is back. He’s been bothered by some minor arm issues this season which have affected his command and velocity, but he is starting to look strong on the mound again. He threw 74 of his 105 pitches for strikes (70.5%) and looked in control once again on the mound limiting good contact, pounding the zone with quality strikes and was putting away hitters with two strikes. This is something to build off of and you just hope he can find that groove where he puts together a half dozen or so starts like this together so that he is an option in Cleveland again come late July.

  • Jose Ramirez (2B, Columbus): 2-for-5, 2 R. This was Ramirez’s second game back since his return from the disabled list, his first game in the field. It is nice to have his spark back at the top of the lineup.
  • Tyler Holt (CF, Columbus): 3-for-5, R, RBI. Holt has been slumping of late as he was just 5-for-32 (.156) in his last nine games coming into Monday night, so he broke out of the mini-slump in a big way.
  • Jesus Aguilar (1B, Columbus): 2-for-4, 2 R, BB. Aguilar was one of seven guys in the lineup who had multi-hit nights as the Clippers pounded out 10 runs on 18 hits.  He is another guy who has been struggling of late and needed a night like this.
  • Carlos Moncrief (RF, Columbus): 2-for-5, R, 2B, RBI, K. Moncrief had another multi-hit night and is hitting .333 with a .792 OPS in his last 10 games. His night finished off a very nice month of June where he hit .309 with 5 HR, 24 RBI and .895 OPS in 26 games.
  • Erik Gonzalez (SS, Akron): 2-for-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 2 K. You hate to see an injury to any player, but you have to wonder if the injury to Francisco Lindor was a blessing in disguise as it not only forced the Indians to push Gonzalez to Akron, but with the way he is playing may force the Indians to keep him there and push Lindor to Columbus when he returns.
  • Anthony Gallas (LF, Akron): 3-for-4. Gallas just continues to rake since being promoted to Akron as he is now up to a .368 average in 17 games played there.
  • Alex Lavisky (C, Akron): 2-for-4, R, RBI, CS. Lavisky just continues to hit well in a part-time backup catching role and may have found his niche as such a player in the upper levels of the system and potentially in the big leagues. He is now hitting .301 on the season.
  • Jordan Smith (RF, Akron): 1-for-4, R, HR, 3 RBI. Smith is officially on a hot streak. After wondering over the last few days whether he is starting to put things together, this game pretty much confirms it. While he was held to just one hit, he launched his first homer of the season and is now 11-for-23 over his last six games.
  • Will Roberts (SP, Akron): 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HR. If not for the big nights in Columbus from Perez and Salazar, then Roberts would have been a featured performer. He evened his season record to 8-8 with the strong outing and filled the zone up with strikes throwing 70 of his 98 pitches for strikes.
  • Giovanni Soto (RP, Akron): 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K. Soto has really struggled with consistency this season, some due to injury, but over his last three outings he has thrown 4.0 scoreless innings and allowed 1 hit, no walks and has 6 strikeouts.
  • Yhoxian Medina (SS, Carolina): 2-for-4. The Mudcats were shutout on the night and limited to just four hits so the offensive standouts were extremely limited. Medina had the only multi-hit night and just continues to be a solid role player in the lower levels.
  • LeVon Washington (LF, Carolina): 0-for-4, K. Washington has cooled off considerably going just 2-for-16 over his last five games and is 0-for-9 in his last three games.
  • Adam Plutko (SP, Carolina): 7.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R/ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR. This is an interesting outing for Plutko. On one hand, it was a good outing considering he pitched seven innings and held the opposition to just three runs, but on the other hand he allowed 8 hits and two of them left the yard.
  • Grant Fink (3B, Lake County): 2-for-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, K. Fink cranked his seventh and eighth homers of the season in this one. He continues to be a solid performer and run producer, but he is still working on his plate discipline.
  • Nellie Rodriguez (1B, Lake County): 2-for-5, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, K. A much needed big night at the plate for Rodriguez and he finished off a pretty good month of June by hitting .278 with 3 HR, 13 RBI and .867 OPS.
  • Dorssys Paulino (LF, Lake County): 2-for-5, 2 R, 2B, 3 RBI, K. Paulino had a bases loaded double to bring in all of his runs. He is 7-for-17 at the plate in his last four games and had a solid month of June hitting .271 with a .766 OPS. Maybe there is hope yet for a turnaround.
  • Richard Stock (C, Lake County): 3-for-5, R, 2 2B, RBI, K. It is not often that Stock makes an appearance in ATF because he doesn’t play a lot, but he took advantage of his playing time in this one with a big night and now has a modest 6-game hitting streak going.
  • Dace Kime (SP, Lake County): 5.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R/ER, 5 BB, 5 K. The 5 walks are ugly to see, but Kime once again had a solid outing pitching into the sixth inning and allowing just the two runs even though he had to work around a lot of traffic in this one.
  • Silento Sayles (CF, AZL Indians): 3-for-5, R, 2B, RBI, SB. Sayles broke a three game hitless streak with a big multi-hit night. It has been feast or famine for him this season as he has multi-hit games in three of his six games and has been hitless in the other games.
  • Nathan Winfrey (3B, AZL Indians): 2-for-3, 2 R, 3B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, E. This was just Winfrey's fourth game as a pro, but easily his best night in the early going thanks to him reaching base in four of his five plate appearances.
  • Simeon Lucas (C, AZL indians): 1-for-5, R, 3B, 3 RBI, 4 K. Lucas had a bases loaded triple in the fourth innings that brought in three runs, but even with that one big swing of the bat he still had to settle with the Golden Sombrero on the night.
  • Francisco Lopez (SP, AZL indians): 3.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 4 K. This was Lopez's second outing of the season and a step back from his excellent four-inning 1-hit shutout performance in his season debut.
  • Argenis Angulo (RP, AZL Indians): 2.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R/ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. This was Angulo's pro debut and it is not a memorable one as he not blew a 7-3 lead in the seventh inning.

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

Roger
July 1, 2014 - 10:26 PM EDT
one coment on roberto perez sudden offensa the bells palsy may have forced him to modifyhis visual approach of hitting forcing a higher concentration level in avertently and this season may be the sign of good things to come. a catcher who is above avg offensively with his catching skills you got yourself a great asset to the team. teamed with yan gomes that is quite a catching combo.
yourtribe
July 1, 2014 - 2:14 PM EDT
Tony, you don't have to be hurt to go on DL. See Giambi!! Total fabrication to keep him here but not waste a roster spot. He'll be better on sept 1 if we are still in race.

And until Salazar gets a consistent out pitch other than a straight fastball he's not ready. He's been HR derby in the bigs.

I would get naquin up by next summer if he continues to hit well. 3 yrs at a&m and three here should be enough. I would rather watch the young guys than journeymen
Gson
July 1, 2014 - 1:44 PM EDT
@Homer/Tondo.. Echoing Homer.. Plutko had a great college career.. Led his team as their Friday Night starter.. got them the WS Win.. something all Crimi..err Seminole Fans would love to see.. That was then.. When A. Plutko drafted.. my first impression.. why?. he doesn't have ML potential. He has Korean League potential.. Sugarland Skeeters potential.. he has a straight fastball that is about two feet short and command that will never be mistaken for the Little Cowboy or Cliff Lee. In short.. he's pursuing a dream that has a very steep cliff that he has to scale.. While you don't want to tell a kid.. you don't have it at this stage..It's pretty apparent.. he doesn't...Can that change?.. IDK. maybe not would be my guess.. Dace the Ace, on the other hand.. has the ability to raise his game.. Will he?. IDK.. maybe..

Position player are a bit more difficult to evaluate.. When Bryson Myles was drafted and he played in Eastlake...my first impression.. THIS IS A PLAYER! Same with LeVon Washington (aside from the WashTime nonsense) definitely a player.. First time I saw Giovanny Urshela, my impression was, this guy is going to make Lonnie Chisenhall a 1B'man... I didn't get that with Roberto Perez.. nor Jesus Guilar.. With Frazier.. Absolutely.. he's got incredible bat speed.. and he's still not even able to buy himself a beer yet.. There are some guys that will never be a ML'er. Others, you don't know.. while others that are absolutely the goods..

Plutko is a never will be.. imho.. I hope he proves me wrong...
markn95
July 1, 2014 - 1:30 PM EDT
I agree with the person who said Aguilar is close to sticking. I was at a game in late May/early June when he nearly hit one out to deep right center field. He did not look overmatched in any of his at-bats, and this team is clearly dying for right handed power. If he could stick somewhere in the middle of the lineup with Santana and break up the lefty trio of Kipnis, Chis, and Brantley, this team would have a pretty dynamic offense, imo.

I remember in 2011 when Aguilar was tearing up Lake County that he was pretty raw as a hitter. People were pretty much saying the same things about him then that they are saying about Nellie Rod now (although Aguilar's numbers were far superior and more consistent). To think that he would spend one--and only one--year each in Carolina an then Akron and even thrive at those levels is amazing. Back then, I would have put the ETA on his Major League debut in 2015 at the earliest, and even then as a September callup. To think that he already hit the bigs this year makes it even more amazing.
Nikolaos
July 1, 2014 - 12:53 PM EDT
Tondo, your Gallas/Head comparison is a pretty good one. I think Gallas has a little bit more pop in the bat (which isn't say much). I always try to stay optimistic on these kids...Jayson Werth's career didn't take off until the age of 28 in 2007 for the Phillies. Dave Steward at the age of 29....tons of guys in history were late bloomers. You are right about Gallas though, he is not a "toolsy" guy and is more of a grinder. He is going to have to sustain his production for the rest of the season to change any projections on what he already is. Still, it is nice to see him playing well.

I actually like Kime and Plutko. They both have their fair share of adjustments that need to be made. Patience is indeed needed with Kime. The guy has huge upside...still learning to be a starter. With Plutko, I think a lot of people view him as a Josh Tomlin type that has some upside, but he is still young and will benenfit by his current stay in Carolina. I think it is going to be consistency and learning how to attack professional hitters using pitch sequence and scouting report.

By the way, nice call on Perez, Holt and Urshela...3 of my favorites in the system.
Homer
July 1, 2014 - 12:08 PM EDT
Tondo,

Gotcha, agreed Plutko has shown more, Kime needs more time / patience was my point. Btw, Kime has been pretty good his last 10 starts or so. I think Kime has more upside of the two, obviously Plutko has more polish. Honestly, I thought Plutko might start at Carolina so no surprise he's there now.
Tondo
July 1, 2014 - 11:23 AM EDT
Homer,
I haven't given up on Kime yet. You never know when it clicks for a prospect or even org guys. R.Perez, Holt and Urshela's seasons are proof for that and why it's fun to follow their development. I only said I understand because Kime is still struggling at low A in his second season in pro ball. Plutko has shown more in less time, that's what I meant and it was more trying to defend Plutko than to make Kime look bad. Kime also was a bigger investment (525k to 300k), both in terms of pick and bonus, so expectations should be higher.

As for Gallas, he's easy to root for, but his biggest problem isn't even his age. He simply does not have a single standout tool to even have a chance. Best case he keeps hitting and gets a cup of coffee in a couple of years. Reminds me of another former UDFA, Jerad Head.

Good to see Soto performing again. He could challenge or replace Hagadone and Barnes as the primary backup LOOGY in Columbus next season.
Nikolaos
July 1, 2014 - 10:58 AM EDT
Look at Gallas just raking right now. Good for him. I don't know if he will progress past AAA, but it is hard not to root for the hometown kid. I know at 26 he is not high on the totem pole...but if he keeps performing, it will be hard to ignore him.

As far as any of the prospects helping out at the Major League Level....one has to wonder how much long Francona will stick with Raburn. Even though Swisher is having a terrible season, I know Francona will stick with him because of his track record...however, Raburn's track record doesn't help him that much. Interesting to see what happens in the next 3-4 weeks from Mahoning Valley all the way to the Majors...
Homer
July 1, 2014 - 10:33 AM EDT
Tondo,

I'll flip your assessment. I can understand with Plutko, but not with Kime. Plutko is what he is, unless he can get a jump in velocity. I don't see Plutko as anything more than a BOR arm, but at least that is some value. Kime is another story, IMHO, he's a project guy converting from the BP to the rotation, he requires a bit more patience. IDK, I'm guessing they are working on his mechanics and secondaries. Next yr, he should take off.

I agree will you on Will Roberts, he's a guy I think could still get a little stronger and more consistent with his FB velocity. He's been very consistent this yr, shown improvement and seems to have picked up some more K's this season.
Walter
July 1, 2014 - 10:29 AM EDT
Too early to call Plutko or Kime as organizational prospects especially since this there first full season playing.

Kime 1st half of the season 1-9 5.48 era
start of 2nd half 3-0 2.87 era
last 10 games 4-4 3.50 era



Tondo
July 1, 2014 - 9:51 AM EDT
@GSon

I can understand with Kime, but not sure why you're so down on Plutko already? This is his first taste of pro ball, he's 22yo and he's already doing ok in A+. He was an 11th rounder that got 5/6 round money.

I'm much more concerned with the lack of development of Frazier. He managed to go hitless in a 13 run frenzy and in three months as a pro has yet to even hit .250 in any month. I'm not knocking him because of lack of power, that will hopefully come and it's still early, but the lack of hit tool combined with the high K rate is alarming. That's not the profile the Indians bought at 5th overall. He was supposed to be an davanced HS bat with a good hit tool. He also abandoned a more patient approach at the plate in June, while hacking for power to boost his stats. He went from 16 walks in May to 4 in June. His OBP in June was under .300, but he hit 4 HRs vs some low A pitchers. That's anything but not proper development, sorry.
I still like him and would not sell him for little, but I'd rather trade him right now then Lindor, JRam, Aguilar or Salazar. His value may never be higher, especially if he repeats in LC next season. In fact, NRod, who is only 3 months older, is having a much better season and showing more improvements than Frazier, who's value right now is more past hype than anything substantial. I know it's unpopular, but I would look to trade him, especially with what's in the system now at OF. Would Frazier, House, Colon and E.Gonzalez be enough for David Price? I would do that trade from an Indians perspective.

Will Roberts is the best and most consistent pitcher at Akron no one is talking about. He will be in the Columbus rotation next year and probably be the 1st or 2nd SP the Indians would promote if he performs, which I would not doubt at this point. He's not flashy, but gets the job done and eats innings.

Tondo
July 1, 2014 - 9:25 AM EDT
I agree Tony. The system is still 1-2 years away in terms of bats making an impact, but should be a strength from then on. Francona has to play Swisher, Bourn and probably Murphy/Raburn and Aviles one more season, because the specs wouldn't and haven't (if you think back on JRam and Aguilar) done better than the vets anyway. The guy with the best chance to get to the bigs soon and stay there is probably Perez as Gomes' backup.

Mid 2015 to start of 2016 I expect significant turnover, depending of how next season unfolds. Kipnis, Brantley and Chisenhall should be in their prime and joined by Urshela, Lindor and a Naquin/Myles platoon.
GSon
July 1, 2014 - 9:21 AM EDT
What's wrong with Aguilar?????!!???? Two hits and no RBI's.. Shhhheeeeesh... does he need to be demoted?.. Another fine evening for the big guy.. Best guess, he doesn't get all the way to September before he's called up.. This time.. he may stick..

Tyler Holt.. what is nice to see with him is his improvement from AA to AAA.. his BA (least telling stat) is about the same while his OPS has improved dramatically.. This is a clear sign that he is maturing and growing, perhaps, onto a front burner prospect... Huntington isn't exactly a pitchers wonderland, but he's getting it done..

Danny Salazar's numbers look encouraging.. While it might be a bit much to ask, is there any source for pitch tracking from his outing..Throwing 95 MPH FB's by AAA and AAAA hitters is good, but, not good enough for ML hitters.. The question that need's to be known is, Is he throwing his split /change for quality strikes?.. It's a feel pitch that is drastically affected by both mechanics and health.. Any one know?.

Adam Plutko/Dace the Ace are beginning to look more like organization guys than true prospects. While both have been pros for all of two days..and Dace appears to have a bit more giddy up / stuff.. They both need to step it up or be washed down Suspect River..
Tony
July 1, 2014 - 9:11 AM EDT
Naquin would not jump to the majors. And there is no one in the minors at the moment who could provide a spark other than Lindor. They are not bringing up a kid and playing him. Francona has already proved he won't do that and will rely on his veterans to pull them out of this funk. Only way someone else comes up to provide that spark is if an injury crops up or trade is made to clear a spot.
anonymous
July 1, 2014 - 9:11 AM EDT
Any word on Salazar´s velocity? Granted his problems were mostly with control, but it´s a lot easier to get away with a fastball down the middle if it´s 96 rather than 93.
Hiram
July 1, 2014 - 9:07 AM EDT
Tony,

if Naquin hadn't gotten hurt do you think he could've made the jump to the majors?
Hiram
July 1, 2014 - 8:57 AM EDT
Indians need a spark Tony. They need someone to come up and help this team. Do you have any recommendations of who could come up?
Tony
July 1, 2014 - 8:53 AM EDT
I like Moncrief, but he is not ready for the big leagues. And you can't put a guy on the DL unless they are hurt.
Hiram
July 1, 2014 - 8:50 AM EDT
It appears that Moncrief is on his way to having a similar year to last year in which 17-75.
Hiram
July 1, 2014 - 8:36 AM EDT
Tony,

with the Indians' offensive woes and with Murphy being in this horrific slump. Do you think it would be wise to put Murphy on the DL, call up Moncrief because of him being on this hot streak?? Indians desperately need spark and he could be it

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