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Around the Farm: June 4, 2014

Wendle, Medina lead the system's offensive outburst

Around the Farm: June 4, 2014
Joey Wendle (Photo: Jim Piascik)
June 5, 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 that Lake County was rained out.

Joey Wendle (DH, Akron): 3-for-5, 3 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI

Joey Wendle (Photo: MiLB)The transition from High-A to Double-A is often cited as the hardest non-major league jump a player has to make. For Wendle, that transition is an interesting mixed bag. The raw results are not remarkable for the second baseman, as Wendle owns a .249/.310/.421 line through 56 games. Wendle's bat is supposed to carry him, so only putting up an average overall line is a bit of a disappointment. Yet, Wendle is hitting the ball hard, continues to show some nice power in another pitcher friendly park, and seems to be on his way up offensively. Even though Wendle has played 56 games, that is still a fairly limited sample size to draw conclusions from. Though some definitive trends are emerging for some players, there is still plenty of time for players like Wendle to keep hitting the ball well and see some more hits start to fall in, raising their stats a little more.

Yhoxian Medina (2B, Carolina): 3-for-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB

Yhoxian Medina (Photo: MiLB)Medina started off cold after earning a regular job in early May, but lately the infielder is steadily improving his numbers. The 24-year-old is up to a .287/.349/.339 line through 31 games, solid marks he will look to keep going over the rest of the season. Power will never be a big part of Medina's game -- Wednesday's home run was the second of his career -- but there are ways for hitters to have value without putting the ball over the fence. Medina is getting a chance in Carolina and, so far, is doing something with it. He is not overwhelming the opposition, but especially on a night like Wednesday, Medina can constantly get on base and make something happen.

  • Duke von Schamann (SP, Columbus): W (1-0), 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO, 1 HR, 1 BK, 1 HBP, 1 E. Called up to replace the injured Danny Salazar, von Schamann took pitching to contact to the extreme. The approach worked, as the right-hander made it through five innings and got the ball to a dominant bullpen.
  • Columbus Bullpen: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO. The combination of Frank HerrmannScott BarnesMark Lowe, and Vinnie Pestano shut down the Gwinnett lineup and closed down the win for the Clippers. All four of these pitchers are legitimate major league bullpen options in one way or another, another reminder of the great bullpen depth in the system.
  • Adam Abraham (DH, Columbus): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SO, 1 SF. In his first two games back, Abraham is making up for lost time. Abraham has five hits in that time and the home run added an extra base hit to the pile for the 27-year-old.
  • Jose Ramirez (2B, Columbus): 3-for-5, 2 R, 1 SO, 2 SB. Ramirez is still young and has time on his side, but these performances just make me sad he is not at the major league level. The infielder/sometimes outfielder owns a .793 OPS and 17:15 SO:BB in 35 Triple-A games.
  • Justin Sellers (SS, Columbus): 3-for-5, 1 RBI. Since coming back from Cleveland Sellers has nine hits in six games. The infielder will never be known for his offense, but every bit he adds with the bat helps the slick defender.
  • Giovanny Urshela (3B, Columbus): 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 E. Urshela may not be getting on base as consistently as he did in Akron, but the good news is the power is still there for the third baseman. The 22-year-old is still adjusting to Triple-A, but at least his whole offensive game has not cratered.
  • Carlos Moncrief (RF, Columbus): 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SO. Moncrief is stuck in a similar rut, though unlike Urshela, his power output has dipped a little as well. The toolsy right fielder is still looking to get back to the approach that made him successful in 2013, as Moncrief is back to striking out a ton like he did in 2011 and 2012.
  • Matt Packer (SP, Akron): W (1-0), 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO. Packer's first game action in 2014 was a typical outing for him, as the left-hander filled up the zone and worked fairly efficiently, making it through five innings on 75 pitches (50 strikes).
  • Bryan Price (RP, Akron): 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 3 SO, 1 E. The unearned run is a slight blemish, but Price is now up to a strong five strikeouts in his three innings since returning.
  • Louis Head (RP, Akron): S (1), 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO. In his first Double-A action, Head picked up right where he left off in Carolina, getting a save while also racking up the strikeouts.
  • Francisco Lindor (SS, Akron): 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 SO, 1 SB. For Lindor, it is all about getting more reps in at the upper levels. The shortstop continues to mature and gain the experience that will likely have him in Cleveland sometime in 2015 at the latest.
  • Alex Lavisky (C, Akron): 4-for-5, 2 R. The organization as a whole has a lot of interesting catching prospects, which is both a good and bad thing. Lavisky is hitting well in limited time this year, but that depth (and his lower prospect standing) will likely keep him in more of a reserve role.
  • Bryan LaHair (1B, Akron): 2-for-3, 1 2B, 4 RBI, 1 BB. We all know at this point that LaHair needs the challenge of Triple-A, but the longer he stays down here, the lower it seems the first baseman is on the prospect pecking order. If the organization viewed him as legitimate major league depth in 2014, it would probably find a way to get him playing time in Columbus.
  • Shawn Morimando (RP, Carolina): W (6-2), 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 SO. Morimando was a little erratic, yet effective, in this start Wednesday. The left-hander's last start was in Akron, but as of right now, Morimando is back with the Mudcats.
  • Erik Gonzalez (SS, Carolina): 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI. Along with Ryan Merritt and Anthony Gallas, Gonzalez was named to the Carolina League All-Star team Wednesday. Gonzalez earned the honor in part due to his impressive .307/.344/.432 line through 42 games.
  • LeVon Washington (LF, Carolina): 3-for-5, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO. Washington had cooled lately, though the outfielder got it back track here. #WashTime is doing a good job of drawing walks, but the 22-year-old could use cutting down his strikeouts a little bit (24:13 SO:BB in 22 games).
  • Todd Hankins (CF, Carolina): 3-for-5, 1 R, 1 SB. The 23-year-old continued his solid 2014 season Wednesday, adding his 10th steal in 45 games in Carolina. Hankins' offense is pretty middle-of-the-road overall (.251/.326/.427), but given the second baseman/outfielder's poor offensive showings in the past, this is a good step forward.
  • Jerrud Sabourin (1B, Carolina): 2-for-4, 3 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO. Sabourin has struggled to hit for power in 2014 -- which is normal -- but he has also struggled to get on base. More power would obviously help, but fixing Sabourin's plate discipline is the bigger issue right now (64:56 SO:BB in 121 games in 2013, 32:10 SO:BB in 45 games in 2014).
  • Jeremy Lucas (C, Carolina): 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 2B. Lucas continues to chug along this year, frequently hitting the ball hard while putting up strong plate discipline numbers. This is exactly how the bat-first catcher needs to perform to earn more looks going forward.

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

art
June 5, 2014 - 6:33 PM EDT
Wendle's hitting performance since May 1st has actually tracked pretty much on par with what he hit last season. As often stated, he got off to a poor start but for the past five plus weeks he has been doing about the same as last season.
GSon
June 5, 2014 - 10:37 AM EDT
A few notes from the comments segment of this story...

Seems like there is about 219 offensive stalwarts in the Indians minor league system these days.. That's good thing.. If you want to see your name in lights, you have to fill up the stat sheet with multiple hits and runs created..

@stern: maybe not.. In any case, the dream of Jordan Smith and any other prospect.. isn't up for a vote or a popularity poll. You would have never heard of a guy named Johan with first failing for over 5 years in the minors..

@Walter: by conspicuous omission, starting pitchers?. or are you reserving your comment for a 'better day'?.

@Tondo: is intrigued a "coral" or more of a "fuchsia"?..
nubballguy
June 5, 2014 - 10:17 AM EDT
+1 Tondo
Tony
June 5, 2014 - 8:48 AM EDT
I'm glad SternFan is not running things. Giving up on a guy after two months when he's had two and a half very good years coming in and is a gifted defensive right fielder.

LaHair was not moved up to Columbus because Aguilar's promotion to Cleveland was temporary. Had it been a more permanent promotion, then LaHair would have moved up. But no sense in pushing LaHair to Columbus when in about 10 days he would have to go back to Akron when Aguilar returns (Friday).
Tondo
June 5, 2014 - 8:45 AM EDT
Wendle has improved every month so far. I expect him to have an OPS around .800 by season's end if he stays healthy. Let's not forget that he just got drafted 2 years ago and that this is his 2nd full season. His splits so far suggest he is more of a platoon player. Too bad that Kipnis is a LHB too at 2B, but it's too early to worry about that. He is crushing RHP though (.216 ISO)

While Hankins' overall numbers don't stand out (though still well above league AVG), he is absolutely raking since May. I want to believe that something has clicked for him, because a prospect with plenty of speed (64/75 SB/A last 2 seasons) that plays multiple positions always has value and MLB upside. His L/R spits are well balanced and his BABIP is normal, so even his recently new found power surge seems legit. Consider me intrigued...
Jim Piascik
June 5, 2014 - 8:37 AM EDT
Packer had a strained lat muscle. Set the start of his season back by a couple months.
Nikolaos
June 5, 2014 - 8:28 AM EDT
I notice this was Matt Packer's first game action...was he at extended spring training, coming off of an injury? I would also agree that LaHair should be at AAA...why wasn't he moved up when Aguilar was called up to the bigs? Are Abraham and Cooper getting the majority of the 1B/DH at bats in Columbus?
Walter
June 5, 2014 - 8:25 AM EDT
It was a great night for the offense Indians farm system and every team won that played last nite.

Columbus and Akron are now loaded with relievers that can help the Indians if needed.

AAA Herrmann, Lowe, Pestano, Barnes, CC Lee, Crockett and Adams

AA Tejada, Miller, Price, Sturdevant, Armstrong and Head
Sternfan10
June 5, 2014 - 8:22 AM EDT
It's time to end the Jordan Smith experiment and cut ties, he is not going to make it and is taking at bats away from stronger prospects.

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