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Around the Farm: May 20, 2014

Around the Farm: May 20, 2014
Claudio Bautista (Photo: Brittany Chay)
May 21, 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.

Claudio Bautista (Lake County, 2B) - 4-5, 1 R, 1 RBI - While Claudio's season-long numbers may look unimpressive (.212/.245/.325 in 39 games), he is playing much better as of late (.278/.278/.417) and his performance on Tuesday night was simply amazing.  Not only did he have a four-hit game and drive in the game-winning run (Richard Stock) in the bottom of the ninth on a on a line drive single to left, but he also did it out of the eight hole.  That's right.  The best performance of the night in the entire organization came from a guy hitting eighth.  Hopefully we see a lot more of his last 10 games form (and some flashes of Tuesday night's level of play) and a lot less of the way he started the season.

Danny Salazar (Columbus, SP) - L (0-1), 2.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R (all earned), 3 BB (1 intentional), 1 K, 1 HR allowed -Salazar's first outing since being sent down to C-Bus is worse than the Major League performances that merited him the demotion.  While I don't like to feature negative news on my nights writing ATF,  this is too significant of a problem to bury in a standard entry.  While this may very likely be nothing more than a matter of a player in a funk after being sent down, even that would be a concern as it would be a possible indicator of issues with his mental game.  Danny being unsettled between the ears may be an even harder problem to fix than if it were to be merely mechanical. [Editor's note: It should be mentioned that Salazar has been given strict instructions to really work on throwing his changeup and slider a lot in Columbus so the heavy usage of these two pitches probably contributed to his struggles].

James Roberts (Carolina, 3B) - 3-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K - Roberts has been hot of late but he took it to another level on Tuesday night in Wilmington, DE as he had a three hit night on what was largely an uneventful offensive evening for the Mudcats otherwise.  His stat line now stands at .308/.400/.333 with 13 RBI in 37 games on the season and .345/.486/.379 in his last 10 contests.

  • Elliot Johnson (Columbus, DH) - 1-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 CS - I searched long and hard through the Clippers offensive box score to find anything of note other than Johnson's home run.  No luck.
  • Tyler Cloyd (Columbus, RP) - 5 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 3 K - Cloyd makes his first relief appearance of the season on what would've been his day to start.  Clippers fans are probably wishing he did start the game.
  • Tyler Naquin (Akron, CF) - 1-4, 1 RBI - This is another example of a one-hit outing where the hit is extremely important.  Naquin's line drive single in the fifth inning scored Jordan Smith for the only run of the game.
  • Toru Murata (Akron, SP) - W (3-0), 6 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 5 K - Toru continues to make his case for a return trip to the Triple-A Columbus rotation as he lowers his numbers to a 1.66 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 12:7 K:BB ratio and .225 opponents BA in 21.2 IP in three starts and three relief appearances for the RubberDucks.
  • Adam Miller (Akron, RP) - H (2), 2 IP, 1 H, 1 K - Miller's comeback continues to go well with this solid outing that leaves his season stats at 1.29 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 2.00 (6:3) K:BB and .160 opponents BA in 7.0 IP in four relief appearances.  He looks to be one of the most exciting players in the organization this year given the potential he has displayed thus far.
  • Shawn Armstrong (Akron, CP) - S (7), 1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K - Armstrong looks to have a lock on the Akron closing job (unless he gets called up to Columbus himself) as it seems unlikely that Kyle Crockett will be returning to Akron unless it's for a rehab assignement (even a demotion from the Cleveland bullpen would likely find him in the Huntington Park clubhouse).  The job seems to be in good hands.
  • LeVon Washington (Carolina, LF) - 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB - LeVon picks up his first two hits since coming off the 7-day disabled list.  Hopefully, this is the beginning of him beginning to play well and stay healthy consistently.
  • D.J. Brown (Carolina, SP) - L (2-4), 4 IP, 5 H, 4 R (all earned), 4 BB, 5 K - Brown suffers his third poor outing in a row after a string of five solid or better ones.  I previously assumed this to be nothing more than a brief stretch of poor form, but it seems to be devolving into something more disconcerting.  The best thing I can say about this outing is that Brown was the only Mudcat pitcher on the night not to throw a wild pitch.  Hopefully he can turn this around soon.
  • Rob Nixon (Carolina, RP) - 2.1, 3 H, 2 R (both earned), 2 BB, 1 K, 2 WP - Nixon comes in to relieve Brown and doesn't do much better.  Rob seems to be settling into a pattern of one good outing, one bad outing.  Let's just hope it doesn't turn into a pattern of one bad outing followed by another bad outing.
  • Benny Suarez (Carolina, RP) - 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R (both earned), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP - Suarez's first bad outing in almost a  month (no earned runs allowed since April 21, also at Wilmington - he needs to be unavailable when the 'Cats are at the Blue Rocks it seems) finishes off a night of atrocious Carolina pitching.
  • Clint Frazier (Lake County, CF) - 0-2, 3 BB - Clint has been in a bit of a slump recently (.200/.304/.275 in his last 10 games) but found a way around it on the night by displaying incredible plate discipline and walking three times in five plate appearances.
  • Grant Fink (Lake County, 3B) - 2-4, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K - Fink's runs scored streak reaches four games in grand style as he scores three of the Captains' seven runs on the night.
  • Mitch Brown (Lake County, SP) - ND, 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R (both earned), 4 BB, 5 K - A solid outing that's not quite enough for the win because of...
  • Kerry Doane (Lake County, RP) - 1 IP, 2 H, 3 R (all earned), 1 BB, 1 HR - Doane's early season struggles hit a low.  Amazingly, even if the Captains had lost this game, he wouldn't have neen on the hook for the decision due to the mammoth run support the Captains pitching staff received on the night.
  • Matt Whitehouse (Lake County, RP) - W (1-0), BS (2), 3 IP, 4 H, 1 R (earned), 1 K - Whitehouse has begun to settle into a bad outing, good outing pattern.  Hopefully this represents an improvement from his rough early season form.  Oh, and there's the "blown/save" win combo.  I believe I have already made my feeling known on that subject.

User Comments

Walter
May 21, 2014 - 1:46 PM EDT
Paulino 3 for 5 including 2 rbi today. LC found there hitting shoes today. 10 runs on 15 hits. Aviles another strong outing. He is making the case for promotion to Carolina.
Tony
May 21, 2014 - 12:00 PM EDT
Indians have told me the focus will be to throw his changeup and slider more often. The focus is still on improving Salazar's fastball command and get it down in the zone rather than up and out so often, but his pitch mix is going to be much heavier on the secondary stuff. He was throwing way too high of a percentage of fastballs in Cleveland.....so they really want him to get back to mixing in his changeup more and really develop that slider. The fastball command will be there....it really comes down to proper pitch sequencing and also finding some consistency with that slider. I still think the slider needs to modified as it has similar break to the changeup. Needs much more side to side rather than the slurvy look it has. To me it is his biggest key is finding that third pitch.
Ramin
May 21, 2014 - 11:16 AM EDT
If the approach to fix Salazar is to focus on changeups and sliders, then he is doomed. Great pitching begins and ends with fastball command. Without that, Salazar is useless in any role.
EazyDuzIt
May 21, 2014 - 10:18 AM EDT
Stick a fork in Salazar
Walter
May 21, 2014 - 9:40 AM EDT
It might take Salazar the rest of this season to master the command of split change and the slider.

I hope Adam Miller is showing that he might be for real. If he continues to perform like this I would consider him for the Indians bullpen for the second half the season. I know its early based on the sample size...But you never know.

Brown might have had his best pitching performance since be drafted by the Indians yesterday.

In 2 games playing the outfield Paulino is 3 for 9. Maybe this could be the beginning in which he wil able to show his offense potential.
Rich
May 21, 2014 - 9:20 AM EDT
Regarding the blown save/win combo, it's like a basketball player who misses two huge free throws in the final seconds with the score tied, but then hits the game-winning jumper at end of OT.

Don't you believe in redemption?

What's up with Adam Miller? I assume he's no longer throwing 100 mph. Is he a soft-tosser now? Has he changed his grip to protect his finger? Somebody needs to interview this guy.

I have to believe Salazar was throwing mostly sliders and changeups. That's what he was told to do. They're not going to bring him back to the Show until they see him mastering those secondary pitches. He's proven he can't get by on a fastball alone.

GSon
May 21, 2014 - 9:16 AM EDT
@Arthur Sure, the emphasis on throwing the split change and slider were supposed to be there.. Did you get or have access to a pitch chart? Was the damage because of these pitches? Was his FB velocity in the upper 80's/low 90's instead of mid 90's or higher.. Do you have any information other than this "kind of, sort of" stuff?..

An "around the farm" report by its general nature says the information contained within is going to be shallow or readily available from anyone who DIDN'T go to the park in C-Bus or Akron or Zebulon or Eastlake to see game. I get you're presenting an amuse bouche of baseball information.. ..

Sometimes, a little more is needed.. This is one of those times... Otherwise.. "..being in a funk after demotion" or "..supposed to be working on..." comments, don't have much foundation...

Can this become a "thing" in the future?..Thoughts?..

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