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Around the Farm: May 22, 2014

Merritt, Kime's pitching performances highlight the night on the farm

Around the Farm: May 22, 2014
Anthony Santander (Photo: Tony Lastoria)
May 23, 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. 

Ryan Merritt (SP, Carolina): W (6-1), 7.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 1 SO

Ryan Merritt (Photo: MiLB)With the high number of strikeouts in today's game, seeing a pitcher go seven innings with only one strikeout is a rare occurrence; even rarer is such a good outing when the pitcher walks more batters than he strikeouts. Merritt has a reputation as a lower-strikeout pitcher, and with 41 in 56.1 innings, the left-hander is living up to that so far in 2014. The left-hander makes it work with a rock-bottom walk rate (1.76 BB/9), and though he is pitching a little above his 1.60 ERA, Merritt is still impressing in his first full season in High-A. The 22-year-old does not wow on the mound, but his aggressive, pound-the-zone style of pitching is working and saving the bullpen every time out (Merritt is averaging 6.3 innings per start in 2014).

Dace Kime (Photo: MiLB)Dace Kime (SP, Lake County): L (0-7), 5.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 1 HBP

As was written Sunday here on IBI, Kime's terrible start to the season was heavily influenced by things like a BABIP over .400 that would soon stabilize. Well, one hit in five innings is some nice instant stabilization happening right before our eyes. Kime has not been the perfect pitcher this season, but the 2013 third round pick has not been nearly as bad as his 7.08 ERA. The right-hander owns a solid 28:13 SO:BB in 40.2 innings and should continue to see strong results throughout 2014 as he transitions from the Louisville Cardinals bullpen to the Lake County Captains starting rotation.

  • Kyle Davies (SP, Columbus): ND, 5.0 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO. In a nationally televised game, Davies struggled a bit, allowing four runs for the third straight outing. The right-hander has soaked up a lot of innings, however, a necessity given the number of starters coming and going for the Clippers lately.
  • Nick Hagadone (RP, Columbus): 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO. With the major league bullpen getting dangerously depleted, Hagadone makes his best effort here to get a callup. The left-hander owns a 28:9 SO:BB in 18.2 innings this season.
  • C.C. Lee (RP, Columbus): BS (1), L (0-1), 1.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO. Despite the bad outing, Lee is still pitching fairly well this season and could get another look in Cleveland due to the previously mentioned bullpen depletion.
  • Vinnie Pestano (RP, Columbus): 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO. Lee's line could have looked better if not for Pestano allowing two inherited runners to score. Pestano has looked better since his demotion to Columbus and is another option the major league team could call upon.
  • Carlos Moncrief (RF, Columbus): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SO, 1 E. The 40 strikeouts in 42 games with only nine walks remain a concern, but even seeing a little power out of Moncrief is something as the right fielder continues to make the transition to Triple-A.
  • George Kottaras (C, Columbus): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 SO, 1 PB. Kottaras only has five hits in his 13 Triple-A games, but he now has his first home run since his mythical two-homer game up in Cleveland.
  • Giovanny Urshela (3B, Columbus): 2-for-5, 1 2B. After suffering though a bit of a lull, this is the Urshela who tore up the Eastern League and earned a promotion to Columbus.
  • Will Roberts (SP, Akron): L (4-5), 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO, 2 HR. There were plenty of strikeouts for Roberts Thursday, though the home runs tainted the outing a little bit. Roberts has been solid in 2014, posting a 4.21 ERA and 3.80 FIP through 51.1 innings.
  • Jordan Cooper (RP, Akron): 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO. Through 20.1 innings, Cooper's 3.79 FIP indicates the pitcher is throwing a little better than his 5.31 ERA, which is good news for the right-hander as he reconverts to a relief role.
  • Enosil Tejeda (RP, Akron): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR. With three more strikeouts, Tejeda now owns a 22:3 SO:BB in 16.2 innings. Unfortunately, Tejeda also allowed a home run, only his second since 2010.
  • Tyler Holt (RF, Akron): 2-for-4, 3 RBI. Holt just continues chugging along, upping his on-base percentage to .403 in 36 games. The outfielder's .035 isolated slugging is pretty low, but Holt has always been a hitting and defense player; power is never going to be a real part of his game.
  • Justin Toole (3B, Akron): 2-for-3, 1 R. Toole has been playing third base semi-regularly in Akron and has produced when on the field (.294/.415/.382 line in 13 games). The utility infielder remains one of the versatile, good guys in the organization.
  • Tyler Naquin (CF, Akron): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 SB. After stealing 14 bases in 108 games in Carolina, Naquin is already up to 10 in 43 games in 2014. Adding a speed element to his game could really help the center fielder as a true top-of-the-lineup option.
  • Elvis Araujo (RP, Carolina): S (3), 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO. The relief version of Araujo has put up some gaudy strikeout totals with 18 in 16.2 innings, though with eight walks in that time, a little more control could help.
  • Jerrud Sabourin (1B, Carolina): 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB. In his 22 games since being sent down to Carolina, the Sabour-Tooth Tiger has a solid .289/.330/.386 line, though he will likely need to do a little more to make his way back up to Akron.
  • Yhoxian Medina (SS, Carolina): 2-for-5. After a slow start to his season, Medina is slowly working his way back up as he has raised his on-base percentage from .238 to .270 over the past two days.
  • James Roberts (3B, Carolina): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO. As has been the case throughout the season, Roberts gets on base without providing any power (.400 on-base percentage, .024 isolated power in 40 games). The third baseman also committed his 17th error the season Thursday.
  • Luigi Rodriguez (CF, Carolina): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 SAC. It is not much, but with a sluggish .629 OPS to start the season (which is hurt by a .250 BABIP), a nice, little 1-for-3 day moves the needle a bit in the right direction for Rodriguez. The center fielder also had a diving catch to preserve the Mudcats' lead.
  • Luis Lugo (RP, Lake County): 3.0 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO, 1 HBP, 1 E. Not a good outing from a run-prevention standpoint, but Lugo does have great peripherals (44:13 SO:BB in 34.2 innings) and should see his 5.97 ERA decrease over the course of the season accordingly.
  • Anthony Santander (DH, Lake County): 2-for-4. The Captains only managed three hits Thursday with Santander coming through with two of them. Santander's .565 OPS in 35 games is not encouraging, though some positive regression on his .280 BABIP will help. The bigger worry should come from what Santander's shoulder surgery is potentially doing to his power (.083 isolated power).
  • Claudio Bautista (2B, Lake County): 1-for-4, 2 SO. Bautista came through with the other hit on the night as he increased his hitting streak to six games.
  • Clint Frazier (CF, Lake County): 0-for-3, 2 BB, 3 SO. Despite only have three hits, the Captains combined for seven walks. Two of the walks were Frazier's, and when combined with three strikeouts, the man with all the bat speed had a weird game in which he did not put a single ball in play.
  • Grant Fink (3B, Lake County): 0-for-2, 2 BB, 1 SO. The other Captain with two walks, Fink now has 30 walks to go with 62 strikeouts in 43 games on the season.

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

Tony
May 23, 2014 - 11:12 AM EDT
Gonzalez is on the DL with a middle finger strain on his non-throwing hand.
Andrew
May 23, 2014 - 11:11 AM EDT
I haven't seen Erik Gonzalez in the lineup lately... any update?
Walter
May 23, 2014 - 9:08 AM EDT
I hope this is the beginning of Kime turning his season around. Let see if he could put another good outing back to back. Hamrick and Lugo continue to struggle after having good 2013.

Willie
May 23, 2014 - 8:46 AM EDT
Tejada surrendered his second HR since 2010 -- that is impressive. I don't care if he's not a big time prospect he's obviously proven he can pitch.

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