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Around the Farm: May 24, 2014

Around the Farm: May 24, 2014
Adam Plutko delivers the pitch. (Photo: Brittany Chay)
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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.

Adam Plutko (SP, Lake County): 6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R/ER, 1 BB, 8 K. Another stellar outing from Plutko who deserves to be in Carolina and probably will be assigned there rather soon. Chances are at this point that the Indians let him finish out the first half at Lake County, potentially make an All Star team, and then promote him after the game and before the start of the second half of the Single-A season. There is about three-four weeks left in the first half so he should get about four to five more starts to solidify his claim for a promotion to Carolina. Some may point to his 3.93 ERA and not see dominance, but he had a 2.18 FIP going into this outing and that number will probably go down. Plus, he also had a stellar 11.3 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and 0.2 HR/9. This guy should be pitching in High-A and will be there soon.

  • Carlos Moncrief (RF, Columbus): 0-for-4, 3 K. It was a tough night all around for Clippers hitters as the team managed just 2 runs on 5 hits and had 11 strikeouts. Moncrief racked up three of those strikeouts from the leadoff spot in the lineup.
  • Jason Kipnis (2B, Columbus): 1-for-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, K. Kipnis went 5 innings on Friday night and 7 innings on Saturday. This is just the normal progression he is taking to get back into game action and he should play a full 9-inning game on Sunday and then be activated on Monday in Chicago. His two-run homer accounted for all of the Clippers offense and scoring on the day.
  • Giovanny Urshela (3B, Columbus): 1-for-4, 3 K. Urshela has really cooled off of late and his approach has taken a step back as he now has a 2-17 walk to strikeout ratio with Columbus.
  • Gabriel Arias (SP, Columbus): 6.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. Arias made a spot start at Columbus and pitched well. He might stick around for another start or two until T.J. House is sent back or Zach McAllister is optioned down after coming off the 15-day disabled list.
  • Scott Barnes (RP, Columbus): 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 1 K, 1 HR. Barnes has become a forgotten man to Indians fans and his tenure in the organization could be coming to an end soon. He’s on the 40-man roster bubble, and after he and Nick Hagadone were passed over for Kyle Crockett in Cleveland you have to wonder when the Indians will move on from one Barnes or Hagadone.
  • Vinnie Pestano (RP, Columbus): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K. Pestano worked a perfect ninth and has now looked pretty good in his last nine outings (9.2 IP, 7 hits, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 11 K). He keeps getting passed over by other pen options from Columbus, but eventually he should get an opportunity again in Cleveland.
  • Joe Wendle (2B, Akron): 3-for-6, 2 RBI. Wendle is just looking for that one hot stretch to get him going, and once he does his numbers are going to bounce back to expected levels. The extra base hits and power for the most part have been there, but now he has to come through with better at bats so that he can make more consistent, hard contact.
  • Bryan LaHair (1B, Akron): 3-for-4, CS. LaHair continued to torch Double-A pitching as he is hitting .330 in 23 games and has a nice 13-13 walk to strikeout ratio. He might be hitting for average, but a .142 ISO is not going to cut it from a player like him.
  • Tyler Holt (LF, Akron): 1-for-2, R, 3 BB, SB. Holt just continues to have a nice season as he is now hitting .300 with a .407 on-base percentage, has 11 stolen bases and a 25-26 walk to strikeout ratio in the league.
  • Cody Anderson (SP, Akron): 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 0 BB, 4 K. Anderson threw 91 pitches and 60 for strikes (65.9%). After a rough patch to start the season he looks to have settled as over his last three outings he is 0-0 with a 2.83 ERA.
  • Giovanni Soto (RP, Akron): 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER. Soto has now blown a save in two straight outings and just does not look like himself since coming off the disabled list last week. In The three outings since his return he has thrown 2.1 innings and allowed 8 hits, 6 runs (all earned), 3 walks and has 1 strikeout.
  • Tyler Sturdevant (RP, Akron): 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K. Sturdevant just continues to pitch like a machine with dominant outing after dominant outing. He has not allowed a run in any of this previous 10 outings and has allowed just 3 runs all year in 17 appearances.
  • Yhoxian Medina (SS, Carolina): 2-for-5, R, K, E. Medina is filling in for the injured Erik Gonzalez and even with this solid effort he has struggled over his last 10 games going just 8-for-35 (.229).
  • Alex Monsalve (DH, Carolina): 3-for-4, R, RBI. This is the second three-hit game for Monsalve this season and just the seventh multi-hit game for him in 30 games.
  • Jerrud Sabourin (1B, Carolina): 3-for-4, K. Sabourin was in a pretty nasty slump but over his last three games he appears to be pulling himself out of it as he is 6-for-11 – though all six hits are singles.
  • Torsten Boss (RF, Carolina): 0-for-4, 4 K. Boss racked up the Golden Sombrero in this one with four strikeouts. With Todd Hankins getting more time at second base, Boss has played more right field of late.
  • James Roberts (3B, Carolina): 2-for-4, RBI. It isn’t “sexy” as Roberts has just a .326 slugging percentage and an abysmal .023 isolated power, but he is hitting .303 on the season in 42 games and continues to get on base (.395 OBP).
  • Shawn Morimando (SP, Carolina): 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R/ER, 3 BB, 4 K. Morimando threw 84 pitches and 53 of them for strikes (63.1%), though  he has now walked exactly three batters a game in each of his last five outings.
  • Rob Nixon (RP, Carolina): 0.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 1 K. Nixon has really struggled of late as over his last four outings he has thrown 5.0 innings and allowed 9 hits, 8 runs (all earned), 4 walks and has 3 strikeouts.
  • Benny Suarez (RP, Carolina): 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K. Suarez is a guy the Indians like because he gets it up to 97 MPH, but is someone they are still trying to really refine his command as in 23.1 innings he now has 13 walks.
  • Clint Frazier (CF, Lake County): 1-for-4, R, 2 K. You hate to keep harping on the strikeouts, but this is his third multi-strikeout game in a row and he now has 7 multi-strikeout games in his last 10 games and 18 strikeouts in in his last 38 at bats.
  • Dorsyss Paulino (LF, Lake County): 1-for-3, BB, CS. Paulino has played much better since returning last week from extended spring training after a conversion to the outfield. The power is still missing in his game, but he is showing a more disciplined approach.
  • Anthony Santander (DH, Lake County): 1-for-4, R, 2B. Santander had the only extra base hit of the night for the Captains and sits just below the Mendoza line with a .199 batting average.
  • Shane Rowland (C, Lake County): 0-for-3, RBI, BB, 2 K. This was Rowland’s debut with the Captains and with a full season team. He is on the roster while regular catcher Eric Haase is away for the birth of his child.
  • Trevor Frank (RP, Lake County): 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. Frank was his steady self as usual setting down all four batters he faced and earned his first hold of the season in the process.

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

Jim Piascik
May 26, 2014 - 3:31 PM EDT
"Gee Tony, it was great to see an article on IBI that did not mention either defensive metrics or BABIP, the most insupportable statistics from both statistics and physics viewpoint."

Complaining about "insupportable statistics" without any supporting evidence.

There is plenty of support for things like BABIP and defensive metrics. I can assure you of that.

And once again, saying Wendle will likely see his BABIP regress positively and Naquin will likely see his BABIP regress negatively does not mean that one is better than the other. No one has ever said that. Ever. Period.

Here is one of many posts on the subject: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Everything-you-always-wanted-to-know-about-BABI?urn=mlb,203710
Norm
May 26, 2014 - 12:17 AM EDT
Gee Tony, it was great to see an article on IBI that did not mention either defensive metrics or BABIP, the most insupportable statistics from both statistics and physics viewpoint. You stick to your guns about confining yourself to the most supportable statistics but that doesn't apply to other writers. I get the feeling when I read the pages that Joe Wendle, a pretty harmless but not talented player, is somehow on his way to stardom while Tyler Naquin, who actually has talent but needs some improvement is written about negatively.

The issue I have for you involves pitching promotions to which you alluded. I agree with you about Plutko who is ready to go to Carolina. But I am not sure his upside or even current performance is as worthy as Robbie Aviles who looks to be on the road to recovery from the arm injury he suffered in HS. To get space in Carolina requires some moving around. Merritt looks reasonable but the next choices for Akron appear to be Morimando or Brown. In terms of projection, Brown looks better to me as does his mechanics but he just does not look ready for that move to me. Morimondo may be a better choice but is unlikely to be serious ML prospect IMO. What do you think?

I guess that posters who are already worried about Frazier's Ks do not remember Sizemore or Pronk in their primes. I think I will wait a few years before getting too upset about a 19 year old in his first full season in the minors.
Mike
May 25, 2014 - 2:29 PM EDT
I saw Frazier in a three game set recently and he has major trouble reading spin and part of the problem why he isn't hitting is that he has a small hitch in his swing that causes him to have a late trigger to the ball. The bat speed is explosive and that the power is in there. If he can fix this problem and read spin better, he could put up big power numbers soon. If not, he doesn't get past AA.
Matthew
May 25, 2014 - 2:21 PM EDT
That movie was a disaster.
shy
May 25, 2014 - 1:17 PM EDT
I watched "Trouble With the Curve" last night- Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake". Eastwood sure looks old, and hard to understand his under the breath mumblings, but it's a good baseball movie. Joe Bob says check it out. Clint plays an old worn down scout up against a young money ball/metrics type scout and they disagree over a potential number one pick for the Braves, a highschool kid that hits everything over the fence. The young scout says the kid can hit anything and that the stats bear it out. Clint who can hear but not see and his estranged but baseball savvy daughter who CAN see, are adamant that the kid's hands drift when he tries to hit a curve and even when he connects the sound off the bat is not right. The Braves end up taking the kid number one, but lo and behold he can't hit the curve and flops. Sound familiar? The good news is anybody with decent hand eye coordination can learn to hit the curve if they practice. But you need somebody to throw you a hundred of them a day, everyday- one day you get it. If I'm the Indians and I have this much invested in the red-headed Popeye, I have somebody get him up every morning at sunrise and throw him 100 curveballs. Everyday until he gets it.
Joe Chengery
May 25, 2014 - 12:40 PM EDT
Most high schoolers take time to adjust, and this is Frazier's first full season, so it's not too surprising in regards to issues with strike zone judgment and adjustments, similar to what Paulino is going through. It takes time - virtually no high schooler comes up to the Major Leagues in less than three years' time because of the vast difference in competition between HS and the majors. A good number of college guys don't make it up in three years and make an impact in three years- it's way too soon to be that concerned about Frazier no matter how highly regarded he is.

Tony, I still think the Indians shouldn't have turned Barnes into a reliever; he was in a good groove as a starter on a verge of a call-up several years back when he suffered the knee injury. The following season, they decided to shift him to the bullpen because of an organizational need, but never shifted him back, even when he initially struggled out of the pen. In truth, he never adapted to the pen, but unlike Hagadone, he did do quite well as a starter, especially right before the injury. It wouldn't have surprised if he had been called up that September and been in the running for the rotation the following Spring a Training if he hadn't hurt his knee.

To me, he doesn't seem like a bullpen guy, and he wasn't foreseen as that when he was acquired for Garko years ago. I think that really is what led to Barnes falling off the map. I didn't see the Indians turning him into a reliever, and I do wonder if they would have even bothered if not for the knee injury that ended his season prematurely; if that injury hadn't occurred, I still think he would have been a starter and had already been in the ML rotation by now, even as a backend starter (though he was projected to be a 2-3 starter when he was acquired, and was pitching like one at the time of the injury).

I find it unfortunate that Barnes didn't get another chance to start, as I really think that's where his ML future lies, if he has a ML future.
OB
May 25, 2014 - 9:55 AM EDT
I'm really worried about Frazier's strike outs. There was talk about him having trouble with breaking balls when he was still in high school. I overlooked it because I loved his talent, but he's now struggled vs. Rookie league and low-A ball breaking balls. They get a lot more advanced at AA and above. This is a problem.

Not many of the top HS guys from last year's draft are performing all that well thus far, however.
Tony
May 25, 2014 - 9:30 AM EDT
There is no doubt that Barnes and Hagadone are in roster limbo/trouble. The Indians had to go out and trade for Rzepczynski and Outman over a four month span to fill a big need at the ML level that Hagadone and Barnes were simply not filling. And now that they have added Crockett to the roster, he is their third lefty. The Indians haven't considered adding Hagadone except as short term filler and they haven't considered Barnes at all for a callup. Hagadone may still have a very small chance in Cleveland, but I wonder if Barnes has any at all. He seems to be one of the top DFA options on the roster right now if a need arises to get a non-rostered player on the roster.

Sturdevant is certainly pitching well. He is part of a good, deep group of relievers the Indians have stashed at Columbus and Akron. I don't get the impression he is high up on the totem pole among those guys, but I think if he along with someone like Miller, Armstrong and Tejeda keep this up all year could see time in Columbus at some point and maybe get a look in September as a callup.
Walter
May 25, 2014 - 8:49 AM EDT
We need another Esmil Rogers trade using Barnes and Hagadone. How close is Tyler Sturdevant of being considered for the 40 man roster? He sure is pitching like he deserves to be an option for the Indians bullpen.

Rich
May 25, 2014 - 8:38 AM EDT
Tony, what are your thoughts on Barnes and Hagadone? It looks to me like both their ships have sailed.

Barnes is 26 years old and has a 4.58 ERA out of the Columbus bullpen. Last year in Cleveland it was 8.48. He's been in the system for about five years now and doesn't seem to be progressing.

Hagadone is 28 years old and still hasn't broken through to the bigs. In 2012 his ERA in Cleveland was 6.39 in 29 games. Last year it was 5.46 in 36 games. And that was being spotted mostly against lefites.

So far this year his ERA in Columbus is 3.86. He does have 28 K's in about 19 innings, but walks are still a problem. At age 28 he's still not dominating in AAA and has been rocked in the bigs. As you pointed out, a guy who was pitching in college a year ago has moved ahead of him.

Another factor is that decent lefty relievers don't seem to be hard to get. The Tribe picked up Rzepcynski and Outman for little or nothing, and they're doing a nice job.

I don't expect Hags and Barnes to be in the org next year, do you?

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