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Around the Farm: May 8, 2014

Plutko, Lindor, Bauer, and Fink highlight a busy night on the farm

Around the Farm: May 8, 2014
Adam Plutko (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): W (2-0), 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 13 SO

Adam Plutko (Photo: MiLB)Plutko had been teasing at this kind of outing all season, but never put the strikeouts, run suppression, and length of the outing all together. That changed Thursday night as the right-hander was simply dealing. Plutko went deep into the game, mowed down opposing hitters, and only allowed four baserunners, one of whom reached on an error; not a bad day at the office for the 22-year-old. Of course, Plutko is the reigning College World Series MOP and should be doing this type of thing to a Midwest League lineup. But the right-hander cannot control where he pitches, and with a 49:10 SO:BB in only 35.1 innings, Plutko is making a strong case to move up to a bigger challenge in the Carolina League sooner rather than later.

Francisco Lindor (SS, Akron): 3-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 E

Francisco Lindor (Photo: MiLB)With another strong night -- and a go-ahead grand slam in the bottom of the eighth -- the legend of Lindor continues to grow. He is up to a .298/.368/.463 line in 31 games this season with four home runs and a 22:13 SO:BB. Plus, despite the error, we all know Lindor is a great defender who will only get better with more time and consistency. After only 52 games above High-A, I still do not think Lindor is a real option to be called up to Cleveland in the near future. But the way he keeps hitting and performing, he could start to erode that thought. Asdrubal Cabrera remains a great bounce back candidate -- and we saw some of that on Thursday -- but Lindor could make his presence felt if he keeps doing things like this.

Trevor Bauer (SP, Columbus): W (4-0), 7.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 SO

Trevor Bauer (Photo: MiLB)With a 1.12 ERA and 2.36 FIP in his 40.1 Columbus innings, Bauer is doing everything in his power to get the call back up to Cleveland. And what a rotation it could be in Cleveland. Imagine this version of Bauer combined with Corey Kluber (3.60 ERA, 2.70 FIP in 45.0 innings), Zach McAllister (3.18 ERA, 2.60 FIP in 39.2 innings), Justin Masterson (3.86 ERA, 3.47 FIP in 49.0 innings), and Danny Salazar (5.65 ERA, 4.06 FIP in 36.2 innings as he continues to gain consistency). Or slide in Josh Tomlin if you feel like it. Either way, there is a lot to like about this rotation -- both now and in the long-term -- and Bauer is a key part of that future.

Grant Fink (3B, Lake County): 2-for-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SO, 1 E

Grant Fink (Photo: MiLB)Coming into Thursday, Fink had one home run on the season. Now he has three! Fink had not shown much power this season until Thursday, only knocking six extra base hits in 30 games while striking out 48 times, but it is still early. Even a month into the minor league season, it is too early to say anything has definitely changed about a player based on statistical profiles. Fink had a .174 isolated power in 51 games in 2013; just because he had a .074 mark heading into Thursday does not mean his power is gone. As we saw Thursday, Fink began to see his power show up again in his stats. He does need to work on limiting those strikeouts, but at least some of his power is returning in the meantime.

  • Mark Lowe (RP, Columbus): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO. After striking out the side, Lowe is now up to 19 strikeouts in 13.1 innings as the 30-year-old tries to work his way back up to the majors. Even with his eight walks, the left-hander still owns a 2.15 FIP so far in 2014.
  • Giovanny Urshela (3B, Columbus): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI. Yet another long ball for Urshela gives the third baseman five extra base hits in his first six games in Columbus. Paired with the 14 Urshela hit during his 24 games to start the season in Akron, the third baseman is showing off some real power to go with his slick fielding.
  • Jesus Aguilar (DH, Columbus): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO. With another double Thursday, Aguilar continued the put up big stats in 2014. Aguilar's .319/.415/.569 line in 32 games could get him a look in Cleveland at some point this season.
  • Tim Fedroff (RF, Columbus): 1-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO. Fedroff is now up to 23-straight games getting on base, as the outfielder saw his on-base percentage jump back over .400. This also marked Fedroff's first appearance in right field in 2014.
  • Matt Carson (CF, Columbus): 2-for-4, 2 R. Carson just continues to hit down in Columbus, as one of last September's heroes owns a .856 OPS in 29 games this season. Of course, a .424 BABIP will help with that.
  • Duke von Schamann (SP, Akron): ND, 5.0 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, 3 HR, 1 WP. von Schamann managed to gut out five innings, but they were not pretty. The three home runs now give him four on the season and are his first allowed since April 9.
  • Kyle Crockett (RP, Akron): S (5), 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO. Crockett bounced back from allowing his first run at the Double-A level to close things out following Lindor's big home run. That walk is only Crockett's second on the season to go with 16 strikeouts in 13.1 innings.
  • Tyler Naquin (CF, Akron): 3-for-5, 3 R, 2 2B, 3 RBI. The recent surge continues for Naquin as the outfielder added a little power to the mix Thursday. The outfielder owned a .136 isolated power in 2013 and is approaching that in 2014 (.108).
  • Joe Wendle (2B, Akron): 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 BB. The same goes for Wendle, as the second baseman continues to see his results rise. Wendle showed some surprising power in Carolina last year (.218 isolated power), but his .164 mark so far this season is still pretty good.
  • Jordan Smith (RF, Akron): 4-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B. The RubberDucks have quite a few 2013 Mudcats beginning to look a little better, including Smith on this night. This was Smith's first multi-hit game since April 18 and his first four-hit game of the season.
  • Tony Wolters (C, Akron): 0-for-3, 1 R, 1 HBP. An 0-for-3 night ended Wolters' eight-game hitting streak, but the catcher did reach on a hit by pitch and come around to score.
  • Shawn Morimando (SP, Carolina): L (2-3), 1.1 IP, 3 H, 8 R (6 ER), 3 BB, 0 SO, 1 HR, 1 E. This was a particularly rough outing for Morimando and is his second in a row. The left-hander has allowed 16 runs (9 earned) in his last two starts and his ERA has risen from 1.88 to 4.01 over those five innings (to go along with a 4.71 FIP).
  • Jacob Lee (RP, Carolina): 2.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR. Lee's 4.58 ERA (which was 1.80 coming into Thursday) shows how one bad outing can inflate a reliever's line, as his solid peripherals still give the right-hander a 3.43 FIP following this appearance.
  • Carlos Melo (RP, Carolina): 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO. The Mudcats' nightmare on the mound continued with Melo, who did not make it out of the fifth inning. The right-hander now owns a 7:14 SO:BB in 9.1 innings this season.
  • Josh Martin (RP, Carolina): 2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO. This was only Martin's second time allowing a run this season (the other coming on April 11) and the right-hander is still sporting a 2.70 ERA and 17:2 SO:BB through 16.2 innings.
  • Rob Nixon (RP, Carolina): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO. The sole Mudcat to escape without allowing a run, Nixon improved his ERA to 2.87 and his SO:BB to 13:4 Thursday night.
  • Ollie Linton (RF, Carolina): 2-for-3, 2 BB. In the face of an 18-2 defeat, Linton got on base four times, pushing his OPS to .793 on the season.
  • Eric Haase (C, Lake County): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 SO. Haase homered for the seventh time this season as the catcher continues to show his impressive power (.305 isolated power). Plus, Haase got another hit on a ball in play as his BABIP continues to rise toward a more normal figure (it is at a meager .237 now).
  • Paul Hendrix (2B, Lake County): 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B. Part of Hendrix's .293/.413/.493 line in 2014 is propped up by a high .380 BABIP, though the infielder has shown an ability to get himself on base and hit for a little pop in the early going, even without those extra hits falling in.
  • Josh McAdams (RF, Lake County): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 3B. After doubling last night for his first extra base hit on the season, McAdams made it two nights in a row with this triple. Plus, the outfielder avoided a strikeout for the first time since April 24.
  • Clint Frazier (CF, Lake County): Frazier's strikeouts continue to roll in, as the outfielder is up to 27 in 21 games this season. It is too early to call it a problem, but if the strikeouts are going to stay, Frazier will need to start doing a little more damage when he makes contact (his .740 OPS, .356 on-base percentage, and .128 isolated power are all good, but not great).

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 10, 2014 - 11:24 PM EDT
Agreed RyanWVUTribe. Frazier is very young and has limited time. Awfully early to start labeling a guy based on his performance so far. I am all for following trends and noting issues/strengths, but it is entirely too early based on what he has done to date to get a truly good feel for what he will or will not be.
RyanWVUtribe
May 10, 2014 - 3:20 PM EDT
I love all the pro scouts we have here on the site, its great! So Clint Frazier is all arms and is Russel Branyan V2. At 19 and only 91 AB's of pro ball! Wow just great analysis!! We should have Traded Bauer for Mike Pelfrey last year when he was labeled a bust. Can we give anybody a chance to make changes and work on mistakes? Is that possible?
Adam
May 10, 2014 - 12:50 PM EDT
To your point Tony,
The reason it makes more sense to look at those things you mentioned is because those are the traits that tend to stick with a player as they move up the ladder. How much contact does the player make? When he makes contact, how much damage does he do, and what's his plate discipline like? Those are really the only things we can confirm or deny from minor league numbers.
Tony
May 10, 2014 - 9:15 AM EDT
Norm, have to disagree. The four main numbers I look at from a stats standpoint above anything else is that walk percentage, strikeout percentage, on-base percentage and isolated power percentage. And everything after that is a clear second. And I am consistent with that and not cherrypicking. I have learned over time in talking to coaches, executives and even scouts that when looking at stats, those are the most important numbers teams look at themselves so I have adopted the same. And for good reason. They are not traditional numbers like flat walk and strikeout totals or batting average and slugging percentage.....but they are not some crazy formulated sabremetrics either. They are rather simple advanced stats that make a ton of sense. How often does a guy walk over his plate appearances? How often does he strike out in all of his plate appearances? How much power does he truly hit for? And how often does he get on base? That's enough for me.
Jim Piascik
May 10, 2014 - 7:47 AM EDT
Naquin and Wendle were only being compared in that they are both playing extended time at Double-A for the first time.

That's all.

Not as players, not as body types, not as prospects. Just that they're both adjusting to Akron.

And no one is cherrypicking stats only to support their position. We're picking out the important things to write about. You can't put every scouting report and statistic into one ATF post. It's all about choosing one quick thing. Like it always has been.

And like always, we are taking EVERYTHING into account and boiling it down into one blurb. We're not lazy hacks.
Norm
May 9, 2014 - 11:20 PM EDT
Hey Seth, if that floats your boat, go with it. I don't recall saying that they were but I don't believe they are especially relevant until the majors and are just nice to know info below AA. Personally, I am much more interested in looking at other things.
yourtribe
May 9, 2014 - 10:47 PM EDT
Troy, so everyone stinks except a couple of guys? Wow.
Seth
May 9, 2014 - 7:55 PM EDT
Norm, strikeout rate and power are not some fancy sabermetrics. They're basic things you'd look at to see where a prospect is at.
tim
May 9, 2014 - 7:19 PM EDT
I'm more aligned with Shy's thinking. Having a second- and third-round pick in the same year not just struggle, but out and out quit less than two years into their pro careers --- I wonder how often this has happened in baseball. My guess: rarely.
Do the Indians do anything to look into the character of their prospects? Major fail in this instance.
troy
May 9, 2014 - 6:55 PM EDT
Frazier has great tools but at the end of the day he is a Russel Branyan/Corey Smith caliber hitter. Plutko is overmatching low A hitters and needs to be moved up to the Carolina League to get a more realistic evaluation. Agree with Shy, Washington, Naquin, are pretty worthless in the same vein as Trevor Crowe , Beau Mills. Urshela is a career minor leaguer, great glove mediocre bat, At best future Aurelio Rodríguez.. The only thing worth reading in this write up is the progress of Lindor and Bauer. The rest of these prospects are career minor leaguers
Norm
May 9, 2014 - 6:11 PM EDT
Tony, you spoiled us or. at least, me when you wrote you were able to combine an analysis of player skills and potential with the numbers. That really does not exist at the new IBI. It is easy to be selective about numbers and choose which to present to support the writer's position which I believe is what Jim Piascik and other IBI writers are doing. The only place where sabermetrics really has value is the majors and has little to do with the minors which is a learning experience full of players trying to improve. Which is why I fail to understand why anyone would compare Naquin and Wendle! I cannot see all that well anymore and cannot climb stadiums any longer but I can seen enough to tell you there is a monumental difference between the two. Naquin is learning how to be a major league baseball player. It is possible he will not make it but I think he has sufficient projection to be superior to Lofton and Grady's equal. Wendle, on the other hand, is probably the third best second baseman on the Akron roster. He is unlikely to make a difference at the ML level if he ever gets a cup of coffee and is not any real trade value. Things could always improve but I do not see the projection to make that much difference. Over the years, you and I have differed on analysis of player skills/projection but I am not even sure Wendle would make my top 30 but I cannot see all that I used to.

It amuses me when I see posters question the gifts of a potentially special player like Clint Frazier when the "kid" has talent out the wazoo. I remember him from high school and watching him at an all-star game and posting on this site what a tremendous potential he has. But I could see back then.

If I had to pick an "under the radar" player, it would be DJ Brown for SPs and L Rod for position. Like the mechanics of both. I also think Plutko who should not be under anyone's radar will finish the year in Akron.
Tony
May 9, 2014 - 3:07 PM EDT
How was what was written about Naquin a negative? There is a different between being negative and objective. Sometimes even with the good, you still have to note the bad to keep things level and in proper perspective. Otherwise every prospect would sound like a sure thing. Bottom line, it goes without saying that I would love every prospect to perform exceptionally well and make the big leagues, but it is those limitations which prevent them from making it which is why sometimes they are harped on and why they are monitored so closely with how improvement comes or doesn't. I know player families and friends don't always understand that because they are new to the world of minor league baseball.....and also because in a lot of ways this is the first time their player has experienced failure.
Adam
May 9, 2014 - 2:15 PM EDT
I don't understand the argument that the Indians wouldn't have moved Wacha as quickly as the Cards did. They've been aggressive with their top college arms in recent years. Wacha made 26 starts before getting called up White had about 30 minor league starts before we called him up. Pomeranz pitched in 15 games before getting bumped up to Akron before we traded him, putting him on a similar path to White.

Other than those two, there's no real comparisons that we've had in our system to Wacha recently.
Tondo
May 9, 2014 - 12:34 PM EDT
Great comeback win for Akron, capped off by the Grand Slam from Mr Consistency Lindor. He has good looking, balanced splits across the board. He seems like the real deal.

Speaking of splits, it's nice to see Naquin's bat come to life, his plate discipline seems to develop, which is essential for him, but he still has the looks of a platoon player with that .480 OPS vs LHP. Not sure how good his defense is, but a good bat comparison that popped up in my mind was Matt Joyce, maybe with a little less power and little more speed. That would be an acceptable bat, plus the defense.

Plutko should go to Carolina soon if he keeps that up. Sad to see Morimando get shelled. Is there an injury hiding?

System is pretty stacked. Really like the depth. Not many superstars, but lots of specs that should get to the Majors and contribute. Exactly what a low budget team needs
Seth
May 9, 2014 - 12:20 PM EDT
Shy, you think everyone's on steroids. Which was pretty much true back in the day, but now, and with guys like Pomeranz, it's just funny that you think that. In the post-steroid era, pitchers are throwing harder than ever. Also, it would appear Pomeranz averaged 92.7 and hit 94.9 with his fastball in that start. Guess he's back on the 'roids.
pathofkindness
May 9, 2014 - 12:10 PM EDT
Oh, and Bauer too, man this guy is killing it. Time to trade Masterson...8--)
pathofkindness
May 9, 2014 - 11:56 AM EDT
Yea, Shy's right. We have been an absolute incompetent disaster in the judgment of early round talent. Unbelievable how bad that has been and that nobody says anything about it. Walter also has a good point. The way the Tribe moves players through its system (Allen being the anomaly), Wacha would be lucky to be in AAA and would probably still be in AA.

That said, there are some encouraging performances to date, Aguilar, Urshela and Plutko being three of the best so far. At least Naquin seems to be moving in the right direction...
art
May 9, 2014 - 11:50 AM EDT
Nice to see Jordan Smith with a good hitting night, I still have a lot of confidence in his ability to make it to the majors, at least as a part time player.

I also think Giovanny Urshela is going to become the "real deal" as a major league starter. He looks like he is building very well on his 2012 performance at Carolina. While the walk rate continues to be low, at least he also has a low strikeout rate, so I can kind of live with it for awhile (based on his age and level).

Can't say anything about Bauer or Plutko not already said, very happy about yesterday's performances.
shy
May 9, 2014 - 11:27 AM EDT
Somebody has to take responsibility for these top draft choices. It doesn't take a great baseball eye to see that Austin Meadows, Michael Wacha were better prospects than Clint Frazier. They look like MLB players, Frazier does not. He was a little guy w popeye arms that was doing things only guys his size on PED's could do- I'm just sayin' When you look at the body of work- the LeVon Washington's, Tyler Naquin's Trevor Crowe's - there's a pattern here of incompetent judgement. And same w the high draft pick pitchers- Jeremy Sowers, Alex White, Drew Pomeranz, Dylan Howard. How the Indians scouts and front office still have jobs is baffling. Pomeranz btw looked really good last game for the A's. 5 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs. Off the juice, he has learned how to get guys out w 88-91 but the 95 days that the Indians mistakenly drafted him for are gone forever.
MT88 in WI
May 9, 2014 - 11:04 AM EDT
Quick item of note, the daily BA prospect report reviewing performances for 5/8/14 gave pitcher of the day honors to Adam Plutko for his work and gave hitter of the day honors to Francisco Lindor. Not bad that both honors go to players in the same organization.

BTW- BA was also saying that ACab hit for the cycle on Thursday..
Jim Piascik
May 9, 2014 - 10:34 AM EDT
Hold on, does everyone think I hate Naquin? That's not me! Haha.

I think he hasn't made the adjustments he'll have to make to find success in Double-A and beyond yet, but I'm not out on him by any means. He's getting rave reviews on defense and, while he needs to cut down on those strikeouts, that's something he can work on. He's not a finished product yet.
Walter
May 9, 2014 - 10:30 AM EDT
Sorry... Should say In order to get to the next level
Walter
May 9, 2014 - 10:29 AM EDT
@Rowland

The hatred for Naquin is unbelievable. Many can not get over that the Indians choose Naquin or Wacha. I'm betting if the Indians did draft Wacha he still would be in minors. Probably at AAA.

@ GSon

In or to get promoted to the next level...This what Plutko needs to do is dominate at this level.

Dennis
May 9, 2014 - 10:15 AM EDT
Frazier looks lost on breaking balls outside the zone. Much different than Lindor looked at the same age at the same level. I think all that is fixable but it is a considerable worry with this kid. In the post-steroid era power doesn't seem to grow as much as these kids move up the ladder as it used to.
GSon
May 9, 2014 - 10:06 AM EDT
@Rocky.. Yeah, the Indians catching depth is about as good as the middle infield depth..but goes unnoticed. Haase and Lavisky and and Wolters and Perez and Mejia all make this one of the strongest catching corps in the minor leagues.. Left side of the Indians infield. Francisco & Giovanny.. sounds like an Italian cop show :x..

@Jorge.. we'll see how well Plutko does when he's facing good hitters that have discipline.. The next two levels will be crucial.

Reporting negatively negative results doesn't endear the author to the fans who tune into this site to see who did a good job/had a good night.. While it's not the stated purpose.. it's the way the site customarily reports the previous night's results...
Rocky55
May 9, 2014 - 9:47 AM EDT
Frankie Lindor & Gio Urshela homer in the same night. Preview of the left side of the IF for years to come. Eric Haase has 7 HR in 24 games; project that out over a season. Nice to see McAdams creep over ,200. Now he has something to work with.
Jim Piascik
May 9, 2014 - 9:41 AM EDT
Not a negative Roland. An observation that he is regressing toward his previous power mark.

Nice try though. :)
Roland
May 9, 2014 - 9:33 AM EDT
A player can go 3-for-5, 3 R, 2 2B, 3 RBI and you still make that into a negative. Unreal....
martyinnewyork
May 9, 2014 - 9:20 AM EDT
Smith also had 2 assists from RF... in one inning!
Johnny Manziel
May 9, 2014 - 8:49 AM EDT
Great night on the farm ! Great night for Cleveland sports !
Jorge
May 9, 2014 - 8:46 AM EDT
The big Plutko, ! A great job ! 8 innings, 0 R, 13 SO.

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