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Around the Farm: November 28, 2013

Around the Farm: November 28, 2013
November 29, 2013
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Around the Farm (ATF) takes a quick look at some of the daily performances by Indians prospects. This is a special fall and winter ball version of ATF that recaps all the offseason action by Indians players in offseason winter ball leagues.  The positions listed below are where the player was playing in the game.

Note: The Dominican Winter League and Puerto Rico Winter League were off on Thursday.

Venezuela Winter League

Jesus Aguilar (1B, Leones del Caracas): 0-for-4. Remember that hot start Jesus got off to where he was hitting .362 with a 1.068 OPS through his first 24 games? Well, in his last 13 games he is just 10-for-53 (.189) and has seen his batting average dip below .300 to .299 in 37 total games and his OPS is down to .913. Those are still very good numbers, but he is clearly leveling off after a ridiculously hot start.

Elvis Araujo (SP, Aguilas del Zulia): 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 3 K. It is great to see Araujo finally stretched out to start and, more importantly, put up a very good showing. He has been given an opportunity to start two of his last three games and in 12.0 innings has allowed just 3 runs (2 earned) for a 1.50 ERA during that span. Overall, he’s had a nice showing in Venezuela so far making 9 total appearances and racking up a 1.62 ERA where in 16.2 innings he has allowed 13 hits, 1 homer, 3 walks, and has 6 strikeouts. This experience in winter ball was badly needed not only to make up innings, but to put him up against some higher competition….and so far he is doing very well.

Australia Baseball League

Ryan Battaglia (DH, Brisbane Bandits): 0-for-3, BB, K. Battaglia has now played in 10 games out in his home country Australia and has yet to pile up a multi-hit game. But while he is only hitting .226, he has made the most of his hits and plate appearances as he has 9 walks and 6 of his 7 hits are for extra bases. All of that adds up to a very good 1.028 OPS.

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
November 29, 2013 - 5:47 PM EST
Yeah, I've been saying a Sorrento ceiling for awhile now...but Sorrento, in the minors, was a lot more efficient, and had a lot more natural power.

Sorrento was always a high OPS guy, if I remember right, so saying Sorrento would definitely be a best case scenario, which I think puts him into perspective I think.

I like Aguilar, and there's enough there both athletically and IQ wise that could take him far, but it's a fine line with him. Next year is SUCH a big step.
Tony
November 29, 2013 - 4:11 PM EST
I wrote about it last week and laid out my thoughts both positively and negatively on Aguilar:

http://www.indiansbaseballinsider.com/blog/breakout-barometer-jesus-aguilar-57094

There are some things to like for sure about Aguilar, but the unsustainable high RBI count covers up what really was a small setback in terms of overall offensive performance. He is a guy who has been in decline offensively the last two years and may have peaked at Single-A in 2011. Hopefully that is not the case.

I see him potentially becoming a solid contributor....maybe a Paul Sorrento type. He is a good prospect and a nice depth option, but probably won't find his way into an Indians Top 10 ranking this offseason. He will need to prove himself when he gets an opportunity, sort of like Yan Gomes did as he proved he was a bit overlooked.....although Gomes has the defense to fallback on even if his offense ticks back as expected.
Seth
November 29, 2013 - 3:32 PM EST
I've never seen him play, but from his numbers I'd think Aguilar a marginal prospect at best. He's had some okay numbers in the past but actually had a bad showing last year. A .776 OPS as a 23-year-old 1st baseman in AA doesn't exactly scream impact bat. He and Naquin seem to be hugely overrated. I'll be pleasantly surprised if Naquin can even hold a job as a backup, his skill-set, can't hit for power, steal bases, or hit for a high average, is Aaron Cunningham-esque, except Cunningham actually hit well in the minors. And Aguilar looks like Garko-lite. I'd love to see both turn a corner, but to date their performance doesn't justify much optimism. If anyone from Akron can make an impact soon, I'd say it's Moncrief.
Hiram
November 29, 2013 - 12:51 PM EST
Walter,

what does Aguilar being an untouchable have to do with him helping the team later on in the season?? Also, no one said he was Albert Belle in saying that though it doesn't mean he can't help the team.

Prospects are prospects until proven otherwise and Aguilar has shown he can hit everywhere he's been. To what extent has varied. All I said was that he can help the team to what level it needs to be determined. Yes the Indians have a lot of options at 1B/DH but we all that it could change come July and having as an option to help should be figured into the equation

I don't see Aguilar being traded, it could happen but I think the Indians need for right handed stick will show that they need Aguilar and if you can hit they'll find away for you to play
Walter
November 29, 2013 - 10:33 AM EST
Hiram

I love your passion but do you consider Aquilar a untouchable, that you would not trade him. I don't see that. Last real legit power hitter that the Indians developed through there farm system was Albert Belle. I don't see Aquilar being the Belle type of a player that you think Aquilar is.

He first hasn't proved he could handle AAA pitching. He also would need to show higher power numbers in Columbus since it considered a hitter friendly park.

There is currently a log jam at 1B/dh between Santana and Swisher. Then you have other players who might DH from Rayburn to Kipnis who could dh occasionally. As Tony stated you would need couple of injuries in order for Aquilar to get his shot. I think Aquilar true shot might be on another team.

If he has a great year going into the trade deadline and the Indians need specific player to get them to the playoffs, I see them using him in a potential trade.

Hiram
November 29, 2013 - 9:49 AM EST
Tony,

I agree with you on no room for him now BUT if the offense struggles like it did in July in August and they lose close games to Tigers just like they did last year they will find room for him. Keep in mind that no one anticipated that Swisher would struggle the way he did, thought Stubbs would be better than what he was and the fact we thought we would see a bit more out of Lonnie too.

The point is that we are looking at a perfect scenario and rarely in MLB does that happen and in the case that it doesn't then it's comforting to know that we have a nice backup plan in Aguilar to fall back on when we didn't have that last year or recently. Same can be said for the rotation, bullpen and OF. Indians are building a serious team that will get them thru the hard days of July in August because of their depth.
Tony
November 29, 2013 - 9:39 AM EST
Araujo has the potential to be a frontline starter, but health has really kept him back over the last several seasons. It is hard to believe that he won't avoid such injuries in the future, but if he can put together a full, healthy season then he's going to finish at Double-A and could jump back into the fold as a top level arm for the Indians. Of course, there are a lot of "ifs" there.

Aguilar has really established himself as at worst a solid depth guy. And Hiram, I know you keep saying Aguilar will be in Cleveland by June or July, but I just don't see it happening unless one of Swisher, Santana or Gomes are out. The Indians have no room for a 1B/DH type.....unless the guy is playing sparingly (like Giambi). They won't limit a prospect like Aguilar to such a limited role as they will prefer to have him play everyday at Columbus. A good problem to have with Aguilar, and one that will shake out good or bad over time.
Hiram
November 29, 2013 - 9:24 AM EST
BTW, we should've all known that Aguilar was going to come down to earth with is average but I am pleased with the power numbers. If and when he's called up with the Indians go give them right handed power the article that predicted .250, 20-75 is accurate it would be a big boost to this team.

It's a long way to go in the offseason and a lot of different things can happen but I think the Indians COULD be planning on him joining the team in say June or July to give much needed power to the lineup. I know that alot of different things can happen such as poor play or injuries but I think they have their eye on him.
Hiram
November 29, 2013 - 8:59 AM EST
I'm going to keep my eye on the Elvis Arajauo guy. I hear he's really talented but needs to stay healthy. Indians have been snake bitten on some of their prospects but if Miles, Washington and this Arajauo can stay healthy they will really add to this farm system

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