Around the Farm: September 3--The pantry is bountiful edition
By Jim Pete
September 4, 2011
The Indians had one of those rare nights in which their minor league system won each and every one of their games. While the list below isn't every great performance, it does go a long way in showing us all why this system is so deep:
Jared Goedert: 3B, Columbus: 3-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K:
Goedert is one of the hotter players in the system right now. Over his last seven games, the Clippers' third sacker is 12-for-28 (.429), with seven runs, three doubles, three homers and an incredible 13 RBI. As Tony and I mentioned earlier this week, Goedert is placing himself firmly back into the Indians' plans with his hot play. Goedert's now hitting .275 on the season, with 46 runs, 19 doubles, 18 homers and 48 RBI. All the sudden, his numbers start looking more and more comparable to his breakout 2010 season, in which he played 40 more games because of injuries this year. It's fairly clear that Goedert's major issue in 2011 was recovery. Now that he's healthy, he's regained his luster, and could really be an interesting watch heading into 2012.
Beau Mills: DH, Columbus: 2-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K:
Every time I want to write off the former Indians' first round pick, he comes back with a vengeance. Mills went through a big slump in mid-August, but since August 29th, has been a house of fire. In his last five games, the 1B/DH has gone 10-for-20, with three runs, a double two homers and two RBI. With LaPorta's demotion and Mills' hot bat, things could get interesting should the Indians really be trying to send LaPorta a message. Could there be a competition next season between LaPorta and Mills? If Mills hit lefties better, I'd say yes. This year, however, Mills has only managed to hit .171 against left-handers, which isn't any better than LaPorta. Still, the fact that it's even a thought is a testament to Mills' resurgence in 2011.
Kelvin De La Cruz: RP, Akron: S (2), 2 1/3 IP, 1 BB, 4 K:
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to DLC. He's a tall, lanky left-handed reliever,and he's one of the best bullpen arms in the system. Okay, it's early, I know, but just look at the numbers in this six game window. He's gone seven total innings, including back-to-back 2+ appearances. He's given up two hits and walked four batters, while striking out 11. He hasn't given up a run, and he's saved two games. I know that people will be shrieking to put the kid back in the rotation, but I'm not one of them. While I'm a huge Cory Burns' fan, and a huge Preston Guilmet fan, neither could touch this kid at the back end of a bullpen if he's reallyharnessed his stuff. Again, it's only a short sample, but boy has it been a good sample.
- Luis Valbuena: SS, Columbus: 2-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K: Valbuena continues to scorch the ball in Triple A ball, rolling out two more extra base hits on the season. His ten-game line is .366/.413/.488, and he's gone 5-for-9, with two runs, a double and a homer in his last two games. He's heating up at the right time, with the Clippers heading into the International League playoffs.
- Grady Sizemore: CF, Columbus: 1-5, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: Sizemore returned to Columbus after Akron left town, and got another hit in a full-game stint in center. I'm not sure what the plans are for Sizemore, but it's likely he won't be around for the Clippers playoff run.
- Matt LaPorta: 1B, Columbus: 2-5, 1 R, 1 RBI: LaPorta clearly either likes it in Columbus, or just the opposite, as he's hitting the cover off the ball since being demoted at the end of August. He has two hits in each of his two games, and is 4-for-9 overall, with two runs, a homer and three RBI. three of his four hits, a run, the homer and all his RBI have come off of left-handed pitching. It will be interesting to see what the Indians do with LaPorta going forward. Were they trying to send a quick message to their first baseman, or is this something deeper with his fundamentals?
- Argenis Reyes: 2B, Columbus: 2-4, 1 R, 1 BB: I'm not sure that Reyes could be playing any better than he is right now. Batting out of the nine-hole, the middle infielder is hitting the ball a ton, going 6-for-10 in his last three games, with four runs, three doubles, two RBI and three walks, without a strikeout. He's absolutely shredding righties, hitting a hefty .372 since joining Columbus.
- Mitch Talbot: SP, Columbus: W (4-2), 5 IP, 9 H, 3 R/ER, 1 BB, 9 K: Alright, if you've made it this far, I'd like you to back up and read the strikeout total again. Blink really hard, then look again. Yeah, that's what I just did too. Apparently in the international league, Talbot is a strikeout machine. In his last four starts, he's had strikeout totals of 6, 8, 6 and 9, and has gone 3-1 in the process.
- Jordan Henry: CF, Akron: 2-4, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K, SB (33): Henry's clearly regained his 2010 mojo with another two-hit performance. It's his fourth such performance in his past seven games. During that stretch, he's hitting 10-for-29, with eight runs, two RBI, two walks and five K's.
- Juan Diaz: SS, Akron: 2-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB: Diaz hit his ninth homer last night, passing his previous best of eight from last season. This is the kind of stat line the Indians envisioned when they acquired the tall shortstop. The 6'4", 200 lb 22-year-old has never been a power hitter, but his size leads me to believe that there's still plenty left on the table. Games like this showcase just how good he really can be.
- Chun Chen: DH, Akron: 2-5, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K: Chen hit in his seventh straight game last night, and now has back-to-back two-hit affairs as well. During the past two, Chen is 4-for-9, with a run, two doubles and four RBI.
- Michel Hernandez: C, Akron: 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB: Hernandez was another one of the Indians' organizational specials. They picked him up in late June to help supplement injury issues, and he's tattooed the ball ever since. He's tapered off a bit, but is still hitting .326 overall in Akron, and is 38-118 (.322) since coming to the Indians' system.
- Donnie Webb: RF, Akron: 2-4, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 K: Webb can't be happy that the season is coming to an end. After stinking for most of the season, he's catching fire just as the season is about to end. In the past two games, Webb is 4-for-8, with four runs, a double and two triples.
- Matt Packer: SP, Akron: W (9-12), 6 2/3, 7 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K: Packer has turned what was a really bad season into a really good season, seemingly in the blink of an eye. Over his last ten games, the lefty has gone 6-3, with a stellar 2.81 ERA. Even more impressive is the fact that he's gone at least eight innings in six of the ten, and in at least seven innings in seven of the ten. Unfortunately, last night was an out away from reaching seven. Still, another stellar start for one of the best left-handed pitchers in the system.
- Tyler Holt: CF, Kinston: 1-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K: Holt's job is to get on base, and score runs, and he's been doing that all season long for the K-Tribe. You have to look past his low numbers because of the offensively challenged Carolina League.
- Bo Greenwell: RF, Kinston: 1-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB: Greenwell is back, and hitting. He's 2-for-6 in his last two games, which isn't earth shattering, but it's likely just a warm-up to a kid that missed over two months.
- Adam Abraham: 3B, Kinston: 3-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB: Adam, if you're reading this, I want to be the first to apologize for not having you at the top of this list with the other stars of the day. You deserve it, but I just ran out of room. Abraham continued to hit the ball well with a grand slam last night as the K-Tribe tries to make one last appearance in the playoffs for the city of Kinston. Abraham has two three-hit games in his last three, going 6-for-11, with two runs, two homers and five RBI altogether.
- Preston Guilmet: Closer, Kinston: 1 IP, 4 H, 4 R/ER, 2 BB, 1 HR: Guilmet got shellacked last night, but managed to hold on after giving up four runs in the ninth. I could go on about this, but Guilmet has been lights-out this year. One bad outing, even as the team is fighting for a playoff slot, does not make a season.
- LeVon Washington: CF, Lake County: 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 K, SB (15): The Indians are finally starting to see the reason why they drafted this kid so high in 2010. He had his third two-hit game over the past four, and is 6-for-16 during the stretch. Of course, he was 0-for-18 in his previous five games, which showcases just how raw this kid's talent is.
- Ronny Rodriguez: SS, Lake County: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 K: Rodriguez keeps throwing up games like this just enough to let you see just how good he can be when it's all clicking. He hits lefties extremely well (.308), and as this 19-year-old continues to develop and improve against righties, so will his his chances of becoming a major leaguer.
- Alex Monsalve: C, Lake County: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI: Monsalve has been in a bit of a slump lately, but came back with a nice game last night. He's still hitting .264 for the season, but is lighting up left-handers to the tune of .344.
- Felix Sterling: SP, Lake County: 6 IP, 3 H, 3 R/ER, 4 BB, 4K, 1 K: The flame flowing righty didn't have a perfect start, but it wasn't bad either, especially after not having pitched more than an innings since August 25th.
- Clayton Ehlert: Closer, Lake County: S (15), 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K: With Guilmet getting blasted last night, it's time to give Ehlert a bit of the closing spotlight. He picked up his 15th save (Lake County has only won 51 games), and has only given up one earned run over his last 11 2/3 innings, dropping his overall ERA to 1.71.
- Alex Lavisky: DH, Mahoning Valley: 2-4, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K: Alex Lavisky is only 20-years-old. Keep that in mind when you see his .205 batting average. You see, Lavisky has a bunch of talent, and at his best, he'll be able to drive in a bunch of runs.
- Evan Frazer: SS, Mahoning Valley: 3-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K: Frazer had his best game as a professional last night, as he blasted his first home run, and drove in two of the Scrappers six runs. He also managed to hit three of Mahoning Valley's seven total hits.
- Robert Nixon: SP, Mahoning Valley: W (7-3), 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R/1 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 6 K: Nixon gave the Indians his second solid start in a row in winning his seventh game of the year. Not bad for a 46th rounder.
- Jack Wagoner: RP, Mahoning Valley: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K: Wagoner gave up his first run in his last appearance, but bounced back last night with two strong innings. Overall, he's 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA. He's clearly someone to watch in the low minors.
Jim is currently the co-site editor, the ATF/Carolina Mudcats/Indians/General Site Columnist, and the co-host of IPI's weekly online radio show, Smoke Signals. You can follow Jim on Twitter @Jim_IPI, or contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.