Launching Off With The Aeros: 7/24/12 - 7/30/12
By Jim Piascik
July 31, 2012
It was another winning week for your Akron Aeros, as if it could be any other way. The Aeros took four of six games from the Erie SeaWolves and Bowie Baysox at Canal Park over the past week, pushing their overall record to 65-43 on the season. That mark puts them 9.5 games over the Baysox in the Western Division and 1 game up on the Trenton Thunder for the best mark in the entire Eastern League.
The Aeros are out of town over the next week, heading to Portland and New Hampshire for consecutive three-game sets. After that, the Aeros will be back at Canal Park on August 7 to host Portland and New Hampshire this time around. Oh the fun quirks of the schedule.
With the trade deadline today, it is quite possible that the Aeros will experience some turnover in the next 48 hours or so. Whether it’s the Indians trading prospects for help on the big league team or the adding of young talent through the trade of veterans, there should be some changes soon. So, read on to find out what the Indians are giving up/are promoting to Columbus/whatever ends up being applicable after the deadline passes.
When SS Juan Diaz hits like he did over the past week, it’s easy to overlook his deficiencies and dream about what he could be. Diaz posted a .350/.409/.600 slash line and .428 wOBA over the past week, and launched three doubles and a triple for good measure. Despite my complaints over the year about Diaz’s inconsistencies and his lack of plate discipline, if this power is for real, he may be just fine. On the year, Diaz still has fairly pedestrian stats (.264/.312/.430 slash line, .324 wOBA, 81:21 SO:BB), yet if he keeps hitting for power (10 home runs, 21 doubles), it’ll make up for a lot. I still wouldn’t bet on Diaz becoming a Major League regular, but I would call him up to Columbus and see if he can keep this up at the next level.
It hasn’t been the best of years for C Roberto Perez at the plate, but weeks like the past week give hope that he can put it all together at some point. Perez only went to the plate 13 times, but he made them count, posting a .300/.462/.700 slash line and .477 wOBA. Perez only had three hits in that limited time, but they were all extra base hits (two doubles, one triple). Perez’s defense remains his best asset, but it doesn’t quite make up for his anemic offense (.214/.345/.306 slash line, .311 wOBA on the season). I like how Perez controls the plate, however (61:43 SO:BB in 286 plate appearances), so there’s hope for him yet.
This is the kind of pitcher the Indians were trying to acquire in the CC Sabathia deal. RP Rob Bryson was nothing short of dominant in four innings over the past week, only allowing one hit, no runs, no walks, and striking out seven. Bryson remains a disappointment thanks to his lack of control (5.63 BB/9 on the season), but he still stands a chance thanks to his ability to make batters miss (11.25 SO/9). He will need to control that going forward if he wants to make it to the big leagues, but Bryson has powerful stuff that most pitchers can only dream about.
(Honorable Mentions: Adam Abraham, Paolo Espino, Jordan Henry, Matt Lawson, Toru Murata, Thomas Neal)
(Previous Winners: Adam Abraham (5/1, 5/8, 6/26, 7/24), Kyle Bellows (5/22, 5/29), Rob Bryson (6/19, 7/3), Chun Chen (5/15, 5/22, 6/26, 7/10), Jose De La Torre (6/19), Juan Diaz (7/10), Paolo Espino (5/29), Tim Fedroff (4/17, 5/29, 6/5), Jared Goedert (4/17, 4/24), Preston Guilmet (6/19), T.J. House (7/17), Kyle Landis (6/5, 6/19), Matt Lawson (7/10), T.J. McFarland (4/17, 5/15, 5/22), Thomas Neal (5/1, 5/15, 6/19, 6/26, 7/3, 7/24), Matt Packer (7/24), Roberto Perez (6/12), Bryan Price (6/19), Ryan Rohlinger (6/5), Giovanni Soto (5/1, 5/8, 7/17), Bryce Stowell (4/24, 6/5, 6/19), Jeremie Tice (7/3), Loek van Mil (6/5, 6/19), Nick Weglarz (6/12, 6/19), Steven Wright (4/24, 5/8, 6/12, 7/17))
3B Ryan Rohlinger won a World Series ring as a member of the San Francisco Giants and seems to be a great presence to have around in Akron this season. Yet, Rohlinger has not had a great season and was even worse over the past week. Rohlinger struggled over the past week, going 2-for-21 with four strikeouts and no walks. On the season, Rohlinger owns a .217/.332/.306 slash line and .307 wOBA, numbers that are well below average. There is a certain amount of defensive value that Rohlinger has, but he really is just organization depth keeping the seat warm for someone else.
It really hasn’t been smooth sailing for SP Giovanni Soto since his no-hitter. The left-hander struggled in his start on Wednesday, only making it through four innings while allowing seven hits, six runs, and two walks. Soto did manage four strikeouts, but that hardly matters when you allow that many runs. 2012 has not been a bad year for Soto by any means (4.08 ERA, 3.79 FIP, 1.32 WHIP, 7.50 SO/9, 3.59 BB/9), but I get the sense that he may be best suited as a reliever long-term. Soto still doesn’t have great feel for his offspeed stuff and I think his stuff will play up better out of the bullpen. He may be able to stick as a starter, but it wouldn’t shock me at all if Soto ended up a lefty reliever in the Tribe’s bullpen sometime next year.
C Michel Hernandez doesn’t play very often, but when he does, he rarely does anything useful with his bat. The veteran struggled in his two games this past week, going 0-for-8 with two strikeouts, dropping his season line to a rough .182/.229/.273 slash line and .243 wOBA and his plate discipline has eroded (16.2 K%, 3.8 BB%). Hernandez is the definition of organizational depth and is simply on the roster because he can easily subject himself to backup duty, but if he keeps hitting this poorly, the Indians will likely find another player to fill that role.
(Dishonorable Mentions: Kyle Landis, Davis Stoneburner, Patric Tolentino, Nick Weglarz)
(Previous Losers: Adam Abraham (5/22, 5/29, 6/5, 6/12, 7/17), Kyle Bellows (4/24, 5/1, 5/8, 6/5), Eric Berger (4/17), Brett Brach (5/15, 6/12, 6/26, 7/10, 7/17), Rob Bryson (5/15, 5/22, 5/29, 7/24), Ben Copeland (5/29, 6/19), Jose De La Torre (5/8, 5/15, 6/26), Juan Diaz (4/17, 5/1, 6/19, 7/3), Tim Fedroff (5/22), Preston Guilmet (5/22, 7/24), Jordan Henry (6/26, 7/17), Tyler Holt (7/24), T.J. House (6/19), Francisco Jimenez (6/26), Kyle Landis (5/22, 6/26, 7/24), Toru Murata (5/15, 5/22, 5/29, 7/24), Thomas Neal (6/12), Roberto Perez (4/17, 4/24), Bryan Price (5/8, 5/22), Mason Radeke (5/22), Ryan Rohlinger (4/24, 5/15), Giovanni Soto (5/15, 6/5, 6/26), Davis Stoneburner (7/3, 7/24), Bryce Stowell (6/26), Tyler Sturdevant (6/26), Jeremie Tice (7/10), Nick Weglarz (5/1, 5/8), Steven Wright (5/15, 7/3, 7/10))
See full weekly and yearly Aeros stats here.
I tweeted during Sunday’s game after SP Matt Packer allowed his first walk to the 71st batter he faced since his callup to Akron. To put that number in perspective, even the gold standard for not allowing walks in the Major Leagues – Cliff Lee – would have walked three or four batters in that time. Packer really pounds the zone and lets the chips fall where they will. He isn’t as overpowering as his first outing would lead you to believe (his SO/9 has fallen to 5.79 in 18.2 innings), but he makes it work by not giving out free passes. Packer has looked great after missing so much time and should continue to do work for the rest of the season.
I get that OF Tyler Holt is supposed to be the table-setter at the top of the lineup, but some power would be nice. His .044 ISO on the “strength” of two doubles and one triple in 106 plate appearances drags down his entire line (.599 OPS, .288 wOBA) and really limits his game offensively. Holt is still getting on base (.324 OBP), but at some point, you have to drive the ball in order to succeed. Hopefully Holt can develop more of a power stroke in the final months of the season.
If you want to find a reason that SP Steven Wright has struggled recently, chalk it up to allowing six home runs in his last eight starts. Wright has also seen his command leave him over that span, walking 20 batters in those 45.1 innings. The knuckleballer may be controlling the damage well to date (only a 3.97 ERA in those eight starts), but his 5.19 FIP and 1.52 WHIP say those starts have been pretty bad. Wright will obviously need to get his knuckleball back on track and more consistent if he wants to advance to the next level, let alone if he wants to find himself pitching in the Majors.
Odds & Ends
1B Adam Abraham spent most of the week on the bench due to injury, but he really produced when he finally got off the pine. Abraham went 3-for-7 on the week and jacked two doubles, showing off that power he needs to keep showing to keep himself relevant.
OF Thomas Neal showed no power over the past week, but that can be forgiven if you got 8-for-22 and post a .417 OBP. Obviously Neal needs to show power in order to have a legitimate shot at the Majors, but everyone has an off-week in the power department.
OF/DH Nick Weglarz joined Neal in the power outage department over the past week, going 5-for-19 with no extra base hits and 10 strikeouts in 22 plate appearances. Weglarz is up to 115 strikeouts on the year and has cooled since his torrid post-DFA period, posting a good but not great .258/.364/.461 slash line and .368 wOBA.
If OF Jordan Henry can hit like he did over the past week (.300/.375/.400 slash line, .343 wOBA in 24 plate appearances) every week, then he could find his way up to Columbus. Unfortunately, that line is buoyed by a rare triple and Henry is still a slap-hitter with no power. He does a decent job setting the table in AA, but I don’t see his game translating up a level how it is currently constructed.
INF Davis Stoneburner continued his struggles over the past week (.167/.286/.222 slash line, .294 wOBA) and 1B Patric Tolentino – who was called up to fill-in due to all the injuries the Aeros sustained recently – didn’t manage to reach first base in his six trips to the plate.
SP T.J. House only got one inning in before being rained out Friday night, but he really made it count (three-up-three-down, eight pitches, seven strikes). Despite that disappointment, House is still having a very good year since his callup to Akron (3.65 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 1.21 WHIP).
SP Paolo Espino, on the other hand, made it through his outing Friday night since he started game one. Espino pitched very well, making it through 6.1 innings and only allowing six hits, two runs (one earned), two walks, and striking out five batters.
With the exception of RP Kyle Landis (4.91 ERA, 6.20 FIP in 3.2 innings), the bullpen was more good than bad over the past week. RPs Shawn Armstrong (0.00 ERA, 4.06 FIP in 2.1 innings), Jose Flores (0.00 ERA, 3.20 FIP in 1.0 inning), Preston Guilmet (4.50 ERA, 0.20 FIP in 2.0 innings), Toru Murata (1.50 ERA, 1.20 FIP in 6.0 innings), and Loek van Mil (2.25 ERA, 6.20 FIP in 4.0 innings) all had at least something to hang their hat on this week. The Aeros continue to benefit from the Tribe’s organization-wide depth of relief options.
2B Matt Lawson was hitting well last week (3-for-9 with a home run) before he was injured last week. He isn’t on the DL yet but he also hasn’t played Wednesday. Hopefully this injury doesn’t hamper Lawson, who has had a very impressive year so far at AA (.331/.412/.472 slash line, .388 wOBA, 20:15 SO:BB in 151 plate appearances).
Other than Lawson, there has been no change on the injury front for the Aeros. 3B Kyle Bellows (Left Wrist Sprain), RP Bryce Stowell (Left Oblique Strain), and OF Jeremie Tice (Left Elbow Strain) remain out – with Tice done for the season after undergoing surgery. 1B Chun Chen remains out with strained ligaments in this left thumb and has now missed 18 games. But the wrap/cast was off on Sunday, so that’s some sort of progress, right?
Moves (Like Orbit)
July 24 RP Jose De La Torre traded to Boston Red Sox
July 24 1B Patric Tolentino promoted from A Lake County
July 27 RP Jose Flores promoted from High-A Carolina
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