Launching Off With The Aeros: 8/21/12 – 8/27/12
By Jim Piascik
August 28, 2012
Your Akron Aeros are guaranteed a playoff spot, but their play over the past week was subpar. The Aeros dropped five of eight games, lowering their record on the season to 78-57. Akron’s pitching staff allowed a completely respectable 30 runs in those eight games, but the offense staggered to a mere 20 runs. It’s hard to win only scoring 2.5 runs per game, so the Aeros’ offense will need to pick it up before the playoffs begin.
Akron will be out of town all week, but when they return, it will be time for playoff baseball! The time and date of those games is still undecided, but keep checking back as the week goes on for all your Akron Aeros updates. It’s a great time to follow the Aeros since they actually are competing for a title, unlike their neighbors to the north in Cleveland.
My first impression of watching 1B Jesus Aguilar play is that he will need time to adjust to the AA level. He was routinely fooled by breaking pitches during Sunday afternoon’s game, swinging and missing at six of the first ten pitches he saw. That said, there is no denying what happens when Aguilar makes contact. His past week was a massive show of power and is easy to get excited about (.269/.375/.615 slash line, .436 wOBA, three doubles, two home runs in 32 plate appearances). Aguilar will need to work on his strikeout rate going forward (17 in his first 59 plate appearances), but he has all the makings of a power-hitting first baseman of the future.
INF Ryan Rohlinger has had his share of troubles lately, but he managed to put those behind him over the past week (.389/.458/.667 slash line, .455 wOBA in 24 plate appearances). Rohlinger is the sort of veteran that will help the Aeros in the next few weeks as they try to capture the Eastern League championship. With Adam Abraham seeing more time at third base and Matt Lawson holding down second base, Rohlinger may need to play shortstop in order to break into the lineup (something he started doing recently). Rohlinger may not be as good defensively as Davis Stoneburner or Carlos Rojas, but he is much better on offense.
Sadly, there is little to no chance that OF Thomas Neal will make his way to Cleveland this year, despite another glorious stat line over the past week (.385/.448/.538 slash line, .464 wOBA, one double, one home run, two stolen bases in 29 plate appearances). Neal will likely finish out the year with the playoffs in Akron then hope to get a shot at making it back onto the 40-man roster in Spring Training. I know the situation was clogged at Columbus, yet I still can’t help but feel Neal really got the shaft this year never once getting a chance to show what he could do against AAA pitching in homer-friendly Huntington Park.
(Honorable Mentions: Adam Abraham, Brett Brach, Chun Chen, Preston Guilmet, Jordan Henry, Toru Murata, Danny Salazar)
(Previous Winners: Adam Abraham (5/1, 5/8, 6/26, 7/24), Kyle Bellows (5/22, 5/29), Rob Bryson (6/19, 7/3, 7/31), Chun Chen (5/15, 5/22, 6/26, 7/10), Jose De La Torre (6/19), Juan Diaz (7/10, 7/31), Paolo Espino (5/29, 8/7), Tim Fedroff (4/17, 5/29, 6/5), Jared Goedert (4/17, 4/24), Preston Guilmet (6/19), Tyler Holt (8/14), T.J. House (7/17, 8/7), Kyle Landis (6/5, 6/19), Matt Lawson (7/10, 8/21), T.J. McFarland (4/17, 5/15, 5/22), Toru Murata (8/14), Thomas Neal (5/1, 5/15, 6/19, 6/26, 7/3, 7/24, 8/7), Matt Packer (7/24), Roberto Perez (6/12, 7/31), Bryan Price (6/19), Ryan Rohlinger (6/5), Danny Salazar (8/21), Giovanni Soto (5/1, 5/8, 7/17), Davis Stoneburner (8/21), 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, 8/14), Steven Wright (4/24, 5/8, 6/12, 7/17))
It would seem this is the beginning of the end for OF/DH Nick Weglarz. Everyone has bad weeks, but Weglarz’s .000/.154/.000 slash line and .111 wOBA in 13 plate appearances couldn’t have come at a worse time. Plus, he’s already seeing his playing time cut back in anticipation for the playoffs. The Aeros’ best playoff lineup features Thomas Neal, Jordan Henry, and Tyler Holt in the outfield with Chun Chen and Jesus Aguilar splitting the first base and designated hitter spots. Maybe Weglarz will be used as a pinch hitter and spot starter come playoff time, but the fact that he doesn’t truly belong as a AA playoff starter speaks volumes about his value.
I love what 2B Matt Lawson has managed to accomplish this season, but it is possible his Cinderella season has struck midnight. Lawson struggled to a .182/.182/.273 slash line and .195 wOBA in 22 plate appearances over the past week and also failed to draw a single walk. Lawson is still having a great season (.330/.403/.458 slash line, .384 wOBA in 209 plate appearances), but it is unlikely that a depth option suddenly became a top prospect. It’s been a great ride, but I expect that Lawson will continue to fade as we head down the stretch.
RP Bryce Stowell only pitched in two innings over the past week, yet he managed to allow two home runs in that time. The second home run Stowell allowed went over the batter’s eye in Canal Park; no small feat in that cavernous ballpark. I love what Stowell is capable of, but injuries and ineffectiveness have torpedoed his season and his prospect stock (4.15 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 1.73 HR/9).
(Dishonorable Mentions: Michel Hernandez, Tyler Holt, Mike Rayl, Carlos Rojas)
(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, 8/7), 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), Michel Hernandez (7/31), Tyler Holt (7/24, 8/7), 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, 8/7), Bryan Price (5/8, 5/22), Mason Radeke (5/22), Ryan Rohlinger (4/24, 5/15, 7/31, 8/14, 8/21), Giovanni Soto (5/15, 6/5, 6/26, 7/31, 8/14), Davis Stoneburner (7/3, 7/24), Bryce Stowell (6/26, 8/21), Tyler Sturdevant (6/26), Jeremie Tice (7/10), Justin Toole (8/14), Nick Weglarz (5/1, 5/8, 8/21), Steven Wright (5/15, 7/3, 7/10))
See full weekly and yearly Aeros stats here.
1B Chun Chen launched his fifth home run of the year this past week, but it felt more like a reason for sadness than a cause for celebration for me. Obviously it was great for Chen to tally another dinger, but his absolute lack of deep balls this year point to a player without enough bat to stick at first base long-term. Chen has been a dominant AA player this year (.318/.406/.440 slash line, .384 wOBA), but he has little projection headed forward.
I know I was excited to see what SP Danny Salazar could offer to the Aeros this season, but I didn’t expect this sort of dominance. Salazar has posted a 2.25 ERA, 3.09 FIP, and a 1.04 WHIP in his first 28.0 innings at the level and has looked like a very worthy member of the 40-man roster. The easy velocity and motion that Salazar offers easily projects as a middle-of-the-rotation starter if things keep progressing and Salazar is definitely one of the most valuable players on the Akron team right now.
I have been touting RP Shawn Armstrong as the next Cody Allen in the Tribe’s minor league system, but it seems I hyped him up a little too much too early. Armstrong has walked 5.89 batters per nine innings 18.1 innings at the AA level so far, a sign that he still has things to learn in Akron. The other results are good with Armstrong (0.98 ERA, 3.09 FIP, 9.33 SO/9), but until he learns to limit his walks, Armstrong will be closer to Rob Bryson than Cody Allen.
Odds & Ends
It was a strong week for most of the Aeros’ starters this week. SP Brett Brach was solid in his only start (6.1 innings, seven hits, two runs, one walk, three strikeouts), as was SP Toru Murata in his two starts (11.0 innings, seven hits, two runs, three walks, eight strikeouts). SP Paolo Espino gave up too many runs in his start (four in 5.2 innings), but he did manage five strikeouts.
SP T.J. House had one awful start and one good one over the past week, which averaged out to decent overall stats (6.2 innings, six hits, three runs, two walks, four strikeouts). The only Aeros starter who really struggled was SP Mike Rayl, who allowed seven runs (five earned) in three innings after being called up to start game two of a doubleheader Monday night.
With the exception of Bryce Stowell, it was a good week for the Aeros’ bullpen. There were ups and downs, but overall, their performance could have been worse. RPs Rob Bryson (1.59 ERA, 4.96 FIP in 5.2 innings), Cole Cook (5.40 ERA, 0.80 FIP in 1.2 innings), Preston Guilmet (0.00 ERA, 1.02 FIP in 3.2 innings), Trey Haley (0.00 ERA, 3.70 FIP in 2.0 innings), Kyle Landis (3.38 ERA, 3.20 FIP in 5.1 innings) for the most part just did their job. That’s all you can really ask for out of your bullpen.
1B/3B Adam Abraham came off of the DL this past week and responded with his 13th home run of the season. Unfortunately, that was his only hit of the week as he went 1-for-10. C Michel Hernandez (.176/.176/.235 slash line, .169 wOBA in 18 plate appearances), OF Tyler Holt (.185/.241/.222 slash line, .240 wOBA in 30 plate appearances), INF Carlos Rojas (.000/.214/.000 slash line, .154 wOBA in 14 plate appearances), INF Davis Stoneburner (.211/.211/.316 slash line, .225 wOBA in 19 plate appearances), and C Patric Tolentino (.143/.333/.286 slash line, .298 wOBA in 9 plate appearances) also struggled over the past week. Their offensive meltdown was a large cause of the Aeros’ losing week.
On the plus side, OF Jordan Henry continued to impress in his comeback from microfracture surgery with a .308/.400/.308 slash line and .367 wOBA in 30 plate appearances. Henry also had a beautiful line-drive throw in the 9th inning of Sunday’s game to cut down a runner tagging from third by five steps. Catcher Patric Tolentino did not have to move his glove an inch as the throw was perfectly on target.
The Aeros got Adam Abraham back this week, but they lost RP Jose Flores and C Roberto Perez to injury. Both haven’t been huge contributors to the Aeros’ success this year, but any injuries at this point of the season hurt. Hopefully both will be back in time to be a part of the Aeros’ playoff run.
Moves (Like Orbit)
August 21 C Patric Tolentino promoted from A Lake County
August 21 RP Jose Flores placed on DL
August 24 C Roberto Perez placed on DL
August 24 1B/3B Adam Abraham activated from DL
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