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Around the Farm - April 14, 2012

Around the Farm - April 14, 2012
April 15, 2012
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Around the Farm takes a quick look at some of yesterday's performances by Indians prospects throughout the system. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday's game.

Kyle Landis: RP, Akron Aeros: W (1-0), 3 IP, 1 H, 3 K:

Kyle Landis, quite simply, has been one of the best relief pitchers in the Tribe system since he returned from injury in 2011. Landis was rehabbing a back injury prior to the 2010 season, when his pitching forearm went numb from a damaged and stretched nerve. There were only two other diagnosed cases of a similar injury recorded. Landis was put in an extensive therapy program, and without having to pitch, his arm grew stronger than it was before. Enter 2011, where Landis didn’t miss a beat. He started in Low-A Lake County, was promoted to High-A Kinston, and ended in Double-A Akron. For the season, he went 10-2, with a 2.54 ERA, and re-established himself as a player in the organization. This season, Landis has made three appearances, each going two innings or more. He’s given up only one hit in each appearance, with two walks and five strikeouts. In today’s three inning outing, Landis faced the minimum of nine batters, throwing 34 pitches. Of those 34 pitches, an incredible 29 went for strikes. Hello Columbus.

Cord Phelps, 2B, Columbus Clippers: 4-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI:

Last season, Cord Phelps was the first guy called up to test his ability at the major league level. In 35 games, Phelps struggled, hitting only .155, with a homer and six RBI. He was sent down, ultimately in favor of Jason Kipnis, and the Indians haven’t looked back. Phelps, in many ways, has dropped off the radar as a prospect, as the Indians seem locked up the middle with Cabrera and Kipnis. The only problem with that is that Phelps hasn’t stopped performing. With Kipnis presumably in Cleveland to stay, Phelps has the job at 2nd, and has played error-free baseball in the first ten games of the year. He’s also hit in eight straight games, and nine of his last ten. He has four multi-hit games so far, culminating with last night’s four-hit performance. I’m not sure where Phelps fits in with this team in the future, but it could be time for the Indians to get creative and let him play some in the outfield. He clearly has a bat that may just be good enough to get some play with the big league club, but only if they give him another chance that he’s clearly earning.

  • Ezequiel Carrera: CF, Columbus: 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 K, SB (5): Carrera’s struggling at the plate, but is showing his plus/plus speed with five stolen bases in five attempts.
  • Trevor Crowe: DH, Columbus: 2-for-3, 1 R, 2 BB, CS (2): Crowe rebounds from a hitless game on Friday night, with a two-hit, two-walk night last night. Crowe’s OBP is still near .500.
  • Nick Hagadone: RP, Columbus: H (3), 1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 K: Hagadone has three holds in four appearances, and hasn’t given up a run in 5 1/3 innings total this year. Overall, he’s given up two hits and a walk, while striking out six. He was probably the best in the bullpen in the spring, and continues lighting up the International League. It makes me slightly sick to my stomach that Dan Wheeler is in the bullpen, while Hagadone is sitting in Columbus.
  • Tim Fedroff: CF, Akron: 1-for-3, 1 RBI, 2 BB: Fedroff actually dropped his average to .480 after only garnering one hit yesterday afternoon. What he has done is hit in his seventh straight game to start the season off. Most impressive may be his nine walks thusfar, which has his OBP at an astounding .618.
  • Ryan Rollinger: SS, Akron: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K: Rohlinger was added to the club in late January to provide some upper level depth at the middle infield positions. Rohlinger has nearly 50 games of major league experience, and showed some of it today with his eighth inning homer that capped off the Aeros comeback from a 4-0 deficit.
  • Chun-Hsiu Chen: C, Akron: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 K: Chen’s move to 1B/DH this season was to help keep the young hitter healthy, after struggling with injuries during the 2011 season. Unfortunately, the move has been detrimental to his hitting, as he came into today’s game hitting .150. Ironically enough, Chen played his first game at Catcher, and promptly hit his first double, in his first multi-hit game.
  • Jared Goedert: PH/RF, Akron: 1-for-1, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI: Goedert came in as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, with Chun-Hsiu Chen on second, Adam Abraham on first, and with the score tied at 4. He promptly launched a three-run homer to blow the game open, and give the Aeros an insurmountable lead.
  • Kyle Bellows: 3B, Akron: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K: Bellows has been streaking of late, going 6-for-13 in his last four games, with two multi-hit offerings, and one moon shot homer. Bellows was a fourth rounder in 2009, and has yet to live up to those expectations, although he does showcase a nice glove at third.
  • Giovanni Soto: SP, Akron: 4 IP, 7 H, 4 R/ER, 1 BB, 5 K: It’s unknown what the Indians have in Soto, who seems to have these up-and-down performances. Is he the guy who was dominant in his opening start on April 9th, or the guy who struggled with his stuff as he did yesterday. This 21-year-old still has enticing intangibles, but really needs to start building consistency as he advances through the high minors if he’ll ever be a productive major leaguer.
  • Bryan Price: RP, Akron: S (1), 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R/ER, 3 K, 1 HR: It was an interesting appearance for Price. He had a 1-2-3 eighth inning, before giving up a lead-off homer in the ninth. His response? He struck out the side to get his first save. Price has been dominant this season, going six total innings, giving up two hits and a run, while striking out nine batters without a walk. This team is loaded with top-of-the-level relievers.
  • Jake Lowery: C, Carolina: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K, E (1): Lowery is a professional hitter, who has started off this season on a tear, similar to his start at Mahoning Valley last year. He is currently in a six-game hit streak, in which four of the six games have been of the two-hit variety. It will be interesting to see how he holds up without having to play a full college season, followed by a the short-season schedule. Expect big things from Lowery in Carolina, and hope that he can translate that offense to Double and Triple-A. He did have a throwing error tonight, but is decent behind the plate.
  • Carlos Moncrief: RF, Carolina: 1-for-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: Moncrief has some interesting five-tool potential, showing it off tonight with his three-run blast. It’s his first homer of the season. He has seven K’s and 6 walks in his seven games, and he just has to cut down those K’s.
  • Michael Goodnight: SP, Carolina: W (1-0), 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R/2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR: Goodnight battled tonight after giving up a two-run homer in the first, and hung on to get the win. It was the opposite of his first start, in which he pitched a no-no through five, before getting lit up like a pin-ball machine afterwards. Consistency will take him far, as he has much to offer the Tribe should he find it.
  • Ronny Rodriguez: SS, Carolina: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K, E (3): Rodriguez is struggling to find his bat and his glove with the Mudcats. He has a ton of upside offensively, and needs to begin to show it before these kids at Lake County start pushing him and Wolters for playing time.
  • Shawn Armstrong: RP, Carolina: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K: Armstrong made his first appearance with the Mudcats after being drafted last season in the 18th round after playing college ball down the road at East Carolina. He pitched in one game at Mahoning Valley last year without giving up a run in two innings of work. He made two appearances with Lake County, giving up one hit in 3 2/3, walking two and striking out four, before getting the call-up to Carolina thanks to retirements, call-ups and injuries above him. Nice start for the local kid.
  • Luigi Rodriguez: CF, Lake County: 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 K: Rodriguez is riding a current six-game hitting streak, and has hits in seven of his first eight games. What’s not to like about a double and a triple in the same game. Rodriguez is a top-ten talent, and if he can control his strikeouts (11 in his first eight games, against only two walks), can really become a top-level prospect.
  • Francisco Lindor: SS, Lake County: 3-for-5, 1 R, 1 RBI: Lindor has hits in seven of his first nine games, and now has multi-hit games in three of his last four. He is destroying left-handed pitching, to the tune of .467, with a double and a triple, and appears to be extremely advanced offensively in his first full season. While the Indians will remain careful with the 18-year-old, I have to believe that he could be a quick mover.
  • Alex Lavisky: DH, Lake County: 0-for-5, 1 K: This was Lavisky’s first game without a hit this season. A promising start for the young catcher.
  • Bryson Myles: LF, Lake County: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B: I’m extremely high on Myles, but he’s struggled to find consistency this season. Myles has struck out in seven of eight games, thus far, and finds himself batting ninth in the order.
  • Mason Radeke: RP, Lake County: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K: Radeke wasn’t perfect yesterday, but again put in a multi-inning stint, with a shutout performance. Overall, he’s given up three hits and a walk, while striking out seven in six innings pitched.
  • Kyle Petter: RP, Lake County: 2 IP, 3 BB, 4 K: Petter has been dominant in his previous two outings, but struggled with control yesterday. Even with his three walks, including two in the ninth inning, Petter had four K’s, including the inning ender, with runners on second and third. Overall, Petter has gone seven innings, giving up two hits and the three walks, while striking out 13 batters.

Jim is currently the senior editor and Columnist, as well as  the host of IBI's weekly online radio shows, Smoke Signals and Cleveland Sports Insiders. You can follow Jim on Twitter @Jim_IBI, or contact him via e-mail at jpete@indiansprospectinsider.com.

User Comments

Tony
April 16, 2012 - 5:45 PM EDT
I'm fine with one "aged vet" in the pen. Need a guy in there you can abuse and not worry about damaging a young reliever both emotionally and physically. But I agree on Sipp.....I think if his problems continue he is going to find himself back in AAA and Hagadone up.
Seth
April 15, 2012 - 1:25 PM EDT
It's like if you're hired as the Indians GM, you are contractually obligated to acquire one aging reliever who isn't very good. I only saw one of Wheeler's appearances this year, but he looked awful, throwing straight and not hard. Sipp and R Perez are so inconsistent, which is pretty much what happens when you don't throw hard and rely on a slider. I think Hagadone would give them a lot more balance. Sipp has had his moments in the past, but his success has always been somewhat mysterious. Fangraphs has him at -0.5 WAR over his career, and he's never posted a FIP below 4.

When looking at the Columbus roster, what strikes me is how they still have a ton of bullpen depth. There are at least 5 guys who I wouldn't mind seeing, and at least 3 who are almost certainly better than 2 of the guys in the current bullpen. Which makes a Wheeler so much more frustrating, as with Durbin last year.
markn95
April 15, 2012 - 9:49 AM EDT
I too like Cord Phelps. He got the pedigree of being a high round draft pick and has done nothing but hit at every level in the minor leagues. His MLB debut was admittedly pretty bad but it was early in the season and he has obviously rebounded at Triple A. As much as I liked the Jose Lopez signing from a major league depth standpoint (and the fact that he's a right handed middle infielder with pop), it really hurts Phelps from a development standpoint. Maybe he can find new life as an outfielder; the ast two games vs. KC notwithstanding the Indians can and should find room for a bat,
Tony
April 15, 2012 - 1:30 AM EDT
If Sipp continues to struggle, he will be optioned out to Columbus and Hagadone called up by month's end. Also, Petter is not a hard thrower.....good fastball-breaking ball combo that he overwhelms the hitters at Low-A with. Should be in Carolina.
Matt
April 15, 2012 - 12:48 AM EDT
Jim,

I agree, I don't understand why Hagadone is at Columbus especially with the 2 lefties Perez and Sipp struggling. I don't even want to mention Wheeler!
As far as Kyle Petter, I have noticed his K-rate this year and last is impressive, is he a power pitcher or his ceiling low? I just don't know much about him..

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