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Around the Farm: June 10, 2012

Around the Farm: June 10, 2012
June 11, 2012
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Around the Farm was originated here at Indians Prospect Insider, and 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 Bellows: 3B, Akron Aeros: 4-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 4 RBI:

Bellows is always going to be a defensive first third baseman. With that said, Bellows has had this streakiness about him where he can look real good offensively, and really give you pause as to what type of player he will ultimately become. Take Sunday afternoon for example, where he looked like Travis Fryman at the plate, lacing two doubles. Bellows will always have a shot at the bigs because of his plus glove, so anything he does with the stick is a bonus. He only hit .207 in April, but rebounded with a .280 average in May. He’s scuffling a bit, prior to Sunday, in June, but clearly seems to be back to that .280 guy in May. Overall, Bellows is hitting .250. If he could figure out how to hit .260 or better, I think you’ll likely see him in the bigs in a couple of years as a defensive replacement for Chisenhall, or perhaps even push him for a job. He’s not the prospect that Lonnie is, especially offensively, but he could provide depth, and give a push at the position. He’s a great player to have in the system. The Indians clearly think highly of him, and moved him to the top of the Aeros lineup. Without an actual prospect ahead of him in Columbus, he could find himself in Triple A by the end of the season.

Russ Canzler: 1B, Columbus Clippers: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB:

Canzler came up to bat with two outs in the eighth inning, the game tied, and runners on first and second. Tim Fedroff and Andy LaRoche had both struck out, putting game in Canzler’s hands. Canzler delivered, hitting a run-scoring single, giving the Clippers the victory. Canzler has been a major disappointment this year after winning the IL MVP award last season for Durham. After a solid April in which he hit .287, he’s fallen into the pit since, batting .238 in May, and under .200 in June so far. He’s gone 6-for-34 over his past ten games, with three runs, two doubles, two RBI, four walks and 14 K’s. Those certainly aren’t the numbers of an MVP. Perhaps tonight’s performance is the breakthrough outing he needed to regain some of his 2011 mojo.

  • Ezequiel Carrera: CF, Columbus: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI: For the first two months of the season, Carrera was a zombie version of himself, hitting only .247 in April, and .237 in May. In June, Zeke is hitting .330, and has hits in seven of his last eight games. During that stretch, he’s gone 12-for-30, with eight runs, two homers and five RBI. I still believe that Carrera is a better option in the outfield for the Indians that Aaron Cunningham, but the Tribe front office can’t be happy with his lackluster early play.
  • Jason Donald: SS, Columbus: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB: Donald hit a lead-off double in the eighth-inning of Sunday night’s game, and scored the winning run.  Donald really is the star of the Clippers right now, and really hasn’t had a lapse in his Triple A play. He hit .315 in May when he was sent down, and is currently hitting .335 in June. Donald is absolutely lacing left-handed pitching to the tune of .529 (9-for-17, six runs, 1 double, one homer, two RBI, six walks, 2 K’s). At least he knows what the Indians calling card may be as the summer warms up.
  • David Huff: SP, Columbus: 5 1/3 IP, 8 H, 4 R/ER, 3 BB, 2 K: This wasn’t Huff’s best performance, but he was throwing strikes, as 64 of his 99 pitches were in the strike zone. He fought into the sixth inning, but just didn’t have his best stuff.
  • Cody Allen: RP, Columbus Clippers: W (2-2), 1 IP, 1 K: One-good game, one bad game, one good game, one bad game.  Tonight, Allen broke the string with his second perfect outing in a row.
  • Chris Ray: Closer, Columbus: S (11), 1 IP, 1 K: Ray threw nine pitches, and six were strikes. He induced two ground ball outs, and struck out his only other batter. Ray has five straight shutout appearances, and three of those shutouts were perfect. He’s been very, very good in his closer role, as four of his five appearances have resulted in saves.
  • Trevor Crowe: RF, Akron: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB: Crowe got on base twice in his fourth game of the season, and has hits in all four games. It’s a nice start for Crowe, who has been a walking injury for the past two seasons.
  • Chun-Hsiu Chen: 1B, Akron: 2-for-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K: Chen can sure hit doubles. Chen has 18 on the season, which is third overall in the Eastern League. He’s showcased that gap power all season long since he moved to first from the catcher position. That gap power is a tremendous addition to Chen’s home run power. Well…okay…his “former” home run power. Chen still only has one homer on the year, and if he wants any future with the Indians, that needs to change.
  • Juan Diaz: SS, Akron: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B: Diaz must have really liked his stay in the bigs, because he’s been playing out of his mind offensively since returning to Akron. He’s 8-for-24, with four runs and a double since returning, which is his best numbers all season. He’s a long way from the bigs, but it’s good to see him respond.
  • Nick Weglarz: LF, Akron: 1-for-2, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K: I know that patience is a virtue, but as a minor league writer, it’s hard not to get excited or feel good about the recent turning of the tides for Nick Weglarz. No, it’s not been a five week explosion. No, he’s not hit 10 homers in three games. Still, there is a considerable uptick in both his production, and his approach. Wegz now has hit safely in five straight, going 7-for-16, with six runs, three doubles, two homers and five RBI. He’s also walked five times, while striking out seven times. He almost looks like the guy that was a top prospect…almost…if you squint a bit. Keep it going Nick…IPI-Nation is behind you 100%.
  • Giovanni Soto: SP, Akron: 4 1/3 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K: Soto made 90 pitches in getting into the fifth inning, which is far too many. He had two walks and 51 strikes, but clearly struggled getting outs. He still hasn’t been able to string together a few good starts in a row just yet, but hasn’t looked all that bad either. He’s gone 9 2/3 innings in his last two games, givingup 10 hits and three runs, while walking six and striking out seven. Control does appear to be the issue.
  • Jose De La Torre: RP, Akron: W (4-0), 1 2/3 IP: De La Torre has been the hottest pitcher in the bullpen, and hasn’t given up a run of any kind in nine ballgames. During that time, he’s pitched in 14 1/3 innings, giving up only five hits and four walks, while striking out 16. Keep an eye on this kid.
  • Rob Bryson: RP, Akron: 1 IP, 1 BB, 3 K: Bryson struck out the side in the seventh, in one of his best outings of the past month. It would be nice to see him not give up a walk in at least one appearance though, as he’s done it in his ten previous games.
  • Kyle Landis: RP, Akron: 1 IP, 1 K: Landis got his ERA below 2.00 with this appearance, and now is back on a hot streak with his fifth straight shout performance. He’s been nearly untouchable in those five appearances, giving up only three hits and two walks in 7 2/3 innings, with 12 strikeouts. This isn’t typical of Landis, so perhaps some velocity is returning to his arm.
  • Jose Flores: Closer, Carolina: S (10), 1 IP, 2 K: Flores hasn’t been streaky this year, other than a three-game stretch of struggle. That’s clearly long in his rearviewmirror, as he’s been lights out over his past five games and five innings pitched. During that stretch, he’s only given up three hits without a walk, while striking out six batters, with three saves.
  • Shawn Armstrong: RP, Carolina: H (4), 2 IP, 2 H, 1 K: While Armstrong has struggled a bit in some of his last six outings (given up three runs total in his last six games), he’s only given up four total runs since his promotion to the Mudcats. Make no mistake about it, Armstrong is the best arm in the pen, and perhaps even including starters.
  • Tyler Sturdevant: RP, Carolina: H (1), 1 IP, 1 K: If there is a better reliever on this team than Armstrong, than it is Sturdevant. He was on the fast track until injury stopped him. He made his second appearance over the past four days, and has been near perfect. He’s given up only one hit and one walk over three innings. He doesn’t have a K yet, which is something to watch going forward, since he’s always had a K pitch and has 215 K’s in 175 1/3 innings pitched.
  • Mike Rayl: SP, Carolina: W (4-6), 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 3 BB, 2 K: Rayl hadn’t won a ballgame since May 2nd, but put together his second solid start over his last three games pitched, and has gone 17 innings, giving up 17 hits and seven earned runs, while walking five, and striking out ten. While the runs seem high, five were in one bad start
  • Anthony Gallas: LF, Carolina: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K: Gallas has been struggling of late, as today’s home run put his ten-game average over .200. He’s got four homers on the season, but has to do something soon with the bat, or his days could be numbered with new, drafted players coming on board.
  • Ronny Rodriguez: 2B, Carolina: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K: Rodriguez continued to carry the hot bat, and is hitting .355 over his past ten games…even after going hitless in yesterday’s doubleheader. He’s scored eight runs, with a double and the homer, with four RBI, two walks and three K’s. He has his overall average up to .261.
  • Jeremie Tice: DH, Carolina: 0-for-3, 1 BB: Tice made his first start for the Muddies after getting hit by a pitch over a week ago.
  • Jesus Aguilar: 1B, Carolina: 0-for-4, 1 RBI, 2 K: Aguilar is now hitless in three straight games, and only has one hit in his past seven, going 1-for-20, without a run, and only one RBI. He has walked four times, while only striking out four times, which shows off that new approach.
  • Carlos Moncrief: RF, Carolina: 2-for-4, SB (9): Moncrief was slumping with the rest of the team before getting his two hits on Sunday. He’s still only 7-for-20 over his past ten games, with five runs, a double, two homers, three RBI, five walks, eight K’s and a stolen base. He can sure fill up a stat line.
  • Luigi Rodriguez: CF, Lake County: 1-for-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K: Rodriguez continues to climb out of his slump, now hitting in six straight ballgames. During that stretch, he’s gone 10-for-26, with five runs, four doubles, a triple and an RBI. He’s struck out five times though, without a walk. Still needs to work on that approach at the plate, so he can rebound quicker from slumps.
  • Francisco Lindor: SS, Lake County: 3-for-5, 1 K, CS (5): Lindor had his first multi-hit game in close to two weeks, and now has a three game hit streak in which he’s gone 5-for-11, with a run and an RBI. He’s also walked four times, with two K’s.  Like Rodriguez, it appears as though Lindor is breaking out of his slump. It’s funny how Luigi and Francisco seem to be following the same trends as the season progresses.
  • Alex Monsalve: C, Lake County: 2-for-4: Monsalve has been hot of late, and is 13-for-37 over his past ten games, with three runs, a double and two RBI. He’s only walked twice, but only struck out five times. With Monsalve though, you’d like to see some power production. Still, you have to be happy with a kid hitting .351 over his past ten, and .367 in June.
  • Todd Hankins: LF, Lake County: 2-for-4, 2 K, SB (10): Hankins is only batting .232 this season, but seems to have found his swing over the past couple of weeks. He only hit .213 in June, and .200 in May, but is hitting a solid .333 in June, and .306 over his past ten. He’s got plus speed, so if he can get the OPS over .700, and the OBP in the .350 range, then you’ve got something.
  • Zach MacPhee: RF, Lake County: 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 K:  MacPhee has struggled all season long, but over the past three games, has gone 5-for-14, with two runs, a double, a homer and an RBI. That’s a good slump-buster if I’ve ever seen one.
  • Joseph Colon: SP, Lake County: L (5-6), 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R/2 ER, 6 BB, 2 K, 1 HR: Colon has arguable been Lake County’s best pitcher in 2012, and really hasn’t had a real bad start all season long. On Sunday, he seemed to have trouble locating his fastball, walking six on the day. That’s the first time since April 24th that he’s walked more than he’s struck out, and that April 24th game saw him walk three, with only one strikeout. It will be interesting to see how the lanky righty rebounds in his next start.
  • Cole Cook: RP, Lake County: 2 IP: Cook has been near perfect over his last three outings, giving up one hit and one walk during that stretch. Curiously, he hasn’t struck out a batter over those four innings.
  • Francisco Valera: RP, Lake County: 1 IP: Valera has been perfect over his last three appearances over the span of three innings, while striking out two 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

Norm
June 11, 2012 - 5:21 PM EDT
Wow Jim! IPI nation is behind Weglarz 100%. That is up from 0% since he has been one of you and Tony's favorite whipping boys all year. Even now you fail to mention that he is the second best bat in Akron, considerably ahead of IPI favorite Abrahams. Sometimes talent just needs to get healthy. In Weglarz' case, this is probably temporary. Heaven forbid Cunningham starts to hit and you guys will lose the last crisis player with Brantley and Jimenez turning in good performances. BTW, Acta has no interest in playing LaPorta so he might as well be in Columbus.

Justin, the answer is yes to the swing changes for Chen. Chen is naturally a CF hitter who "squares up" on the ball and they have been working with him since last year on pulling the ball. The big jump in Ks is the result since this goes against the way he has always hit. Cannot really tell you if he will adjust. Still young but unless he can catch, I think the odds are against him.
Tony
June 11, 2012 - 4:42 PM EDT
I don't see Chen being much of a "home run" guy. Just not that kind of bat. Sure, he will run into his fair share of homers and has the strength to hit a homer at any time, but I think he is at most a 10-15 homer guy that has the potential to rack up a lot of doubles. So I do not see such a different this year with the power. But the bat has seen marginal improvement this season. His walk rate is up a little, his K-rate down a little, and he is hitting for a better average, but for a guy that is now primarily a first baseman he is going to have to show a lot more than that to have consideration for the big league roster in the future. I wish he were a plus defender in the middle of the diamond, as those numbers are very good for those positions.
Nathan K
June 11, 2012 - 1:39 PM EDT
Justin --

I've been covering the Aeros this year. Regarding Chen's doubles, most of them have been hit down the line, so it's safe to say they aren't resulting as much from power as bat speed.

Also, if he is just working on his swing, he's not doing a good job. Still way too many strikeouts.
Justin
June 11, 2012 - 10:05 AM EDT
Two things:

1. Chen and his HR power...is it possible that the team is asking him to work on something in his swing and he is purposely not trying to whack long balls? All the doubles make me thing he still has some power hiding in there, and I like to think there is an explanation for his recent play.
2. Jack Hannahan. Think he will be joining Lake County this week for a couple games? I think they are the only affiliate in town after Tuesday.

Great work as always!

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