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Around the Farm: June 27, 2012

Around the Farm: June 27, 2012
June 28, 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.

Felix Sterling (SP – Lake County): (L, 3-7), 2 2/3 IP, 6 H, 9 R/4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR.

It has gotten to the point that I am afraid to look up Serling’s stats following one of his starts. Wednesday was just the latest poor outing in what has been a string of them as of late for the right-hander. After getting through two innings, the wheels fell off in the third as Dayton scored nine runs. I don’t know exactly what the problem is with Sterling, but at this point, you have to start to wonder about his health. Sterling just turned 19 in March, so there is still plenty of time for him to recover and regain his form, but you have to believe his prospect status has taken somewhat of a hit. Reports say his fastball velocity is down and judging by the recent performances, the same might be said for his confidence.

Nick Weglarz (LF – Akron): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI.

After an utterly atrocious start to the 2012 campaign, Weglarz has really impressed as of late, and it continued yesterday. The left-handed hitter recorded his 11th home run of the season. It seems like forever ago that Weglarz was once a budding prospect in the Indians farm system, but he seems to have recovered at least a bit of his previous prospect shine. Going into the season, I think fans (and probably the Indians front office) did not expect much considering his string of injuries in recent years, so anything from here on should be considered a bonus. Who knows, the way that Weglarz has played, it is not inconceivable to believe that he may be in line for a call up to Columbus before too long.

  • Ezequiel Carrera (RF – Columbus): 2-for-4, 1 2B, SB. Very nice night for Carrera. I’m not sure how the Indians view Carrera anymore but last night is a perfect example of what he can do when he is on: slap the ball around and provide some very nice speed on the base paths.
  • Travis Hafner (DH – Columbus): 1-for-3, 1 K. Hafner is into his rehab stint and collected one hit Wednesday for the Clippers. Hopefully Hafner comes back to the Tribe soon as the Indians desperately need someone to answer their cleanup woes. I’m not saying that guy is Hafner, but he cannot possibly perform any worse than Santana has as of late.
  • Jared Goedert (3B – Columbus): 1-for-3, K. Goedert has spent most of his time in the outfield this year, but on Wednesday, he got a rare start at the hot corner. While Goedert is 27 and considered old as far as prospects go, I still believe the Indians must give him a Major League look this season. He is versatile, has some pop and bats right-handed. Not one current player on the Indians owns that set of traits.
  • Chris Seddon (SP – Columbus): (L, 7-5), 7 2/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R/1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR. Seddon is kind of like the Little Engine That Could. He has never really been a legitimate Major League prospect. Nonetheless, he keeps chugging along and has put together a pretty solid minor league career as he owns a 4.60 ERA in the minors. He has consistently given the Clippers a chance to win just like last night. It might not seem like much, but that’s key in regard to the other players and their development. The hitters are able to relax much more with Seddon on the hill as they know that they’ll a chance to win.
  • Jordan Henry (CF – Akron): 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B. It has been somewhat of a difficult road back from injury for Henry, but he put together a solid performance yesterday afternoon. He has now hit in his last three games, combining to go 6-for-13. Not too shabby at all.
  • Chun-Hsiu Chen (1B – Akron): 0-for-1, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SB. Chen’s performance yesterday does not seem overly impressive, but he showed good patience in collecting two more walks. Chen has now walked 37 times this season in 74 games, which is impressive considering he walked a total of 43 times last season in 113 games at Akron.
  • Thomas Neal (RF – Akron): 2-for 4, 2 2B, 2 RBI. Call me crazy, but I believe that the Indians should really considering calling up Neal to the Major League team. He seems to have really discovered his stroke once again, and he is also starting to remind us why he was once a top prospect with the San Francisco Giants. After yesterday’s two hits, Neal raised his average up to .297. At the very least, a call to Columbus should be on the horizon.
  • Steven Wright (SP – Akron): (L, 6-5), 5 IP, 8 H, 5 R/4 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 HR. The Indians knuckleballer had somewhat of an up-and-down start yesterday. It is somewhat discouraging considering Wright has been so outstanding all year for the Aeros. Hopefully, the poor start was just a blip and not the start of trend. Even still, it was not all bad as Wright managed to strikeout six batters in his five innings.
  • Tony Wolters (SS – Carolina): 2-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 K. Going into the 2012 campaign, I was very excited to see what Wolters had to offer coming off a great 2011 season at Mahoning Valley. It’s been somewhat of a slow start for Wolters, but he is still only 20 years old and already playing at the High A level. Needless to say, it was nice to see him collect two more hits.
  • Anthony Gallas (DH – Carolina): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 K. While he may not be much of a prospect, I do have a soft spot for Gallas. Maybe it’s because he’s a Cleveland native, but I would love to see him succeed. Yesterday was a nice performance for the Kent State grad as he recording two extra-base hits, including his 12th double and 3rd triple of the season.
  • Carlos Moncrief (RF – Carolina): 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K. A nice two hit performance from the 23-year-old outfielder. Moncrief, the No. 36 prospect on IPI’s 2012 Top 100 Prospects list, certainly does have his moments. Unfortunately, he seems prone to high strikeout totals as he recorded his 84th yesterday afternoon.
  • Jesus Aguilar (1B – Carolina): 1-for-4, 1 K. So Aguilar was unable to build off his two home run performance from the night before, but at least he was still able to collect a hit. I have to be honest, whenever I watch an Indians game and I get frustrated with our lack of right-handed hitters, I have to remind myself to be patient for a couple more years. No, Aguilar may never develop into a star but even if he turns into a Major League .240 hitter and belts 20 to 25 home runs a year, that would still give the Indians an enormous boost.
  • Danny Salazar (SP – Carolina): 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K. As has been the case since Salazar returned late last season from Tommy John surgery, the Indians have been very cautious of the right hander’s inning totals. That remained true on Wednesday, but Salazar certainly made the most of his time on the mound as he notched three scoreless innings and recorded three strikeouts. After 10 starts this season, Salazar’s ERA now sits at 3.00.
  • Francisco Lindor (SS – Lake County): 0-for-4. Lindor’s little slump continues. In his last three games, the Tribe’s 2011 first round pick has combined to go 1-for-13.
  • Jose Ramirez (2B – Lake County): 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K. Three straight multi-hit games for Ramirez now. There was not much to like about Lake County’s 10-3 loss Wednesday, but Ramirez’s performance at the plate stood out. Ramirez won’t turn 20 until September, and it looks as if he might be starting to hit his stride now as he raised his average to .286 in his fifth game with the Captains.
  • Kyle Petter (RP – Lake County): 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K. Since being demoted from Carolina, Petter has made the most of his opportunities. In five games with the Captains and 10 2/3 innings pitched, Petter has allowed just one run. Even more impressive, he has struck out 18 batters in that span. Perhaps the change of scenery is all he needed.
  • Robbie Aviles (SP – Mahoning Valley): 5 IP, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 0 K. Very nice performance from the Indians 2010 7th round pick. Aviles has some of the most upside as far as pitchers go in the Tribe’s entire system, and it’s nice to see him on the mound almost two full years removed from Tommy John surgery. In two starts and nine innings for Mahoning Valley, Aviles has a 4.00 ERA. His numbers are nice, yet he still has not found his strikeout pitch as he has recorded just one punchout over that span.
  • Josh Martin (RP – Mahoning Valley): 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 7 K. Talk about a nice start to a professional career for the Tribe’s 2012 10th round draft pick. Martin has now pitched eight innings to start his career while allowing just two runs and compiling 11 strikeouts. It’s hard to know exactly what to make of the early numbers, but they sure are impressive.
  • Mahoning Valley hitters: 2-for-27. Yep, it was that kind of night for the Scrappers. Williamsport really seemed to have the Mahoning Valley hitters’ numbers. It’s a shame too because even modest offense output would have likely led to a win given the way Martin and Aviles pitched.

Steve can be reached via email at orbaneks@gmail.com.

User Comments

detdawg
June 28, 2012 - 4:41 PM EDT
I don't think Sterling should be relegated to the BP permanently, but I can't see him being hammered every 5 days as being helpful to his development.
Tony
June 28, 2012 - 2:30 PM EDT
Always comes down to value and development with starters. THe Indians are not going to use lower valued pitchers in rotation spots unless injuries push them to such a decision. It's not about a guy handling starting, it is about what kind of upside they have and if they can develop as a starter. Sterling is one of the Indians' best pitching prospects so there is really no reason to yank him out of the rotation considering he is so young unless 1.) he is hurt or 2.) there is some emotional distress going on that is working against him so a breather in the pen maybe helps. I don't see either of those two things, yet, but it is something to monitor going forward.
Mark
June 28, 2012 - 2:26 PM EDT
If Sterling needs to go to the BP, I'd consider moving Radeke into his starter's slot. He was a starter last year in Mahoning, so I'm not sure what reason there is to believe he wouldn't do well now that his performance is looking to have picked up. Thoughts?
Tony
June 28, 2012 - 2:11 PM EDT
Really intrigued by what Neal and Weglarz are doing this month in Akron. Both were possible pieces in spring, written off in May, but entering back into the picture now. Such is life as a prospect.

I have to think Salazar is hitting the waiver wire this offseason. I see no way they can keep him on the 40-man in the offseason and that he is THAT valuable. Same with Diaz.

Aviles is still coming back and getting stronger. Velocity is not quite all the way there yet, but the important thing is he is healthy. I want to see how he "pitches" this year.
Andy
June 28, 2012 - 11:18 AM EDT
Aviles has a 15/5 GO/AO in 9 IP. Hopefully that means his fastball-curveball combo is working, and the swings and misses will come.
detdawg
June 28, 2012 - 8:37 AM EDT
I reread IPI's original write-up on Josh Martin after he was drafted in '10. It noted that Martin had some mechanical flaws in his delivery that led to some wildness, and the correction of such flaws might lead to a bump in his velocity. Might that be the reason for his high k-rate so far?

Aviles' lack of strikeouts is a red flag and discouraging. I'm guessing that he has not recovered his pre-surgery velocity and his potential to develop a mid-90s FB has diminished significantly.

Boy, the Indians sure are treating Salazar with kid gloves. He seems to be improving incrementally and has retained his strikeout skills.

Seems like Sterling needs to go to the BP.

Neal has a 1.193 OPS in his last 10 games. Never saw that coming.

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