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Around the Farm: May 14, 2012

Around the Farm: May 14, 2012
May 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.

There wasn't a whole lot special with regards to tonight's ballgames, as the offense was sparse, the pitching was so-so, and the Mudcats were rained out...again. Then there was Lake County, who continues to get special performances by the Indians top class of players. So while today's ATF is abbreviated, there's still a little bit of special, which I have a feeling, will go a long way.
 
Francisco Lindor: SS, Lake County Captains: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI:
 
There comes a time when words just aren’t enough to express how good a player is playing. When you couple that with incredibly high expectations, that’s when you realize you have something special. Enter Francisco Lindor, who seems to thrive every time someone mentions just how special a player he is…which is often. I’ve used every superlative that you can come up with to describe his play, both offensively and defensively, and I’ve used hyperbole to describe his attributes. Now, I’m just going to let the numbers speak for themselves. Lindor is hitting .312 in this young season, with five doubles, three triples and four homers. He has scored 23 runs, and driven in 17 on the young season. He’s stolen 11 bases. Over the past ten games, his line reads .349/.364/.628, with three of his four home runs. He has back-to-back-to-back two hit games, and has four two-hit games in his last five. He has six multi-hit games in his last ten. Lindor hadn't played since May 9th because of a family emergency, but that didn't slow him down in his return tonight. His power is developing much more quickly than many thought, and you really have to start believing that Lindor is going to force the Indians’ organization to do something they likely swore they wouldn’t do, and that’s move him up to the next challenge. While they may be shaking their head when they make that call, they’ll no doubt be smiling at the same time. This kid is special. 
 
Luigi Rodriguez: CF, Lake County Captains: 1-for-2, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB:
 
His numbers don’t jump out tonight the way that Francisco Lindor’s numbers do, but you all know how I absolutely love players that do whatever it takes to get on base. Rodriguez was batting leadoff tonight, as well as playing center, which is a position he’s been sharing with Bryson Myles since LeVon Washington went down with injury. It’s been an interesting battle, and while neither player has pulled away from each other, that may ultimately give Rodriguez the edge going forward, because he’s younger. Rodriguez is only hitting .179 over his last ten games, but over his last five, he’s 6-for-20, with four runs, six walks and two stolen bases. It’s not all good, as he’s struck out four times, and been caught stealing twice, but you’ll have that with a player that’s trying to figure things out. With Lindor raking though, it’s not hard to think of a scenario three or four years from now, in which Luigi is leading off for the Indians, with Lindor batting second or third.
 
Joseph Colon: W (4-3): 8 1/3 IP, 7 H, 3 R/ER, 4 K:
 
When you mention starters for Lake County, Joseph Colon isn’t going to be the first guy that you think of.  Okay, he’s likely not even the second guy you’re going to think of. Honestly, he’s not even going to be the third guy that you think of. Well, I hate repetition as much as the next guy, but he’s not even going to be the fourth guy you think of. With Cody Anderson, Felix Sterling, Elvis Araujo and Will Roberts all starting on this staff, and all coming in with a sub-3.00 era (yeah folks, if you haven’t taken notice of this rotation, it’s time that you start), Colon is really just a side-note, and their fifth starter. So I ask you, which starter for Lake County has gone at least seven innings? Okay, it’s not a trick question, as the answer is Joseph Colon, who went 8 1/3 innings tonight. Of course, it’s the third time he’s done it this season. Oh, and it just happens to be the third game in a row that he’s done it. During that incredible stretch, he’s gone 23 1/3 innings pitched, giving up only 14 hits and four earned runs, with three walks (all in one of the three starts) and 12 K’s. What’s interesting is that you generally won’t see a starter at Lake County go seven innings three times in a season, let alone three times by May 14th, and three times in three straight games by May 14th. Either they aren’t worried about this kid’s arm because he’s far down the totem pole, or they aren’t worried about this kid’s arm because he just plain good. Either way, he’s playing his way into the equation in a staff that is absolutely loaded with big arms.
 
  • Matt LaPorta: LF, Columbus: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K: LaPorta hadn’t played a game since May 10th, and made a triumphant return with a three-run blast, as the Clippers went on to beat Pawtucket 5-3. It really pains me to say that LaPorta may need to see some time in Cleveland, so I won’t, yet. I’d still feel more comfortable forcing LaPorta to replicate his success over the past six weeks for another six weeks. His struggles in the bigs would certainly back up a long-term trial in Columbus. Of course, the weak offense and injury could force the Tribe’s hand, but until then, make LaPorta earn his way back with at least a half-season of success.
  • Gregorio Petit: SS, Columbus: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, CS (1): Petit is nothing but minor league fill, and I just can’t imagine this kid ever making the big league Tribe unless something incredibly dramatic happens ahead of him. He’s 7-for-33 (.212), with six runs and three doubles, while he’s struck out six times, while walking only once in his last ten games. He was the only Clippers hitter with multiple hits.
  • Justin Toole: 2B, Columbus: 1-for-3, 1 R: Toole is hitting .196 for the Carolina Mudcats in 19 games this season. This has earned Toole a pipeline to Columbus. Okay, seriously, Toole is a utility guy through-and-through, which oddly enough, makes him the perfect guy to head up to Columbus for a few days at a time. This is Toole’s second appearance with the Clippers this season, and he’s 6-for-18, with two runs, a double and two RBI.
  • Eric Berger: SP, Columbus: W (1-1), 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R/1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR: Berger made his second start at Columbus after Zach McAllister made the move to Cleveland. Berger has been outstanding in both starters, going 12 innings, giving up eight hits, three earned runs, four walks and ten K’s. Berger isn’t a prime arm in the system, but he is another arm that can fill in as a starter and a reliever at every level. As a lefty, you can never count him out with regards to making the big league club, but it will likely only be to either fill-in, or as a mop-up, early inning reliever. 
  • Scott Barnes: RP, Columbus: H (2), 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R/ER, 2 K: Barnes has made four appearances as a reliever, and it hasn’t all been rosy. He’s gone 5 2/3 innings, and giving up three earned runs. I wouldn’t exactly count him out though. The Indians see Barnes as a major league option right now, and while Barnes is still learning the lay of the land as a reliever, don’t count him out as left-handed depth in the pen this season, especially if Rafael Perez doesn’t return soon, and if Tony Sipp continues to struggle. 
  • Chris Ray: Closer, Columbus: S (6), 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K: Accardo was called up to fill the role left by Dan Wheeler being DFA’d on Sunday night. This leaves Ray as likely the next guy up, as long as he pitches well, which he’s done so far this year. No, he’s not the perfect option, but he does provide a team with major league experience. Over his last ten games, he’s 0-1 with ten innings pitched. He’s given up nine hits and two earned runs. He’s walked too many, at six, but struck out 11, with three saves. No, not perfect, but an option. 
  • Tim Fedroff: CF, Akron: 1-for-4, 1 3B, 1 RBI: Fedroff technically is on a seven game hit streak when he came into a game as a pinch-runner without taking an at bat. In reality, he has a nine game hit streak in which he’s hitting .425. In other words, another typical couple of weeks for Fedroff.
  • Adam Abraham: DH, Akron: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: Abraham continues to play well. The doubles machine has eight doubles in his 27 games in Akron, and over the past ten games, he’s hitting .281, with nine runs scored, four doubles, two homers and four RBI. He’s walked eight times, while striking out only six, and again, this approach could lead to a call-up at some point. No, he’s not a major league option, but don’t count this guy out. He continues to get better at every level.
  • Kyle Bellows: 3B, Akron: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI: Bellows hit his second homer of the season, but there’s really nothing good else good to say about the Aeros third baseman at the plate. He’s got an advanced glove, but there just isn’t any offense to back it up. He’s just another corner infielder without power in this system. He is hitting .344 against lefties, so there’s that.
  • Giovanni Soto: SP, Akron: L (3-2), 4 1/3 IP, 8 H, 5 R/4 ER, 4 BB, 3 K: Soto shined in back-to-back starts at the end of April and the beginning of May, and showcased his incredible make-up. He’s followed that up with two really bad outings which showcase how much Soto still has to learn as a starter going forward. During those two starts, Soto has pitched in 9 1/3 innings, giving up 15 hits, eight earned runs and six walks, against only 4 K’s. Soto couldn’t find the strike zone on Monday night, throwing 88 total pitching, with only 47 total strikes. If Soto isn’t locating consistently, he just can’t win ball games. This season will all hinge on consistency. If he finds it, he’ll find himself in Columbus. If he doesn’t, he’ll stay in Akron until he can.
  • Kyle Landis: RP, Akron: 2 2/3, 1 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 2 K: Landis gave up his second earned run in Double A on Monday night, but his overall numbers are still outstanding. In 21 1/3 innings, he’s given up only ten hits and two earned runs, while walking five walks and striking out 18. His ERA rose up to 0.84.

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
May 15, 2012 - 1:50 PM EDT
Need pen arms because Bryson and Price are not Major League options (at least this year). And yes, because Lee and Stowell are out until at least mid-summer as I wrote about last week in MH. And for as good as Cody Allen has been, he is still not a finished product and I get the sense he won't be an option until maybe late July at the earliest. So they need options.
Spreidel
May 15, 2012 - 11:45 AM EDT
Need pen arms because the injuries to Lee and Stowell are worse than originally feared? Need pen arms because Bryson and Price aren't really major league options going forward? Need pen arms because Cody Allen's success to date has been a function of his advanced age and can't be expected to continue? Or, gulp, all of those?
Tony
May 15, 2012 - 10:51 AM EDT
Barnes to the bullpen is permanent for this season. Still a starting option in future. Indians need pen arms.
Michael
May 15, 2012 - 9:54 AM EDT
So is this Barnes to the pen thing permanent? I'd hate to see the org give up on him as a starter.
DetDawg
May 15, 2012 - 8:17 AM EDT
Lindor has 1 BB in his last 10 games, and has no BBs against LHPs the entire year. Just sayin' ... . Agree about the power. Looks like he has Kipnis-like ability to fill the stat sheet with x-tra base hits of any kind. Imagine what power he might be able to generate when he's 23-24 yrs old.

LaPorta's HR is his first on the road.

Not sure what the Indians are doing with Berger. Seems he's being used as a depth guy, and has no real future with the parent team. Otherwise, he's be in the BP full time.

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