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Around the Farm: May 5, 2012

Around the Farm: May 5, 2012
May 6, 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.

Around the Farm is abbreviated today thanks to another wonderful rainout, courtesy of thunderstorms in the Carolinas. Tonight’s Mudcats game has been rescheduled tomorrow as a doubleheader, starting at 1:00.

Adam Abraham: 1B, Akron Aeros: 3-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 K:

When you aren’t a top prospect in the system, there are a lot of different ways you can go about handling your career. You can accept it, and be the middling player that you were signed to be, advancing to whatever level it is you are supposed to advance to. You can retire, and go about doing whatever it is your parents wanted you to do. Or, you can follow Adam Abraham’s lead, and work your tail off as you advance long past where you should be advancing. Abraham is a gap machine when he’s on, and he’s the kind of player that will work the cages until he IS ON. Overall, Abraham has his average up to .293, with an incredible .408 OBP and a .483 slugging percentage.  He’s really picked things up over the past ten games, with an even better .353/.476/.618 line. He has an incredible approach at the plate that the Indians love, and on the season, has walked 12 times in 18 games, while striking out only seven times. He’s a right-handed hitter, who actually hits lefties (learn Matt LaPorta, learn), and if he could just tack on some more power, may just be a bit of a sleeper as he moves forward. You have to think management would consider moving him along because of his approach, even with the Mills/LaPorta/Canzler triumvirate in front of him. No, it may not be this year, but he could make things interesting next year.

Bryson Myles: CF, Lake County Captains:  2-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, SB (7):

With rumors circulating that Tyler Holt may be set to advance to Akron, Myles finds himself playing centerfield tonight, which has been mostly the realm of LeVon Washington, and then Luigi Rodriguez. It’s distinctly possible that Myles will be targeted to move up, since his is a bit older than Rodriguez. This was his fourth multi-hit game in five, and his sixth in his past ten games. Myles’ line over his past ten games is a ridiculous .432/.463/.649, and it’s becoming abundantly clear that Myles has a bat that needs to be in a higher league.  In a recent interview right here at IPI, via the hardest working man on the internet, Tony Lastoria, Myles stated his desire to play in centerfield, and I think that he might just be ready to get his shot…in Carolina.

  • Matt LaPorta: 1B, Columbus: 0-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K: LaPorta is mired in a horrible, horrible slump. I mean, c’mon Matt, 1-for-9 in your last three games! His average is “down” to .359.
  • Beau Mills: DH, Columbus: 1-for-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI: Mills doubled in this one, scoring LaPorta for the only Columbus run of the game in Saturday night’s game. Mills still remains the odd-man out in the LaPorta/Canzler discussions, as he’s the guy that isn’t finding daily playing time. I still think Mills deserves a more realistic look, especially if a guy like Travis Hafner breaks down as the season progresses.
  • Corey Kluber: SP, Columbus: L (3-2), 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R/ER, 4 BB, 10 K: Kluber wasn’t perfect tonight, but he wasn’t bad either. He took the loss, but has easily become a potential candidate for a future start with the Tribe. He struck out ten for the second time this season, and currently has 45 K’s in 32 1/3 IP.
  • Hector Ambriz: RP, Columbus: 2 2/3 IP, 4 K: Ambriz was perfect in his relief of Kluber. The issue with Ambriz is that he’s inconsistent. He has games when he’s simply not very good, sandwiched around games like the one tonight. There are much better options in Columbus than Ambriz at this point, unless the soon-to-be-28-year-old can finally find that consistency.
  • Tim Fedroff: CF, Akron: 2-for-4: It’s easy to forget about Fedroff, as he’s not exactly the splashiest player in the organization, but he always gets it done. Fedroff isn’t going to be anything but a fourth outfielder if he ever makes the bigs, but he certainly has this minor league thing figured out. He’ll be in Columbus before the season is out. He’s not exactly been lighting it up in Akron over the past ten games, hitting .242, but he still has a solid .350 OBP because of his advanced approach at the plate.
  • Juan Diaz: SS, Akron: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K: Diaz isn’t having a good season at the plate at all, but has started to pick things up recently. With his hit tonight, he has a six-game hit streak, but the catch is that they are all one-hit games, minus Friday night’s two-fer.
  • Nick Weglarz: LF, Akron: 0-for-5, 3 K: Weglarz is like a car-wreck at this point. For every step forward, and there aren’t many, there are far too many steps backwards. Weglarz had gone 4-for-12 in his previous three games, then comes up with this dog of a game, with three K’s. He’s so far gone at this point as a serious power hitter, that I don’t see a scenario in which he ever becomes a factor for the Indians. It would take a miracle.
  • Thomas Neal: RF, Akron: 3-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI: Neal is slowly starting to pick his game up, as he bounced back from going 0-for-8 in his last two games, with this three-hit performance. He’s now had four multi-hit games in his last ten, and is hitting .324, with four doubles and five RBI over that same span.
  • Michel Hernandez: C, Akron: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1K: Hernandez is a 33-year-old Cuban who signed with the Indians midway through the season last year, and has done nothing but hit since then. He hit .323 for Akron in 2011, .304 for Columbus in 2011, and .321 for Akron and Columbus this year. His best time is behind him, but he adds depth to a system who’s waiting for Jake Lower and Alex Monsalve to figure things out as they move up through the system.
  • T.J. McFarland: SP, Akron: W (5-1), 6 IP, 9 H, 3 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K: McFarland wasn’t as sharp as he has been over the past few weeks, but he was still pretty darned good in getting his fifth win of the season. His five wins are tops in the Eastern League.
  • Paulo Espino: RP, Akron: 2 IP, 3 K: Espino returned after a long stint on the DL and was pitched two perfect innings in his return. Espino had a fantastic season last year, so it should be interesting to see how he rebounds from his month off to start to the season.
  • Kyle Landis: RP, Akron: 1 IP: Landis has resumed his lights out ways in Akron, after a less than stellar appearance in Columbus. He’ll get his chance again.
  • Luigi Rodriguez: RF, Lake County: 0-for-4: Rodriguez is in a bit of a mini-slump after back-to-back-to-back three-hit games last week. Over his past five starts, he’s gone 2-for-21. His average is still a stout .303, with a .364 OBP, but it’s clear he still has a ways to go to maintain that consistency that the Indians are looking for.
  • Francisco Lindor: SS, Lake County: Lindor has gone 1-for-11 in his last three games, although that one hit was a two run homer on Friday night. Lindor has an advanced bat, and the Indians will remain curious as to how he handles these mini-slumps going forward. Of course, so far, so good.
  • Cody Anderson: SP, Lake County: L (2-1), 6 IP, 1 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 1 K: Anderson continued his strong performance in 2011 with another outstanding start, that wasn’t supported at all by the vaunted Lake County offense. Still, Anderson has a stellar 2.42 ERA in 26 innings, giving up only six walks, while striking out 21. He could be an interesting watch going forward.

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
May 7, 2012 - 1:27 AM EDT
We are on the same page with Aguilar. I have rated him higher than you and Tony since I watched him closely in ST last year. He made my top 10 this year. Remember the baloney BA tried to feed about power only. Has been hitting 900 OPS consistently in 3 levels since last year. When they talk about Ks and minislumps, i point out he is 20. Anybody who thinks his defense is worse than the guys ahead of him who are many years older aren't watching. Far better athlete than any of them. He needs the challenge of AA since A+ cannot challenge him any longer and he loses focus, which is not uncommon at his age.

I really like Miles but he is older than Aguilar and has less command of the strike zone. I want LRod to have more time in low A along with Lindor but both could be ML regulars. Too young to rush now.

Hope you enjoyed the games. Not much offense from what I read but good to see some progress from Goodnight and the RPs.

Any idea why it was Morimando cam up instead of one of the bigger arms?
Jim
May 6, 2012 - 8:01 AM EDT
I agree with regards to Holt..and I also believe that he has guys knocking on Carolina's door...in Bryson Myles and Luigi Rodriguez, who are both better prospects. Myles and Holt should get the call soon.

I just think with Aguilar...they have several questions they want to answer before they bump him up. His approach is better this year, this is true, but when he goes through these mini-slumps, he starts swinging far too aggressively. I firmly believe they want time with him in Carolina to get the repetition before they move him up to the much more intense Double and Triple A levels, where there are many...many more pitchers that can go down and away, and throw the breaking balls that he's still getting used to hitting.

That said, I wouldn't be disappointed at all if Aguilar would make that move. While he's in the 20's in most prospect lists (including IPI), I firmly believe he's a top ten guy (even with all the question-marks), especially considering the hole we have with regards to RH hitters, as well as power hitters. He's certainly moving up the board though, with his performance this year. Will have a live report today...heading to the park for the double header...

It's ironic how well Akron is playing as a team right now, because IMO, they have the least amount of prospects, although I like their pen.
Norm
May 6, 2012 - 7:44 AM EDT
It is just a guess Jim but I don't think either Holt or Aguilar will see 200 ABs in Carolina this year. I believe that the Indians will want to have two prospects for position players in AKron. I don't think they have a real one now. Both will likely struggle a bit IMO but the experience will do them good.

RP is an area where we agree. Unless there are injuries, no one comes up until Lee is healthy and ready. I suspect Perez will replace Ascencio or Weaver when he is healthy. I kinda think the next cavalier goes to Akron and we see one of the Aeros in Columbus. But who really cares that much. Health is too big a problem for the high upside guys.
Jim
May 6, 2012 - 6:34 AM EDT
As per Abraham, everyone knows his limitations, of which you speak so clearly on. They've been discussed here at great length over the years. Will he ever be a factor in the big leagues? Not likely, and if he is, then the Indians are in a whole heap of trouble. Is there a scenario that could find him with Columbus next year? Absolutely.

As per Aguilar, he's one of my favorite players in the system, again, as I've said for over a year now. If and when he gets called up to Akron, I think it's relatively clear that it will be to start. I don't think anyone sober or sane thinks that Aguilar is going to get called up at some point to sit on the bench behind Abraham. The question becomes when is Aguilar getting the call-up. I doubt very much it's within a month, but it could happen. It may not happen until the break in late June, or even like last year, later in the season. When it happens, Abraham will likely go to the bench, or fill Aguilar's hole in Carolina...no doubt about it. I doubt very much that Aguilar will start NEXT year off in Columbus though, so if there is a hole there, Abraham would likely fill it again, until Aguilar makes that final move.

As per Ambriz, he had TJ surgery, and I'm always a believer in that 2-year rule with regards to command and velocity. While the Indians clearly liked him enough to take him with a Rule 5 pick, then jam him on the roster in 2010 for his time in the show, I don't see him as a guy right now that's a better option than Allen as a prospect, or Lee when he comes off the DL. Now, if you want to debate guys like Herrmann (who's on the 40-man) and Accardo and Ray, well, that's like debating four different types of apples...to each their own I guess. Who has the most upside there? I guess Ambriz, but it's not like we're talking about anyone that's going to excite anybody going forward.

At the end of the day, that's why guys like Wheeler and Ascencio aren't going anywhere any time soon...it's not like anyone is pushing them...yet. Allen could be that guy, but while he's flown through the system, I don't see him jumping up to the Tribe in a week or two. Now, if he continues to buzz through Columbus as he did through the other levels, I could see a scenario in which he's up (or Lee and Stowell, although the DL clearly limits them going forward) sometime much later in the year, when having a mop-up guy like Wheeler isn't such a big deal.

Kluber could be another interesting name in the mix. I like him as a starter, but the Indians clearly have McAllister and Barnes ahead of him (rightfully so), and I would guess that Huff and Slowey are as well, although Huff is a few starts away from being in consideration, and Slowey is pitching like garbage...but they are on the 40-man...

anyways...point being...I could see Kluber coming up as a relief option at some point. He's showcasing an ability to strike people out this year in a rather dominant fashion. I'd love to see him pitch and get a gauge on his velocity. He has that plus slider to go along with a decent fastball, so I wouldn't mind seeing him make the move to the pen at some point, if the Indians don't see him going forward as a starter.

And of course, there's that 7'1" guy they just dealt for, for the infamous future considerations. Perhaps they are going to share him with the Cavs...
Jim
May 6, 2012 - 6:03 AM EDT
Of course, the Indians just traded for Loek Van Mil, the 7'1" righty from Anaheim, and placed him on the Clippers roster (or so I hear), so there's that.
Norm
May 6, 2012 - 1:25 AM EDT
When appraising Abraham's talents, you seem to overlook that he is an organizational player at 25. Not only is his hitting less promising than the three in Columbus and the 1B behind him in Carolina, Abraham has no position and is worse defensively than all four. His future is probably limited to AA or wherever the Indians can use his limited talent. I would not be surprised to see him benched in favor of Aguilar within the month.

We all understand that Ambriz is near 28 but he has pitched in the show and is coming off surgery which cost him more than a year. He shows some progression with his command and looks better than any RHRP in Columbus other than the injured Lee and newly arrived Allen. Personally, I think there will be new RP options in AAA before too long.

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