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Around the Farm: November 11, 2013

Around the Farm: November 11, 2013
November 12, 2013
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Around the Farm (ATF) takes a quick look at some of the daily performances by Indians prospects. This is a special fall and winter ball version of ATF that recaps all the offseason action by Indians players in the Arizona Fall League and the Caribbean Leagues.  The positions listed below are where the player was playing in the game.

Note, the Venezuela Winter League was off on Monday and no Indians were in action in the Dominican Winter League.

Arizona Fall League

Tyler Naquin (Surprise Saguaros, CF): 3-for-4, 2 R, 3B, RBI, BB, K. Naquin’s stint in the AFL is most adequately described using the term torrid. Offensively, Naquin has been a different guy, particularly in terms of his K/BB rate which sits at 13/11. Of course, 25 games is an absurdly small sample; however, Naquin has made important strides in the AFL which hopefully translate to his time in Akron next season.

Puerto Rican Winter League

Carlos Moncrief (Gigantes de Carolina, DH): 1-for-2, BB, K.  Only his sixth game so far in winter league action. Nothing particularly valuable to note so far, but he continues to walk which was a major piece of his step forward this season.

Roberto Perez (Indios de Mayaguez, C): 0-for-1. An altogether empty line for a guy who has become more of an organizational prospect. This was the second game he has played where he made an appearance late in the game.

Brett Brach (Gigantes de Carolina, RP): 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, HR. A pretty ugly line for Brach.  Most concerning is the lack of strikeouts. Brach has thrown 5 1/3 innings so far and has only one strikeout, showing an inability to miss bats even when pitching limited innings. Of course, judging based on 5 1/3 innings is haphazard but this has never been something Brach has been adept at.

Interact with Michael by email at  michael.hattery@gmail.com and on Twitter @MichaelHattery

User Comments

Tony
November 14, 2013 - 10:14 AM EST
I think there are several better alternatives to Bourn leading off....starting with Kipnis and Brantley. I mean, really, why is Bourn getting more at bats a game and many more over a season than a guy like Brantley? I'd rather go with Kipnis-Swisher-Brantley- Santana or Brantley-Swisher-Kipnis-Santana than the current setup of Bourn-Swisher-Kipnis-Santana.
Robert
November 14, 2013 - 6:59 AM EST
If Bourn is traded who bats lead off? Stubbs as a LO hitter is a disaster. He had a better year at the plate last year because he was protected largely because he was in the low expectation 9 hole. Friends in Cincy say he is NOT a lead off hitter.
Walter
November 12, 2013 - 7:54 PM EST
Willie

I think you are right. I think the Cards want Tulo. Only problem Tulo has been injury prone lately. Pirates might be another team looking for SS. I made that suggestion because it was equal amount of money was traded in that scenario.

I have question if the Indians drew 2 million instead of 1.6mil how much additional revenue would that have created?
Willie
November 12, 2013 - 7:44 PM EST
Funny, rumors are linking the Cards to any other name than ACab. I won't rehash that discussion, apparently, neither will some of these media driven rumors...

Three teams I would simply suggest could have interest in ACab are the Mets, Yankees and Pirates. The Phillies were also supposedly interested last offseason, so there's that.
Walter
November 12, 2013 - 6:57 PM EST
What about a trade of Cabrera 10m to Cardinals for Freese and Axford which would equal roughly same amount of money. I heard there a chance that Freese an Axford could be non tendered. However by getting both would provide alternative at 3b and Axford could replace Smith or be the bridge as the Indians closer.

With Choo being FA, the Reds could be looking for CF until B Hamilton is ready.
Seth
November 12, 2013 - 6:34 PM EST
Mostly agree that it wouldn't be a bad idea to move Bourn if they can, but a guy who disappointed even more on defense was Stubbs. Not sure if the offensive struggles got to him or what, but he seemed a little lost defensively in the second half. Not Choo lost, but he was taking some bad routes.
Willie
November 12, 2013 - 5:43 PM EST
I was a proponent of signing Bourn last offseason, with the idea his contract would be under mkt, as a value for comparisons sake to what some of the other guys are likely to get. I'd rather see the Tribe get his $ and yrs off the books over say, ACab who could be moved this offseason. Maybe the Mets, Phillies, Rangers or Red Sox would have interest, I don't know who really needs a CF, point is there could be a mkt for him.
Clay
November 12, 2013 - 1:20 PM EST
Some of these discussions are becoming mind numbing to try and read through.

I won't be shocked either way regarding Michael Bourn. If he's moved I can see the Mets getting involved while they seek to rebuild their OF. They of course were burned by the Indians last season because of the protected 1st round pick. Should the Indians keep Bourn around, that's fine too, just have to hope for some adjustments, but I agree there are potentially better uses of 13 or so million dollars.

I for one, am in favor of putting that money into my bank account.
Hiram
November 12, 2013 - 10:45 AM EST
Tony,

Fair enough. Let's see what happens in the next 6-8 weeks to see the direction the Tribe goes.
Tony
November 12, 2013 - 10:33 AM EST
I'm just repeating what I have seen and what I have been told by the Indians scouting department and front office. I think some of the Ramirez talk is getting a bit out of hand. He's a very good player as I love his skillset on offense and his versatility on defense, but there are legit concerns about his defense as an everyday player on the left side of the infield.
Hiram
November 12, 2013 - 10:26 AM EST
Tony,

Jim Pete says that Ramirez is the same caliber of SS as Jose Iglesias and I consider Iglesias a very good SS. If teams felt that Aviles was an everyday SS option(not the Indians) they would be knocking down your door offering solid pitching for him.
Tony
November 12, 2013 - 10:20 AM EST
Who else is saying anything about Ramirez? Understand that the reason I am tempering expectations on Ramirez is because what I said comes from the Indians themselves.;) The love with him has always been his ability to play a very good second base and what made him very intriguing going into the season was the fearless approach and great showing offensively in 2012 along with him showing he can handle shortstop. Handling shortstop and playing it everyday are two different things though. I think he'd be a solid stop gap at shortstop, but not a very good everyday option right now. Maybe he changes that perception this spring....but it is Lindor's position within a year and for now is Cabrera's (and then Aviles' if Cabrera is traded).
Hiram
November 12, 2013 - 10:16 AM EST
Tony,

I respect your opinion on Ramirez because you study and see these guys regularly, howvever, there are those that see something different than you on him and his ability to play SS on a regular basis. I think one of those are the Indians themselves. I also think you're overrating how the Indians view Aviles. If Aviles was an everyday SS option he wouldn't be with the Indians right now he would be with a contender because they would offer you something very good for him. He's simply not an option as an everyday SS, NO WAY!!! Some of your colleagues disagree with you on Ramirez as well and that's fine. I think the Indians think more highly of his ability to play there. Remember guys like Brandon Crawford and others have played their and won titles.


Rich
November 12, 2013 - 10:02 AM EST
Just to add some specifics to the Adam Dunn comparison, in Dunn's first year in the AL he hit .159 in 415 AB's with a .569 OPS. He was 31 years old - year older than Bourn is now.

His second year with the White Sox Dunn bounced back to hit 46 HRs with a .801 OPS.

Hopefully Bourn went through something similar, although not as extreme, and will get back to his normal level of production next season.
Rich
November 12, 2013 - 9:56 AM EST
I agree Bourn isn't worth anywhere near $13.5 M, especially with Stubbs and Brantley on the roster and Naquin on the horizon. But I also agree that it's unlikely anybody will take on that contract until Bourn shows that this year was an aberration.

In the previous three years before coming to the Tribe, Bourn's OPS was .766, .735, and .739. Then last year it dropped to .676, a decrease of 63 points. His OBP was down 32 points. And his stolen bases were less than half of his average of the previous three seasons (23 versus 47).

What the heck happened? Nagging injuries? Adjustment to a new league? Adam Dunn had an abysmal first season in the AL after coming over from the Reds, but bounced back his second year.

I think the Tribe just has to hope that Bourn gets back to his 2010-2012 numbers next year and then try to deal him once he has re-established his value. Hopefully Naquin will be ready to step in by then.
Tony
November 12, 2013 - 9:35 AM EST
This is where I think a lot of people have misinterpreted things. The Indians don't have someone available right now to replace Cabrera except obviously for Aviles. Look, I love Jose Ramirez as much as the next guy, but he's viewed in the industry as more of a second baseman or utility guy. Can he play shortstop? Yes. It's a big reason his value jumped. But is he viewed as an everyday shortstop right now? Not at all. I think it is important to note that before this Ramirez train goes even more out of control. He's a guy that will be a depth option at shortstop this year and if he makes the team he will not be a regular starter but more in a utility role. If injuries crop up then, then yes, he could start at shortstop. As for Lindor he's not an option either at the outset of the season. He's still at least 1-2 months away, if not a full season.

Bourn on the other hand is replaceable by capable center fielders already on the roster with Brantley and Stubbs. And while Bourn is a better hitter than Stubbs, there is not THAT much different between the two over their career:

Bourn: .335 OBP, .361 SLG, .312 wOBA, 92 wRC+, 20.6 K%
Stubbs: .310 OBP, .381 SLG, .307 wOBA, 89 wRC+, 29.3 K%

Bourn hits for a higher average (.271 vs. .239), but Stubbs' power and slightly better walk rate make them close with OPS (.699 vs. .691). There is not a lot that separates them offensively, and they are both essentially the same runner and defender. I know Bourn draws a lot of value in his WAR number from his defense, but from what I saw his defense doesn't match the high standards the numbers put on it. Bottom line, Stubbs will get about $3.5M from the Indians and Bourn will get $13.5M. You think he is worth $10M more than Stubbs based on those numbers above? If Bourn was making $6M and the Indians did not have a payroll crunch it would be another thing....
Hiram
November 12, 2013 - 9:07 AM EST
Tony,

I disagree with you on this one. I don't think Stubbs is the hitter Bourn is. I didn't like the signing for the reasons you gave before but he did get some clutch hits and drive in some runs. He strikes out way too much but I think Stubbs is quickly running out of time in MLB if he doesn't play/ hit better. I think you rob peter to pay paul if you deal Bourn. I also think you send the wrong message to a fan base that already doesn't trust you and that you are trying to regain trust with.


Also, the issue is that teams will be hesitant to trade for Bourn with that salary and other issues and the value isn't where you want it to be. I'm afraid that we are stuck. Acab is a different story because we have someone right now that they want to give playing time to and freeing up his salary would be ideal. I just don't see it happening unless we give him away(which I would do) but will teams want him at that salary?? I have my doubts. Once again, I think we're stuck .
Tony
November 12, 2013 - 8:55 AM EST
I'd argue that Bourn is expendable right now. Not a good use of $13.5 million on the payroll. Doesn't get on base enough, strikes out too much. The defense to me, based on the eyes, is a tad overrated. Not sure we'd be any worse off with Stubbs in center field for $10 million less and using that $10 million on another player or two. I'd definitely look to get out from under that contract this offseason.
Hiram
November 12, 2013 - 8:49 AM EST
Tony,

You're right and I was assuming injuries were the issue and he would be an option but if he carries this thru to the regular season he will be noticed not by just the Indians but with other teams when they talk trade with the Indians. It will be a nice chip to have and it will make Bourn,Brantley somewhat expendable if the Indians need to go that route or least have it to be an option later.

Tony
November 12, 2013 - 8:47 AM EST
And before someone gets all worked up about that, that is not a negative viewpoint at all. It's just a realistic outlook of how Naquin will be handled. I think if he has a good year he might be in the mix to be the platoon-mate with Raburn in right field (as well as serve as the fourth outfielder) in 2015. Would be a good way to transition him full time into the league.
Tony
November 12, 2013 - 8:45 AM EST
Important to note there is no rush for Naquin to come to Cleveland so long as Bourn, Brantley, Stubbs and Raburn are on the roster and healthy and performing. Naquin could definitely push his way to a mid-summer promotion to Columbus and be in the mix for a September callup, but unless long term injuries crop up before that he is very unlikely to get to Cleveland no matter how well he is performing.
Hiram
November 12, 2013 - 8:26 AM EST
Naquin on WTAM spoke about the adjustments at the plate he had to make to cut down on his SO's and sure enough vs better competition in the AFL it appears that he is doing exactly that. If he carries this into AA Akron then the Indians will have no choice but to promote him to AAA and then Cleveland.
Hiram
November 12, 2013 - 7:53 AM EST
NAQUIN!!!

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