RSS Twitter Facebook YouTube
Expand Menu
IBI Scoreboard for May 22, 2016
MLB
CLE 8
BAL 7
Triple-A
DUR 7
COL 5
Double-A
AKR 3
ALT 7
High-A
CAR 3
WIL 2
Low-A
LC 0
BG 5

Fishing for Mudcats: "...and the home, of the, brave..."

Fishing for Mudcats: "...and the home, of the, brave..."
July 4, 2012
Share via: Share: Facebook Share: Twitter Share: Google Share: Pinterest Share: Print Share: Email

From the Bait Shop:

Preface: Stats used for this article were from June 24th until July 2nd.

It would be impossible to start any article set in North Carolina on the Fourth of July the day in an article entitled 'Fishing for Mudcats' without mentioning the passing of Andy Griffith. You see, the Fourth of July here in Carolina means a free day of fishing. If you don't have a license, that's okay, grab your fishin' pole and head on down the the fishing hole, free of charge. Andy Griffith did just that every summer morning while I was growing up, with that famous whistling in my head. His portrayal of small-town life in North Carolina may not have had anything to do with baseball, but if you've ever been to a Carolina League game, especially in Kinston, you can almost hear Andy whistling his famous theme song. Here's to you Andy...

Here we go again.

Last season, the Kinston Indians started off the season in a holding pattern. They struggled to win games out of the gate, and by the time they figured things out in the first half, they were already too far behind the Myrtle Beach Pelicans to catch up. They would end up in second place during that first half run though. In the second half, they continued their hot June streak throughout the rest of the season, won the second half title, and made it to the Carolina League Championship game.

In the first half in 2012, the Carolina Mudcats followed their predecessors by struggling out of the gate to find their way. The main difference is that they never did have that streak of games in which they made a run. The Muddies finished the first half at 32-38, in last place in the Southern, and 12 1/5 games out.

Thank goodness for minor league rules.

Like Kinston last year, Carolina jumped into the 2012 second half with new vigor, and while they aren’t in first place as we speak, they have played their best baseball of the season.

Where this team has really taken off is their offense. In the first half of the season, the team rarely found more than two or three offensive players really hitting the ball well. That has changed since the all-star break.


AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG

Totals

268

46

82

24

2

10

42

21

52

0.306

Totals since break

384

68

119

34

3

12

58

30

72

0.310

In 12 total games, the Muddies are crushing the baseball. They have 119 hits, and 49 of those hits are of the extra-base variety. They still strike out a bunch, but they certainly are making contact when they have to, which is a substantial improvement over the first half of the season. The irony here is that they arguably lost their best offensive player in Jeremie Tice. In his absence though, a slew of players have stepped up to fill in. While it’s impossible to keep up this pace throughout the season, if the current roster stays intact (and there are doubts there), this team should have no problem getting on base, and scoring runs.

The pitching has been nearly as good over the past two weeks, although in typical Mudcats fashion, the bullpen and the rotation switched lead spots. Last week, the pen took center stage with a 2.08 ERA vs. the starters 5+. This week, things balanced out.


IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA

Total

71.7

62

27

23

32

46

1

2.89

Bullpen

28.7

26

14

13

19

19

0

4.08

Starters

43

36

13

10

13

27

1

2.09

The rotation was absolutely awesome, with only one starter struggling during an outing. The only loss by a starter came in one of the best starting performances of the week. The pen, overall, wasn’t bad, but did have a couple of horrendous performances that really skewed the numbers. Had the pen turned out a performance like last week, it’s possible that the Muddies would have only lost one game this week. Such is the life of baseball.

The one area of concern continues to be the walks. When your bullpen is putting on 19 batters via the walk, against only 19 strikeouts, that’s going to be an issue, and it cost the Muddies at least two games this week. The starters are a little better, but your ratio has to be better than 32:46 in any given week.

As the season moves forward for the Mudcats, it will be interesting to see if the product on the field is the result of Edwin Rodriguez’s tinkering throughout the year, or just one of those lightning strikes that happens in every baseball season. This team has talent, and some of it even resembles elite talent. There’s no way this team should have been in last place, but in the land of minor league baseball, wins and losses are rarely deemed important.

This team is loaded with “projects,” so it makes sense that these players find deliveries or approaches at the plate finally taking shape and becoming habit. Players like Tony Wolters, Ron Rodriguez, Jesus Aguilar and Giovanny Soto were works in progress during the first half, as were pitchers like Danny Salazar.

It might be time for it all to come together…just in time for most of these guys to get promoted. Like I said, the life of a minor league team.

Now let’s take down your fishin' pole, and meet me at the fishin' hole...

Where We Stand After Week #13:

Second Half Record: 8-4 (5-3 this week, 40-42 Overall), 2nd Place in the Southern Division second half, 1 game behind Myrtle Beach

Week #13 Games:

June
 
25 vs. Frederick, L 0-1 (WP: A. Loomis; LP: M. Goodnight; SV: R. Berry)
26 vs. Frederick, W 8-6 (WP: F. Jimenez; LP: S. Copeland)
27 vs. Frederick, W 4-2 (WP: J. Cooper; LP: T. Berry; SV: G. Sides)
28 @ Myrtle Beach, L 2-3 (WP: Z. Osborne; LP: C. Cook; SV: B. Rowen)
29 @ Myrtle Beach, W 9-6 (WP: D. Dickerson; LP: R. Rojas; SV: G. Sides)
30 @ Myrtle Beach, L 4-5 (WP: B. Henry; LP: J. Reichenbach)
 
July
 
1 vs. Potomac, W 8-3 (WP: F. Jimenez; LP: R. Ray; SV: C. Cook)
2 vs. Potomac, W 11-1 (WP: J. Cooper; LP: T. Holder)

Week #13 Transaction:

No listed roster moves for the week of June 25th through July 2nd

The Offense:

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG

Anthony Gallas

LF/DH/RF

26

4

12

7

1

0

4

3

5

0.462

Jesus Aguilar

1B

27

5

11

3

0

4

12

2

6

0.407

Tony Wolters

2B/SS/DH

35

6

12

2

0

0

6

1

5

0.343

Giovanny Urshela

3B

30

8

10

3

0

3

8

1

0

0.333

Justin Toole

1B/2B/LF

13

0

4

0

0

0

1

0

0

0.308

Tyler Holt

CF

31

9

9

2

1

0

1

3

3

0.290

Bo Greenwell

DH/LF

21

3

6

2

0

0

1

3

6

0.286

Delvi Cid

LF/DH/RF

11

3

3

1

0

0

2

2

5

0.273

Ronny Rodriguez

SS/2B/DH

29

4

7

0

0

3

4

0

9

0.241

Tyler Cannon

C

17

3

4

2

0

0

1

2

3

0.235

Carlos Moncrief

RF

19

1

4

2

0

0

2

2

6

0.211

Jake Lowery

C

9

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

4

0.000

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG

Totals


268

46

82

24

2

10

42

21

52

0.306

The Good…

What a week from this team’s poster boy, Jesus Aguilar. All season long, Indians’ fans have been watching Aguilar from afar, likely praying for the big, athletic first baseman to make it back to Ohio. He’s been a curious case though, hitting for a nice average, but struggling in the home run department. The assumption, and a correct one, is that Aguilar has been working on his approach at the plate. It’s believed that the Indians brass had him working on hitting balls to all fields, as well as becoming a bit more knowlegable with regards to pitch selection being thrown to him. It seems to be working quite well, thank you very much. The second half has brought back a whole boatload of power, as Aguilar hit four homers this week, and five since the break. He had six during the entire first half of the season. He’s not striking out nearly as much, and has really shown the ability to learn new skills, which has to thrill management. It’s rare to find a player with talent be so workable. I have Aguilar rated higher than many based on his position and the Indians needs, and the Indians are handling him the right way getting him ready for his future as the Tribe’s first baseman. Aguilar led the team with four homers and 12 RBI.

Anthony Gallas is just a player, and that’s all I have to say about that. Every system has guys like this, the ones that “aren’t prospects,” and aren’t your prototype ballplayers. Gallas just keeps performing, and at every level. He led the team in hits (tied with Wolters) and doubles (his seven doubles were the most by 4), and was one hit away from hitting .500 for the week. I’m not sure will Gallas will end up, but if he keeps hitting the baseball the way he has over the past two seasons, he may force the Tribe’s hand. He’s a producer, and that’s what any system wants. No, he doesn’t have the shine of a guy like Lindor or even Aguilar, but he outperforms nearly everyone in the system, and at some point, that has to make a difference.

Tony Wolters just won’t go away, and that’s a good thing. We all know about his early struggles, and then his rebound. Then Wolters went into a mini-slump again, but has now burst out of it playing his best baseball of the season. Wolters tied for the team lead in hits, and while he only had two extra base hits, that’s not necessarily his job on any team. He needs to get on base and score runs, and he had six runs in eight games. I’d say he’s doing his job just fine. While I don’t think he’s a top five prospect at this point, he’s definitely still a top 15 guy for sure.

While you all know my affinity for Jesus Aguilar as a ballplayer, my favorite guy on the team may just be Giovanny Urshela. There may not be a player in the system that projects as high as Urshela with the glove at any respective position. Urshela really is that good. The knock on him has always been his offense. While it’s never been bad, he was never projected to be anything special. Urshela really hasn’t done a whole lot to change that perception this season, but over the past three weeks, he’s really been hitting the baseball. He was second this week in homers and RBI, with three and eight, scored eight runs, which was second on the team, and had three doubles (also tied for second with Aguilar). The potential to have a guy that can glove this good hit some in the future is enticing for a system that is starving for big-hitting, corner infielders and outfielders.

Well, Tyler Holt is still here, and while I don’t believe he should be, he’s really not done anything to make me think the Indians are going to call him up. There are just too many similar players above him doing the same things or better, and with the Indians needing impact players like Jeremie Tice, it could be a long road for Holt going forward. With that said, he really has improved his approach, and he scored an impressive nine runs on nine hits, and he only struck out three times. He really has done everything the Indians have asked, and it has to be frustrating for the young outfielder to be stuck at a level below his actual development level. Perhaps a trade will either move him up, or get him in a system that needs his type of ability.

…the Bad and the Ugly…

I’m not going to hammer Jake Lowery, but he hasn’t had a hit since the break, and remains fairly limited. I haven’t been in the clubhouse in awhile, so I’m not sure if there’s an injury there, or if something else is going on, but it seems strange that Tyler Cannon has taken the catcher job over, and is now the main backstop. Something has to be going on that hasn’t been discussed that goes beyond just the plain and ordinary struggling.

Carlos Moncrief is an incredibly fun player to watch when he’s on, and incredibly painful to watch when he’s not. He can hit towering home runs, and steal bases like a gazelle. Of course, he can strike out like Adam Dunn, and does, a lot. His six this week was tied for second, and actually an improvement over past weeks, but without the hitting, Moncrief can show off any of that five-tool talent.

Ronny Rodriguez is a nice little ballplayer, and a lock for the major leagues in some capacity, at some point, for some team. He didn’t have a horrid week in the least, blasting three homers. But, he only hit .241, with nine strikeouts and no walks. That’s exactly the opposite of what good major leaguers do, and that has to improve, or that lock I talked about will get cut right off.

The Pitching:

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA

Cole Cook

3

1

1

1

1

3

0

3.00

Dale Dickerson

4

2

1

1

3

0

0

2.25

Danny Salazar

7

4

0

0

2

6

0

0.00

Francisco Jimenez

13

8

4

3

5

7

0

2.08

Grant Sides

3.333

1

0

0

2

1

0

0.00

J.D. Reichenbach

3.667

5

4

3

4

1

0

7.36

Jordan Cooper

7

6

2

2

2

4

0

2.57

Jose Flores

2.667

6

3

3

3

2

0

10.12

Kyle Blair

1

2

2

2

0

1

0

18.00

Michael Goodnight

14

15

3

3

4

9

0

1.93

Mike Rayl

7

5

2

2

2

4

0

2.57

Shawn Armstrong

4

3

1

1

4

7

0

2.25

Will Roberts

2

4

4

2

0

1

1

9.00

The Good…

You have to be a little bit excited by Danny Salazar, who may just ready to make a statement in the IPI rankings once he begins extending his starts. The Indians are really handling him with kid gloves, as he hadn’t made a start of more than four innings since the start of the season, until this week. His most recent start went for four innings and an efficient 53 pitches. He’s got command and good velocity, and just may be the best starter on the Muddies rotation right now. Where he goes from here depends on his health, and his ability to extend starts. My guess is that the Indians will keep him throwing in the four to five innings range this year in Carolina, keep him here to start the season off in 2013 with an unlimited number of innings, then allow his ability to take him from there. He could be something special.

I’m a big fan of Grant Sides, especially after watching him pitch. He’s got good command and velocity, and really seems to do everything you want in a reliever going forward. With Stowell taking a tumble, Sides may take his place on the elite level. He’s yet to give up a run for the Mudcats.

Michael Goodnight was flat out awesome in his last two starts. He went seven innings in each, and took a loss in the better start of the two. Goodnight isn’t a starter that’s going to overpower, but when he’s locating, he’s really tough to score on, and he rarely gives up a big hit when he’s zoned in. He’s the guy that can put hitters on base, then really locks down when his back is against the wall. I’m not sure how well that translates, as only elite arms generally make it to the big league level doing that, but it sure is translating as far as numbers go since the break.

Francisco Jimenez continues to pitch well as a starter in Carolina. I don’t think he ever makes it out of this level with any other consideration than a fill piece, but he has been an interesting story over the past year as he transitioned from a struggling reliever to a solid starter. He isn’t close to an elite level player, but can get guys out, especially with a stout defense behind him.

…the Bad and the Ugly…

Kyle Blair ends up on this list far too many times. I appreciate those moments when Blair finds his way to brilliant outings, but the problem is the bottoming out happens all too many times. I know this is something of a normal occurrence in the minors, but it’s getting to be too normal for Blair. He’s a top five draft pick that you would expect more out of. He’s just not giving it.

Jose Flores…oh…Jose Flores. I wasn’t a fan of his last year because of his struggles and lack of repetition, and while he masked some of that this year, it’s starting to rear its ugly head again. The problem now is that the Muddies have him closing baseball games, so when he reverts to the normal Jose Flores, it costs pitchers like Michael Goodnight wins. This guy isn’t very good, and shouldn’t be anywhere near the back-end of any bullpen.

Will Roberts was the only starter that struggled this week, and that really all I’m going to say about that. Roberts has good intangibles, so I’ll let this start slide…for now. Dale Dickerson bailed him out with a solid performance, so he gets a pass from my wrath this week. Of course, Roberts is the starter today, so we’ll see if he can rebound.

Week #13 Awards:

Hitter of Week 13: Jesus Aguilar (sorry Anthony, but the power is hard to pass up)
Pitcher of Week 13: Michael Goodnight (sorry Danny, but he had two quality starts, and a sub 2.00 ERA)
Player of Week 13: Jesus Aguilar (no apologies here)

The Archives:

Hitter of Week 1: Tyler Holt
Hitter of Week 2: Jesus Aguilar
Hitter of Week 3: Jake Lowery
Hitter of Week 4: Giovanny Urshela
Hitter of Week 5: Jesus Aguilar
Hitter of Week 6: Ronny Rodriguez
Hitter of Week 7: Tyler Holt
Hitter of Week 8: Tony Wolters
Hitter of Week 9: Jesus Aguilar
Hitter of Week 10: Tyler Cannon
Hitter of the First Half: Jesus Aguilar
Hitter of Week 12: Jesus Aguilar
 
Pitcher of Week 1: Cody Allen
Pitcher of Week 2: T.J. House
Pitcher of Week 3: Mike Rayl
Pitcher of Week 4: Shawn Armstrong
Pitcher of Week 5: Dale Dickerson
Pitcher of Week 6: Francisco Jimenez
Pitcher of Week 7: Shawn Armstrong
Pitcher of Week 8: Kyle Petter
Pitcher of Week 9: Kyle Blair
Pitcher of Week 10: Tyler Sturdevant
Pitcher of the First Half: Shawn Armstrong
Pitcher of Week 12: Grant Sides
 
Player of Week 1: Cody Allen
Player of Week 2: T.J. House
Player of Week 3: Jake Lowery
Player of Week 4: Shawn Armstrong
Player of Week 5: Jesus Aguilar
Player of Week 6: Francisco Jimenez
Player of Week 7: Tyler Holt
Player of Week 8: Tony Wolters
Player of Week 9: Jesus Aguilar
Player of Week 10: Tyler Cannon
MVP of the First Half: Jesus Aguilar
Player of Week 12: Jesus Aguilar

Here Comes Week #14:

July
 
3 vs. Potomac, 7:15 PM 
4 vs. Salem, 7:15 PM 
5 vs. Salem, 7:15 PM 
6 vs. Salem, 7:15 PM 
7 @ Potomac, 6:35 PM 
8 @ Potomac, 1:05 PM 
9 @ Potomac, 7:05 PM

The View Astern:

Hopefully, the bad play is behind the Mudcats, as they’ve played their most inspired baseball of the season. Jesus Aguilar is just a stud, and has picked up the slack left by Jeremie Tice’s promotion. Anthony Gallas proves time and again that he can’t be overlooked as a player in this system, and the starting rotation, full of guys that are decent, but not spectacular prospects, has really found its groove. Things are looking up, which is good for a coaching staff that you can really call into question. Edwin Rodriguez is a former major league manager, and you can’t look past this team’s struggles as growing pains coming back to the minors. You also have to wonder about a guy like Scott Erickson, who is in his first coaching situation. Is this the right staff, or has it just taken them this long to gel. I’d vote for the latter. The Indians have a history of good staff hires, and I believe this to be the case for the Muddies this year. It just took some time for this team to catch its stride, which it most certainly is doing right now.

Talkin' baseball...I can't think of a better way to pass the time o' day...

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

No comments currently. Be the first to comment!

Your Name:
Leave a Comment:
Security Code:

IBI Videos

No videos at this time

Available IBI Books

The 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider book featuring the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is now available. Also, previous editions from 2008-2012 are also available at a discounted rate. Just click on the book image for more information. Thanks again for all the support!

 

RSS Twitter Facebook YouTube
News   |   Teams   |   Players   |   Reference   |   Rankings   |   Depth Chart   |   Payroll   |   Boards   |   Privacy
Admin Login
All Rights Reserved 2016, Indians Baseball Insider   |   Affordable web design by Alt Media Studios