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.
Jesus Aguilar (1B – Carolina): 3-for-4, 3 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI.
BOOM! Is there any player in the entire Indians system more intriguing right now than Aguilar? Much has been made this season about the hulking first baseman’s lack of power, but there was no power shortage last night. Aguilar launched two home runs (and just missed on a third) and drove in four runs while raising his batting average to .310. Aguilar, who was just recently selected to the MLB Futures Game, has completely demolished Class A pitching this season, and it would appear as if a promotion to Akron might be on the horizon. He has now hit nine home runs on the season while driving in 37 runs. I know scouts still have mixed opinions on him as far as his MLB future goes, but at worst, one has to believe that he can develop into an at least adequate right-handed bat with some very nice pop.
Cody Allen (RP – Columbus): H (4), 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.
2012 has been a good year for Allen, and last night seemed to be more of the same for the right-hander. It took Allen just 12 pitches to get through an inning of work, and nine of those pitches were strikes. Even better, Allen added two more strikeouts to his 2012 résumé, and he lowered his ERA to 2.55. The Indians’ major league bullpen has been incredibly inconsistent thus far, and one has to believe that Allen is on the team’s Major League radar. So far, the 2011 23rd round pick has struck out 29 batters while walking just seven. It certainly seems as if the Indians would be wise to give Allen a look. And judging by the bullpen’s recent performance, let’s hope that time comes sooner rather than later.
Thomas Neal (RF – Akron): 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K.
The hot streak continues for Neal. One night after going 3-for-4 while driving in three runs, Neal collects two hits and drives in a pair. Neal has now hit five home runs on the season, all of which have come in the last two weeks, and he raised his average to .293 after last night’s game. We should temper our enthusiasm with Neal, but his performance as of late is quite encouraging. Remember that Neal was ranked the No. 96 prospect in all of baseball back in 2010 by Baseball America. Since then, he has dealt with injuries and seems to have lost his power stroke, but there are signs that it could be on its way back. Neal would be a perfect fit for the Indians considering he bats right-handed and also plays the outfield. Hopefully his recent surge is the start of a trend and not just a blip on the radar.
- David Huff (SP, Columbus): 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R/ER, 3 BB, 5 K. Last night’s performance by Huff seemed to be somewhat of a mixed bag. He labored throughout as it took 109 pitches for him to get through just over five innings of work. However, at the same time, he limited the damage by allowing just two runs. Huff’s performance seemed to be pretty consistent with what he’s given the Indians this year.
- Trevor Crowe (CF – Columbus): 0-for-3, 2 BB, 1 K. All good things must come to an end, and that was the case for Crowe Tuesday night as his nice little five game hitting streak ended. Nonetheless, there were still some positives as the 28-year-old showed a good approach by drawing two walks.
- Matt Pagnozzi (C – Columbus): 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K. At 29 years old, Pagnozzi is hardly what one would call a Major League prospect, but it was nice to see him put together this solid performance last night. Still, Huffman is hitting just .213 on the season.
- Chad Huffman (DH – Columbus): 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K. Huffman put together a very solid performance for the Clippers last night, including a game-winning RBI single, which scored Ezequiel Carrera from third to give the Clippers a 4-3 win in 11 innings.
- Chun Hsiu-Chen (DH – Akron): 0-for-4, 2 K. Chen has been scorching hot at the plate as of late, but he seemed to cool off last night. Even with last night’s performance, Chen still owns a .321 average on the year.
- Jeremie Tice (LF – Akron): 2-for-4, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K. In just his fifth game since being promoted from Carolina, Tice remained hot at the plate. He is now hitting .381 during his short stint with the Aeros and has collected an impressive eight hits in five games. At 25, Tice is somewhat older as far as prospects go, but there are three reasons that the Indians should pay close attention to him. 1. He bats right-handed. 2. He has displayed some impressive power this year. 3. He plays the outfield. Considering all those factors, let’s hope his success continues moving forward.
- Giovanni Soto (SP – Akron): (L, 5-4), 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R/ER, 4 BB, 4 K. An up-and-down performance for Soto last night. While the numbers indicate he seemed to struggle with his control at times, he still was able to limit the damage and record a quality start.
- Bryan Price (RP – Akron): 2 IP, 5 H, 4 R/ER, 4 K, 2 HR. Yikes, Price did not have his A-game for the Aeros last night as he got hit hard for four runs and gave up two home runs. If there is a silver lining, it is encouraging to see that he did manage to strikeout four batters in just two innings of work.
- Giovanny Urshela (3B – Carolina): 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI. Urshela may not have been as impressive as Aguilar last night, but it was pretty darn close. The right-hander is now hitting .264 on the season, and it’s easy to get excited about him considering he is still just 20 years old.
- Ronny Rodriguez (SS – Carolina): 1-for-4, 1 K. Rodriguez managed to collect a hit last night, and his average now sits at .273. There have been some positive signs for him during the 2012 campaign, but the strikeout numbers are alarming. After collecting another K last night, Rodriguez has struck out 49 times this year while recording just 10 walks.
- Tyler Cannon (C – Carolina): 2-for-3, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 BB, 1 K. A nice productive evening for Cannon as he collected two extra-base hits. Cannon has struggled to duplicate his 2010 success at Lake County, but last night’s offering was a step in the right direction.
- Francisco Jimenez (SP – Carolina): (W, 6-5) 7 IP, 5 H, 3 R/2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. Unlike another Jimenez currently with the Indians, Francisco has been the model of consistency for the Mudcats this year. Last night he did just about everything a team could ask as he went deep into the game and allowed just two earned runs. For his efforts, he earned his sixth win and lowered his ERA with Carolina to 3.82.
- Francisco Lindor (SS – Lake County): 0-for-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K. Lindor’s average has dipped a bit as of late, and after last night’s 0-fer, it is now down to .274. Nonetheless, he has showed a solid approach and recorded his 30th walk of the season in the Captains’ extra inning win.
- Jordan Smith (RF – Lake County): 2-for-6, 1 R, 2 H, 1 RBI. Last year’s 9th round pick has really put together a solid 2012 campaign. That stayed true last night as the left-handed hitter recorded two hits and drove in his 30th run of the season.
- Jose Ramirez (2B – Lake County): 2-for-5, 1 R. Ramirez was very impressive in rookie ball last year for the Tribe, and it looks like he may be starting to hit his stride. In just his fourth game at Lake County, the switch hitter collected two hits and raised his average up to .235. This is now Ramirez’s second straight multi-hit game. As Jim noted in yesterday’s ATF, he is certainly an intriguing bat to watch moving forward.
- Shawn Morimando (SP – Lake County): 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R/ER, 4 BB, 1 K, 1 HR. Morimando has put together a very consistent campaign for the Captains this season, and that remained true last night. While he did struggle with his command and walked four batters, he was able to keep the Captains in the game. Walks are a concern mobbing forward, however, as the left-hander has now tallied 19 walks on the season compared to 25 strikeouts. That type of ratio will not cut it moving forward.
- Tyler Naquin (CF – Mahoning Valley): 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB. Four games is a pretty small sample size, but Indians fans have to be encouraged by the performance of 2012’s first round pick. One thing is certainly evident: Naquin can hit. The 21-year-old collected three more hits last night and now has seven in just four games. His hot start will certainly eventually cool off, but it has been fun to watch thus far.
- Juan Romero (DH – Mahoning Valley): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K. Very few players in the entire Indians system have me more excited than Romero right now. Many of us knew very little about the 19-year-old until recently, but from what we see now, it seems like there is a lot to like. The right-handed hitter blasted his fourth home run in seven games last night. Obviously, Romero still has a long, long way to go, but you cannot argue with the early results.
- Ryan Merritt (SP – Mahoning Valley): (W 1-1), 5 IP, 6 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 3 K. A congratulations goes out to Merritt on earning the first win of his professional baseball career. 2011’s 16th round pick pitched well as he allowed just one run in five innings of work.
- Jacob Lee (RP – Mahoning Valley): 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R/0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. Indians fans have followed Lee’s professional debut with a decent amount of excitement, and the right-hander did not disappoint last night. 2012’s 9th round pick pitched two innings while allowing no earned runs and struck out three batters. Granted, two games and five innings is an extremely small sample size, but he now has seven strikeouts in those five innings. Gotta love that.
- Dillon Howard (RP – AZL Indians): 3 1/3 IP, 5 H, 5 R/1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. This is not the type of performance that Indians fans want to see from 2011’s much heralded 2nd round pick. Howard’s defense did him no favors however as the Indians recorded four errors. Nonetheless, the five strikeouts through just over five innings is quite encouraging.
- Juan Herrera (2B – AZL Indians): 3-for-4, 1 R. Very nice performance for the 19-year-old in just his third game of rookie ball. Herrera was ranked 4th on IPI’s Top 15 Latin Prospects list this season, so he will certainly be one to keep an eye on moving forward.
- Jorge Martinez (3B – AZL Indians): 2-for-4, 1 RBI. The 19-year-old Martinez is now in his third straight season with the AZL Indians. In the past he has struggled a bit, but the results have been encouraging in the early going of the 2012 campaign. Martinez has now collected 11 hits in five games, and his average sits at .524. The numbers will inevitably go down, but it’s always good to see a young player start out a season on the right foot.